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Eduardo Garcia Benito (1891-1981)
A la sépulture de Paul Déroulède...
At Paul Déroulède's tomb. The Frontier post
Woodcut with hand colouring through stencils. Publisher: Tolmer & Co. 1915
Given by Sophie Gurney 1994

No. 48 from the 2nd series La Grande Guerre.

A portrayal of the ceremony that took place at his grave in honour of the anniversary of the death of Paul Déroulède, French poet, playwright and politician. Déroulède was president of the Ligues des Patriotes which called for the return of Alsace Lorraine. The region had been annexed to Germany after their victory in the Franco-Prussian War (1870-71). The print's caption relates that one of the first posts brought back from retaken ground in Alsace was placed on Déroulède's grave.

In 1914 the majority of the French army was extremely young. Large numbers of men in active service in 1914 were under 24 years old, too young to much know or care about the War of 1870. However, there were members of the older generation who felt the loss of the Lost Provinces deeply, as suggested by the proportion of the prints devoted to the subject in this series. A plan to recapture Alsace and Lorraine, known as Plan XVII, had been developed and was put into action by General Joseph Joffre in 1914. He underestimated the strength of the German army and the French suffered grievous casualties. Germany retained much of the region and many thousands of Alsace-Lorrainers were conscripted into their army.

The French caption with English translation:

A la sépulture de Paul Déroulède. Le Poteau-Frontière
Le 31 Janvier 1915, dans l'humble cimitière le La Celle-Saint-Cloud, eut lieu une émouvante cérémonie à la sépulture de Paul DÉROULÈDE, en l'honneur de l'anniversaire de sa mort. Dans une touchante et belle pensée, ses amis déposèrent sur la tombe un des premiers poteaux enlevé à la frontière alsacienne reconquise. Aucun hommage n'aurait pu être plus sensible au grand patriote, fidèle chevalier de l'Alsace-Lorraine, qui toujours avait espéré la revanche et qui, d'avance, avait prédit la victoire de nos armes. Comme l'a dit éloquemment sur sa tombe, l'autre grand patriote, Maurice BARRÈS : "O! Destin, il fallait nous laisser DÉROULÈDE, une année encore!"

At Paul Déroulède's tomb. The Frontier post
31 January 1915, in the humble cemetery of La Celle-Saint-Cloud, a moving ceremony was held at the tomb of Paul Deroulede in honour of the anniversary of his death. In a touching and beautiful gesture, his friends deposited on the grave one of the first posts removed from the reconquered Alscian territory. No tribute could have been more appropriate to the great patriot, loyal knight of Alsace-Lorraine, who had always hoped for revenge and had predicted the victory of our arms. As another grand patriot Maurice Barres stated eloquently on his grave, , 'O Fate, you should have left us Déroulède, one more year!'

p.50-1994 (link to catalogue record)

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Print date: 19 Oct 2017 08:07