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A New Society

A New Society

•The impact of the First World War

•The variety of experience
•The workplace
•The Family
Writing gender history

« A Frenchman born at the start of the century will have experienced two world
conflicts, or a length not attained since the Revolutionary and Napoleonic wars,
and a series of colonial confrontation. Above all, he will have lived through a
disaster to which only the distant memories of the Hundred Years War can be
compared: the defeat of 1940 and the traumas that followed. He will have
suffered at least two major economic crises, which threw into question acquired
benefits he had believed achieved for good. He will have seen four political
systems in succession, one of which abolished democracy, and will have witnessed
two or three crises of the regime, and five or six shifts of power between left and
right with the enactment of grandiose reform plans. Need one add how much his
standard of living and way of life have changed and how all his cultural and
emotional landmarks will have been transformed? Our century has indeed been
one of change»
René Rémond, Notre Siècle (Paris, 1988)
The First World War
The First World War
‘Destroyed Men’
Destroyed men
“I was reduced to making vain gestures. I felt
that the man in me had died.”
Pierre Drieu la Rochelle, La Comédie de
Charleroi (1934), p.72
Politics in Interwar Europe

Finland (1906)
Norway (1907)
Weimar Germany
Britain (1918)
USSR (1917)
Hungary (1919)
Czechoslovakia (192
France (1945)
Greece (1952)
Suffrage campaigns
• ‘For the working woman, the vote... does not
represent her emancipation... because in this
matter of supreme importance, what concerns
her above all is the entire social problem.’
Quoted in Mark Mazower, Dark Continent:
Europe’s Twentieth Century, (Allen Lane,
1998), p.82.
Gender and political life
Working Life
Gender in the Workplace
A new culture?

Cabaret (1972)
‘The over-sexed girl’
- What does this
source tell us about
changing female
behaviour in
interwar Europe?
- How useful is this
source for
gender relations
in interwar
The Family
The birth rate and national security
What does this document tell us about attitudes
towards reproduction?
A new society?
• What changed in terms of gender relations
after the First World War?
• How did the First World War alter gender
relations in interwar Europe?