He is an extraordinary example of a military teacher who, when called to the battlefield, used his own theories to build the victory. His vision was global, incorporating logistics, communications and aviation. His targeted offensives, considered less deadly, enabled the victory at Verdun in 1916 and maintained the morale of the French soldiers during the disasters of the following year.
On 6 August 1918, Foch was raised to the rank of Maréchal de France to reinforce his authority in the final phase of the war. Just after the armistice, Foch was elected to the Académie Française and Pétain became Maréchal de France in his turn. There is no doubt that Pétain dis not welcome such a priority given to Foch.
Pétain was a teacher who sought to analyze the events objectively, with that extreme coldness which was perfectly in line with his character. He conceived the project of writing the history of the soldier through the ages, so willing to establish the fact that the history pf war is not limited to the actions of the generals and must consider the troops.
He began that work by writing his own vision of all the events of the First World War, without any preference to his own involvement. He had a deep disdain for the memorialists.
The preparation of La Guerre Mondiale 1914-1918 was finished at some time between 1920 and 1923. Pétain did not publish it, perhaps because of difficulties with De Gaulle, and the project remained secret until the discovery of the autograph manuscript in 2006.
This document consists of 351 pages divided into 47 chapters, almost without erasure and including 77 sketches of remarkable geographical accuracy showing the positions and movements of the armies. It is estimated € 250K, for sale by Sotheby's in Paris on December 18, lot 157.