French CinC, General Nivelle, Takes Command
As the end of 1916 drew near, activity all along the Western Front enjoyed a comparatively short lull as the generals prepared to renew the offensive in the New Year. Despite the wholesale slaughter at Verdun and on the Somme, the German Army remained firmly embedded on French soil, at the closest a mere 40 miles from Paris. Allied politicians now took drastic measures: General Robert Nivelle was appointed French Commander-in-Chief of the Western Front, and ultimately given control of the BEF at the behest of Britain’s Prime Minister David Lloyd George. Understandably this did not sit well with his own generals, Sir Douglas Haig and Sir William Robertson and an uneasy alliance ensued. Although Haig succeeded in a concession by retaining control of the BEF, albeit under Nivelle’s command, it was something of a ‘shotgun marriage’ and all trust between Lloyd George and his leading generals was lost.