The year 1917 is commonly referred to by historians of France as ‘l’Année Terrible’, comparable with 1870 and 1940 in the annals of modern French history. To a large degree the local civilian population had been lulled into complacency bordering on apathy during 1915 and 1916 by the general lack of dramatic diplomatic initiatives. True, there had been peace initiatives by President Wilson and the Pope, there had been conferences at Zimmervald and Kienthal, but to all intents and purposes the war situation was not fundamentally different by Christmas 1916 from what it had been in the spring of 1915. There had been no major military breakthrough on either side. Both the major Western Allied powers had undergone their bloodletting campaigns: the French at Verdun, the British on the Somme. To the East the vast Russian army was still able to mount regular offensives, albeit with diminishing degrees of success. All this had undoubtedly contributed to the normalisation and acceptance of the war, and to the civilian population’s preoccupation with domestic and local concerns.
KeywordsTextile Worker Metallurgical Worker General Strike Civilian Authority Military Affair
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