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Consumption and Total Warfare in Paris (1914–1918)

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Abstract

The plague, famine, war — ‘Pestis, fames et bellum’ as the expression goes — these three age-old scourges, these three horsemen of the Apocalypse still held an important place in collective representations when France and her capital entered the First World War. In 1914, Parisians aged over 50 still bore in mind the 23,000 deaths due to tuberculosis, typhoid or smallpox, as well as the acute food crisis that had struck Paris during the Franco-Prussian war. With its four million inhabitants (10 per cent of the French population) on the eve of the First World War, the Paris region depended on a particularly vast and complex supply and distribution system. To meet the capital’s needs for food meant access to ever more distant production zones, more specialised flows and more actors. In this respect, the ‘Halles Centrales’, in the heart of Paris, played a major role in the distribution of food. There, in the ‘stomach of Paris’, a spectacular, noisy business took place, causing huge urban repercussions on the city centre and on the life of Parisians.

Keywords

  • Social Contract
  • Parisian Population
  • Social Drama
  • Retail Market
  • Fair Price

These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

This contribution partly resumes the text of the paper we presented on the occasion of the fiftieth annual congress of the Society for French Historical Studies held in Paris in June 2004. Thanks to Agnès Mougeot for her help with translation.

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Notes

  1. M. Tournier, ‘L’envers de 1900, le lexique des luttes et de l’organisation ouvrière en France’, Mots, 5 (Oct. 1982), pp. s103–26.

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  2. See T. Bonzon, ‘La société, l’Etat et le pouvoir local: l’approvisionnement à Paris, 1914–1918’, Guerres mondiales et conflits contemporains, 183 (October 1996), pp. 17–18

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  3. J. Horne, ‘Etat, société et ‘économie morale’: l’approvisionnement des civils pendant la guerre de 1914–1918’, Introduction to ‘Nouvelles pistes de l’Histoire urbaine en 1914–1918’, Guerres mondiales et conflits contemporains, 183 (Oct. 1996), p. 6.

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  4. M. Tournier, ‘L’envers de 1900. Le lexique des luttes et de l’organisation ouvrière en France’, Mots, 5 (Oct. 1982), pp. 103–26.

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© 2006 Thierry Bonzon

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Bonzon, T. (2006). Consumption and Total Warfare in Paris (1914–1918). In: Trentmann, F., Just, F. (eds) Food and Conflict in Europe in the Age of the Two World Wars. Palgrave Macmillan, London. https://doi.org/10.1057/9780230597495_3

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1057/9780230597495_3

  • Publisher Name: Palgrave Macmillan, London

  • Print ISBN: 978-1-349-54107-2

  • Online ISBN: 978-0-230-59749-5

  • eBook Packages: Palgrave History CollectionHistory (R0)