Lantoine: Join the French Navy 1924
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Lantoine: Join the French Navy 1924

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Dramatic postwar naval recruiting poster poses the question, friend or foe? Two French sailors are portrayed training their powerful searchlight on a battleship off their starboard bow. Wage rates from matelot to first mate are listed along the poster's lower border. Both the French and the Italians increased the size of their navies during the interwar period. Where the money came from after their disasterous participation in World War I, God only knows. They reached parity in 1940, the year that the Germans overran France and the Italians entered the war on the Axis side. In 1942 the Germans  did away with Vichy France, their nominal ally, and occupied southern France where the  Vichy state had held previously sway. With this move they now had control of whatever French naval vessels were in still port. Some parts of the French fleet, however,  were in French controlled north African ports where their captains had to decide for themselves weather to join the Allies or fight for the Germans. The combined fleets of Italy and France now outgunned the British in the Mediterranean and the British navy couldn't permit that, so they attacked the French navy while it was still in the ports of Oran and Mers-al-Kebir. Casualties were heavy and it lead to bad blood between France and Englad, but it had to be done. 31x22 near mint, conservation backed.