‘My Heart Softened to the French … All at Once I Loved Them’: The Entente Cordiale at the Somme
In this chapter, Kempshall gives an overview of how the events of 1916 brought the British and French soldiers together into strong working relationships. By explaining how the newly arrived British soldiers lacked confidence and military ability, Kempshall shows how the French were able to pass on valuable lessons in fighting a trench war in the build-up to the Battle of the Somme. Through postal censor records for the French army, this chapter shows how those soldiers came to evaluate and appreciate their British ally. However, Kempshall also explains how the ongoing Battle of Verdun changed the way French soldiers viewed the war, and gives an early indication as to how this would affect relations with British soldiers in the years ahead.