The Slaughter at Verdun

In February 1916 the German army began its assault on the French city of Verdun. Under the leadership of French commander Henri Petain the army defended this fortress of a city to the end. The loss of lives and wounded were in the range of  a million German and French combatants; after repeated waves of German soldiers were sent and held off by the French. Petain became a national hero for his efforts. Petain was ordered to hold the city at all costs, upon which he delivered his famous pledge “Ils ne passeront pas!” (‘They shall not pass!’).

Commander Petain of the Verdun


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