1918 FRANCE, RARE Marechal PETAIN Autographed Letter card ex Sir John Ponsonby

1918_FRANCE_RARE_Marechal_PETAIN_Autographed_Letter_card_ex_Sir_John_Ponsonby_01_bbfh 1918 FRANCE, RARE Marechal PETAIN Autographed Letter card ex Sir John Ponsonby

1918 FRANCE, RARE Marechal PETAIN Autographed Letter card ex Sir John Ponsonby
1918; A Rare letter card written by Marechal Petain, dated 22 November 1918 , the day after he was made MARACHEL of FRANCE, French Military award. From Major-General Sir John Ponsonby’s Collection. Henri Philippe Benoni Omer Joseph Pétain (24 April 1856 23 July 1951), Generally known as Philippe Pétain French: fi. Or Marshal Pétain (Maréchal Pétain), was a French general officer who attained the position of Marshal of France and subsequently served as the Chief of State of Vichy France from 1940 to 1944. Pétain, who was 84 years old in 1940, ranks as France’s oldest head of state. Today, he is considered by many as a Nazi collaborator, the French equivalent of his contemporary Vidkun Quisling in Norway. He was sometimes nicknamed The Lion of Verdun. During World War II, with the imminent fall of France in June 1940, Pétain was appointed Prime Minister of France by President Lebrun at Bordeaux, and the Cabinet resolved to make peace with Germany. The entire government subsequently moved briefly to Clermont-Ferrand, then to the spa town of Vichy in central France. His government voted to transform the discredited French Third Republic into the French State, an authoritarian regime aligned with Nazi Germany. After the war, Pétain was tried and convicted for treason. He was originally sentenced to death, but because of his outstanding military leadership in World War I, particularly during the Battle of Verdun, Pétain was viewed as a national hero in France and was not executed. His sentence was commuted to life in prison and he died in 1951. Pétain was born in Cauchy-à-la-Tour (in the Pas-de-Calais département in Northern France) in 1856. His father, OmerVenant, was a farmer. His great-uncle, a Catholic priest, Father Abbe Lefebvre, had served in Napoleon’s Grande Armée and told the young Pétain tales of war and adventure of his campaigns from the peninsulas of Italy to the Alps in Switzerland. Highly impressed by the tales told by his uncle, his destiny was from then on determined. Pétain was a bachelor until his sixties, and known for his womanising. Women were said to find his piercing blue eyes especially attractive. After the war Pétain married his former girlfriend, Eugénie Hardon (18771962), “a particularly beautiful woman”, on 14 September 1920; they remained married until the end of Pétain’s life. After rejecting Pétain’s first marriage proposal, Hardon had married and divorced François de Hérain by 1914 when she was 35. At the opening of the Battle of Verdun in 1916, Pétain is said to have been fetched during the night from a Paris hotel by a staff officer who knew that he could be found with Eugénie Hardon. She had no children by Pétain but already had a son from her first marriage, Pierre de Hérain, whom Pétain strongly disliked. Pétain joined the French Army in 1876 and attended the St Cyr Military Academy in 1887 and the École Supérieure de Guerre (army war college) in Paris. Between 1878 and 1899, he served in various garrisons with different battalions of the Chasseurs à pied, the elite light infantry of the French Army. Thereafter, he alternated between staff and regimental assignments. Pétain’s career progressed slowly, as he rejected the French Army philosophy of the furious infantry assault, arguing instead that “firepower kills”. His views were later proved to be correct during the First World War. He was promoted to captain in 1890 and major (Chef de Bataillon) in 1900. Unlike many French officers, he served mainly in mainland France, never French Indochina or any of the African colonies, although he participated in the Rif campaign in Morocco. As colonel, he commanded the 33rd Infantry Regiment at Arras from 1911; the young lieutenant Charles de Gaulle, who served under him, later wrote that his “first colonel, Pétain, taught (him) the Art of Command”. In the spring of 1914, he was given command of a brigade (still with the rank of colonel). However, aged 58 and having been told he would never become a general, Pétain had bought a villa for retirement. Beginning of war Pétain led his brigade at the Battle of Guise (29 August 1914). At the end of August 1914 he was quickly promoted to brigadier-general and given command of the 6th Division in time for the First Battle of the Marne; little over a month later, in October 1914, he was promoted again and became XXXIII Corps commander. After leading his corps in the spring 1915 Artois Offensive, in July 1915 he was given command of the Second Army, which he led in the Champagne Offensive that autumn. He acquired a reputation as one of the more successful commanders on the Western Front. Battle of Verdun Pétain commanded the Second Army at the start of the Battle of Verdun in February 1916. During the battle he was promoted to Commander of Army Group Centre, which contained a total of 52 divisions. Rather than holding down the same infantry divisions on the Verdun battlefield for months, akin to the German system, he rotated them out after only two weeks on the front lines. His decision to organise truck transport over the “Voie Sacrée” to bring a continuous stream of artillery, ammunition and fresh troops into besieged Verdun also played a key role in grinding down the German onslaught to a final halt in July 1916. In effect, he applied the basic principle that was a mainstay of his teachings at the École de Guerre (War College) before World War I: le feu tue! In this case meaning French field artillery, which fired over 15 million shells on the Germans during the first five months of the battle. Although Pétain did say On les aura! ” an echoing of Joan of Arc, roughly: “We’ll get them! “, the other famous quotation often attributed to him “Ils ne passeront pas! ” “They shall not pass! Was actually uttered by Robert Nivelle who succeeded him in command of the Second Army at Verdun in May 1916. At the very end of 1916, Nivelle was promoted over Pétain to replace Joseph Joffre as French Commander-in-Chief. Because of his high prestige as a soldier’s soldier, Pétain served briefly as Army Chief of Staff (from the end of April 1917). He then became Commander-in-Chief of the entire French army, replacing General Nivelle, whose Chemin des Dames offensive failed in April 1917, thereby provoking widespread mutinies in the French Army. They involved, to various degrees, nearly half of the French infantry divisions stationed on the Western Front. Pétain restored morale by talking to the men, promising no more suicidal attacks, providing rest for exhausted units, home furloughs, and moderate discipline. He held 3400 courts martial; 554 mutineers were sentenced to death but over 90% had their sentences commuted. [5] The mutinies were kept secret from the Germans and their full extent and intensity were not revealed until decades later. Gilbert and Bernard find multiple causes: The immediate cause was the extreme optimism and subsequent disappointment at the Nivelle offensive in the spring of 1917. Other causes were pacificism, stimulated by the Russian Revolution and the trade-union movement, and disappointment at the nonarrival of American troops. [6] Pétain conducted some successful but limited offensives in the latter part of 1917, unlike the British who stalled in an unsuccessful offensive at Passchendaele that autumn. Pétain, instead, held off from major French offensives until the Americans arrived in force on the front lines, which did not happen until the early summer of 1918. The year 1918 saw major German offensives on the Western Front. The first of these, Operation Michael in March 1918, threatened to split the British and French forces apart, and, after Pétain had threatened to retreat on Paris, the Doullens Conference was called. Just prior to the main meeting, Prime Minister Clemenceau claimed he heard Pétain say “les Allemands battront les Anglais en rase campagne, après quoi ils nous battront aussi” “the Germans will beat the English (sic) in open country, then they’ll beat us as well”. He reported this conversation to President Poincaré, adding surely a general should not speak or think like that? ” Haig recorded that Pétain had “a terrible look. He had the appearance of a commander who had lost his nerve. Pétain believed wrongly that Gough’s Fifth Army had been routed like the Italians at Caporetto. At the Conference, Ferdinand Foch was appointed as Allied Generalissimo, initially with powers to co-ordinate and deploy Allied reserves where he saw fit. Pétain eventually came to the aid of the British and secured the front with forty French divisions. Pétain proved a capable opponent of the Germans both in defence and through counter-attack. The third offensive, “Blücher”, in May 1918, saw major German advances on the Aisne, as the French Army commander (Humbert) ignored Pétain’s instructions to defend in depth and instead allowed his men to be hit by the initial massive German bombardment. By the time of the last German offensives, Gneisenau and the Second Battle of the Marne, Pétain was able to defend in depth and launch counter offensives, with the new French tanks and the assistance of the Americans. Later in the year, Pétain was stripped of his right of direct appeal to the French government and requested to report to Foch, who increasingly assumed the co-ordination and ultimately the command of the Allied offensives. After the war ended Pétain was made Marshal of France on 21 November 1918. Pétain ended the war regarded “without a doubt, the most accomplished defensive tactician of any army” and “one of France’s greatest military heroes” and was presented with his baton of Marshal of France at a public ceremony at Metz by President Raymond Poincaré on 8 December 1918. [9] He was summoned to be present at the signing of the Treaty of Versailles on 28 June 1919. His job as Commander-in-Chief came to an end with peace and demobilisation, and with Foch out of favour after his quarrel with the French government over the peace terms, it was Petain who, in January 1920, was appointed Vice-Chairman of the revived Conseil supérieur de la Guerre (Supreme War Council). This was France’s highest military position, whose holder was Commander-in-Chief designate in the event of war and who had the right to overrule the Chief of the General Staff (a position held in the 1920s by Petain’s protégés Buat and Debeney), and Petain would hold it until 1931. [10][11] Pétain was encouraged by friends to go into politics, although he protested that he had little interest in running for an elected position. He nevertheless tried and failed to get himself elected President following the November 1919 elections. [12] Shortly after the war, Pétain had placed before the government plans for a large tank and air force but “at the meeting of the Conseil supérieur de la Défense Nationale of 12 March 1920 the Finance Minister, François-Marsal, announced that although Pétain’s proposals were excellent they were unaffordable”. In addition, François-Marsal announced reductions in the army from fifty-five divisions to thirty, in the air force, and did not mention tanks. The General Staff, now under General Edmond Buat, began to think seriously about a line of forts along the frontier with Germany, and their report was tabled on 22 May 1922. The three Marshals supported this. The cuts in military expenditure meant that taking the offensive was now impossible and a defensive strategy was all they could have. Pétain was appointed Inspector-General of the Army in February 1922 and produced, in concert with the new Chief of the General Staff, General Marie-Eugène Debeney, the new army manual entitled Provisional Instruction on the Tactical Employment of Large Units, which soon became known as’the Bible’. [14] On 3 September 1925 Pétain was appointed sole Commander-in-Chief of French Forces in Morocco[15] to launch a major campaign against the Rif tribes, in concert with the Spanish Army, which was successfully concluded by the end of October. He was subsequently decorated, at Toledo, by King Alfonso XIII with the Spanish Medalla Militar. Following the liberation of France, on 7 September 1944 Pétain and other members of the French cabinet at Vichy were relocated by the Germans to the Sigmaringen enclave in Germany, where they became a government-in-exile until April 1945. Pétain, however, having been forced to leave France, refused to participate in this government and Fernand de Brinon now headed the’government commission. [54] In a note dated 29 October 1944, Pétain forbade de Brinon to use the Marshal’s name in any connection with this new government, and on 5 April 1945, Pétain wrote a note to Hitler expressing his wish to return to France. No reply ever came. However, on his birthday almost three weeks later, he was taken to the Swiss border. Two days later he crossed the French frontier. De Gaulle later wrote that Pétain’s decision to return to France to face his accusers in person was “certainly courageous”. [56] The provisional government headed by De Gaulle placed Pétain on trial, which took place from 23 July to 15 August 1945, for treason. Dressed in the uniform of a Marshal of France, Pétain remained silent through most of the proceedings after an initial statement that denied the right of the High Court, as constituted, to try him. De Gaulle himself later criticised the trial, stating, Too often, the discussions took on the appearance of a partisan trial, sometimes even a settling of accounts, when the whole affair should have been treated only from the standpoint of national defence and independence. At the end of Pétain’s trial, he was convicted on all charges. The jury sentenced him to death by a one-vote majority. Due to his advanced age, the Court asked that the sentence not be carried out. De Gaulle, who was President of the Provisional Government of the French Republic at the end of the war, commuted the sentence to life imprisonment due to Pétain’s age and his military contributions in World War I. After his conviction, the Court stripped Pétain of all military ranks and honours save for the one distinction of Marshal of France. Fearing riots at the announcement of the sentence, De Gaulle ordered that Pétain be immediately transported on the former’s private aircraft to Fort du Portalet in the Pyrenees, [58] where he remained from 15 August to 16 November 1945. The government later transferred him to the Fort de Pierre-Levée citadel on the Île d’Yeu, a small island off the French Atlantic coa. Over the following years Pétain’s lawyers and many foreign governments and dignitaries, including Queen Mary and the Duke of Windsor, appealed to successive French governments for Pétain’s release, but given the unstable state of Fourth Republic politics no government was willing to risk unpopularity by releasing him. As early as June 1946 US President Harry Truman interceded in vain for his release, even offering to provide political asylum in the U. [60] A similar offer was later made by the Spanish dictator General Franco. [60] Although Pétain had still been in good health for his age at the time of his imprisonment, by late 1947 his memory lapses were worsening and he was beginning to suffer from incontinence, sometimes soiling himself in front of visitors and sometimes no longer recognising his wife. [3] By January 1949 his lucid intervals were becoming fewer and fewer. On 3 March 1949, a meeting of the Council of Ministers (many of them “self-proclaimed heroes of the Resistance” in the words of biographer Charles Williams) had a fierce argument about a medical report recommending that he be moved to Val-de-Grâce (a military hospital in Paris), a measure to which Prime Minister Henri Queuille had previously been sympathetic. By May, Pétain required constant nursing care, and he was often suffering from hallucinations, e. That he was commanding armies in battle, or that naked women were dancing around his room. [61] By the end of 1949, Pétain was completely senile, with only occasional moments of lucidity. He was also beginning to suffer from heart problems and was no longer able to walk without assistance. Plans were made for his death and funeral. [62] On 8 June 1951 President Auriol, informed that Pétain had little longer to live, commuted his sentence to confinement in hospital (the news was kept secret until after the elections on 17 June), but by then Pétain was too ill to be moved. [63] He died on the Île d’Yeu on 23 July 1951, at the age of 95, [59] and is buried in a Marine cemetery (Cimetière communal de Port-Joinville) near the prison. [24] Calls are sometimes made to re-inter his remains in the grave prepared for him in Verdun. [64] His sometime protégé Charles de Gaulle later wrote that Pétains life was successively banal, then glorious, then deplorable, but never mediocre. John Ponsonby (British Army officer)From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Major-General Sir John Ponsonby KCB CMG DSO (25 March 1866 26 March 1952) was a British Army officer who commanded 5th Division during World War I. Born the son of Sir Henry Ponsonby (Queen Victoria’s Private Secretary), and educated at Eton College, Ponsonby was commissioned into the Coldstream Guards in 1888. He served in Uganda in 1898 and was seconded for service in the Second Boer War in South Africa in February 1902. He fought in World War I as Commander of the 2nd Guards Brigade from 1915 and then as General Officer Commanding 40th Division from 1917, leading his Division at the Battle of Cambrai. In July 1918 he went on to become General Officer Commanding 5th Division remaining in that role until the end of the War. After the War he became General Officer Commanding the Madras District of India. He retired in 1928. He lived at Haile Hall near Beckermet in Cumbria. Powered by SixBit’s eCommerce Solution. The item “1918 FRANCE, RARE Marechal PETAIN Autographed Letter card ex Sir John Ponsonby” is in sale since Saturday, March 31, 2018. This item is in the category “Collectables\Autographs\Certified Original Autographs\Military”. The seller is “atlantic-fox” and is located in Maryport. This item can be shipped worldwide.
  • Type: Military
  • Surname Initial: P
  • Family Surname: Petain & Ponsonby
  • Continent: Europe
  • Product Type: Original Autographed Letter
  • Year of Issue: 1918
  • Theme: Military
  • Conflict: World War I (1914-1918)
  • Service: Army
  • Country/ Organization: France

1918 FRANCE, RARE Marechal PETAIN Autographed Letter card ex Sir John Ponsonby