December 3, 1917 – Newly Inaugurated Allied Supreme War Council Assembles in Versailles
Pictured – The Supreme War Council in session, by Herbert Olivier, 1919.
Things looked bleak for the Entente. On the Eastern Front Russia’s new Bolshevik government was trying to make peace, while the latest news on the Western Front was of setback at Cambrai. But in the aftermath of the last disaster at Caporetto in November, the Allied leaders had decided on a new way of handling things.
A Supreme War Council was formed at the behest of David Lloyd George, who was eager to take the war out of Haig’s hands and put it into a joint council of politicians and soldiers. The French and Italians agreed. The Council met in Paris for the first time in December. Britain, France, Italy, and the United States each sent a military representative; Japan and Russia were not included. The most important member was General Ferdinand Foch, who used the council to sideline Henri Pétain, the army’s cautious chief-of-staff, and return French strategy to the offensive.