Abstract

The integration of women into the French Army as civilian employees during and after the Great War triggered a redefinition of military identity that opened new opportunities for women on a large scale and revealed the strength of antirepublicanism within the French Army. This article traces the process of women's integration into the army by examining how officers resisted giving women a military identity and then examining the surprising ways in which the demobilization process helped to consolidate women's places within the army. Officers ultimately accepted women as part of their institution to the extent that by the mid-1920s, after politicians threatened to give French soldiers the right to vote, senior generals looked to disenfranchised women to help them reduce the number of voters in the army. Officers welcomed women because, like soldiers, they could not vote and thus were seen as being less contaminated by the republican political system.

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