France Under Strain, 1917
By 1917, after three years of war, the belligerents’ societies were beginning to fracture. In Russia two revolutions took the divided state out of the world war and into civil war (see Maps 31 and 49). In France, invaded and demoralised by successive failed offensives, a similar domestic crisis gripped the nation in 1917. The political consensus of the early years of the war, the so-called ‘sacred union’ (union sacrée) collapsed. Mutinies in her army, strikes in her industrial cities, a rapid turnover of ministries and calls for a negotiated peace were signs of war-weariness in the nation. Unlike backward Russia, France’s modern society was able to weather the strains of ‘total war’ and emerge strengthened for the final fight to the finish with Germany.