Couverture Les désorientés

The Disoriented

Experiences of French soldiers in the Dardanelles and Macedonia, 1915-1918


Francine Saint-Ramond

30 €

Contenu central


More than 80,000 French soldiers were sent to the Dardanelles in 1915 by a reluctant government, in an improvised and hastily organized expedition. When failure became obvious, the survivors were convoyed to Salonika for another, even larger expedition to Macedonia, in total nearly 400,000 French soldiers passed through this Army of the East. The soldiers set off apprehensively into the unknown, but the words Constantinople, Orient and Greece conjured up pleasant literary visions for them and their families, who knew nothing of the country.

Their memoirs show that the realities were anything but pleasant: natural conditions, climate, supplies, equipment, ammunition, disease; but their correspondence, censored and self-censored, says nothing of this in France, and the press remains silent. On the contrary, it spread the image of Thessaloniki's pleasures as experienced by officers and press correspondents, an image that remained after the war and meant that their contribution to the Allied victory was underestimated. Their sufferings and sacrifices were ignored, and they were thought to be "hidden away" in the sun. They were bitterly disappointed: they realized that Constantinople was impossible, that Macedonia did not resemble the Greece of their dreams, that not all the people were Greek, and that even the Greeks were not always happy to see them. So why go and die far from home when your own government abandons you, and how does that contribute to defending France?

This book, nourished by the soldiers' moving memories and recollections, bears witness both to their extremely difficult living and fighting conditions, and to the moral crisis they experienced in Macedonia as they discovered it with all its diversity.


Francine Saint-Ramond is a doctor of history. Her research focuses mainly on distant conflicts in the contemporary era. They aim to reconstruct the lives and thoughts of soldiers engaged in these military expeditions, which constitute brutal breaks with their daily lives.

285 pages
16 x 24 cm
Publication: 01/04/2019
ISBN: 9782858313006