Was There a “Lotharingian Axis”? Belgian, French, and Italian Military Policing During the First World War: A Study in Comparative History
Recent scholarship benefiting the historiography of Gendarmerie forces allows us to formulate comparative hypotheses regarding their respective involvements in the First World War. Fighting together in the conflict, Belgium, Italy and France were using military police forces with similar historical, legal and numerical characteristics. Facing comparable challenges—sometimes on the same theatres of operations—, such forces did not—however—share the same fate along the war and in its aftermath—with differentiated changes affecting their structures and representations. Yet does this render impossible the outlining of a “Lotharingian axis” linking the military policing approaches of Brussels, Paris and Rome between 1914 and 1918? This contribution deals with this question by exploring legal, organisational and field practice aspects but also a cultural approach of Gendarmerie policing during the Great War.