Demilitarization and militarization (1918–40)
in Mobilizing nature
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Militarization and post-armistice demilitarization had been active and hybrid processes. This chapter explores the history of militarized environments between 1918 and 1940 that was characterized by the lingering physical and cultural legacies of one war and the ever-heightening fears, and then arrival, of another. It begins the story with the devastation wreaked by the First World War. As battlefield tourism increased after the cessation of hostilities, the guidebooks portrayed a war-ravaged land. War-damaged forests that pre-existed the Western Front would simply be subsumed within the new forest. The afforestation programme was therefore poised to transform the region. Cemeteries and memorial sites gave sections of the red zone a national purpose by turning former battlefields into sites of remembrance and commemoration. The trauma and immense loss of life during the First World War made the French determined to avoid another war.

Mobilizing nature

The environmental history of war and militarization in Modern France

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