Publication Date


Document Type

Working Paper


Professor John Hall

Journal of Economic Literature Classification Codes

N1, N14, N440

Key Words

France, French Economy, Effects of War I, Poilu, World War I


This inquiry seeks to establish that World War I engendered profound effects over the population, economy, and nation of France. The word ‘profound’ suggests significant and permanent changes affecting individuals, the society, and the economy at large. Penetrating into France’s 20th century history through the account of Louis Barthas, an infantry soldier, provides stark contrast to ‘conventional’ narratives through providing insights into some of the effects of industrialized combat, thereby allowing for a deeper understanding of the traumas suffered. Clarifying developments taking place in the French economy provides a foundation for better understanding some of the effects of WWI. This inquiry stresses that France, once a glorious and a dominant force in Europe, was devastated by the war. This inquiry’s narrative describing the conditions of the French population and economy is drawn from empirical evidence and is presented in the Appendix, strongly suggesting the war’s profound effects on France, thereby contributing towards a greater understanding of French social and economic history in first half of the 20th century.


© Zachary Mckinster

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