Keyword: World War I

Why the classic French novel 'Le Grand Meaulnes' still resonates with readers

By Tiphaine Samoyault (En attendant Nadeau)
Novelist Alain-Fournier at La Chapelle-d’Angillon in France, where he grew up. © DR Novelist Alain-Fournier at La Chapelle-d’Angillon in France, where he grew up. © DR

'Le Grand Meaulnes', the only novel by French writer Alain-Fournier, who was killed in one of the first battles of the First World War, has just been published as part of the Bibliothèque de la Pléiade collection by Gallimard. This is usually a sign that a book has been accepted as a French classic even though, ironically, Alain-Fournier's novel is now no longer widely studied in French schools as was once the case. Some may be surprised that this well-known text, which has been translated into English many times, was not already part of the Pléaide collection. Others may wonder at it becoming part of this hallowed series of books at a time when it has fallen out of favour. Whichever one's view, Tiphaine Samoyault argues that this novel of lost youth has an appeal that remains relevant to the modern reader.

Australian fears over French plans for wind farms on WWI battle site

Bullecourt in northern France was scene of heaviest Australian losses in war in battle that became symbolic of incompetence of British generals.

Britain remembers ‘saddest day’ on World War I Somme centenary

Britain's royal family joined ceremonies to mark Battle of the Somme in northern France, the deadliest battle in British history.

Why we don’t hear about the 10,000 French deaths at Gallipoli

Historian John Horne says that not only was this World War I offensive a failure, the French also saw it at the time as a 'colonial' campaign.

WWI troops' graffiti discovered in medieval tunnels in northern France

Almost 2,000 inscriptions left by WWI Allied troops have been found in an ancient chalk quarry sited close to the Somme battlefields.

France’s military brothels: hidden history of World War I

The French authorities set up 'Military Campaign Brothels' in a bid to control sexually transmitted diseases that affected up to 30% of troops.

New French WWI memorial focuses on individuals not nations

'Ring of Remembrance' has names of all 580,000 soldiers of all nationalities who died in Nord-Pas-de-Calais in northern France from 1914 to 1918.

The US sculptor who masked the disfigured French wounded of WWI

Anna Coleman Ladd was director of the Red Cross mask-making studio in Paris where she moulded and painted unique artificial faces.

Hollande in pan-European commemoration marking start of WWI

The French president joined in a Great War centenary ceremony that brought together European leaders and royal representatives in Belgium.

French and German leaders commemorate 100th anniversary of World War One

Presidents Francois Hollande and Joachim Gauck laid wreathes at Hartmannswillerkopf to mark centenary of Germany's declaration of war.

For Bastille Day, France commemorates World War I

France invited all countries involved on the battlefields - including former enemies and colonies-  to join in Paris event as symbol of peace.

'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.

WWI commemorations subject of international ministerial meeting in Paris

Officials from about 30 countries are meeting in Paris to plan four years of commemorative events for the 100th anniversary of World War I.

British soldiers buried in France almost 100 years after battle

The British soldiers, killed in action during WWI, have been buried with full military honours after their remains were found in a field in 2009.