The March to the Marne
The relationship between the French army and the regime provides one of the central themes in the history of the Third Republic. From its foundation in 1870, the republic sought to integrate the army of Louis-Napoleon into a left-leaning, democratic political system. This experiment failed, historians have argued, because the social origins, political attitudes and professional values of the officer corps sabotaged cooperation with the republic. The nation paid a bloody price for this failure on the battlefields of the Great War. Dr Porch's book challenges many standard assumptions about the place of the army in French political life between 1871 and 1914. The events of the 'Dreyfus years' are examined from the army's standpoint. Dr Porch examines the impact of the Dreyfus affair on the crucial tactical and armaments debates of the immediate pre-war years, tracing the origins of the costly 'spirit of the offensive' while providing the answer to the French army's near disastrous failure to the development of the colonial army and its place within the military structure is also assessed for the first time.