Dare Call it Treason: The True Story of the French Army Mutinies of 1917

by Richard M. Watt

Book cover for Dare Call it Treason: The True Story of the French Army Mutinies of 1917

On the Western Front, mutiny was everywhere in the air. "The operation must be postponed," one general wrote. "We risk having the men refuse to leave the assault trenches." French soldiers cursed their commanders, drank openly in the trenches, singing ditties about war profiteers and wooden graveyard crosses. Their commanders were unable to stem the distribution of papillons, the pacifist leaflets that filled French barracks like white spring snow. As May 1917 approached, commanders adjusted to the troop upheavals, coining a euphemism ("collective indiscipline") to substitute for the more terrifying "mutiny". Long out of print, Richard M. Watt's engulfing narrative of the calamitous French army mutinies throws fresh light on the weakness of the Army of France in the last years of the war and, indirectly, on the importance of American intervention. Its argument dovetails smoothly with that of John Mosier's THE MYTH OF THE GREAT WAR, which has drawn so much recent attention.

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