France and the Après Guerre, 1918-1924 - Cover
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France and the Après Guerre, 1918-1924

Illusions and Disillusionment

by Benjamin F. Martin

270 pages / 6.00 x 9.00 inches / no illustrations

West European History

  Paperback / 9780807125090 / August 1999

Although victorious in the First World War, the French of the Third Republic soon learned the devastating price of success. The grave loss of life and incredibly harsh conditions during and after the war shook survivors to the core. The extraordinary suffering would eventually bring about the collective failure of national nerve in the 1930s that led to the appeasement at Munich and the collapse before German invasion in June 1940. But during the Après Guerre — the half decade following World War I — the French held out hope for a return to the ideal conditions of the Belle Epoque, a hope that gradually gave way to disillusionment.

Benjamin Martin’s close examination of the aftershocks felt by the French and their world at war’s end is a story masterfully told and thoroughly gripping. Using astute analysis and the cultivation of detail to paint a fresco of French society, Martin vividly describes the period’s changes, remainders, exultations, fears, lives, deaths, addictions, crimes, figures grand and small, significant and not, remembered or forgotten. Through compelling character sketches of the great politicians of the day, Martin reveals the inner workings of French political life and its role in society as political figures sought to make sense of the tumultuous times.

France and the Après Guerre shows in convincing detail that the men who had won the war had lost the peace. Their struggle, and that of French society, makes a captivating and moving story.

Benjamin F. Martin is the author of four previous books, France and the Aprs Guerre, 1918-1924: Illusions and Disillusionment; Crime and Criminal Justice under the Third Republic: The Shame of Marianne; The Hypocrisy of Justice in the Belle Epoque; and Count Albert de Mun: Paladin of the Third Republic. He has served as a consultant and an on-air interview subject for documentaries broadcast on the History Channel and the Learning Channel. He is a professor of history at Louisiana State University and lives in Baton Rouge.

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