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Anti-war movement, France, 20th century

Melanie A. Bailey


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Anti-war movements in France evolved from the broad internationalist efforts of the first half of the twentieth century to take the form of focused protests against particular kinds of conflicts, such as the “imperialist” war in Indochina or the “dirty” war in Algeria. Although the effect of such activism may be debated, it is clear that their efforts have shaped modern French culture. In the decade before 1914, French socialists and pacifists promoted the formation of institutions that would dispose nations toward diplomacy. By means of newspaper articles, speeches, and rallies, they celebrated the early efforts of the International Court of Arbitration at The Hague; they pressured the French government to empower conflict resolution by funding the court and by fully supporting the work of French delegate Aristide Briand. Internationalists repeatedly averred that their cultivation of pan-European fraternity did not imply that they loved France any less than financiers and businessmen who formed international partnerships. The tension between patriotism and internationalism would be broken in favor of the former. Throughout July 1914, socialist leader Jean Jaurès strived to persuade the French government to declare its neutrality in a Russo-German conflict. War, as he asserted in various articles published in L'Humanité , would be the product of a desire for war on the part of ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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