French military commander Joseph Joffre (1852-1931) studied at the École Polytechnique. After seeing action in the Siege of Paris, he was a military engineer in Indochina, West Africa and Madagascar. Joffree rose to general of division in 1905 and then chief of the French general staff in 1911. He became a national hero for the victory at the First Battle of the Marne in 1914, but the slow response to the German buildup before the Battle of Verdun damaged his standing. Joffree served as a Field Marshall from late 1916 until the end of the war, and spent much of his remaining years writing his memoirs.