‘‘The Revolution That’s Coming’’
Toward the end of a series of articles on revolutionary syndicalism that
appeared in 1906 in the conservative Paris daily L’Écho de Paris, journalist
Gaston Dru wrote in exasperation:
I stop myself, for it would take me a book to give the history of
antimilitarism since 1902, to study the formation of groups like the
Ligue internationale pour la défense du soldat, the Ligue antimili-
tariste internationale . . . to analyze the issues of La Voix du Peuple, Le
Conscrit . . . to recapitulate the outcome of this agitation: the inci-
dents in the Brest and Toulon arsenals, where soldiers sang the ‘‘Inter-
nationale’’ . . . Poitiers, where artillery men revolted . . . Auxerre,
where thirteen soldiers deserted in less than a year. I stop myself, for it
is impossible to describe the storm of insanity that, for two years now,
has swept away the reason of the country.∞
The ‘‘storm of insanity’’ that Dru felt demanded a book-length account to
comprehend fully is the subject of this work. Yet rather than stopping in 1906
when the storm was near its height, this study will examine French anti-
militarism from the establishment of the Third Republic during the Franco-
Prussian War of 1870–1871 to the outbreak of World War I in 1914. Further, it
will not be limited to syndicalists (trade unionists) but will range from
anarchism to socialism in an e√ort to encompass the di√erent antimilitarist
ideologies and strategies that existed in this period.
One objective of this book, then, is to produce a long-overdue narrative
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