Alphonse Georges

Alphonse Georges, the son of a blacksmith, was born at Montlucon, France on 19th August 1875. He entered St Cyr and graduated third in his class in 1897. He served in Algeria with a tirailleur regiment.

Her served in the French Army during the First World War and was seriously wounded while leading his battalion in 1914. He was then assigned to the general staff of the army where he remained for the rest of the war.

In 1918 Georges served under General Ferdinand Foch as operations chief. He was also chief of staff under General Henri-Philippe Petain in Morocco during the Riff Wars and as a division commander in Algeria (1928-32).

Georges was appointed to the Supreme War Council in November 1932. Based now in Paris he survived an assassination attempt in Marseilles on 9th October 1934. He was seriously wounded but recovered and was expected to succeed General Maxime Weygand as head of the French Army in 1935. However, the prime minister Edouard Daladier, thought he was too right-wing and appointed Maurice Gamelin instead.

Georges was appointed as Gamelin's deputy but the two men did not get on and they had a fraught relationship. On the outbreak of the Second World War Georges became commander of all French field armies. Gamelin and Georges assured Daladier that France had the greatest army in the world and was shocked when it was easily defeated by the German Army during the Western Offensive. On 17th May 1940 Gamelin and Georges were sacked and General Maxime Weygand returned as head of the French Army.

After Henri-Philippe Petain took power Georges refused to play any significant role in the new government. Winston Churchill wanted Georges to become commander of French forces in Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia after the invasion of North Africa in February 1942. However, President Franklin D. Roosevelt insisted that this post when to General Henri Giraud.

In January 1943 Henri Giraud and Charles De Gaulle became co-presidents of the French Committee of National Liberation (NCNL). Georges was appointed minister without portfolio but it was not long before like Giraud he was ousted by De Gaulle. Alphonse Georges died in 1951.

Primary Sources

(1) Jean Moulin, Activities, Plans and Requirements of the Groups formed in France (October, 1941)

These three movements were born spontaneously and independently of the initiative of a few French patriots who had a place in the old political groups and parties. They started to assert themselves at

different dates, soon after the conclusion of the armistice, however, and as a reaction against this instrument of submission to the enemy. In the beginning, their activities consisted in spreading by underground channels and in a rather restricted sphere typewritten propaganda pamphlets on every important occasion (speech of Mr. Churchill, of President Roosevelt, speeches of General de Gaulle,

outstanding military operations, etc.), or else on every occasion which called for a rebellious attitude on the part of French patriots (annexation by Hitler of Alsace and Lorraine, violation of the clauses of the Armistice, the agreements concluded at Montoire, requisitioning by the Germans, etc.).

Next, with the development of material means and the increased adherence of willing partisans, they were able to publish real roneoed papers at tolerably regular intervals. Now, for several months, each group has been publishing at a fixed date one or several printed papers in addition to pamphlets and leaflets.