Alphonse Juin

1888-1967
Alphonse Juin, a gendarme's son, was born in Bône, Algeria on 16 December 1888. He attended schools in Constantine and Algiers before enrolling in the Saint-Cyr military academy in 1909. Three years later, he graduated first in his class - the same as Charles de Gaulle - and chose the Algerian Tirailleurs. In late 1912, Second Lieutenant Juin was stationed in Morocco, where he took part in the operations to quell unrest there. On 3 August 1914, Germany declared war on France. Now a lieutenant, Juin commanded Moroccan troops at the front. In September 1914, he fought in the first battle of the Marne. In March 1915, he was seriously wounded on the Champagne front and partially lost the use of his right arm. In 1916, now a captain, he joined the 5th Moroccan Tirailleurs battalion at Chemin des Dames. In February 1918, Juin took general staff classes in Melun before being sent in October to the French military mission to the American army, where he was in charge of training the American Expeditionary Corps' liaison officers.
In 1921, Juin graduated from the War College and served in Tunisia before returning in late 1923 to Morocco, where he took part in the Rif campaign. In autumn 1925, he returned to France with Marshal Lyautey and worked under his orders at the Council of War. He became a battalion commander in 1926 and joined the 7th Algerian Tirailleurs Regiment in Constantine the next year. In 1929, Juin became chief of staff for Morocco's resident general, Lucien Saint, and played an active role in the last phase of the Atlas pacification plan. He rose to the rank of lieutenant-colonel in March 1932 and became professor of general tactics at the War College in 1933 before taking over as second in command of the 3rd Zouaves Regiment in Constantine on 6 March 1935. In June, he was promoted to the rank of colonel. In 1937, he was assigned to the resident general of Morocco, General Noguès, while at the same time took classes at the Centre of Military Studies. On 26 December 1938, Juin was promoted to the rank of brigadier general and assigned to the mobilisation of the general staff of the North Africa theatre of operations. As the situation in Europe worsened, in Algiers he prepared steps to raise divisions in Algeria and Tunisia. When war broke out in September 1939, Juin asked to serve in metropolitan France. On 4 December, he took command of the 15th motorised infantry division. When the German forces launched their western offensive on 10 May 1940, his division entered Belgium, fighting illustriously at Gembloux on the 14th and 15th. Further south, German troops broke through the front at Sedan. Juin received the order to retreat. He then defended Valenciennes and the outskirts of Lille, covering the 1st French Army's retreat to Dunkirk. He was captured on 30 May 1940 and incarcerated in Königstein fortress. He was named lieutenant general during his captivity and released in June 1941 at the request of Marshal Pétain, who said that he was needed as an expert on North Africa. On 16 July 1941, Juin became assistant to the general in command of all the troops in Morocco, rose to the rank of major general and replaced General Weygand as head of the forces in North Africa on 20 November, pursuing the his predecessor's line of "defence against anyone" (Axis as well as Allied forces).
On 8 November 1942, the Anglo-Americans landed in Algeria and Morocco. Members of the local resistance arrested Juin, who had not been informed about the operation, but the authorities quickly regained control of the city. Juin was freed and intervened to obtain a ceasefire between French troops and the landing forces. The Army of Africa joined the war on the Allies' side and took part in the reconquest of French territory, with Tunisia as the first theatre of operations. During the campaign (November 1942-May 1943), General Juin commanded the French army detachment (DAF) and was appointed general on 25 December 1942. On 8 May 1943 he became the interim resident general of France in Tunisia. That summer, he set up the French Expeditionary Corps (CEF), which he led in the Italian campaign. After several successful clashes, on the Pantano in December 1943, on the Rapido and at Belvedere in January 1944, Juin won the battle of Garigliano on 13 May, opening the gates of Rome to the Allies, before moving up to Siena and northern Tuscany. He left the CEF in Italy in August. General de Gaulle, the head of the provisional government, named Juin national defence chief of staff; on 25 August the two men entered a liberated Paris side by side. As the liberation of France continued, he reorganised the French armed forces so that they could fully participate in the end of the war. At the same time, as a military expert he performed many missions, which brought him to Moscow in December 1944, when he took part in negotiating the future Franco-Soviet pact, and to the United States in April 1945 for the creation of the United Nations. In April 1946, General Juin was sent to Asia to negotiate the withdrawal of Chinese troops from northern Indochina.
In 1947, Juin returned to North Africa, where he held the post of resident general of France in Rabat, Morocco. Meanwhile, the situation in Asia was going from bad to worse. In October 1950, the government sent him on another mission to Indochina. He was inspector general of the French armed forces in January 1951, and in September took command of the allied forces in Central Europe in the framework of the Atlantic alliance. His responsibilities put him at the heart of domestic and international issues, from France's place in the Atlantic alliance to the debate on the European Defence Community (EDC), the North African colonies' march towards independence, and the war in Indochina. Meanwhile, he was raised to the rank of marshal of France on 7 May 1952 and admitted to the French Academy on 26 June. In February 1957, General Juin published his first book, Le Maghreb en feu (North Africa on Fire), and devoted his time to writing his memoirs as well as various other works. Marshal Juin died on 27 January 1967. He was honoured with the Grand-Croix of the Legion of Honour, Military Medal, Croix de guerre 1914-1918, Croix de guerre 1939-1945, Croix de guerre of exterior theatres of operations, Colonial Medal of Morocco and Tunisia and many foreign decorations.
Source: MINDEF/SGA/DMPA
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