Remembering Gallipoli in a Global Context: France and Senegal

Abstract : The idea that France’s involvement in the Dardanelles Campaign belongs to the forgotten history of the First World War proves, on closer inspection, to be more trope than truth. In the century since the French Navy and Army joined the British attempt to force the Straits and seize Constantinople, the history of the campaign has never fallen durably out of the public domain, but then neither has it become a singular focus for remembrance of the First World War, while the attention paid to it has fluctuated in intensity and scope, most recently in relation to the 'rediscovery' of the role of French Empire troops from Senegal. Why then has the history of the Dardanelles remained stuck in the minor key of public memory? From the French perspective, Turkey was the antechamber to a longer and (unlike Gallipoli) ultimately victorious campaign in the Balkans, Greece and Macedonia from 1915-18, which was itself overshadowed in scale, immediacy and impact by the war of attrition on the Western Front. Contrary to the Australian, New Zealand or even British experience, the principal theatre of French operations was on home soil. As a front line nation under partial occupation, France has selectively remembered the geography of the Great War as much as its history.
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Submitted on : Monday, January 2, 2017 - 6:55:48 PM
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Matthew Graves. Remembering Gallipoli in a Global Context: France and Senegal. History Australia, Monash University ePress, 2015, Journal of the Australian Historical Association, 12 (1), ⟨http://www.tandfonline.com/toc/raha20/12/1⟩. ⟨hal-01424774⟩

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