By K. Varley

ISBN-10: 0230005195

ISBN-13: 9780230005198

ISBN-10: 0230582346

ISBN-13: 9780230582347

In response to vast archival examine, this booklet is the 1st wide-ranging research of the way thoughts of the Franco-Prussian conflict formed French political tradition and identities. analyzing battle remembrance as an rising mass phenomenon in Europe, it sheds new gentle at the dating among stories and the emergence of recent suggestions of the kingdom.

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30 In reality, with almost everyone concluding that such a rapid and total collapse implied something deeply rotten at the core of the nation, hopes of unity could be little more than wishful thinking. There can scarcely be clearer evidence of the bitterness, cynicism, and immediacy of the political fallout of the defeat than the National Assembly enquiries launched in the summer of 1871. Initiated by the monarchist majority elected to bring peace, enquiries into the actions of the Government of National Defence, the surrender of fortified towns, and the events of 18 March 1871 sought to discredit republican and Bonapartist handling of the war and to vindicate the army’s conduct.

70 Consideration must also be given to Wolfgang Schivelbusch’s analysis of the unfolding patterns of reaction to defeat which employs similar psychological terms of reference. Concentrating primarily upon postCivil War America, France after 1871, and Germany following its collapse in the First World War, Schivelbusch identifies a series of common responses to defeat. Beginning with despair at their loss, nations quickly move on to experience feelings of jubilation as the regimes responsible for the collapse are overthrown and turned into scapegoats.

The years 1873 to 1878 were marked by the state’s burial of all fallen soldiers on French territory which in turn triggered the construction of a further series Introduction 23 of locally initiated and funded monuments. Diplomatic tensions with Germany problematized expressions of revanche or bellicose nationalism, while the Government of Moral Order’s clamp-down on creeping radicalism hindered the glorification of republican concepts of the nation in arms. As commemorative acts involved grappling with what the nation had been fighting for, memories of the war at once shaped and were shaped by debates over the relationship between concepts of France and concepts of the Republic.

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Under the Shadow of Defeat: The War of 1870-71 in French Memory by K. Varley


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