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Henri Mathias Berthelot: Soldier of France, Defender of Romania 1861-1931

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At the beginning of the First World War, Henri Mathias Berthelot was recognized as one of France's most brilliant young generals. His sharp intelligence, prodigious organizational talents, and verbal skills had made him the trusted assistant to a succession of French chiefs of staff including Brugere, Lacroix, and finally Joffre. As the latter's "right arm" in implementing At the beginning of the First World War, Henri Mathias Berthelot was recognized as one of France's most brilliant young generals. His sharp intelligence, prodigious organizational talents, and verbal skills had made him the trusted assistant to a succession of French chiefs of staff including Brugere, Lacroix, and finally Joffre. As the latter's "right arm" in implementing Plan XVII in 1914, he shared responsibility for the earliest defeats of the French Army, but also for the remarkable recovery that followed. After the war, he played an influential role on the Conseil Superieure de Guerre in its debates over the defense of France which eventually produced the Maginot Line. While, unfortunately, Berthelot's military career in France has not received the attention it deserves, his service in Romania as head of two French military missions (October 1916-March 1918) and (October 1918-May 1919) made him a national hero in that country. Berthelot's indomitable optimism and will to resist energized the Romanian political and military leadership: the Romanian army was rebuilt, a new Austro-German assault brilliantly repulsed in 1917, and the consequences of the Russian Revolution for Romania blunted. At the end of the war, when Allied leaders vacillated over allowing the Romanians to occupy the territory promised in the Treaty of Alliance of 1916, Berthelot encouraged them to act on their own. His advocacy of Romania's territorial claims alienated his superiors and eventually led to his recall. Meanwhile, in Romania he was enshrined as one of the founders of "Greater Romania." This study by Glenn E. Torrey, the leading American specialist on Romania during World War I, is based on the private, unpublished "Sourvenirs," papers, and correspondence of the General.


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At the beginning of the First World War, Henri Mathias Berthelot was recognized as one of France's most brilliant young generals. His sharp intelligence, prodigious organizational talents, and verbal skills had made him the trusted assistant to a succession of French chiefs of staff including Brugere, Lacroix, and finally Joffre. As the latter's "right arm" in implementing At the beginning of the First World War, Henri Mathias Berthelot was recognized as one of France's most brilliant young generals. His sharp intelligence, prodigious organizational talents, and verbal skills had made him the trusted assistant to a succession of French chiefs of staff including Brugere, Lacroix, and finally Joffre. As the latter's "right arm" in implementing Plan XVII in 1914, he shared responsibility for the earliest defeats of the French Army, but also for the remarkable recovery that followed. After the war, he played an influential role on the Conseil Superieure de Guerre in its debates over the defense of France which eventually produced the Maginot Line. While, unfortunately, Berthelot's military career in France has not received the attention it deserves, his service in Romania as head of two French military missions (October 1916-March 1918) and (October 1918-May 1919) made him a national hero in that country. Berthelot's indomitable optimism and will to resist energized the Romanian political and military leadership: the Romanian army was rebuilt, a new Austro-German assault brilliantly repulsed in 1917, and the consequences of the Russian Revolution for Romania blunted. At the end of the war, when Allied leaders vacillated over allowing the Romanians to occupy the territory promised in the Treaty of Alliance of 1916, Berthelot encouraged them to act on their own. His advocacy of Romania's territorial claims alienated his superiors and eventually led to his recall. Meanwhile, in Romania he was enshrined as one of the founders of "Greater Romania." This study by Glenn E. Torrey, the leading American specialist on Romania during World War I, is based on the private, unpublished "Sourvenirs," papers, and correspondence of the General.

15 review for Henri Mathias Berthelot: Soldier of France, Defender of Romania 1861-1931

  1. 4 out of 5

    'Aussie Rick'

    A well-researched and well-presented biography of the French General Henri Mathias Berthelot (1861–1931) who is remembered for his role is 'saving' Romania during the Great War. After graduating from the Saint-Cyr military academy Berthelot served in Algeria and then Indo-China. In 1907 he was transferred to the French General Staff and served under General Joseph Joffre. He was still on the General Staff during the opening stages of WW1 were he attracted some criticism, although the author take A well-researched and well-presented biography of the French General Henri Mathias Berthelot (1861–1931) who is remembered for his role is 'saving' Romania during the Great War. After graduating from the Saint-Cyr military academy Berthelot served in Algeria and then Indo-China. In 1907 he was transferred to the French General Staff and served under General Joseph Joffre. He was still on the General Staff during the opening stages of WW1 were he attracted some criticism, although the author takes the time to fully place this criticism in context and provides valid reasons for not accepting the majority of what was said by others. Berthelot was transferred from the General Staff and he later commanded French troops during the vicious fighting at Mort Homme Hill during the Battle of Verdun where he was highly praised for the handling of his troops. He was then delegated to lead the French mission to assist the Romanian Army upon its entry into the conflict. As a result of his reorganisation and retraining of the Romanian Army along with supplying new weapons and providing French experts in certain military fields (artillery, aviation, logistics, etc) the Romanian Army returned to the fight with stunning results. After the war Berthelot served at a number of different posts including the military governor of Metz and Strasbourg and also served on the Supreme War Council and was later involved in the decision to build the Maginot Line. It appears that Berthelot was largely forgotten in France but not so in Romania were after the war he was awarded honorary citizenship and the King rewarded him with lands located in the Transylvanian village of Fărcădin.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Massi Maxi

  3. 5 out of 5

    Ancuta Zubascu

  4. 5 out of 5

    Tia

  5. 5 out of 5

    Jerome

  6. 4 out of 5

    Lucian

  7. 4 out of 5

    Tudor

  8. 4 out of 5

    Cosmin B

  9. 4 out of 5

    Paul

  10. 4 out of 5

    Liviu

  11. 5 out of 5

    Victor Cionga

  12. 5 out of 5

    Avis Black

  13. 4 out of 5

    Andreea Jalbă

  14. 5 out of 5

    Cassie Serban

  15. 4 out of 5

    Krzysiek (Chris)

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