'TLS: We may all admit that Marshall Foch was the great strategical genius of the war'
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We may all admit that Marshall Foch was the great strategical genius of the war
TAFT, WILLIAM H. (1857-1930). Twenty-seventh president of the United States. TLS. With holograph corrections. (“Wm. H. Taft”). 1p. 4to. New Haven, April 25, 1921. On his personal stationery. To American newspaper editor Hamilton Holt (1872-1951).
The case of Marshall Foch is an exceptional one in the history of this country, and needs, therefore, exceptional treatment. He was in supreme command of the forces of the world, engaged in struggling to save the world from domination of militarism. He, therefore, commanded our army, of more than a million men, in the greatest war in history, and a war the like of which we are all struggling to make impossible hereafter. Without any individual distinctions, we may all admit that Marshall Foch was the great strategical genius of the war, and that he was able, in a marvelous way, to carry to successful demonstration the principles he had so lucidly set forth in his lectures on Military Science. When General Grant was dying at Mt. McGregor, and the heart of the whole country was throbbing with gratitude for what he had done in leading the army of the Republic to victory in our Civil War, and in saving the country whole, Congress enacted a law authorizing the President to appoint, and the Senate to confirm, as General of the Army on the retired list, at a salary of $12,000, a General who had commanded an army in the Civil War. President Arthur at once nominated General Grant, and the Senate at once confirmed the nomination; and this gracious and grateful demonstration of the feeling of the country toward him cheered the dying days of the national hero. It seems to me that using this precedent, with appropriate variations, the people of this country, through Congress and the President, may evidence to Marshall Foch, and to the people of France, our deep appreciation of the great services of this son of France to us and to the World.…
In 1914 Ferdinand Foch (1851-1929) checked the invading German troops as they fanned across French territory. A brilliant tactician, he was largely responsible for General Joffre’s crucial victory at the Marne and in 1918 he became commander of the allied armies on the Western front. His strategic and well-panned attacks led to the German army’s withdrawal and the November 11, 1918 armistice that ended hostilities. He made important contributions to the armistice negotiations and the Paris Peace Conference that followed. In an editorial for The Independent, Holt acknowledged Foch’s importance to the allied victory observing that he had been the de facto commander-in-chief of the U.S. armies in France during World War I and compared him to the French general and American Revolutionary War hero Marquis de Lafayette. After sending proofs of the editorial for comment, Holt received letters from both Taft and Wilson, the two ex-presidents still alive at the time. The latter deeply disliked Foch for his perceived intransigence during the negotiations that lead to the final peace treaty. Taft’s letter, in which he compares Foch to American general and president Ulysses S. Grant (1822-1885), was printed in The Independent along with the editorial. Taft also mentions President Chester A. Arthur (1829-1886), a Republican like Taft and Grant. Appointed Yale University’s Kent Professor of Constitutional Law upon leaving the presidency, Taft also served as joint-chairman of the National War Labor Board beginning in April 1918. He remained at Yale until his appointment as chief justice of the Supreme Court on June 30, 1921, becoming the only U.S. president to serve on the court. Holt, a graduate of Yale and editor of The Independent from 1897-1921, was an ardent social reformer and a founding member of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. From 1925 to 1949 he served as president of Florida’s Rollins College. Folded with a partial paperclip stain at the top left corner; in fine condition.