Men at War 1914-1918: National Sentiment and Trench Journalism in France During the First World War
Nearly eight million Frenchmen were mobilised during the Great War of whom 1,322,100 (16.6 percent) were killed. No belligerent nation made a greater ... Show synopsis Nearly eight million Frenchmen were mobilised during the Great War of whom 1,322,100 (16.6 percent) were killed. No belligerent nation made a greater sacrifice. Military participation on this scale was unprecedented. Why did the soldiers bear the horrors of trench warfare? How had they been affected? What were their consolations and aspirations? It is these questions which increasingly occupy historians nowadays. Until recently, however, they had to rely primarily on literary testimonies and were therefore faced with all the problems these present when used as historical source material. By contrast, this study uses contemporary sources. It is based on the extraordinarily rich and varied range of trench journalism which brings to life---in the vivd language of the soldiers themselves---not only their suffering but their vulgarity, sentimentality and idealism. It provides an authentic account of the hopes and fears and agonies the soldiers had to cope with under horrific conditions of life in the trenches during the bloodiest war of all time.