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  • Robert Georges Nivelle was a French artillery officer who served in the Boxer Rebellion, and the First World War. Nivelle was a very capable commander and organizer of field artillery at the regimental and divisional levels. In May 1916, he was given command of the French Second Army in the Battle of Verdun, leading counter-offensives that rolled back the German forces in late 1916. However he and General Charles Mangin were already accused of wasting French lives at Verdun. Following his successes at Verdun, he was promoted to commander-in-chief of the French armies on the Western Front in December 1916, largely because of his persuasiveness with French and British political leaders, aided by his fluency in English. He was responsible for the Nivelle Offensive at the Chemin des Dames, which had aroused skepticism from its planning stages onwards. When the offensive failed to achieve a breakthrough on the Western Front, a major mutiny occurred, affecting roughly half the French Army, which conducted no further major offensive action for several months. Nivelle was replaced as commander-in-chief in May 1917.

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