Louis Jules Trochu

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Louis Jules Trochu
Caricature Trochus and Napoleon III from February 1871

Louis Jules Trochu (born May 12, 1815 in Le Palais on Belle-Île , †  October 7, 1896 in Tours ) was a French general and during the first weeks of the siege of Paris (1870–1871) President of the National Defense Council (Gouvernement de la Défense nationale).

Trochu attended the Saint-Cyr Military School near Paris from 1835 , entered the army in 1837 and went to the General Staff School as a lieutenant in 1840. His first employment was in Algeria in 1841 as adjutant of Lamoricière , where he distinguished himself several times in the battles against Abd el-Kader and against the Kabyle .

In 1846 he became an adjutant to Marshal Bugeaud because of his brave behavior, and in 1851 he was appointed lieutenant colonel in the war ministry . In 1854 he became adjutant to Marshal Saint-Arnaud and then General Canrobert in the Crimean War . On November 24th he was promoted to Général de brigade , received the 1st Brigade of the 1st Corps in 1855 and distinguished himself in the assault on Fort Malakow . As a general de division , he distinguished himself in 1859 in the battle of Solferino .

After the peace he returned to the War Ministry and was chosen by Niel to be his successor. But his writing "L'armée française en 1867" (Par. 1867, 20th ed. 1870), which with unheard of boldness uncovered all damage to the French army and saw the only cure in the adoption of the Prussian defense system, withdrew the favor of the Hofs and made him impossible as Minister of the Empire. At the beginning of the Franco-German War in 1870 he was given command of the 12th Territorial Division in Toulouse and was chosen to command a planned landing army on the German coast . Since this landing did not take place, Emperor Napoleon III appointed him . in the camp of Châlons-sur-Marne on August 17th as military governor of Paris . Trochu's popularity was of no use to the declining Empire, and when the same collapsed on September 4, Trochu took the lead and was appointed President of the Government of National Defense (Gouvernement de la Défense nationale), but remained Governor General of Paris and Commander-in-chief of all armed forces in the capital. During the siege he developed a successful activity in the organization of the defense army; his plan also seemed plausible to break through to the northwest (towards Rouen / Le Havre ). The plan did not come to fruition because Trochu was unable to come to an understanding with the government in Tours and was himself undecided because he had no confidence in the success and generally considered the defense of Paris to be a "noble madness". He advocated a defensive tactic in the siege and, after the failure in the battle at Sceaux, therefore resisted the first sabotages, e.g. B. at Le Bourget where on October 28, 1870 he even refused to increase the fort's garrison after it had achieved initial success. A month later he supported the attempt to break the siege at Villiers (in the east of Paris). The planned union with the Loire Army advancing from the south ( Orléans ) could not be achieved. After the defeat in the Battle of Buzenval on January 19, 1871 Trochu had to hand over command of Paris to Joseph Vinoy .

When the surrender, which he had refused with pathetic phrases, was inevitable, he resigned his office as governor on January 22, 1871; He remained President of the Government until the National Assembly met. As a member of the National Assembly, he spoke several times to justify himself. Since he was opponent of Thiers on the army reform question , he received no command and retired into private life in 1872.

Trochu died in Tours on October 7, 1896.

His brother-in-law (sister's husband) was General Maximilian Georg Joseph Neumayer (1789–1866) of German descent.


  • L'Empire et la Defense de Paris devant le jury de la Seine. Introduction and conclusion par le General Trochu. Édition renfermant les débats dans leur complet, augmentée de nouveaux documents, suivie de pièces justificatives et du testament du Général Trochu. Hetzel, Paris 1872, ( digitized version ).
  • Pour la vérité et pour la justice. Pétition à l'Assemblée Nationale et réponse aux rapports de MM. Saint-Marc Girardin, Chaper et de Rainneville membres de la commission d'enquête. Hetzel, Paris 1873, ( digitized version ).
  • La politique et le siege de Paris. Deuxième pétition à l'Assemblée nationale pour la vérité et la justice. Réponse à M. le comte Daru vice-président de la commission d'enquête. Hetzel, Paris 1874, ( digitized version ).
  • L'armée française in 1879. Par un officier de retraite. Hetzel, Paris 1879, (anonymous, digitized (Troisième édition) ).

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