By A. Capet
This assortment gathers some of the best-known names within the English-speaking international within the box of Anglo-French family, offering an authoritative survey for complex undergraduate and postgraduate scholars learning diplomacy within the lengthy 20th century, beginning with the the most important interval of the 1st global conflict and finishing with the both complicated query of the second one Iraq battle. The emphasis is on British perceptions of the Entente, a topic which has no longer, previously, obtained the eye it merits.
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Notes 1. Peter Buitenhuis, The Great War of Words: Literature as Propaganda, 1914–18 and After (London: Batsford, 1989), p. 59. 2. British Museum (Library), Bibliography of Books on the Great War Acquired between 1914 and 1919 (Unpublished. S. Ensor, A Subject Bibliography of the First World War: Books in English 1914–1978 (London: Deutsch, 1979). 3. See for example the Times Literary Supplement, 21 December 1916; among the provincial libraries whose de-accessioned stock provided material at the British Library during research for this chapter were Paisley, Salford, Gateshead, Rotherham, Merthyr Tydfil and Rochdale.
Here the writers, proclaiming the (French) nation in arms, were almost invariably issuing a wake-up call to their British readers. 35 Despite the enthusiasm expressed on their arrival, French observers were also said to find the ordinary British soldier odd in his behaviour: ‘he likes tea and drinks it all day long, he almost lives on jam and biscuits, and . . his chief recreation is not sport but shaving’; when in tight corners the British soldier was noted to sing rather a lot. The general perception was that the British soldiery concentrated on order, discipline, spit and polish and appearance, while the French soldier (who was, after all, called a ‘poilu’ – a hairy one) had very likely not shaved for some time and was dressed, thought Dawbarn, in a uniform ‘made for the march, not the parade ground’ (though of course British soldiers were seen by the French only on parade, not when slumming it in the trenches).
31 Many writers emphasised even if unintentionally the shared experience of war which meant that Britain and France were undergoing the same experience – sons gone into battle, deprivation and rationing, xenophobia and enemy atrocities, failure to understand the trenches, maiming, bereavement and loss. Sometimes it was more overt: it was reported by Parisians that Zeppelin raids on London would make Britain really ‘grasp’ the war, now it had come home to the civilians, as it already had in eastern France months earlier.
Britain, France and the Entente Cordiale since 1904 (Studies in Military & Strategic History) by A. Capet