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11-08-2015, 16:25

PRESSURE ON THE FRENCH TO ATTACK IN 1 9 17

The French need for a brilliant victory in 1917 stemmed in part from long-standing humiliation over the German occupation of a substantial part of the nation. Beyond that, however, the shakiness of France's allies, Russia and Italy, seemed to require decisive action on the western front. Finally, the possibility that the French army itself was being worn to a nub was frightening. The causes of discontent were easy to see. Entitled to seven days' leave every four months, soldiers went a year or more without getting away from the combat area. Even the lucky soldier who got his leave found that the army had made no provisions for transportation to get him home. At the same time, supervision over troops once they reached rear areas was lax; drunkenness and indiscipline were one consequence, but so too was the soldier's vulnerability to pacifist and defeatist propaganda commonly available by the middle of the war. Despite the national passion for food, rations for front-line soldiers were poor. Rest camps near the front lines we shabby and dangerously close to the fighting. The ready availability of alcohol at local cafes further undermined discipline,

 

 

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