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Falkenhayn, General Erich von (1861-1922) German minister of war, 1913-15; succeeded Moltke as Chief of General Staff in the German army in September 1914. A cautious general, he was responsible for the policy of diverting troops to the Eastern Front in 1915 and the attritional warfare in the West that was epitomised by the Battle of Verdun (February-December 1916). After his resignation in late August 1916, he served with varied success in Romania, Mesopotamia, Palestine and Lithuania during the rest of the war.

Falklands British-owned islands in the South Atlantic. The British won a naval victory over the Germans in December 1914 off the coast of these islands.

Fawcett, Millicent (1847-1929) Moderate women's rights activist. Became president (in 1897) of the National Union of Women's Suffrage Societies.

Fischer, Fritz (1908-99) German historian, famous for a series of books - most notably Griff nach der Weltmacht (1961), published in English as Germany's Aims in the First Word War (Chatto & Windus, 1967) - arguing that Germany's aggressive and expansionist foreign policy aims had been the root cause of the First World War.

Flers Town in Normandy, north-west France.

Foch, General Ferdinand (1851-1929) Known before the war as a leading military theorist, he served under Joffre and Pétain on the Western Front between 1914 and 1917. His success in co-ordinating Allied support for Italy after the Battle of Caporetto (October 1917) led ultimately to his appointment as commander-in-chief of the Allied armies on the Western Front in April 1918.

Fontainebleau memorandum Memorandum written by the British prime minister David Lloyd George during the Paris peace conference on 25 March 1919, in which he argued in vain for a more lenient post-war settlement with Germany.

Fourteen Points See Peace programme.

Fourth Army British army division that, under the command of Henry Rawlinson (1864-1925), led the main attack on the first day of the Battle of the Somme, 1 July 1916.

Franco-Prussian War (1870-71) Conflict in which Prussia and its German allies defeated France and completed the process of German unification.

Franz Ferdinand (1863-1914) Heir to the Habsburg throne, assassinated by Bosnian-Serb terrorist Gavrilo Princip in Sarajevo on 28 June 1914.

French, Sir John (1852-1925) Commander-in-chief of the British Expeditionary Force in France, August 1914-December 1915, when he was replaced by his deputy, Douglas Haig. Commander-in-chief of the home forces, 1916-18.

French army mutinies Series of mutinies in the French army on the Western Front, May and June 1917. Begun on 27 May, when as many as 30,000 left their trenches and billets following the failure of the Nivelle offensive, the mutinies reached crisis point on 1 June, when an infantry regiment set up an anti-war 'government' in the town of Missy-aux-Bois. The French military authorities took swift action to end the unrest, passing more than 23,000 guilty sentences for mutinous behaviour - including 400 death sentences.

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