Keyword: Thessaloniki

The forgotten alliance: Serbia's Great War monument to France

Statue in Belgrade bears witness to nations' close friendship that saw French troops land a hundred years ago to rescue their allies.

'The Gardeners of Thessaloniki' : the now forgotten soldiers who fought on France's Eastern Front

By Jean-Arnault Dérens, Laurent Geslin et Simon Rico
Le cimetière militaire français de Bitola. © Laurent Geslin Le cimetière militaire français de Bitola. © Laurent Geslin

In World War I around 400,000 French soldiers, many of them from France's colonies, were deployed in the Balkans. As well as fighting, the troops built roads and bridges and even planted vineyards. But today few French people remember the Eastern Front, and fewer still go to visit the graves of their fellow countrymen who were killed in the fighting along the massive front line that extended over nearly 600km from Albania to Bulgaria. However, as Jean-Arnault Dérens, Laurent Geslin and Simon Rico report, Serbs, Greeks and Macedonians have never forgotten the war on their soil and its turbulent impact on their countries in the 20th century.