In the same vein, the wearing of mourning clothes, a practice still in force in all social classes in France at the time, was felt by some of those who were mourning as a way of setting them apart from the rest of the community. Read more. This contributed to the birth of the veterans’ movement, a new mass movement in French society. A galaxy of innumerable organizations, the movement was dominated by two large associations, the Union Fédérale des mutilés (UF) and the Union Nationale des Combattants (UNC). The perceived failure of the Ruhr occupation revealed that wartime means where henceforth unable to solve peacetime issues in the long term. 5. Significantly, Briand became the object of a general worship by public opinion in the following years. The 1st Battle of the Marne was raging there and the French needed back up. She now lives in Paris and besides history, she loves good food, wine and books. France; Memorial rites; ceremonies; Demobilization; War Memorials; Veterans, Ceremony for the Unknown Soldier, Paris, 11 November 1920, Ceremony for the Unknown Soldier, Verdun, 10 November 1920, Celebration of the 50th jubilee of the Third Republic in Paris, 1920, French soldiers march through the Arc de Triomphe, From demobilization to association: the reintegration of the veterans, Between war and peace: the cultural demobilization. The UF had its origins in a coming together during the war of a number of local associations working to meet the new needs of disabled veterans. How would they reintegrate into a daily life that they had left for several years? Check Amazon’s best-seller list for the most popular travel accessories. Life during WWI was characterized by the inescapability of the conflict; soldiers faced imminent danger and unhealthy trench conditions, while civilians dealt with rationing, evacuations and air raids. There was one gun that tormented the Parisians. It was known as the « Paris gun ». This measure did not entirely meet expectations, and vandalism was commonly practiced in the trains driving the men to their reveals: in early 1919, about 13,000 broken windows and 400 damaged doors were reported monthly. Having Germany pay the reparations imposed by the Versailles Treaty was then a central issue for the public during this time and the firm policy set up by Prime Minister Raymond Poincaré (1860-1934) in this direction received strong popular support, including when it led to the military occupation of the Ruhr region in 1923, as a retaliation against Germany’s delayed installment. It was a disastrous decision: within six months France was defeated and Napoleon had been captured. The History . This idea would come to be the core of the “civil religion” for which veterans would become the priests on every 11 November throughout the interwar period, at the 36,000 war memorials held throughout the country. True, the memory of the losses and destructions caused by the Great War remained paramount in this new cultural configuration, but they were henceforth given a different meaning. From a broader perspective, the mid-1920s can be considered as a major turning point. Elisabeth is born in a small town near Versailles. Moreover, the Spanish flu pandemic, in 1918 and 1919, had resulted in approximately 450,000 dead. They did not resume professional contacts with their German peers until the mid-1920s and an undercurrent of defiance never vanished during the interwar period. The drafting of a law of 31 March 1919 on this subject illustrates the decisive part played by the veterans’ movement as a forerunner of the Welfare State in France. The French people responded by abolishing the monarchy, the third time they had done so in the previous 80 years. World War I memory quiz – anti-war figures, World War I memory quiz – military commanders, World War I memory quiz – political leaders. The loss of significant provinces like Alsace and Lorraine was a source of tension and nationalism for the next 40 years. On March 29, 1918, a shell was shot from the Paris gun and exploded on Saint-Gervais church, in the 4th district, killing 88 people. Paris during WWI was behind the lines but … Demobilizing 5 million men was a highly complex operation. Frequently, the mobilized had been replaced. Title: “France before World War I” To support our blog and writers we put affiliate links and advertising on our page. During 1913-14 Poincare made some outspoken criticisms of Germany and the Kaiser. 1,7 million dead, 4,2 million wounded out of 40 milion inhabitants. The urge to express gratitude found an outlet in an intense ritual activity between 1918 and the early 1920s: victory celebrations, festivals for the returned regiments and gratitude festivals were organized at national as well as local levels. France and its people began to enjoy the benefits of industrialisation and modernisation: cheap resources, technological developments, new inventions like the telegraph, automobile and mass-produced consumer goods. More right-wing than the UF, the UNC would soon emerge as the largest association of the veterans’ movement, with up to 900,000 members. 3. France and the Legacy of the Great War, 1919-1939, in: French History and Civilization. This broad grouping would gather up to half of the 6.5 million formerly mobilized. As you know, between 1914 and 1918, Europe was the theater of the first great modern war, and France, one of its actors. The government reacted with great energy against the breaking out of a massive industrial protest in the spring of 1920. Reintegrating the demobilized soldiers into civil society also constituted a major challenge in the immediate context of the post-war economic reconversion, which resulted in the birth of an original mass movement, the veterans’ movement. Almost every men fought the war. The military pensions act, adopted by Parliament on 31 March 1919, was indeed particularly liberal in comparison with the legislation previously in force. Today we’re celebrating the 100th anniversary of WWI all over the world. These measures failed, however, to solve the unemployment levels being experienced by the veterans. La sortie de guerre des soldats français, 1918-1920, Paris 2004, pp. The French rulers were also occupied with the ‘race for empire’ and for securing France’s position in Europe, particularly against a rapidly industrialising and militarising German empire. Prost, Antoine: Les anciens Combattants et la société française, 1914-1939, Paris 1977. New affluence gave rise to a period of urban, cultural and artistic growth called the Belle Epoque. In 1848 another revolution implemented another republic; Louis-Napoleon, one of Bonaparte’s nephews, returned from exile to be decisively elected as French president. A common feeling experienced by these different categories of war victims was a sense of social exclusion. 101‑119. The order of release was mainly determined by the time spent in the army, the number of dependent children also being taken into account. Industrialisation, which had occurred much later in France than in Britain, was nevertheless well underway by the mid-1800s. Railway construction was expanded rapidly, furthering internal trade and exports. Parisian stations have never been as active as during WWI as they welcomed thousands of people everyday. The authorities requisitioned all the Parisian taxis so that they could drive more soldiers to the battlefield. The new pacifism was actually a “patriotic pacifism”. Promoting peace no longer implied denouncing a warlike enemy, but rather securing reconciliation. These cabs were soon nicknamed the « Taxis de la Marne » and became one of the most famous symbols of France and Paris during WWI. Despite their reintegration into civil society, many veterans considered their war-time experiences as part and parcel of their specific identities. See the article Dalisson, Rémi, Julien, Elise: Bereavement and Mourning, Commemoration and Cult of the Fallen (France), in: 1914-1918-online. Espérances, déceptions et commémorations de la victoire dans le département du Puy-de-Dôme en sortie de guerre, 1918-1924, Paris 2009. However, they could not overlook a feeling that was deeply rooted in French republican principles and that was widely held in the civilian population. In the subsequent peace negotiations, Paris surrendered to Prussia the provinces of Alsace and Lorraine. A Day in the Life of a WW1 Soldier. by Ute Daniel, Peter Gatrell, Oliver Janz, Heather Jones, Jennifer Keene, Alan Kramer, and Bill Nasson, issued by Freie Universität Berlin, Berlin 2014-10-08. He also conducted negotiations and foreign visits to strengthen France’s existing alliances, drawing it closer to both Russia and Britain. Papers from the George Rudé Seminar 2 (2009), pp.  By contrast, veterans assumed that the Great War had been waged against war. 2. The operation was carried out in two main phases, the first between December 1918 and April 1919 (2.5 million men), the second between July and September 1919 (2 million men). Paris during WWI served as a backstage, it was far from the trenches but still remained a strategic center for the French authorities and population. Abroad, the French consolidated their empire and sought to expand it. French post-war society had to face the consequences of a mass death experienced on an unprecedented scale. Audoin-Rouzeau, Stéphane / Becker, Annette: Audouin-Rouzeau, Stéphane / Prochasson, Christophe (eds. The popular view – that they must one day be reclaimed for France – was a considerable source of anti-German nationalism. No less than 2.5 million people had lost a father or a husband. It passed laws guaranteeing freedom of religion and the complete separation of church and state; government funding of churches was abolished and all religious buildings were nationalised. The fake City of Lights never came to an end because the war did before it was complete! The emperor’s meddling initiated the Crimean War with Russia in 1853, then conflict with Austria in 1859. The figures of the internal enemy also faded away, illustrated by the reelection of Caillaux in the Lot. Demiaux, Victor: Post-war Societies (France) , in: 1914-1918-online. The failure of the great strike of May 1920 marked the apex, but also the reflux, of this wave of protests. This site was updated last on August 19th 2020. By the same token, it cast a tragic doubt over the usefulness of the sacrifices made during the war and contributed to the further establishment of pacifism at the heart of French political attitudes in the interwar period. By 1924-1925, the French had begun to realize that their wish to come back to the pre-war era could not be fulfilled. URL: https://alphahistory.com/worldwar1/germany/ The largest of these celebrations occurred in Paris on 14 July 1919, with participants coming from all over the country. International Encyclopedia of the First World War, ed. Reintegrating the demobilized soldiers into civil society also constituted a major challenge in the immediate context of the post-war economic reconversion, which resulted in the birth of an original mass movement, the veterans’ movement. In the North of France, the German army had settled a gun uniquely made for bombing Paris. The government also introduced a progressive income tax, with higher rates for higher earners – a radical innovation for its time. The idea was to create a life sized replica of the city in the suburbs, where the damage would be less important if shells fell. The artist Maximilien Luce painted the Gare de l’Est station during the war. WWI was already one century ago! Far from marking a clear-cut limit between wartime and peacetime, the armistice and the signing of the Versailles Treaty constituted the beginning of a blurred era during which the potent aspirations for a return to pre-war normalcy were deeply intertwined with the legacy of total warfare. This marked the reactivation of the political fault lines that existed prior to 1914. Commemorating the dead, organizing the demobilization, and dismantling the bellicose representations that had been forged during the four years of total warfare remained crucial stakes for French society into the mid-1920s. Cassin’s role proved paramount in the elaboration of a new kind of legislation aimed at protecting the rights of the war victims.