War and Faith
The Religious Imagination in France, 1914-1930
AUTHOR: Becker, Annette
PUBLISHER: Bloomsbury Publishing Plc
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In the early weeks of the First World War, France experienced a patriotic revival, embodied in the term 'Union Sacr#65533;e', in which an upsurge in religious faith became allied with the national cause. For many French Catholics, the conflict was perceived as a 'holy' war and it was believed that soldiers who were prepared to sacrifice their lives for the nation would go straight to heaven. By 1918, after four years of trench warfare and immense numbers of casualties, the fire of this religious 'awakening' continued to burn in the hearts of many French men and women. This stimulating book explores this relationship between religious faith in France and the French experience of the First World War.
Throughout the book, the author focuses upon the concerns of the laity - the fears and hopes, sufferings and consolations of French soldiers and their families. The roots of the religious revival are traced back to the French defeat in the Franco-Prussian War of 1870-1 which was interpreted by the church as a judgement upon the nation, and the formal separation of church and state in 1905. The new ecumenicism which emerged, incorporating both Protestants and Jews, allowed the development of spiritual solidarity behind the national cause.
The author also provides a comparison between the awakening of French religious faith with the corresponding revivalism movement in the United States upon their entry into the war in 1917.
This book will be essential reading for anyone interested in French history, war studies and religious studies.
PUBLICATION DATE: 5/1/1998
CATEGORY: History, Religion