Pronatalism and the Popular Ideology of the Child in Wartime France: the Evidence of the Picture Postcard

TitlePronatalism and the Popular Ideology of the Child in Wartime France: the Evidence of the Picture Postcard
Publication TypeBook Chapter
Year of Publication1988
AuthorsHuss, Marie-Monique
EditorWall, Richard, and Jay Winter
Book TitleThe Upheaval of War: Work and Welfare in Europe
Pagination329–368
PublisherCamrbidge University Press
CityCambridge, New York
Abstract

This chapter presents part of a study of the popular ideology of Frenchness in France at the time of the First World War. This ideology formed a com­plex system and was expressed in a variety of ways, with various stresses and implications, but one of its main features was the central role which it gave to the child. Particularly during the war, children were not only the medium through which harsh adult realities could be made more palatable. Just as at the front the most crucial problem was felt to be one of insufficient numbers, so on the home front Frenchness seemed to be under attack because not enough babies were being born. Thus numerous examples of child breeding and rearing presented as 'the other trench', 'the other duty', 'the other front', are to be found. It seems that in French popular culture the quality of Frenchness was almost indissociable from the idea of quantity.
 

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17872051

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