Archives Photograph Collection

preview image
title:

Marshal Foch Message in the Union

image number:

P0024258

description:

The caption below Foch's autograph copy of his famous message reads, in full: "Translation: 'My left is giving way, my right is falling back; consequently I am ordering a general offensive, a decisive attack by the center.' -F. Foch. Message sent by Marshal Ferdinand Foch at the decisive moment of the first battle of the Marne, September 1914. On the occasion of his visit to Indiana, in 1921, Marshal Foch presented this autograph copy of his message to the undersigned for Indiana University." The caption itself is then signed by President William Lowe Bryan.

According to a March 5, 2017 e-mail from CPT Douglas A. Cohn, USA (Ret.) he writes: "Upon further analysis, I have concluded that the word 'recedes' is actually 'recules' (variety of retreat). The 's' is implied by the comma and slant of the end of the 'e'.

I am an author, and in attempting to verify the accuracy of the famous Marshal Foch quote from WWI, I came across the plaque in the Indiana University Archives Photograph Collection. By comparing Foch's letters in each word with letters in prior words and applying standard military terminology and syntax, I came to the conclusion that the translation on the plaque is inaccurate. Below, please find what I believe is the correct translation.

'Ma gauche plie, ma droite recedes, en conséquence j‘ordonne une offensive générale, attaque décisive par le centre.'

'My left folds, my right retreats, consequently I order a general offensive, decisive attack by the center.' "

date taken:

1937 August 8

film code:

Eastman - Safety - Kodak 10 ?

photographer studio:

Photographic Services

donor image number:

1351

accession number:

2000/003

copyright owner:

Indiana University

personal name:

Foch, Ferdinand

building name:

Indiana Memorial Union (Union Building)

topic:

Plaques

topic:

Visitors (Military)

topic:

World War I

topic:

Autographs

city:

Bloomington

state:

Indiana

series:

Groups

subseries:

Campus File

folder:

University Buildings / Union