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The Great Crises of History. Two years later

By Frédéric de Monicault

Twenty-four months have passed since the start of the pandemic. What happened two years after other great planetary quakes in history?

At the beginning of 2020, the coronavirus pandemic begins to spread across the world. The first signs appeared in November 2019 but its generalization only occurred the following year, to bring the whole planet to a standstill at the end of winter. Two years later, in January 2022, several observers point out that we are not much more advanced, with repeated epidemic waves. This two-year period, for other extraordinary events, has brought its share of transformations (whether regime changes, societal developments, new ideological currents, economic phenomena …)?

In the 20th century, the two greatest earthquakes were caused by the two world wars. The first officially ends on November 11, 1918, with the armistice signed between the Allies and Germany in a wagon at Rethondes, in the forest of Compiègne, in the Oise. The victory intends to bring the vanquished to his knees. Two years after this episode, memories of the First World War butchery are far from fading. For example, in November 1920 in Marseille, construction began on the future Basilica of Sacré-Coeur. Its construction was decided to greet both the victims of the plague of 1720 and those of the Great War.

November 1920: the burial of the unknown soldier

In November 1920, in Paris as in Marseille, people continue to think of the dead. In the capital, on November 11, 1920, the unknown soldier was buried under the Arc de Triomphe. How did we come to this ceremony? Since the end of the war, the country has been looking for a symbolic figure when François Simon’s proposal resurfaces. In 1916, this Breton printer, president of the Rennes Committee for Remembrance and the Escort of Honor (an association he founded), asked himself “why should France not open the doors of the Pantheon to one of his unknown fighters, who died bravely for his country”. It will finally be the Arc de Triomphe after a strong gesture: on November 10, 1920, in Verdun, it is up to a young soldier, Auguste Thin, to select one of the eight coffins of unidentified soldiers, exhumed in different regions on request of André Maginot, the Minister of Pensions. Since that date, the highest authorities of the State have become accustomed to coming to meditate in front of the tomb of the unknown soldier.

On May 8, 1945, World War II ended. The day before, the German army signed its surrender in Reims, where American General Eisenhower established the headquarters of the Allied troops. On the 8th, a new act of capitulation was ratified in Berlin in the presence of the Soviet Union in particular. The conflict is barely over when another is already setting in. In May 1947, the Cold War between the United States and the USSR divided the world into two blocks. Its repercussions are felt at the national level.

1947: exclusion of the Communist Party from the government

Thus in France, the Communist ministers left the government. On the evening of May 4, the President of the Council Paul Ramadier, from the SFIO, presented his roadmap which provides for the continuation of the war in Indochina on the external level and, on the internal level, a firm refusal of wage demands. supported by the CGT. Response from Maurice Thorez, the communist leader then vice-president of the Council: “We will support the demands of the working class. “It does not take more for the five communist ministers to be removed from the government, a departure confirmed by two decrees, on May 5 and 6. This shift is in line with American foreign policy, which ardently calls on the various European governments to free themselves from the presence of communist ministers. In France, the PCF had taken part in business from April 1944 within the provisional government formed in Algiers by General de Gaulle. He will be excluded from it until the end of the Fourth Republic.

Source: Historia

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