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Hubert Lyautey

Place of birth: Nancy, France
Place of death: Thorey-Lyautey, France
Allegiance: France
Service/branch: French Army
Years of service: 1873-1925
Rank: Général de division
Awards: Marshal of France
Grand Cross of the Legion of Honor
Médaille militaire

Louis Hubert Gonzalve Lyautey (17 November 1854 - 21 July 1934) was a French Army general, the first Resident-General in Morocco from 1912 to 1925 and from 1921 Marshal of France.

Early life

Lyautey was born at Nancy (Lorraine) into an upper-middle class family with aristocratic connections, royalist sympathies and a military past. In 1873 he entered the French military academy of Saint-Cyr, attended the army training school beginning in 1876, and in December 1877 was made a lieutenant. He made his career serving in the colonies and not in metropolitan France, a more prestigious assignment. The first years after graduating, Lyautey served as a cavalry officer in Algeria and from 1894 to 1897 in Indochina, under Joseph Gallieni.

Lyautey adopted and emulated Gallieni's policy of methodical expansion of pacified areas followed by social and economical development to bring about the end of resistance and the cooperation of former insurgents. This method became known as tache d'huile (literally, "oil stain"), as it resembles oil spots spreading to cover the whole surface. Lyautey's writings have had a significant influence on contemporary counterinsurgency theory through its adoption by David Galula.


From 1897 to 1902 Lyautey served on Madagascar, again under Galliéni. He played a key role in the invasion of the island (1896-1898), in which he commanded the French forces. His military skill and success in this campaign greatly contributed to his promotion to general de brigade in 1902.


The murder of French citizens in Casablanca was used as a pretext for Lyautey to occupy Oujda in eastern Morocco at the Algerian border in 1907. Having been promoted to général de division, Lyautey was Military Governor of French Morocco from 4 August 1907 to 28 April 1912. After the Convention of Fez established a protectorate over Morocco, Lyautey served as Resident-General of French Morocco from 28 April 1912 to 25 August 1925.

Lyautey is considered to have been an apt colonial administrator. During the First World War, he continued the occupation of the country, regardless of the fact that France needed most of her resources in the struggle against the Central Powers. Lyautey served as France's Minister of War for three months in 1917. In 1925, Lyautey lost the military command of the French forces engaged against Abd-el-Krim to Philippe Pétain and resigned to return to France.

Reaction to outbreak of World War I

On 27 July 1914 Gen. Lyautey was telephoned by Paris to evacuate Protectorate except the coast and to send all troops. He was quoted as saying: "A war among Europeans is a civil war. It is the most monumental folly the world has ever committed."


Marshal Lyautey served as Honorary President of the three French Scouting associations. His chx¢teau in the east of France at Thorey hosts the museum of French Scouting.

Final years and association with fascism

In his final years, Lyautey became associated with France's growing fascist movement. He admired Italian leader Benito Mussolini, and was associated with the far right Croix de Feu. In 1934, he threatened to lead the Jeunesses Patriotes to overthrow the government.

Lyautey died in Thorey and was buried in Morocco, but the body was reinterred in Les Invalides in 1961.


The town of Kenitra, Morocco was named "Port Lyautey" by the French in 1933, but renamed after independence in 1956.
The Garrison of the 13th Parachute Dragoon Regiment is named after him.
Lycée Lyautey in Casablanca, Morocco is named after him.
Lyautey has been suggested as the author of the aphorism that "a language is a dialect which owns an army, a navy and an air force" (Une langue, c'est un dialecte qui possx¨de une armée, une marine et une aviation.), but there is no good evidence for this.


Portions of this article were translated from the French language Wikipedia article fr:Hubert Lyautey.

Further reading

Maurois, André. Marshal Lyautey, Paris, Plon, 1931. Translated to English and published in London and New York in 1931.
Hoisington, William A., Jr. Lyautey and the French conquest of Morocco, Palgrave Macmillan, 1995, ISBN 0312125291

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Source: WikiPedia

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