A War Without an End: French Gendarmes and the Post-conflict Process (1918–1921)
1 November 1918 was almost an ordinary day of work for French gendarmes—except that it heralded new problems. These policemen with military status not only had to maintain discipline in the armed forces, but also had to monitor populations and maintain public order. Despite their essential contribution, they received little official recognition at the end of the First World War and were even hated by veterans. Scholars themselves have—until recently—paid only limited attention to their wartime experience. This article offers a study of their hardly spectacular but essential assignments, including the search for deserters, the prevention of illegal exhumations and the retrieval, identification and surveillance of military equipment. Exploring their role in the aftermath of the Great War allows military history to overcome its limitations and expand towards social history and the history of security.