Modern Memory and the Great War

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1 History B357-Spang Modern France: Society, Culture, Politics 22 October 2012 Modern Memory and the Great War Ossuary and cemetery Douaumont (near Verdun), Meuse

2 Battle of Verdun, Feb.-Dec French forces commanded by General Philippe Pétain German forces headed by General Erich von Falkenhayn. Verdun total dead: approx. 300,000 (nearly half left no known remains) wounded: approx. 400,000 French illustrated newspaper from May 1916; imagine what it looked like after seven more months of bombs World War One in France: Introduction

3 World War One, August 1914-November 1918 Overall casualties: 10,000,000 military deaths 20,000,000 military seriously wounded and disabled As an average figure : 900 French soldiers killed, 1300 German every day Cost: US $80,000 every minute of the war (enough at the time to pay rent on six-room house for ten years) munitions plant in Aubervilliers (Paris suburb) World War One in France: Introduction

4 The GREAT War United States in World War Two population: 131 million military war dead: 400,000 military wounded: 670,000 France in World War One population: 40 million military war dead:1.4 million military wounded: 4 million

5 Paris The Western Front,

6 Sources of World War One Alliance System meant to prevent European conflict nationalism in the Balkans; weakness of Ottoman and Austro-Hungarian Empires glorification of war and militarism in era of continental peace cult of the offensive Give your gold for France. Gold is fighting for victory (French war loan poster, 1915)

7 France and the Alliance System, Entente Cordiale between France and Great Britain 1892 Alliance of France and Russia Origins of the War: International alliances meant to prevent war

8 Francis Ferdinand, Archduke of Austria, leaving Sarajevo Town Hall in June 1914 Origins of the War: Reaction to assassination of Austrian Archduke by pan-slavic nationalist

9 : The Hundred Years Peace? Revolutionary and Napoleonic wars, Crimean war, Wars of German unification, overseas expansion Death of the Spanish General in Morocco cover of illustrated supplement to Petit Journal 13. Nov If this keeps up, I am going to kick you all out (France to the protagonists in the Dreyfus Affair, 1898) Origins of the War: War culture in a time of (comparative) peace

10 In two weeks, we shall defeat France, and then we will turn around, defeat Russia, march to the Balkans and establish order there German Interior Minister, Friedrich Wilhelm von Loebell, 1914 Origins of the War: Past Experience (short wars and cult of the offensive)

11 French Mobilization in World War One million Frenchmen mobilized (total population of 40 million) -- approx. 300,000 from African colonies and Algeria Experiences of war: men and mobilization

12 22 August ,000 French combat deaths Aug.-Dec ,000 French combat deaths Reims (approx. 80 miles from Paris) Experiences of war: death and destruction Reims Cathedral (1918) Second Battle of the Marne

13 Atrocities and Total (Propaganda) War The Red Picture Book of German Atrocities (1915) L Illustration, 29 August 1914 How they fight a war les boches = the Huns German postcard, 1915 Experiences of war: civilian victims

14 Barbarism and Civilization? Some Indian gentlemen coming to defeat the German barbarians (postcard labelled in French and English) Experiences of War: Can the barbarian be civilized? African Army and Colonial Troops Days

15 New War and Old Weapons C.R. Nevinson, Paths of Glory (1917) Experiences of War: Trenches, Barbed Wire, Gas

16 Trench Warfare on the Western Front Western Front approx. 475 miles long 25,000 miles of trenches Army used 1000x more shovels annually Sept April 1917: Fifth French Infantry division spent 60 days in active battle Studying French in the trenches, The Literary digest, 20 Oct 1917 Experiences of War: Trenches, Barbed Wire, Gas

17 France in the First World War population: 40 million military war dead:1.4 million military wounded: 4 million Anti-aircraft guns on the platform of the Eiffel Tower, 1916 Experiences of war: The Home Front

18 Post-war France 5 million acres of northern France ruined 60 feet blown off the height of one hill near Verdun tons of unexploded shells removed from département of the Somme alone (approximate size and location shown on map) Destroyed Village The War after the War: the Landscape trenches, 2005

19 Memorials and Monuments The War after the War: Monuments

20 Ossuary and cemetery Douaumont (near Verdun), Meuse

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