A 1911 French "If You Want Peace, Prepare for War" Medal
A 1911 French "If You Want Peace, Prepare for War" Medal - Silver, weighing 64.4 grams, cornucopia hallmarked and marked "2 ARGENT" (silver) on the edge, obverse illustrating Marianne, representative of the French Republic sitting upon a cannon, her right hand resting upon the shoulder of a standing infantryman, his hands placed upon the muzzle of his upright rifle, a group of charging infantrymen in the background to the right, inscribed "SI VIS PACEM PARA BELLVM" (If You Want Peace, Prepare for War) above, "PRO PATRIA" (For Country) below and engraver marked "P GRANDHOMME", reverse illustrating a tablet inscribed "PRIX du MINISTRE de la GUERRE" (Award of the Minister of War), a lion in front of the tablet and a plane on top, with various icons of war on either side (rifle, cannon balls, bicycle, target, swords, stirrups, gloves, horn, drum), inscribed "ENTRAINEMENT PHYSIQUE PREPARATION MILITAIRE" (Physical Training, Military Preparation) above, "FORCE . COURAGE" (Strength . Courage) below and engraver marked "P GRANDHOMME 1911", 50 mm, extremely fine.Footnote: The medal was designed by Paul Grandhomme (active 1870-1920), and unashamedly celebrates the military virtues of physical fitness and preparedness for war. The piece may be seen as an artistic contribution to the political environment characterized or defined by "a will for war", which some historians have identified as present in certain sections of French society (and in other European countries) during the years immediately preceding 1914. In part, this may be explained by the desire of France to avenge the humiliation of her defeat in the Franco-Prussian War of 1870 (and subsequent loss of Alsace and Lorraine). More widespread fears about the growing economic, military, and naval strength of Germany and a series of grave international crises additionally fuelled open talk of the inevitability of war.