The Bretons in the 1914-1918 war

The Bretons in the 1914-1918 war

To close

Title: Military troop advancing through the rubble.

Author : GODET Camille (1879 - 1966)

Creation date : 1917

Date shown: 1917

Dimensions: Height 31 - Width 20.2

Technique and other indications: India ink and watercolor on paper

Storage location: Rennes Museum of Fine Arts website

Contact copyright: © Rennes Museum of Fine Arts, Dist. RMN-Grand Palais / Adelaide Beaudoin

Military troop advancing through the rubble.

© Rennes Museum of Fine Arts, Dist. RMN-Grand Palais / Adelaide Beaudoin

Publication date: March 2016

Historical context

The Bretons in the war

The number of Britons killed during the Great War is estimated at 130,000, which represents a percentage of dead combatants greater than that of the whole of France. This population, strongly rural, of a fairly disciplined nature, not very demanding, constituted an ideal "cannon fodder", renewed by a high birth rate.
The year 1917 was crossed by a deep crisis and attrition that won the combatants, after

the appalling butchery of the Battle of Verdun and the disaster of the Chemin des Dames offensive. However, the mutinies never reached the frontline units.

Image Analysis

Bucket, the designer reporter

Released from military obligations at the time of the general mobilization in August 1914, Camille Godet nevertheless took part in the conflict as a volunteer.
He is assigned to the staff of the 10th army corps, in the topographic service. Its role is to carry out card tricks and corrections. He brings back from his war, which will last during the four years of the conflict, an impressive set of drawings. A precise observer of the regions he passes through, he focuses on describing human life, the fields of ruins ravaged by bombardments that he encounters during his missions. Military troop advancing through the rubble immerses us in the snapshot of military operations, in a devastated setting promised to death, without however bringing us to the heart of the fighting. The bold layout is reminiscent of the world of comics.


The involvement of artists in the conflict

Many Breton artists took part in the conflict and some gave up their lives there. Others were seriously injured, such as Jean-Julien Lemordant. But their contribution to the history of the Great War is also artistic. Godet and Lemordant have written down their war years. Lemordant becomes a visionary and draws universal images from war. Godet belongs to this new generation of artists who, rather than exalting the heroism of the "hairy" ready to make the supreme sacrifice for the defense of the country, seeks to convey the harsh realities of a war in which the population does not believe. not. Paradoxically, artists most often choose to avoid the violence of war and prefer to depict it from a distance.

  • army
  • Brittany
  • War of 14-18
  • hairy
  • ruins


Pierre VALLAUD, 14-18, World War I, volumes I and II, Paris, Fayard, 2004. Annette BECKER and Stéphane AUDOIN-ROUZEAU The Great War: 1914-1918 Paris, Gallimard collection “Découvertes”, 1998. Camille Godet, works of war 1914-1918 , catalog of the exhibition at the Musée du Souvenir des Ecoles de Saint-Cyr Coëtquidan, June 1 - 27, 1999. Pierre MIQUEL The great war Paris, Fayard, 1983.

To cite this article

Patrick DAUM, "The Bretons in the 1914-1918 war"

Video: German War Film, 1914-1918