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Anarchism, 1914-18Internationalism, Anti-Militarism and War$
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Ruth Kinna and Matthew Adams

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9781784993412

Published to Manchester Scholarship Online: January 2018

DOI: 10.7228/manchester/9781784993412.001.0001

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The French anarchist movement and the First World War

The French anarchist movement and the First World War

(p.155) 7 The French anarchist movement and the First World War
Anarchism, 1914-18

Constance Bantman

David Berry

Manchester University Press

This chapter examines the heated debates within the French anarchist movement after the outbreak of the First World War, leading up to the 1916 Manifesto of the Sixteen and the Russian Revolutions of 1917. It focuses on the movement’s shift from a near-unanimous anti-militarist stance to a more equivocal one, with significant voices being heard in support of interventionism. What were the arguments deployed by the supporters of the Union Sacrée, and how much did they owe to the influence of Peter Kropotkin? Crucially, could the revolutionary project of the anarchists co-exist with participation in the war effort, or did the war in fact expose the growing integration of the working classes into the nation, defusing their revolutionary potential? The chapter then examines how the anarchists’ varied attitudes to the national war effort largely determined their differing responses to the two Russian revolutions of 1917. It concludes that the failure of the movement to prevent the mobilisation of 1914 was a watershed for the French anarchist movement, provoking some profound soul-searching about the state of the movement and, specifically in relation to war, a much less ambitious attitude with regard to anti-militarist positions and tactics.

Keywords:   France, Anti-militarism, General Strike, Interventionism, Bolshevism

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