France in 1938

France in 1938



At the beginning of 1938, containment of Nazi Germany by a coalition of eastern and western democracies without resorting to war was still a distinct possibility. By the end of 1938, however, Germany was much stronger, the western democracies stood alone, and war was all but certain. The primary cause for these developments, argues Benjamin F. Martin, was the foreign and domestic policies adopted by the French government and embraced by the French people. In a riveting account of the dark days leading up to France's defeat and occupation, Martin reveals a great and civilized nation committing a kind of suicide in 1938. Using movies, novels, newspapers, and sensational court cases, Martin weaves an absorbing tale of France's collective fear and melancholy during this troubled prewar period. He masterfully counts the small change of history - those seemingly unimportant incidents that together compose daily life - by chronicling the four seasons of 1938. From the upset of relative calm in the first quarter with Germany's invasion of Austria to the sense of doom reflected in the year's films noir, Martin addresses both the day-to-day events and the major topics of the time. perspective of 1940. Exhibiting his trademark compelling narrative style, sense for unusual and telling detail, and vivid portraits of individual men and women, Martin brings remarkable texture to this depiction of a society and period. He recreates life in France during the year when terrors to come could already be imagined only too well.

LOC Call Number

DC389 .M273 2005

Publication Date



Department of History


Louisiana State University Press


Baton Rouge

France in 1938