Beyond ‘Parade Ground Soldiers’: French Army Assessments of the British in 1918
When the Germans launched their Spring Offensives of 1918, they placed tremendous pressure on the alliance between Britain and France.
While French and British soldiers had formed strong relations through mutual cooperation at the Somme in 1916, the French experiences at Verdun and during the mutinies of 1917 had changed the way they viewed the war and, most crucially, how they would view any allied failures.
When the British were forced to retreat following the beginning of Operation Michael in March 1918, the French reacted with fury. This article examines the nature of the French evaluations of the British during 1918 and the extent to which they judged their ally to have failed them.
By using the collections of the Commissions de contrôle postal for the French army during the war, it will show the depths to which French opinion of the British fell in the first half of the year but also how British actions towards the war’s conclusion managed to restore some of their honour in French eyes.
War and Society
Volume 38, 2019 – Issue 4