Regions France

Survey Articles (Regional)

Encyclopedic Entries

See also

Survey Articles (Regional)

  • To study France during the “Great War” – as it was called as early as 1914 – involves focusing on a major Western state that was confronted with a growing demand for resources to fuel the war … READ MORE

    Regional

Regional Thematic Articles

Encyclopedic Entries

  • The general trend in aircraft development during World War I was towards better-engined, stronger, higher flying, more heavily armed, and more capable airplanes. Strictly speaking, pure … READ MORE

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  • Much like fighter aircraft, World War I reconnaissance and bomber technology advanced rapidly throughout the war. As aircraft designs that combined lift, range, and stability were key to both … READ MORE

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  • Reported missing in action in September 1914, Alain-Fournier is not officially considered a war writer because of his early death. The author of ''Le Grand Meaulnes ''has become a symbol for the … READ MORE

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  • Alsace-Lorraine was a border region located between the Rhine River and the Vosges Mountains. Its role in French wartime propaganda, its geographic location, and its tumultuous recent history all … READ MORE

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  • The Battle of Amiens, 8-12 August 1918, was a decisive British-led victory that marked the start of the Allied counteroffensive of the Hundred Days campaign, leading to the defeat of the German army … READ MORE

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  • Although he actually died of Spanish influenza, the trepanned avant-garde poet was the embodiment of France’s “head wound”. Apollinaire’s letters to the woman he loved during the war, Lou, … READ MORE

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  • The French Army of the Orient is a military unit, which was created after the disaster of the Dardanelles Campaign (1915). Established at Thessaloniki with allied forces to fight against pro-German … READ MORE

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  • Artillery consisted of the military’s heavy firearms. As a branch of the armed forces, its purpose was to fire explosive-filled projectiles across relatively large distances. In contrast to the … READ MORE

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  • Attrition warfare is the term used to describe the sustained process of wearing down an opponent so as to force their physical collapse through continuous losses in personnel, equipment and supplies … READ MORE

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  • Invented in France in 1860, barbed wire was further developed in the United States, where it was used to restrict cattle and secure territory. Acquiring far more menacing qualities in the First World … READ MORE

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  • Fulfilling the archetype of the war writer, Henri Barbusse is the embodiment of pacifist activism. His book ''Le Feu ''(1916) paved the way for a new genre, that of literary testimony. Acclaimed as … READ MORE

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  • A barrelmaker in a French village and corporal at war in an infantry regiment, Louis Barthas was considered the spokesman of his squad. He wrote a reliable testimony about his experience fighting in … READ MORE

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  • Widely known as a philosopher in France from the publication of his first book in 1889, Bergson became an international celebrity with the publication of ''Creative Evolution'' in 1907. With the … READ MORE

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  • Sarah Bernhardt was a French actress. During the war, she showed great commitment to the patriotic cause through her participation in performances at the front, appearance in propaganda productions … READ MORE

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  • A technique of concealment and protection, a means to deceive but not kill, camouflage was significantly developed during the First World War. The technique enabled many artists to put their talents … READ MORE

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  • The life and works of the poet Blaise Cendrars testify to a disturbing paradox: while encapsulating the trauma that was the result from his war experience, they also illustrate the creative virtues … READ MORE

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  • Extracurricular mobilization of children through literature took place between 1914 and 1918 on the home front of most belligerent countries. Propaganda for children depended on the war’s effects … READ MORE

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  • In December 1914, there were several truces between enemy soldiers along one part of the Western front. Widely publicized, they underscore how difficult it was for soldiers to adapt to the conditions … READ MORE

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  • During the war, Georges Clemenceau fought for a more efficient war effort and for parliamentary control of military affairs and, as a journalist, rejected unlimited censorship. As French premier, he … READ MORE

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  • Collaboration is often associated with the military occupations of the Second World War, but there was a precursor to this multi-faceted phenomenon in occupied France and Belgium during the First … READ MORE

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  • A selection of communication technologies, ancient and modern, was available at the outbreak of World War One. During the war, military communications evolved to meet new battlefield and military … READ MORE

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  • “United as we were on the battle front,” the rallying cry popularized by one of the two major French veterans’ associations created just after the First World War sums up the process of … READ MORE

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  • Jean Norton Cru did not consider himself a historian. Yet his life’s work, ''Témoins ''(Witnesses), written for historians, is an exceptional book of historiography of 1914 to 1918 and a … READ MORE

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  • Dada, a transnational movement of artists, was founded in Zurich in 1916. It disappeared in 1924, after a sham trial against Maurice Barrès in 1921. Far from pacifism, Dada declared war against war. … READ MORE

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  • A local notable and mayor of Lille during the occupation, Charles Delesalle was forced to work with the Germans but also sought to protect the population as best as possible. In particular, he played … READ MORE

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  • Charles Delvert was one of the witnesses of the Great War. A graduate of the École Normale and a reserve officer in the 101st Infantry Regiment, he won fame in the Fort de Vaux fights … READ MORE

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  • Roland Dorgelès is the author of the pacifist novel ''Wooden Crosses'' (1919), a great classic of French war literature. Although based on his personal experience, he was convinced that fiction … READ MORE

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  • During the First World War both sides accused each other of employing illegal small arms ammunition – either expanding or explosive bullets. The Hague Conventions of 1899 and 1907 outlawed … READ MORE

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  • Of the two world wars, the First World War was special in that fear figured prominently in a number of domains, including military tactics, psychiatry, and first-person sources. Fear was to be … READ MORE

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  • A minority section of the women’s movements opposed World War I and organized the International Congress of Women at The Hague in April 1915. Its participants demanded women’s rights and more … READ MORE

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  • Abel Ferry was a French politician and minister as well as an infantry combatant, who used his first-hand knowledge of the war to try and shape the official war effort. He died as a result of his … READ MORE

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  • Louis Feuillade was a popular filmmaker in France in the years leading up to and during the First World War. He is known for his serial productions, which, with their cliffhangers, were effective at … READ MORE

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  • The use of portable flamethrowers in combat was a First World War innovation. The German army took the lead in developing this form of warfare and remained the foremost practitioner of it throughout … READ MORE

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  • Ferdinand Foch was a French general who commanded a corps and an army (1914), and then France’s Northern Army Group. He served on the army’s general staff in 1917 and was appointed Allied supreme … READ MORE

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  • General Joseph-Simon Gallieni was a colonial officer who became the Governor of Paris in 1914 and Minister of War in … READ MORE

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  • Roland Garros was a well-known French aviation pioneer before the war and successfully fought in a squadron as a fighter pilot during World War 1. His invention, firing through axis propeller, … READ MORE

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  • The war turned Maurice Genevoix into a writer. He embodied soldier loyalty and was the author of ''Ceux de 14'', a prime example of French literary narrative and a monument compelling us not to … READ MORE

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  • The Spring Offensives of 1918 were Germany’s last attempt to defeat the British and French armies on the Western Front, and thereby win total victory. Their failure by the mid-summer left the … READ MORE

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  • Henri Gouraud was one of the most important French generals during the First World War, commanding on the Western Front and in the Dardanelles. Prior to World War I, he served as an officer with the … READ MORE

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  • Georges Guynemer was a French fighter pilot. During World War I, he was known for his dangerous but effective fighting style. After his death, he became an aviation … READ MORE

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  • Declared unfit for military service, sociologist Maurice Halbwachs worked under Albert Thomas at the Ministry of Munitions. His work on memory (unwittingly) enabled reflection on the influence of the … READ MORE

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  • The hand grenade is a small hand-thrown bomb dating back to antiquity. Advances in chemistry and explosives technology saw the resurgence of the grenade shortly before World War I. Its effective use … READ MORE

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  • The First World War precipitated a revolution in infantry tactics that changed the course of warfare. Armies adapted to modern industrialized war along a four-year learning curve, moving from … READ MORE

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  • During the invasion and occupation of 1914-1918, German soldiers had sexual relations with local women in Belgium and France. There were many cases of rape during the invasion, but the occupation … READ MORE

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  • A philosopher, historian, and journalist (creator of'' L’Humanité''), Jean Jaurès defended the socialist program for workers and small farmers in the Chamber of Deputies and throughout France. … READ MORE

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  • This article details the mutiny of two Russian brigades sent to France in World War I. The less rebellious of the two was finally disciplined and used to suppress the unruly brigade in 1917 in what … READ MORE

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  • The music hall song “La Madelon” was first performed in Paris café concerts before the outbreak of war, but it did not initially catch on. Not until 1917 did it become a favorite – first among … READ MORE

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  • Considered one of the best generals in the French armed forces, Charles Lanzerac commanded the French Fifth Army during the Battle of the Frontiers. However, at the end of August 1914, he was … READ MORE

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  • Henri Barbusse published the emblematic French war novel ''Le Feu'' in 1916. Given the context of its first publication, ''Le Feu'' was not critical of French propaganda; rather, it was part of a … READ MORE

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  • Léger was fascinated by the front, but barely ever depicted what he saw in his work. His correspondence, however, offers a remarkable descent into the abyss of the … READ MORE

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  • ''Le Poilu'' translates literally as “the hairy one” and was a collective identity assumed by French infantry during the First World War. However, the term, based upon the soldiers’ hair, … READ MORE

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  • During World War One, Hubert Lyautey was the French Resident-General in Morocco and became Minister of the French War Department in … READ MORE

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  • Between 1914 and 1918, the machine gun played an ever-increasing role on the battlefield. Today, even though artillery was responsible for the majority of deaths, the machine gun is the weapon most … READ MORE

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  • French Interior Minister when the war was declared, Louis Malvy embodied the Union sacrée and the quest for social peace. In 1917, he was accused of treason and involved in a political scandal that … READ MORE

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  • Charles Mangin was a very important French general during the First World War. With his concept “''La Force Noire” ''(“Black Forces”), which he published in a book with the same title, he … READ MORE

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  • The institution of wartime pen pals to assist isolated soldiers who were unable to receive mail from their loved ones was made official in 1915. The system, which paired up lonely soldiers with a … READ MORE

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  • The First World War represents the apex of the ideal of the male warrior hero. Between 1914 and 1918, both the soldiers themselves and combatant societies relied upon gendered language to make sense … READ MORE

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  • The real naval war in the Mediterranean turned out to be a struggle against German and Austrian submarines and not a classic battle between major … READ MORE

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  • The Military Board of Allied Supply, formed in mid-1918, attempted to centralize oversight of allied lines of communication in Europe and promote more efficient use of their limited … READ MORE

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  • Between 1890 and 1925, Alexandre Millerand was one of France’s leading politicians. From August 1914 to September 1915, he served as war minister in the first ''Union sacrée'' government. In 1920, … READ MORE

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  • The two Moroccan crises represent the product of “rapacious joint imperialism.” Morocco could not escape the ambitions of its immediate neighbours, Spain and France, who secretly plotted to … READ MORE

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  • The First World War fundamentally changed the course of 20th century music. The era of late Romanticism, Symbolism and Expressionism had ended, the music culture of the European high … READ MORE

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  • Born in a Protestant family with an English mother, Robert Nivelle studied at the Polytechnique and Military Academy of Artillery. In 1914, he became a colonel and in 1916 lieutenant general and … READ MORE

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  • Paul Painlevé was a prominent French political leader from 1914-1917. He was the head of the Inventions Committee in charge of defining modern warfare. In 1917, at the turning point of the war, he … READ MORE

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  • Paris Guns refer to the German long-range guns that fired intermittently on Paris in 1918. A prodigy of the ballistic technology designed to terrorize the Parisian population, these weapons – also … READ MORE

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  • Raymond Poincaré, the president of the French Republic, asserted his authority as early as 1914, in a manner contrary to institutional practices that had prevailed since 1877. After his August 1914 … READ MORE

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  • The Socialists’ opposition to war in France, Germany and Italy during the period of the Second International (1889-1914) was contradictory. They tried to combine internationalism, antiwar … READ MORE

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  • Prostitution was considered among the most important societal problems facing civilian-military authorities in belligerent countries during World War I. Despite growing military control of the … READ MORE

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  • Although rape was not usually systematic, it occurred frequently on all fronts during the First World War, during both invasion and occupation periods. It was often used in propaganda to discredit … READ MORE

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  • The rear area was the space behind the front, linking the operational zone with the home territory. While this area constituted a place of calm and recreation for soldiers returning from front duty, … READ MORE

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  • During World War I, about 2 million French citizens had to leave their homes, due to orders from the French military and administrative authorities, the German invasion, German shellings, or … READ MORE

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  • As early as 1915, France considered celebrating those who died for the nation. After four years of debate among political parties and veterans, 11 November became a national holiday in 1922. From the … READ MORE

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  • In occupied Belgium and France, citizens opposed the German army with organized but non-violent resistance. They created networks dedicated to military intelligence gathering, escape lines, … READ MORE

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  • Alexandre Ribot belonged to the French political elite for more than forty years. During the war, he was finance minister from 1914 to 1917 and prime minister (''Président du Conseil'') from March … READ MORE

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  • The rifle was by far the most common weapon used in the world war. When the major powers entered the conflict, they possessed around 11 million rifles. During the war, they either manufactured or … READ MORE

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  • A pacifist writer, Romain Rolland was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1915. During the Great War, he refused to choose one camp over the other and suffered nationalist attacks. In the post … READ MORE

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  • The 1923-1925 Ruhr occupation by France and Belgium was triggered when Germany defaulted on its reparations obligations. A passive resistance campaign obstructed the invaders but collapsed in … READ MORE

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  • In 1914, quick-firing field artillery could fire more shells than domestic industries, geared to peacetime consumption levels, could supply. Armies, although recognizing the dangers, had … READ MORE

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  • Soldier’s humour, as expressed in jokes, songs and slang, reflected a dark, ironic and sardonic mind-set common among combatants. It usually contributed to individual psychological resilience, … READ MORE

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  • Starting in 1915, periods of leave known as "permissionnaires" played a vital role in supporting the morale of troops, allowing fighters to rest, and letting some families come together. These … READ MORE

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  • There was fighting in the Picardy region of France throughout the war. The 1916 Battle of the Somme is the most well known engagement in this region, notorious for its heavy casualties. The British … READ MORE

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  • The steel helmet was invented and fielded in response to increased lethality on the battlefield due to advances in artillery and fragmentation. World War I witnessed the first wide-spread use of the … READ MORE

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  • This article summarises the main wartime stereotypes that defined war propaganda in Germany, France, Great Britain, the USA and Russia. It focuses less on particular details of each national enemy … READ MORE

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  • Storm troopers were soldiers in specialized assault units, which emerged in the German army during the First World … READ MORE

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  • The Supreme War Council was an Allied administrative organisation, created by the Entente governments in November 1917 to coordinate their military action. Its most significant achievement was to … READ MORE

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  • World War I introduced new technologies and doctrine in a quest to overcome the tactical stalemate of the trenches. The first tanks had great potential that would be capitalized upon during the next … READ MORE

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  • Whether on the Western or Eastern Front, by German, French, British, Canadian, American and other armies, shows were regularly organized on the front lines and at base camps during the Great War. … READ MORE

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  • The song now known as the "Chanson de Craonne" ("Song of Craonne") remains one of the most well-known First World War songs in France. Several months before the mutinies in spring 1917, its text … READ MORE

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  • The Thiepval Memorial commemorates “the Missing of the Somme”: more than 72,000 British and South African soldiers who were killed in the region between 1915 and 1918 but have no known grave. … READ MORE

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  • The ''tirailleurs sénégalais'' (Senegalese riflemen) figured prominently among the many indigenous peoples who served in the French army during the First World War. By 1918, France had recruited … READ MORE

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  • "Trench Art" is a genre of folk art comprised of items created in wartime, or from war materiel. It may be made by servicemen and women or by civilians, and is particularly associated with the First … READ MORE

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  • As prefect of the ''département ''of the Nord at the outbreak of war, Félix Trépont encouraged the defence of Lille during the invasion, eventually oversaw the evacuation of men and material, and … READ MORE

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  • Founded in Lyon in February 1918, the ''Union fédérale'' was the largest veterans’ association in interwar France. It campaigned for the improvement of veterans’ pensions and for the … READ MORE

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  • Founded on 11 November 1918 with the support of French Prime Minister Georges Clemenceau, the ''Union Nationale des Combattants'' was the largest right-wing veterans’ association in interwar … READ MORE

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  • René Viviani was a leading French politician in the early 20th century. When the war broke out, he was prime minister (''Président du Conseil'') and contributed to the formation of the … READ MORE

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  • The governments of all belligerent countries issued special loans to finance their expenditure after the war began. To mobilize the financial resources of their peoples required concerted war bonds … READ MORE

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  • As a long-lasting industrial war, the Great War led to the realization of considerable profits throughout industrialized countries. Both real and imagined, they structured many wartime facets, from … READ MORE

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  • In the First World War, war toys were regarded as a means to strengthen children’s identification with the war effort. Production and consumption of war toys in 1914 to 1915 reached heights never … READ MORE

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  • One third of the 9.7 million soldiers killed or declared missing during the Great War left behind a widow. The mourning of these women was conditioned as much by the social conventions practiced … READ MORE

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  • The YMCA was a Christian charitable organization that provided a range of rest and recreational facilities for soldiers in Britain and on various fronts during the … READ MORE

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See also

  • The First World War and its direct repercussions in the postwar period (revolution, counterrevolution, the founding of republics, and the Paris peace treaties) mark a profound caesura not only in the … READ MORE

    Thematic
  • New weapons produced during the Industrial Revolution in the late 1800s heightened existing tensions among European nations as countries strove to outpace their enemies technologically. This … READ MORE

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  • The nature of the First World War put an end to traditions for battle painting. Instead, war art by younger more progressive artists was the best received because it was judged the most authentic. … READ MORE

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  • The term "atrocity" describes an act of violence condemned by contemporaries as a breach of morality or the laws of war. "Atrocities" are culturally constructed; by 1914, an international discourse … READ MORE

    Thematic
  • Soldiers’ attitudes towards the Great War are a controversial issue, as they prove difficult to assess and raise complex methodological questions. They evolved during the course of the conflict, … READ MORE

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  • France and Germany remained principal protagonists of the First World War. This essay will examine the reasons why both nations believed they were in a legitimate war of defense, for which domestic … READ MORE

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  • This article presents cartoonists as patriotic propagandists mobilizing their pens and brushes for the national cause during the war. It analyses their techniques for arousing emotions such as … READ MORE

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  • Censorship was an indispensable war weapon: its task was to keep the people in an atmosphere of utter ignorance and unshaken confidence in the authorities, and to allow their boundless indoctrination … READ MORE

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  • Mass conscription recast relationships in families, raised minors’ potential as wage earners, and decreased supervision over them. War ravaged the health of young people in Central Europe while … READ MORE

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  • By 1914 the leading states had succumbed to varying degrees of militarism, subordinating other interests to those of the armed forces, yet all were governed by regimes in which the ultimate authority … READ MORE

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  • This article deals with civilian morale during the First World War. Between 1915 and 1918, governments “discovered” the importance of civilian morale and developed vast systems of surveillance to … READ MORE

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  • The First World War saw the colonial empires of France and Britain mobilised to aid European and imperial war efforts. This mobilisation and the difficulties of demobilisation placed considerable … READ MORE

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  • The article discusses the role of the media in the complex international process leading to the First World War with a focus on the press of the great powers. Recent research has shown that the … READ MORE

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  • Total war is a controversial term used in the past by politicians, publicists and military officers as well as by computer specialists and academics in the present. Since its conception by French … READ MORE

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  • This article examines the First World War’s ecological impact and shows that protracted environmental transformations resulted more from expanded industrial modes of production than heavy combat. … READ MORE

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  • This article surveys the financial and economic planning for war before 1914 in the European Great Powers that initially entered the conflict – Austria-Hungary, Britain, France, Germany and Russia. … READ MORE

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  • During the entire war, warring powers used the “secret war” to try to break the balance of the battlefield. Generally created in the previous few decades, intelligence and security services saw … READ MORE

    Thematic
  • The extra-European theatres of World War I have received far less scholarly attention than the war in Europe. This state of affairs is hardly surprising given the sheer magnitude of the Western Front … READ MORE

    Thematic
  • The First World War played a significant role in the evolution of film both as a medium for reporting war and as a tool for the propagandist manipulation of public opinion to support the war effort. … READ MORE

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  • This article examines the conditions, forms and consequences of forced labor and recruitment during the First World War, especially in German-occupied northern France, Belgium, Russian-Poland and … READ MORE

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  • One sees a wide range of political regimes from a democratic republic with universal male suffrage (France) to parliamentary, constitutional, or even oligarchical monarchies in the countries that … READ MORE

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  • This article discusses the close relationships between national governments, advertising trades and print media industries and assesses their significance for liberal democracy and national identity … READ MORE

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  • There have been four generations of historical writing about the 1914-1918 war. The first was composed of contemporaries who either fought in the war or helped run it, and spanned the period … READ MORE

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  • This article focuses on the extent to which imperialism contributed to the outbreak of the First World War. The first part describes the emergence of specific imperialist cultures and attitudes in … READ MORE

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  • The article examines international efforts to curb states’ war-making prerogatives in the second half of the “long” 19th century. It captures new humanitarian sentiments circulating … READ MORE

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  • The international crisis that began with the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand in Sarajevo on 28 June 1914 and culminated in the British declaration of war on Germany on 4 August is referred … READ MORE

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  • Across the major belligerent powers, industrial production and the mobilization and organization of industrial labor became central to the conduct of the First World War. States and private … READ MORE

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  • This article compares the history of labour movements during the war across a range of European countries. It charts the impact of the economic realities of the war upon labour and analyses the … READ MORE

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  • This article seeks to present an overview of First World War literature across many of the combatant nations from the outbreak of the conflict up to the beginning of the Second World War. Taking a … READ MORE

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  • Claims to “just war” formed the basis for the propaganda campaigns of the First World War. Propaganda on all sides focused on three interrelated issues to endorse the decision to enter the … READ MORE

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  • It is impossible to talk about “the” medical care or “the” medical service of World War I. Medical care varied greatly, depending on geography, strategy, and national, social, or economic … READ MORE

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  • What role do representations of the First World War play in media that reach a wide audience beyond the circle of experts? The following contribution focuses on this important question. Given the … READ MORE

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  • Despite World War I’s reputation as a senseless bloodbath whose military operations were devoid of any intelligent thought, the period 1914-1918 was history’s single largest revolution in … READ MORE

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  • This essay offers a comparative survey of the practice of military justice among several of the key belligerent powers. Accused soldiers enjoyed little in the way of legal protection, and punishment … READ MORE

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  • The First World War created disfigured and mutilated bodies on a grand scale. Never before had the bodies of soldiers been so devastated by a conflict. Developments in established weapons such as … READ MORE

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  • This article offers an overview of the progress of nationalism and the national idea starting with its origins as a mass political programme during the French Revolution and tracing its passage up to … READ MORE

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  • After an initial wave of interest in 1914 and the immediate post-war period, international historiography long neglected the wartime occupation of territories inhabited by large civilian populations. … READ MORE

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  • The Great War was never considered the “war to end all wars” by the states and armed forces in conflict. The war’s legacies were processed in a wide variety of ways depending on forms of … READ MORE

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  • The First World War was a global conflict that caught most of the participants ill-prepared for the demands of total war. Economic mobilization beyond the initial needs of the troops involved … READ MORE

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  • In August 1914, a targeted and systematic manipulation of opinion by the media, intellectuals and authorities started. Atrocities were attributed to the enemies that arose from preformed images or … READ MORE

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  • The idea of peace in total war may seem irrelevant, but pacifism, or peace activism, did exist during the First World War. A seemingly robust European peace movement existed before 1914, but it … READ MORE

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  • This paper examines major peace initiatives during World War I. It describes efforts by the chief European belligerents to split apart enemy coalitions with separate peace settlements as well … READ MORE

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  • The First World War represents a watershed in the history of war photography. It was the first conflict to be photographed in detail by all the participants and the first in which photography was … READ MORE

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  • The Great War gave new impulses to the further development of public welfare systems which had emerged in previous decades. The desire for the social protection of the population and the restoration … READ MORE

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  • Word War I had a significant impact on the evolution of the European media scene. Before the start of the war, newspapers in Europe were increasingly popular, free and independent, and transnational. … READ MORE

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  • The First World War marked the shift from a 19th century, relatively ''ad hoc'' management of prisoners of war, to the 20th century’s sophisticated prisoner of war camp … READ MORE

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  • This article summarizes and compares the principal arguments and strategies of propaganda at the home front, the military front, as well as in neutral and enemy countries. These included the … READ MORE

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  • Propaganda played an important part in the politics of the war, but was only successful as part of wider political and military strategies. For each belligerent, the most effective and important … READ MORE

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  • This article explores the policies adopted and implemented against enemy property from the beginning of the Great War to the signing of the peace treaties in Europe. Breaking a long-standing … READ MORE

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  • Raw materials were vital during the First World War. Due to the armaments production, the belligerents’ needs increased significantly, while the available resources fell. Each country intended both … READ MORE

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  • This article addresses the scale of wartime population displacement in continental Europe, the relief efforts made on behalf of refugees, their impact on host communities, and the cultural … READ MORE

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  • From the cradle to the grave, popular religion formed a necessary and vital, if analytically messy, part of the human experience of the Great War. The war had the potential to atomize and alienate … READ MORE

    Thematic
  • The conduct of warfare in 1914-1918 included extensive population resettlement in all theatres of war in Europe, both as a result of pre-emptive decisions by civilians to flee in order to evade the … READ MORE

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  • This article surveys the various movements toward social, national, and political revolution that emerged during and in the wake of World War I. The Russian revolutions of 1917 serve as the first … READ MORE

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  • The paper describes the impact of war on peasantry and its mobilisation in the war effort. While observers portrayed the countryside as rich and callous towards urban shortages or waging war, the … READ MORE

    Thematic
  • The military service of teachers and the mobilization of schoolchildren for voluntary war work deeply disrupted schooling, especially in Central Europe. In continental Europe, war infused curricula … READ MORE

    Thematic
  • Wartime science and technology developed in the context of the Second Industrial Revolution, with far-reaching consequences for national and international scientific institutions and social … READ MORE

    Thematic
  • Allied capacity at sea to sustain global transport and supply determined their ability to prevail in the First World War. The deployment of convoys to triumph over submarine warfare was an important … READ MORE

    Thematic
  • This article provides an international overview of the history of sexuality in the Great War, including (1) the venereal disease epidemic, prostitution, and expanding state surveillance of sexuality; … READ MORE

    Thematic
  • Soldier newspapers are a massive, yet little used primary source of the First World War. They were read and written by the almost universally literate men at or near the front in the French, British, … READ MORE

    Thematic
  • From 1914 to 1918, theatres in all major European cities staged plays – comedies, operettas, revues, classical and modern dramas, music hall shows or sensational plays – day after day. The lively … READ MORE

    Thematic
  • A vast array of initiatives designed to counteract the destructiveness of the First World War was developed by states and societies across the world. Protecting the bodies and minds of soldiers from … READ MORE

    Thematic
  • Reflecting current historiography, this article focuses primarily on Christian churches centered in the main European theater of the Great War, including more global interactions with the other … READ MORE

    Thematic
  • The debate about the origins of the war remains a vibrant area of historical research. It has been characterised by a number of features. First, from the outset, political concerns shaped the debate, … READ MORE

    Thematic
  • Regardless of whether it was based on volunteer enlistment or conscription, mass mobilization in all of the countries at war between 1914 and 1918 completely upended the pre-war relationships that … READ MORE

    Thematic
  • This article offers an overview of peacemaking after the First World War from the armistices of 1918 until 1923. It considers the outcomes of the five Parisian treaties (Versailles, Saint-Germain and … READ MORE

    Thematic
  • Imperialism shaped almost every facet of international politics from 1898 to 1914. Imperial concerns brought Britain into entente relationships with France and Russia. This Triple Entente often … READ MORE

    Thematic
  • The Great War witnessed mass armies battling with modern, quick-firing weapons systems and using consumables of all kinds - ammunition, food, water, soldiers - at rates that had not been seen before. … READ MORE

    Thematic
  • Cities — with their comparatively large and dense but also vulnerable populations — went from being theaters of mass mobilization in favor of the political status quo to being sites of domestic … READ MORE

    Thematic
  • This essay traces belligerent policies toward venereal disease (VD) on the fighting and home fronts in Austria-Hungary, France, Germany, Great Britain, Russia, and later, the United States. VD rates … READ MORE

    Thematic
  • Veterans’ associations formed an influential social movement during the interwar period. They provided the platform for former soldiers to commemorate the war and their fallen comrades and to … READ MORE

    Thematic
  • This piece explores the visualisation of violence for home front audiences and shows that violence was often hinted at very strongly, but the actual act was avoided. All home front audiences were … READ MORE

    Thematic
  • Despite what some believe, there is still a lot to say and learn about the First World War, particularly with regard to war aims. A lot of focus is currently placed on the cultural, social and … READ MORE

    Thematic
  • At its outbreak, newspapers in the Allied and neutral democracies hoped to present vivid descriptions of the First World War. They were soon frustrated. Censorship obstructed the adventurous style of … READ MORE

    Thematic
  • Static “trench warfare” belied a dynamic transformation in warfare between 1914 and 1918. Every army grappled with the same issues: how to end a strategic stalemate occasioned by their ability to … READ MORE

    Thematic
  • In nations where literacy was well-established by 1914, letter-writing was critical to the emotional well-being of soldiers and their families. Men in uniform often circumvented the censors and sent … READ MORE

    Thematic
  • Military sources provide the primary statistics of war losses and casualties during World War I. In order to review and eventually revise their figures, one must understand how military statistics … READ MORE

    Thematic
  • During the First World War soldiers from all combatant nations suffered from a wide range of debilitating nervous complaints as a result of the stresses and strains of modern warfare. War … READ MORE

    Thematic
  • Through investigating the pivotal role of honour in private and public matters, in foreign and domestic relations, and in propaganda and everyday life during the First World War, this article … READ MORE

    Thematic
  • To understand the Great War, one has to understand weapons. Weapons are linked to bodies, to attacks on bodily integrity, to suffering. Hand weapons form an extension of the body while at the same … READ MORE

    Thematic
  • The Western Front, a 400-plus mile stretch of land weaving through France and Belgium from the Swiss border to the North Sea, was the decisive front during the First World War. Whichever side won … READ MORE

    Thematic
  • It may surprise us to learn that some sectors of the European public were in favour of the war in 1914. The impact of modern weapons was not well understood and many people in the government, … READ MORE

    Thematic
  • This article explores women’s economic, social, and political responses to the First World War. It addresses their mobilization including their engagement with the war effort as well as their … READ MORE

    Thematic

Survey Articles (Regional)

  • To study France during the “Great War” – as it was called as early as 1914 – involves focusing on a major Western state that was confronted with a growing demand for resources to fuel the war … READ MORE

    Regional

Regional Thematic Articles

Encyclopedic Entries

  • The general trend in aircraft development during World War I was towards better-engined, stronger, higher flying, more heavily armed, and more capable airplanes. Strictly speaking, pure … READ MORE

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  • Much like fighter aircraft, World War I reconnaissance and bomber technology advanced rapidly throughout the war. As aircraft designs that combined lift, range, and stability were key to both … READ MORE

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  • Reported missing in action in September 1914, Alain-Fournier is not officially considered a war writer because of his early death. The author of ''Le Grand Meaulnes ''has become a symbol for the … READ MORE

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  • Alsace-Lorraine was a border region located between the Rhine River and the Vosges Mountains. Its role in French wartime propaganda, its geographic location, and its tumultuous recent history all … READ MORE

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  • The Battle of Amiens, 8-12 August 1918, was a decisive British-led victory that marked the start of the Allied counteroffensive of the Hundred Days campaign, leading to the defeat of the German army … READ MORE

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  • Although he actually died of Spanish influenza, the trepanned avant-garde poet was the embodiment of France’s “head wound”. Apollinaire’s letters to the woman he loved during the war, Lou, … READ MORE

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  • The French Army of the Orient is a military unit, which was created after the disaster of the Dardanelles Campaign (1915). Established at Thessaloniki with allied forces to fight against pro-German … READ MORE

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  • Artillery consisted of the military’s heavy firearms. As a branch of the armed forces, its purpose was to fire explosive-filled projectiles across relatively large distances. In contrast to the … READ MORE

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  • Attrition warfare is the term used to describe the sustained process of wearing down an opponent so as to force their physical collapse through continuous losses in personnel, equipment and supplies … READ MORE

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  • Invented in France in 1860, barbed wire was further developed in the United States, where it was used to restrict cattle and secure territory. Acquiring far more menacing qualities in the First World … READ MORE

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  • Fulfilling the archetype of the war writer, Henri Barbusse is the embodiment of pacifist activism. His book ''Le Feu ''(1916) paved the way for a new genre, that of literary testimony. Acclaimed as … READ MORE

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  • A barrelmaker in a French village and corporal at war in an infantry regiment, Louis Barthas was considered the spokesman of his squad. He wrote a reliable testimony about his experience fighting in … READ MORE

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  • Widely known as a philosopher in France from the publication of his first book in 1889, Bergson became an international celebrity with the publication of ''Creative Evolution'' in 1907. With the … READ MORE

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  • Sarah Bernhardt was a French actress. During the war, she showed great commitment to the patriotic cause through her participation in performances at the front, appearance in propaganda productions … READ MORE

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  • A technique of concealment and protection, a means to deceive but not kill, camouflage was significantly developed during the First World War. The technique enabled many artists to put their talents … READ MORE

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  • The life and works of the poet Blaise Cendrars testify to a disturbing paradox: while encapsulating the trauma that was the result from his war experience, they also illustrate the creative virtues … READ MORE

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  • Extracurricular mobilization of children through literature took place between 1914 and 1918 on the home front of most belligerent countries. Propaganda for children depended on the war’s effects … READ MORE

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  • In December 1914, there were several truces between enemy soldiers along one part of the Western front. Widely publicized, they underscore how difficult it was for soldiers to adapt to the conditions … READ MORE

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  • During the war, Georges Clemenceau fought for a more efficient war effort and for parliamentary control of military affairs and, as a journalist, rejected unlimited censorship. As French premier, he … READ MORE

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  • Collaboration is often associated with the military occupations of the Second World War, but there was a precursor to this multi-faceted phenomenon in occupied France and Belgium during the First … READ MORE

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  • A selection of communication technologies, ancient and modern, was available at the outbreak of World War One. During the war, military communications evolved to meet new battlefield and military … READ MORE

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  • “United as we were on the battle front,” the rallying cry popularized by one of the two major French veterans’ associations created just after the First World War sums up the process of … READ MORE

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  • Jean Norton Cru did not consider himself a historian. Yet his life’s work, ''Témoins ''(Witnesses), written for historians, is an exceptional book of historiography of 1914 to 1918 and a … READ MORE

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  • Dada, a transnational movement of artists, was founded in Zurich in 1916. It disappeared in 1924, after a sham trial against Maurice Barrès in 1921. Far from pacifism, Dada declared war against war. … READ MORE

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  • A local notable and mayor of Lille during the occupation, Charles Delesalle was forced to work with the Germans but also sought to protect the population as best as possible. In particular, he played … READ MORE

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  • Charles Delvert was one of the witnesses of the Great War. A graduate of the École Normale and a reserve officer in the 101st Infantry Regiment, he won fame in the Fort de Vaux fights … READ MORE

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  • Roland Dorgelès is the author of the pacifist novel ''Wooden Crosses'' (1919), a great classic of French war literature. Although based on his personal experience, he was convinced that fiction … READ MORE

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  • During the First World War both sides accused each other of employing illegal small arms ammunition – either expanding or explosive bullets. The Hague Conventions of 1899 and 1907 outlawed … READ MORE

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  • Of the two world wars, the First World War was special in that fear figured prominently in a number of domains, including military tactics, psychiatry, and first-person sources. Fear was to be … READ MORE

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  • A minority section of the women’s movements opposed World War I and organized the International Congress of Women at The Hague in April 1915. Its participants demanded women’s rights and more … READ MORE

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  • Abel Ferry was a French politician and minister as well as an infantry combatant, who used his first-hand knowledge of the war to try and shape the official war effort. He died as a result of his … READ MORE

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  • Louis Feuillade was a popular filmmaker in France in the years leading up to and during the First World War. He is known for his serial productions, which, with their cliffhangers, were effective at … READ MORE

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  • The use of portable flamethrowers in combat was a First World War innovation. The German army took the lead in developing this form of warfare and remained the foremost practitioner of it throughout … READ MORE

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  • Ferdinand Foch was a French general who commanded a corps and an army (1914), and then France’s Northern Army Group. He served on the army’s general staff in 1917 and was appointed Allied supreme … READ MORE

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  • General Joseph-Simon Gallieni was a colonial officer who became the Governor of Paris in 1914 and Minister of War in … READ MORE

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  • Roland Garros was a well-known French aviation pioneer before the war and successfully fought in a squadron as a fighter pilot during World War 1. His invention, firing through axis propeller, … READ MORE

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  • The war turned Maurice Genevoix into a writer. He embodied soldier loyalty and was the author of ''Ceux de 14'', a prime example of French literary narrative and a monument compelling us not to … READ MORE

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  • The Spring Offensives of 1918 were Germany’s last attempt to defeat the British and French armies on the Western Front, and thereby win total victory. Their failure by the mid-summer left the … READ MORE

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  • Henri Gouraud was one of the most important French generals during the First World War, commanding on the Western Front and in the Dardanelles. Prior to World War I, he served as an officer with the … READ MORE

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  • Georges Guynemer was a French fighter pilot. During World War I, he was known for his dangerous but effective fighting style. After his death, he became an aviation … READ MORE

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  • Declared unfit for military service, sociologist Maurice Halbwachs worked under Albert Thomas at the Ministry of Munitions. His work on memory (unwittingly) enabled reflection on the influence of the … READ MORE

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  • The hand grenade is a small hand-thrown bomb dating back to antiquity. Advances in chemistry and explosives technology saw the resurgence of the grenade shortly before World War I. Its effective use … READ MORE

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  • The First World War precipitated a revolution in infantry tactics that changed the course of warfare. Armies adapted to modern industrialized war along a four-year learning curve, moving from … READ MORE

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  • During the invasion and occupation of 1914-1918, German soldiers had sexual relations with local women in Belgium and France. There were many cases of rape during the invasion, but the occupation … READ MORE

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  • A philosopher, historian, and journalist (creator of'' L’Humanité''), Jean Jaurès defended the socialist program for workers and small farmers in the Chamber of Deputies and throughout France. … READ MORE

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  • This article details the mutiny of two Russian brigades sent to France in World War I. The less rebellious of the two was finally disciplined and used to suppress the unruly brigade in 1917 in what … READ MORE

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  • The music hall song “La Madelon” was first performed in Paris café concerts before the outbreak of war, but it did not initially catch on. Not until 1917 did it become a favorite – first among … READ MORE

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  • Considered one of the best generals in the French armed forces, Charles Lanzerac commanded the French Fifth Army during the Battle of the Frontiers. However, at the end of August 1914, he was … READ MORE

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  • Henri Barbusse published the emblematic French war novel ''Le Feu'' in 1916. Given the context of its first publication, ''Le Feu'' was not critical of French propaganda; rather, it was part of a … READ MORE

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  • Léger was fascinated by the front, but barely ever depicted what he saw in his work. His correspondence, however, offers a remarkable descent into the abyss of the … READ MORE

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  • ''Le Poilu'' translates literally as “the hairy one” and was a collective identity assumed by French infantry during the First World War. However, the term, based upon the soldiers’ hair, … READ MORE

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  • During World War One, Hubert Lyautey was the French Resident-General in Morocco and became Minister of the French War Department in … READ MORE

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  • Between 1914 and 1918, the machine gun played an ever-increasing role on the battlefield. Today, even though artillery was responsible for the majority of deaths, the machine gun is the weapon most … READ MORE

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  • French Interior Minister when the war was declared, Louis Malvy embodied the Union sacrée and the quest for social peace. In 1917, he was accused of treason and involved in a political scandal that … READ MORE

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  • Charles Mangin was a very important French general during the First World War. With his concept “''La Force Noire” ''(“Black Forces”), which he published in a book with the same title, he … READ MORE

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  • The institution of wartime pen pals to assist isolated soldiers who were unable to receive mail from their loved ones was made official in 1915. The system, which paired up lonely soldiers with a … READ MORE

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  • The First World War represents the apex of the ideal of the male warrior hero. Between 1914 and 1918, both the soldiers themselves and combatant societies relied upon gendered language to make sense … READ MORE

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  • The real naval war in the Mediterranean turned out to be a struggle against German and Austrian submarines and not a classic battle between major … READ MORE

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  • The Military Board of Allied Supply, formed in mid-1918, attempted to centralize oversight of allied lines of communication in Europe and promote more efficient use of their limited … READ MORE

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  • Between 1890 and 1925, Alexandre Millerand was one of France’s leading politicians. From August 1914 to September 1915, he served as war minister in the first ''Union sacrée'' government. In 1920, … READ MORE

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  • The two Moroccan crises represent the product of “rapacious joint imperialism.” Morocco could not escape the ambitions of its immediate neighbours, Spain and France, who secretly plotted to … READ MORE

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  • The First World War fundamentally changed the course of 20th century music. The era of late Romanticism, Symbolism and Expressionism had ended, the music culture of the European high … READ MORE

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  • Born in a Protestant family with an English mother, Robert Nivelle studied at the Polytechnique and Military Academy of Artillery. In 1914, he became a colonel and in 1916 lieutenant general and … READ MORE

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  • Paul Painlevé was a prominent French political leader from 1914-1917. He was the head of the Inventions Committee in charge of defining modern warfare. In 1917, at the turning point of the war, he … READ MORE

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  • Paris Guns refer to the German long-range guns that fired intermittently on Paris in 1918. A prodigy of the ballistic technology designed to terrorize the Parisian population, these weapons – also … READ MORE

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  • Raymond Poincaré, the president of the French Republic, asserted his authority as early as 1914, in a manner contrary to institutional practices that had prevailed since 1877. After his August 1914 … READ MORE

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  • The Socialists’ opposition to war in France, Germany and Italy during the period of the Second International (1889-1914) was contradictory. They tried to combine internationalism, antiwar … READ MORE

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  • Prostitution was considered among the most important societal problems facing civilian-military authorities in belligerent countries during World War I. Despite growing military control of the … READ MORE

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  • Although rape was not usually systematic, it occurred frequently on all fronts during the First World War, during both invasion and occupation periods. It was often used in propaganda to discredit … READ MORE

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  • The rear area was the space behind the front, linking the operational zone with the home territory. While this area constituted a place of calm and recreation for soldiers returning from front duty, … READ MORE

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  • During World War I, about 2 million French citizens had to leave their homes, due to orders from the French military and administrative authorities, the German invasion, German shellings, or … READ MORE

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  • As early as 1915, France considered celebrating those who died for the nation. After four years of debate among political parties and veterans, 11 November became a national holiday in 1922. From the … READ MORE

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  • In occupied Belgium and France, citizens opposed the German army with organized but non-violent resistance. They created networks dedicated to military intelligence gathering, escape lines, … READ MORE

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  • Alexandre Ribot belonged to the French political elite for more than forty years. During the war, he was finance minister from 1914 to 1917 and prime minister (''Président du Conseil'') from March … READ MORE

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  • The rifle was by far the most common weapon used in the world war. When the major powers entered the conflict, they possessed around 11 million rifles. During the war, they either manufactured or … READ MORE

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  • A pacifist writer, Romain Rolland was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1915. During the Great War, he refused to choose one camp over the other and suffered nationalist attacks. In the post … READ MORE

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  • The 1923-1925 Ruhr occupation by France and Belgium was triggered when Germany defaulted on its reparations obligations. A passive resistance campaign obstructed the invaders but collapsed in … READ MORE

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  • In 1914, quick-firing field artillery could fire more shells than domestic industries, geared to peacetime consumption levels, could supply. Armies, although recognizing the dangers, had … READ MORE

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  • Soldier’s humour, as expressed in jokes, songs and slang, reflected a dark, ironic and sardonic mind-set common among combatants. It usually contributed to individual psychological resilience, … READ MORE

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  • Starting in 1915, periods of leave known as "permissionnaires" played a vital role in supporting the morale of troops, allowing fighters to rest, and letting some families come together. These … READ MORE

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  • There was fighting in the Picardy region of France throughout the war. The 1916 Battle of the Somme is the most well known engagement in this region, notorious for its heavy casualties. The British … READ MORE

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  • The steel helmet was invented and fielded in response to increased lethality on the battlefield due to advances in artillery and fragmentation. World War I witnessed the first wide-spread use of the … READ MORE

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  • This article summarises the main wartime stereotypes that defined war propaganda in Germany, France, Great Britain, the USA and Russia. It focuses less on particular details of each national enemy … READ MORE

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  • Storm troopers were soldiers in specialized assault units, which emerged in the German army during the First World … READ MORE

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  • The Supreme War Council was an Allied administrative organisation, created by the Entente governments in November 1917 to coordinate their military action. Its most significant achievement was to … READ MORE

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  • World War I introduced new technologies and doctrine in a quest to overcome the tactical stalemate of the trenches. The first tanks had great potential that would be capitalized upon during the next … READ MORE

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  • Whether on the Western or Eastern Front, by German, French, British, Canadian, American and other armies, shows were regularly organized on the front lines and at base camps during the Great War. … READ MORE

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  • The song now known as the "Chanson de Craonne" ("Song of Craonne") remains one of the most well-known First World War songs in France. Several months before the mutinies in spring 1917, its text … READ MORE

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  • The Thiepval Memorial commemorates “the Missing of the Somme”: more than 72,000 British and South African soldiers who were killed in the region between 1915 and 1918 but have no known grave. … READ MORE

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  • The ''tirailleurs sénégalais'' (Senegalese riflemen) figured prominently among the many indigenous peoples who served in the French army during the First World War. By 1918, France had recruited … READ MORE

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  • "Trench Art" is a genre of folk art comprised of items created in wartime, or from war materiel. It may be made by servicemen and women or by civilians, and is particularly associated with the First … READ MORE

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  • As prefect of the ''département ''of the Nord at the outbreak of war, Félix Trépont encouraged the defence of Lille during the invasion, eventually oversaw the evacuation of men and material, and … READ MORE

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  • Founded in Lyon in February 1918, the ''Union fédérale'' was the largest veterans’ association in interwar France. It campaigned for the improvement of veterans’ pensions and for the … READ MORE

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  • Founded on 11 November 1918 with the support of French Prime Minister Georges Clemenceau, the ''Union Nationale des Combattants'' was the largest right-wing veterans’ association in interwar … READ MORE

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  • René Viviani was a leading French politician in the early 20th century. When the war broke out, he was prime minister (''Président du Conseil'') and contributed to the formation of the … READ MORE

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  • The governments of all belligerent countries issued special loans to finance their expenditure after the war began. To mobilize the financial resources of their peoples required concerted war bonds … READ MORE

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  • As a long-lasting industrial war, the Great War led to the realization of considerable profits throughout industrialized countries. Both real and imagined, they structured many wartime facets, from … READ MORE

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  • In the First World War, war toys were regarded as a means to strengthen children’s identification with the war effort. Production and consumption of war toys in 1914 to 1915 reached heights never … READ MORE

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  • One third of the 9.7 million soldiers killed or declared missing during the Great War left behind a widow. The mourning of these women was conditioned as much by the social conventions practiced … READ MORE

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  • The YMCA was a Christian charitable organization that provided a range of rest and recreational facilities for soldiers in Britain and on various fronts during the … READ MORE

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