Verdun (/vɛərˈdʌn, vɜːr-/; French pronunciation: [vɛʁ.dœ̃] official name before 1970 Verdun-sur-Meuse) is a small city in the Meuse department in Grand Est in northeastern France. It is an arrondissement of the department.
Verdun is the biggest city in Meuse, although the capital of the department is Bar-le-Duc which is slightly smaller than Verdun. It is well known for giving its name to a major battle of the First World War.
Verdun (Verodunum, a latinisation of a place name meaning "strong fort") was founded by the Gauls.It has been the seat of the bishop of Verdun since the 4th century, with interruptions. In 486, following the decisive Frankish victory at the Battle of Soissons, the city (amongst several other nearby cities) refused to yield to the Franks and was thus besieged by King Clovis I. The 843 Treaty of Verdun divided Charlemagne's empire into three parts.
Verdun was part of the middle kingdom of Lotharingia, and in 1374 it became a free imperial city of the Holy Roman Empire. The Bishopric of Verdun formed together with Tull (Toul) and Metz the Three Bishoprics, which were annexed by France in 1552 (recognized in 1648 by the Peace of Westphalia).
From 1624 to 1636, a large bastioned citadel was constructed on the site of the Abbey of Saint Vanne. In 1670, Sébastien Le Prestre de Vauban visited Verdun and drew up an ambitious scheme to fortify the whole city. Although much of his plan was built in the following decades, some of the elements were not completed until after the Napoleonic Wars. Despite the extensive fortifications, Verdun was captured by the Prussians in 1792 during the War of the First Coalition, but abandoned by them after the Battle of Valmy. During the Napoleonic War, the citadel was used to hold British prisoners of war.
In the Franco-Prussian War, Verdun was the last French fortress to surrender in 1870. Shortly afterwards, a new system of fortification was begun. This consisted of a mutually supporting ring of 22 polygonal forts up to 8 kilometres (5.0 mi) from the city, and an inner ring of 6 forts.
The Battle of Verdun was fought on August 20, 1792 between French Revolutionary forces and a Prussian army. The Prussians were victorious. This therefore opened the path to Paris.
Verdun is prettily situated in a valley surrounded by hills. The River Meuse runs through the town and forms several canals and ditches round the town which is fortified and, I believe, by the great Marshal Vauban.
The citadel and [surrounds] are a good deal out of repair and [people] were at work on them. Though there is little to see at Verdun, every part of it felt interesting from the number of our countrymen [i.e. British prisoners of war] confined here during the war. Verdun is famous for its sweetmeats, sugar plums, confits etc. which are said to be the best in France. They made us show our passports [here] it being a fortified town.
Verdun was the site of a major battle, and the longest-lasting, of the First World War. One of the costliest battles in military history, Verdun exemplified the policy of a "war of attrition" pursued by both sides, which led to an enormous loss of life and very large casualty lists.
Following the failure of the Schlieffen Plan in 1914 and the solidifying of the Western Front, Germany remained on the strategic defensive in the west throughout most of 1915. In the winter of 1915–16, German General Erich von Falkenhayn, the chief of the German General Staff (1914–1916) made plans for a large offensive on the Western Front that ultimately aimed to break the French Army through the application of firepower at a point that the French had to hold for reasons of national prestige. As Falkenhayn recalled it, his so-called "Christmas memorandum" to Kaiser Willhelm II envisioned a massive but limited attack on a French position 'for the retention of which the French Command would be compelled to throw in every man they have'. Once the French army had bled to death, Britain could be brought down by Germany's submarine blockade and superior military strength. The logic of initiating a battle not to gain territory or a strategic position but simply to create a self-sustaining killing ground—to bleed the French army white—pointed to the grimness of military vision in 1916.
Recent scholarship by Holger Afflerbach and others, however, has questioned the veracity of the Christmas memo. No copy has ever surfaced and the only account of it appeared in Falkenhayn's post-war memoir. His army commanders at Verdun, including the German Crown Prince, denied any knowledge of an attrition strategy. It is possible that Falkenhayn did not specifically design the battle to bleed the French army but used this supposed motive after the fact in an attempt to justify the Verdun offensive, despite its failure.
Verdun was the strongest point in pre-war France, ringed by a string of powerful forts, including Douaumont and Fort Vaux. By 1916, the salient at Verdun jutted into the German lines and lay vulnerable to attack from three sides. The historic city of Verdun had been an oppidum of the Gauls before Roman times and later a key asset in wars against Prussia, and Falkenhayn suspected that the French would throw as many men as necessary into its defence. Ironically, France had substantially weakened Verdun's defences after the outbreak of the war, an oversight that would contribute to the removal of Joseph Joffre from supreme command at the end of 1916. The attack was slated to begin on 12 February, then 16 February, but the snow forced repeated postponements.
Falkenhayn massed artillery to the north and east of Verdun to precede the infantry advance with intensive artillery bombardment. His attack would hit the French positions on the right bank of the Meuse. Although French intelligence had warned of his plans, these warnings were ignored by the French Command and troop levels in the area remained low. Consequently, Verdun was utterly unprepared for the initial bombardment on the morning of 21 February 1916. German infantry attacks followed that afternoon and met tenacious but ultimately inadequate resistance for the first four days.
On 25 February, the Germans occupied Douaumont. French reinforcements—now under the leadership of General Philippe Pétain—began to arrive and were instantly thrown into "the furnace" (as the battle was called) to slow the German advance, no matter what the cost. Over the next several days, the stubborn defense managed to slow the German advance with a series of bloody counter-attacks. In March, Falkenhayn decided to target the French positions on the left bank of the Meuse as well, broadening the offensive front twofold. Throughout March and April, Cumières-le-Mort-Homme and Hill 304 were under continuous heavy bombardment and relentless infantry attacks. Meanwhile, Pétain organised repeated, small-scale counter-attacks to slow the German advance. He also ensured that the sole supply road from Bar-le-Duc into Verdun remained open. It became known as the Voie Sacrée "Sacred Way" because it continued to carry vital supplies and reinforcements into the Verdun front despite constant artillery fire.
German gains continued in June, but slowly and only after increasingly heavy losses on their side. On 7 June, following almost a week of bitter resistance, Fort Vaux fell to the Germans after a murderous hand-to-hand fight inside the fort itself. On 23 June, the Germans reached what would become the furthest point of their advance. The line was just in front of Fort Souville, the last stronghold before Verdun itself. Pétain was making plans to evacuate the right bank of the Meuse when the combined Anglo-French offensive on the Somme River was launched on 1 July, partly to relieve pressure on the French, although the first day was the bloodiest in the British Army's history. The Germans could no longer afford to continue their offensive at Verdun when they were needed so desperately on the Somme. At a cost of some 400,000 German casualties and a similar number of French, the attack was finally called off. Germany's intention to bleed France to death had failed.
The battle continued, however, from October to the end of the year. French offensives, employing new tactics devised by General Robert Nivelle, regained the forts and territory they had lost earlier. This was the only gleam of hope in an otherwise abysmal landscape.
Overall, the battle lasted 11 months. Falkenhayn was replaced by Paul von Hindenburg as Chief of General Staff. General Nivelle was promoted over the head of General Pétain to replace Generalissimo Joseph Joffre as French supreme commander, although he was to hold the post for less than six months.
There are many French and German cemeteries throughout the battlefield. The largest is the French National Cemetery and Douaumont Ossuary near Fort Douaumont. Thirteen thousand crosses adorn the field in front of the ossuary, which holds roughly 130,000 unidentified remains brought in from the battlefield. Every year yields more remains, which are often placed inside the ossuary's vaults.
Among many revered memorials on the battlefield is the "Bayonet Trench", which marks the location where some dozen bayonets lined up in a row were discovered projecting out of the ground after the war; below each rifle was the body of a French soldier. It has been assumed that these belonged to a group of soldiers who had rested their rifles against the parapet of the trench they were occupying when they were killed during a bombardment, and the men were buried where they lay in the trench and the rifles left untouched. However, this is probably not historically accurate: experts agree that the bayonets were probably affixed to the rifles after the attack, and installed by survivors to memorialize the spot.
Nearby, the World War I Meuse-Argonne American Cemetery and Memorial is located at Romagne-sous-Montfaucon to the northwest of Verdun. It is the final resting place for 14,246 American military dead, most of whom died in the Meuse-Argonne Offensive. The chapel contains a memorial to the 954 American missing whose remains were never recovered or identified.
The Châtel Gate is the only remaining part of the medieval city walls. It leads onto La Roche Square.
La Citadelle was built in the 17th Century. It is still in military hands but the underlying tunnels can be visited.
Notre-Dame de Verdun Cathedral was consecrated in 1147 but was built on the site of an earlier church. The 12th Century Lion Door on the north side has a lavishly decorated tympanum. The whole building was heavily restored in the 18th Century.
The Episcopal Palace was built in the 18th Century by Robert de Cotte and has a fine façade. Part of the building is occupied by the World Peace Centre.
The Princerie Museum is located in the former residence of the princes of Verdun. It contains historic work of art from the region.
The "Subterrean Citadel" is situated at the entrance of Verdun. It holds 4 km (2 mi) of shafts that used to accommodate soldiers during the war.
The arrondissement of Verdun is an arrondissement of France in the Meuse department in the Grand Est region. It has 254 communes.Battle of Verdun
The Battle of Verdun (French: Bataille de Verdun [bataj də vɛʁdœ̃]; German: Schlacht um Verdun [ʃlaxt ʔʊm ˈvɛɐ̯dœ̃]), fought from 21 February to 18 December 1916, the longest battle of the First World War was fought on the Western Front between the German and French armies. The battle took place on the hills north of Verdun-sur-Meuse in north-eastern France. The German 5th Army attacked the defences of the Fortified Region of Verdun (RFV, Région Fortifiée de Verdun) and those of the French Second Army on the right bank of the Meuse. Inspired by the experience of the Second Battle of Champagne in 1915, the Germans planned to capture the Meuse Heights, an excellent defensive position with good observation for artillery-fire on Verdun. The Germans hoped that the French would commit their strategic reserve to recapture the position and suffer catastrophic losses in a battle of annihilation, at little cost to the Germans, dug in on tactically advantageous positions on the heights.
Poor weather delayed the beginning of the attack until 21 February but the Germans captured Fort Douaumont in the first three days of the offensive. The German advance slowed in the next few days, despite inflicting many French casualties. By 6 March, 20 1⁄2 French divisions were in the RFV and a more extensive defence in depth had been constructed. Pétain ordered that no withdrawals were to be made and that counter-attacks were to be conducted, despite the exposure of French infantry to German artillery-fire. By 29 March, French artillery on the west bank had begun a constant bombardment of German positions on the east bank, which caused many German infantry casualties.
In March, the German offensive was extended to the left (west) bank of the Meuse, to gain observation of the ground from which French artillery had been firing over the river. The Germans were able to advance at first but French reinforcements contained the attacks short of their objectives. In early May, the Germans changed tactics again and made local attacks and counter-attacks, which gave the French an opportunity to attack Fort Douaumont. Part of the fort was occupied until a German counter-attack ejected the French and took many prisoners. The Germans tried alternating attacks either side of the Meuse and in June captured Fort Vaux. The Germans continued towards the last geographical objectives of the original plan, at Fleury-devant-Douaumont and Fort Souville, driving a salient into the French defences. Fleury was captured and the Germans came within 4 km (2.5 mi) of the Verdun citadel.
In July 1916, the German offensive was reduced to reinforce the Somme front and from 23 June to 17 August, Fleury changed hands sixteen times and an attack on Fort Souville failed. The German offensive was reduced further and deceptions to keep French reinforcements away from the Somme were tried. In August and December, French counter-offensives recaptured much of the ground lost on the east bank and recovered Fort Douaumont and Fort Vaux. The battle had lasted for 303 days, the longest and one of the most costly in human history. In 2000, Hannes Heer and K. Naumann calculated 377,231 French and 337,000 German casualties, a total of 714,231, an average of 70,000 a month. In 2014, William Philpott wrote of 976,000 casualties in 1916 and 1,250,000 suffered around the city during the war.Battle of Verdun (1792)
The first Battle of Verdun was fought on 29 August 1792 between French Revolutionary forces and a Prussian army during the opening months of the War of the First Coalition. The Prussians were victorious, gaining a clear westward path to Paris.Battle of the Somme
The Battle of the Somme (French: Bataille de la Somme; German: Schlacht an der Somme), also known as the Somme Offensive, was a battle of the First World War fought by the armies of the British Empire and French Third Republic against the German Empire. It took place between 1 July and 18 November 1916 on both sides of the upper reaches of the River Somme in France. The battle was intended to hasten a victory for the Allies and was the largest battle of the First World War on the Western Front. More than three million men fought in the battle and one million men were wounded or killed, making it one of the bloodiest battles in human history. The Battle of the Somme was fought in the traditional style of World War I battles on the Western Front: trench warfare. The trench warfare gave the Germans an advantage because they dug their trenches deeper than the allied forces which gave them a better line of sight for warfare. The Battle of the Somme also has the distinction of being the first battle fought with tanks. However, the tanks were still in the early stages of development, and as a result, many broke down after maxing out at their top speed of 4 miles per hour (6.4 km/h).
The French and British had committed themselves to an offensive on the Somme during Allied discussions at Chantilly, Oise, in December 1915. The Allies agreed upon a strategy of combined offensives against the Central Powers in 1916, by the French, Russian, British and Italian armies, with the Somme offensive as the Franco-British contribution. Initial plans called for the French army to undertake the main part of the Somme offensive, supported on the northern flank by the Fourth Army of the British Expeditionary Force (BEF). When the Imperial German Army began the Battle of Verdun on the Meuse on 21 February 1916, French commanders diverted many of the divisions intended for the Somme and the "supporting" attack by the British became the principal effort.
The first day on the Somme (1 July) saw a serious defeat for the German Second Army, which was forced out of its first position by the French Sixth Army, from Foucaucourt-en-Santerre south of the Somme to Maricourt on the north bank, and by the Fourth Army from Maricourt to the vicinity of the Albert–Bapaume road. The first day on the Somme was, in terms of casualties, also the worst day in the history of the British army, which suffered 57,470 casualties. These occurred mainly on the front between the Albert–Bapaume road and Gommecourt, where the attack was defeated and few British troops reached the German front line. The British troops on the Somme comprised a mixture of the remains of the pre-war regular army; the Territorial Force; and Kitchener's Army, a force of volunteer recruits including many Pals' Battalions, recruited from the same places and occupations.
The battle is notable for the importance of air power and the first use of the tank. At the end of the battle, British and French forces had penetrated 10 km (6 mi) into German-occupied territory, taking more ground than in any of their offensives since the Battle of the Marne in 1914. The Anglo-French armies failed to capture Péronne and halted 5 km (3 mi) from Bapaume, where the German armies maintained their positions over the winter. British attacks in the Ancre valley resumed in January 1917 and forced the Germans into local withdrawals to reserve lines in February, before the scheduled retirement to the Siegfriedstellung (Hindenburg Line) began in March. Debate continues over the necessity, significance and effect of the battle.Bishopric of Verdun
The Bishopric of Verdun was a state of the Holy Roman Empire. It was located at the western edge of the Empire and was bordered by France, the Duchy of Luxembourg, and the Duchy of Bar.C.D. Verdún
Club Deportivo Verdún was a Honduran football club.Château-Verdun
Château-Verdun is a commune in the Ariège department in southwestern France.LaSalle—Émard—Verdun
LaSalle—Émard—Verdun is a new federal electoral district in Montreal, Quebec.
LaSalle—Émard—Verdun was created by the 2012 federal electoral boundaries redistribution and was legally defined in the 2013 representation order. It came into effect upon the call of the 42nd Canadian federal election, scheduled for 19 October 2015. It was created out of parts of Jeanne-Le Ber (51%) and LaSalle—Émard (49%) plus a small section of territory between the Lachine Canal and the Le Sud-Ouest Borough boundary taken from Westmount—Ville-Marie and an adjacent uninhabited section from Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Lachine.The riding was originally intended to be named LaSalle—Verdun.The former Member of Parliament for the LaSalle—Émard riding, Hélène Leblanc, sought reelection in the new riding for the NDP.Philippe Pétain
Henri Philippe Benoni Omer Joseph Pétain (24 April 1856 – 23 July 1951), generally known as Philippe Pétain (French: [fi.lip pe.tɛ̃]), Marshal Pétain (Maréchal Pétain) and The Old Marshal (Le Vieux Maréchal), was a French general officer who attained the position of Marshal of France at the end of World War I, during which he became known as The Lion of Verdun, and in World War II served as the Chief of State of Vichy France from 1940 to 1944. Pétain, who was 84 years old in 1940, ranks as France's oldest head of state.
During World War I Pétain led the French Army to victory at the nine-month-long Battle of Verdun. After the failed Nivelle Offensive and subsequent mutinies he was appointed Commander-in-Chief and succeeded in repairing the army's confidence. Pétain remained in command throughout the war and emerged as a national hero. During the interwar period he was head of the peacetime French Army, commanded joint Franco-Spanish operations during the Rif War and served twice as a government Minister.
With the imminent Fall of France in June 1940 in World War II, Pétain was appointed President of the Ministerial Council by President Lebrun at Bordeaux, and the Cabinet resolved to sign an armistice agreement with Germany. The entire government subsequently moved briefly to Clermont-Ferrand, then to the spa town of Vichy in central France. His government voted to transform the discredited French Third Republic into the French State, an authoritarian regime that collaborated with the Nazis and the Axis Powers.
After the war, Pétain was tried and convicted for treason. He was originally sentenced to death, but due to his age and World War I service his sentence was commuted to life in prison.Quebec Major Junior Hockey League
The Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (French: Ligue de hockey junior majeur du Québec, abbreviated QMJHL in English, LHJMQ in French) is one of the three major junior ice hockey leagues which constitute the Canadian Hockey League. The league comprises teams across the provinces of Quebec, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island. Since the departure of the Lewiston Maineiacs from Lewiston, Maine, the QMJHL is the only one of the three member leagues of the CHL that does not currently have teams located in the United States (the OHL has teams in Michigan and Pennsylvania while the WHL has teams in Washington and Oregon). The current president of the QMJHL is Gilles Courteau.
The President's Cup is the championship trophy of the league. The QMJHL champion then goes on to compete in the Memorial Cup against the OHL and WHL champions, and the CHL host team. The QMJHL had traditionally adopted a rapid and offensive style of hockey. Former QMJHL players hold many of the Canadian Hockey League's career and single season offensive records.
Hockey Hall of Fame alumni of the QMJHL include Mario Lemieux, Guy Lafleur, Ray Bourque, Pat LaFontaine, Mike Bossy, Denis Savard, Michel Goulet, Luc Robitaille, and goaltender Patrick Roy.Sorel Éperviers
The Sorel Éperviers (Black Hawks) were a junior ice hockey team in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League from 1969 to 1981. The team was one of the founding members of the QMJHL. They mostly played at the Colisée Cardin in Sorel-Tracy, Quebec, but also spent a few seasons at the Verdun Auditorium in the Montreal suburb of Verdun, Quebec. Rodrigue Lemoyne served as the team's general manager. Ray Bourque is also the only former Épervier in the Hockey Hall of Fame.
The Éperviers originated in the Quebec Junior Hockey League, and were the league's champion in 1969. Sorel were finalists in the eastern Canadian championship for the George Richardson Memorial Trophy, losing 3 games to 1 to the Montreal Junior Canadiens.
The 1973–74 QMJHL season sparked an offensive explosion, unmatched in Canadian Hockey League history. Sorel set a CHL record of 620 goals scored as a team. Three Sorel players, Pierre Larouche, Michel Deziel and Jacques Cossette, had more than 90 goals and 200 points each. Sorel goaltender Claude Legris also posted the highest goals against average of 4.50 goals per game for a Jacques Plante Memorial Trophy winner.
In 1981 the franchise moved to Granby, Quebec where they became the Granby Bisons. They won the Memorial Cup there in 1996. The franchise is today the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles.Treaty of Verdun
The Treaty of Verdun, signed in August 843, was the first of the treaties that divided the Carolingian Empire into three kingdoms among the three surviving sons of Louis the Pious, who was the son of Charlemagne. The treaty, signed in Verdun-sur-Meuse, ended the three-year Carolingian Civil War.Verdun, Ariège
Verdun is a commune in the Ariège department in southwestern France.Verdun, Quebec
Verdun (; French: [vɛʁdœ̃]) is a borough (arrondissement) of the city of Montreal, Quebec, situated along the St. Lawrence River. It consists of the former city of Verdun, which was merged with the city of Montreal on January 1, 2002. The settlement of Verdun was founded in 1671, making it one of Canada's oldest cities. In 1956, Nuns' Island (île des Sœurs) was amalgamated with Verdun, which is on the Island of Montreal.Verdun-en-Lauragais
Verdun-en-Lauragais is a commune in the Aude department in southern France.Verdun-sur-Garonne
Verdun-sur-Garonne is a commune in the Tarn-et-Garonne department in the Occitanie region in southern France.Verdun-sur-le-Doubs
Verdun-sur-le-Doubs is a commune in the Saône-et-Loire department in the region of Bourgogne in eastern France.
It is located in Bourgogne-Franche-Comté at the confluence of the Doubs and the Saône in the Bresse plain, near Beaune and Chalon-sur-Saône.
It is a very old settlement and played the role of fortified place at the French kingdom frontier during several centuries.
Today Verdun-sur-le-Doubs is an agricultural and tourist center well known for fishing, river boating and good eating. The pôchouse is the local dish with different types of river fishes cooked with dry Burgundy white wine ("Bourgogne aligoté") and cream.
In the Second World War Verdun-sur-le-Doubs was situated on the Demarcation Line. In 1995 sixteen communes, followed shortly by four others, were united to form the Community of Communes of the Trois Rivieres (CC3R).Verdun (electoral district)
Verdun (also known as Verdun—Saint-Paul, Verdun—Saint-Henri and Verdun—Saint-Henri—Saint-Paul—Pointe-Saint-Charles) was a federal electoral district in Quebec, Canada, that was represented in the House of Commons of Canada from 1935 to 1949 and from 1953 to 2004.
Verdun—La Salle riding, which covered much of the same area, was represented in the House of Commons from 1949 to 1953.Verdun (provincial electoral district)
Verdun is a provincial electoral district in the Montreal region of Quebec, Canada that elects members to the National Assembly of Quebec. Its territory corresponds exactly to the borough of Verdun of the city of Montreal.
It was created for the 1966 election from Montréal-Verdun electoral district.
In the change from the 2001 to the 2011 electoral map, its territory was unchanged.
Free Imperial Cities as of 1648