Neither Agence France-Presse nor Le Monde, the Paris-based newspaper,
have extensive archives online. Le Monde only goes back to 1987 for
its text search and AFP offers none.
So we?re forced to look for some other way to look at news events of
the day. The New York Times has full-text search capabilities back to
1851. Though it gives an American perspective of news events, it?s
extensive. The year 1922 has more than 8,000 articles with ?France?
in them; several dozen with ?Paris France.? The numbers are much large
What follows is a subjective summary of what was reported. The news
of the period was dominated by post-war reparations and the French
seizure of the Ruhr, but I tried my utmost to get as much
"people-related" news into this as possible.
JANUARY: Reports early in the year talk about the nascent airline
industry developing in Europe ? and early fears that someday it will
be possible to deliver bomb and gas attacks via the air to the
capitals of Europe. Howard Mungo, writing for the NY Times, reports
that the airlines are ahead of those in the U.S. in offering
commercial service, thanks to government support.
France is arguing for dramatic expansion of its cruiser and submarine
fleets under international agreements, a move opposed by the U.S. and
U.K. Within France, Nationalist parties are pushing for the move. In
arguing against it, General the Lord of Cavan (U.K.) deprecated the
menace faced by France from Germany, such ?a danger was past.?
Major celebrations in January celebrating the 300th birthday of Molière.
FEBRUARY: The month starts with a Pound Sterling at $4.28 and the
French Franc at $0.0836 (8.36 cents).
Gen. John J. Pershing (head of the American Expeditionary Force)
selects a French artist, Mlle. Micheline Resco, to paint the picture
of him that will be hung in the war museum at the Invalides.
Top French Lawn Tennis players in the national rankings are Mlle.
Suzanne Lenglen and William H. Laurentz.
Production numbers for iron and steel are released for 1921, putting
France #4 behind the U.S., Great Britain and Germany in the post-war
period. France produced 3.3 million gross tons of iron in a 9-month
period and 2.9 million tons of steel.
MARCH: The World League Against Alcoholism is sending its president,
Dr. John G. Woolley, to France and other countries from Paris,
Illinois, to France and more than a half-dozen European countries.
German officials are protesting the heavy weight of post-war payments,
with complaints that it will absorb two-thirds to three-quarters of
the country?s exports. The matter will be referred to the Reparations
Commission, seated in Paris.
French tourism officials are complaining that a 40% rise in the
currency against the dollar is cutting into tourism. The 5-star
hotels have risen from $10 to $15, say newspaper reports in Paris.
On March 8 a gale with record winds of 103 mph cuts telegraph lines
between London and Paris.
APRIL: A shipment of German chickens having cholera renew French
suspicions of their neighbor in reports of Le Matin.
Prof. Albert Einstein, of the University of Berlin, lectures for the
first time in Paris. The speech, at the College of France, was in
French and was attended by Mdme. Marie Curie, among other scientists.
A speech later in the month is cancelled due to ?hostility,? though
accounts are not specific about the cause.
Reports say 700 French soldiers have been killed by tribesmen in French Morocco.
Passenger service is started for the Cherbourg-Paris route, with
planes carrying 4 passengers.
Paris restaurants face a special luxury tax starting April 10, which
is causing them to protest that all music will dropped from
restaurants and disrupt business. News reports indicate that it will
hit the jazz craze, ?which has lasted longer in Paris than any other
city, without showing any sign of waning.?
MAY: Discussions continue over countries? war debts from World War I.
France plans to formally request delay of debts to the U.S. of $13.5
billion due to reconstruction and money owed to it by Russia, Italy,
Germany and other European countries.
France and Belgium agree to a joint defense pact.
Playing of the movie ?Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse? is blocked in
France over objections that the role of American soldiers in World War
I is overplayed.
The Summer fashion shows at Longchamps Race Track herald the
replacement of short skirts with long skirts. The shows are attended
by Jack Dempsey, heavyweight boxing champion of the world, who is in
Paris for a fight.
JUNE: Premier Poincaré defends France?s demands on Germany for
reparations a moderate in a joint American-French ceremony to honor
the war dead at Verdun.
Statistical reports show birth rates dropping in France, with early
1922 births being 13% below the death rate.
The Paris Opéra?s summer season will be doing the début production of
Musorgsky?s ?Boris Godunov,? as well as ?Artemis Troublée.? Maurice
Ravel has also provided a piece called ?Pour Ma Fille? to the Opéra
for the 1923 season.
JULY: The nomination of Charles Maurras, a classical scholar
associated with the Royalist and Catholic movements in France, to the
Académie Française stirs a controversy. Anatole France, the
well-known socialist writer, won?t support him and says that the
appointment may destroy the Académie by politicizing it. Ironically,
Maurras is Anatole France?s grandson, about whom he says, ?My
grandson. He is a reactionary. Naturally.?
Anatole France, 78, has all of his books placed on the ?forbidden?
list by the Vatican?s Censura Liborum Department due to his support of
socialism, causing controversy in Paris.
The French Chamber of Deputies votes to reduce the standing army from
50 divisions to 32. Debates continue over the conscription period,
with 12 to 18 months being discussed.
An anarchist tries to shoot French Pres. Millerand on Bastille Day
(July 14), mistaking the Prefect of Paris Police for him.
AUGUST: U.S. bankers, interviewed by Bankers Magazine, argue against
forgiveness of French & European debt from the war. The French refuse
a German request for a moratorium on debt payments, made at the end of
Wireless communications between the U.S. and France are initiated with
a new broadcast facility in Paris at 79 Boulevard Haussmann. The
messages were sent to Radio Corporation of America (RCA) in New York
Discussions resurface in the English House of Commons regarding
building the Channel Tunnel, proposed and studied as early as 1802.
The French government objects to British proposals to reduce German
French balance of payment deficit jumps to 1.845 billion FF from 588
million FF (1921) in the first 7 months of the year.
SEPTEMBER: Fighting between Greece and Turkey in the Balkans has
divided former allies, with France backing Turkey and the U.S. and
Great Britain backing Greece.
Hautes-Alpes courts say that they?ve had no crimes worthy of a jury
trial in the past 12 months, earning the French department the
honorific of being ?the most honest and moral in all France.?
This month it?s D.W. Griffith?s ?Orphans of the Storm? that is
protested by Royalists upon its showing in Paris. The movie is
criticized for its unfair portrayal of the former French royals of the
?Ancien Régime,? while Griffiths says it?s based on Charles Dickens?
?Tale of Two Cities.?
OCTOBER: The French government is considering pulling troops from the
northern portion of Syria, under French protectorate.
In an economy move, the French government tells Marshall Foch and
other senior officers that if they have a car and gas that they can?t
have a horse and groom.
The Paris Auto Salon attracts a record number of exhibitors (1,100) on
the Champs-Elysées with new deluxe models being featured. Rolls Royce
exhibits a 45 horsepower model.
As the memoirs of the German Kaiser, William Hohenzollern, are
published in series format, French politicians indicate that they?ll
write a rebuttal.
The French Chamber of Deputies passes a bill to give French women the
vote for the second time (the first being in 1919) but the French
Senate has blocked it. Debate renews this month in the Senate.
NOVEMBER: Emigrés from the Russian (Bolshevik) Revolution are widely
employed in Paris and elsewhere in France in manual labor. The
stories of their lives gain press attention after it?s discovered that
the Russian czar?s former bodyguard, Col. Ignatieff, gave a French
woman 50 FF for transportation to find a lost purse. The colonel is a
Paris taxi driver.
The Senate speeches on women?s suffrage pack the chambers with women,
?but few members listen,? reports the NY Times. In mid-month, when
the opponents of women?s suffrage get the floor, the men say that
?Frenchmen are so much better in the treatment of their wives and
women generally than are Americans and Englishmen, that French women
do not need the parliamentary vote.?
Early November sees a dramatic fall in the French franc to 69.50 FF to
the British pound and 16 FF to the dollar.
Debates over reparations continue at a Brussels Conference. French
Premier Poincaré says the country will hold German territory in the
Rhine until reparations are resumed. This period covers the
timeframe of German hyper-inflation.
DECEMBER: Georges Clemenceau, a former French premier, is on a
speaking tour in the U.S. without diplomatic authorization. In St.
Louis, he warns that the U.S. will be obliged to return to Europe some
day and warns, ?You had better take care it will not be too late.?
Clemenceau?s trip sparks controversy over a wide variety of
U.S.-French issues. Clemenceau, nicknamed ?The Tiger,? has his final
speech carried on the radio to an audience said to be 1 million
A price freeze in Paris results in bakers closing 1,862 of the city?s
2,050 bakeries. The city of 5 million runs out of bread, cakes and
Tolstoy?s son, Michael, starts a Paris cabaret act with several others
of the Russian nobility. ?I have been ruined since 1910, when I left
Russia. I love music, so why shouldn?t I attempt to live by it? The
memory of my father forbids me writing ? so I?m going to sing and play
The French Naval Commission says that it will begin construction of 9
new submarines, in part to alleviate unemployment in Toulon naval
Record year for French wine production at 1.8 billion gallons ? the
largest production since 1876.
JANUARY: Under orders from Moscow, the entire staff of the Paris daily
L?Humanité is purged.
Reported European wheat harvests for 1922 drop dramatically, including
a 27% drop in France.
Germany proposes a peace pact requiring a referendum before
participants can go to war. France rejects the proposals and accuses
Germany of reneging on promised delivery of nitrates. French and
Belgian troops plan advance into Essen to seize coal production, over
the objection of U.S. and Great Britain. By mid-month the French
seize control of Essen, impose a 40 percent tax on coal and resume
exports to France.
French taxes ? except salaries ? are all raised 20 percent to balance the budget.
FEBRUARY: Sabotage and demonstrations are held in the Ruhr protesting
French seizure of the coal mines. Miners and rail workers both go on
strike. American senators block war rehabilitation funds from going
The FF is now at 16.87 to the dollar and 87 to the British pound. The
French press term the fall in the currency a plot by international
bankers to force it to withdraw its soldiers from the Ruhr.
Treaties are signed between the U.S. and France regarding former
German colonies in Africa, now to be ruled by France. Both the
Cameroons and Togoland are covered by it.
The League of Nations Labor Bureau reports that French prices continue
to rise, in contrast with deflation in other countries. With rises in
wholesale prices over the past 6 months, they are reported to be 4.5
times prewar levels.
MARCH: French Chamber of Deputies sets the Army at 659,000 and leaves
conscription period at 18 months. The Army is to consist of 466,000
Frenchmen; 95,000 Moroccans; 98,000 Africans from colonies; and 10,000
The tension over the Ruhr continues throughout the springtime, with
the French arresting a German Reichstag member in Paris, Herr Hollein,
a socialist, and accusing him of conspiring against the French state.
French reports made public say the Army is 25 percent below pre-war
levels and the Navy down by 50 percent.
French actress Sarah Bernhardt dies Mar. 26 at age 78, prompting
public outpourings of sympathy in Paris. Bernhardt died in the arms
of her son Maurice, with the words, ?I am deeply touched by the
sympathy of my beloved American friends.? At the Théatre Sarah
Bernhardt the play was stopped in the middle of the first act and the
audience filed out. A state funeral was held that week.
APRIL: The American Committee of Reconstruction announces plans to
build a Florence Nightingale School of Nursing in Paris.
MAY: France reverses course on the withdrawal from Syria, sending 2
divisions of reinforcements. Gen. Pelle, of France, tells Ismat
Pasha, of Turkey, that the French goal is to collect debts owed from
France puts nine executives in charge of Krupp Ironworks on trial in a
court martial over the civil disobedience following the seizure of the
Citroen?s Paris factory is producing 130 of its 10 horsepower cards
per day but is looking at ways to increase production to 500 cars per
French aviator George Barbot crosses the English Channel both ways in
a motor-assisted glider, winning a 25,000 FF prize from Paris Matin.
JUNE: Fights break out in the Chamber of Deputies as Royalists attack
Christian Socialist deputies.
Tourism estimates in France predict a rise in American tourism to
300,000 during the summer, producing $50 million in currency gains for
JULY: France turns down Russian requests for the handover of the
former Russian White Fleet under command of Baron Wrangel. The ships
are being held by the French in Tunis.
Premier Poincaré refuses an offer to mediate the Ruhr situation from the Vatican.
Reports in the NY Times say that the French Air Force is four times
the size of the U.K. or the U.S. and that the country has made a
strategic commitment to development of civil air transport as well.
In 1922, its airlines carried 14,397 passengers and carried 1.17
million pounds of freight and 91,000 pounds of mail.
AUGUST: French tobacco consumption is reported to be up by about 14%,
with some 8 billion cigarettes and 330 million cigars.
France warns American tourists on ?baiting? of Negroes, after a group
of Americans throw a French surgeon from a bus visiting battlefields.
Sister Therèse, known as ?The Little Flower of Jesus,? has her ashes
interred at Lisieux, France. She was beatified by the church in 1922.
She was said to have cast back the Germans from the gates of Paris in
Due to a drop in flour prices, Paris authorities are ordering the
reduction in the price of bread to 1.15 FF per kilo.
SEPTEMBER: The League of Nations convenes in Geneva at the Salle de la
Reformation (where John Calvin preached for a religious reformation).
The U.S. attends only as an observer.
France plans to invest in silkworm culture as a means of reducing the
importation of 1 billion FF per year in silk.
French wheat harvests are up over 1922 but are said to fall short of
targets. However, surpluses from North African crops are said to make
up the difference.
OCTOBER: A French dirigible breaks distance records by flying 4,500
miles non-stop. The Dixmude goes across the Mediterranean to Algeria,
then across the Sahara Desert, returning over Sardinia and Corsica in
less than 119 hours.
Parisians reports say that the average Frenchwoman uses 2 pounds of
face powder per year.
A New York Times report on the 8-hour workday, now in force for 4
years in France reports lower alcoholism; more gardening; more travel
to the country; increase in participation in athletic clubs; and a
rise in technical education.
French government estimates of those crippled in World War I are put
at 1.5 million, just slightly fewer than Germany (1.54 million).
NOVEMBER: The French franc opens the month at $0.0587 and 76 FF to
the British pound.
French officials advance the customs border to match the official
border in Geneva, ending 100 years of a free trade zone around the
city. The zone had been set up in the Treaty of Vienna, then was
planned for abolishment by the Treaty of Versailles ending World War
Harold Denny reports that many of the suffragette battles in France
are being led by women due to social pressures. A shortage of men due
to the Great War makes 2 million women without a potential spouse ?
but they?re being restricted in education and by low-wage jobs.
Estimates say that 8 million French women or 20% of the population are
working at an average wage of $20/month, considered to be a bare
France holds celebrations of the centennial of the birth of
philosopher, Blaise Pascal (1823-1892).
DECEMBER: French planning for the 1924 Summer Olympics at Colombe
Stadium in Paris is underway.
An Indian millionaire, Assan Dina, gives France $6 million for
construction of the world?s largest astronomical observatory on Mt.
Saleve near Geneva.
The Prix Goncourt goes to an almost-unknown 3-volume novel, ?Rabeval.?
It?s the 21rd Prix and was written by Lucien Fabre after the Great
A French seer, who is said to have predicted the death of U.S.
President Harding in 1923, says that the U.S. will suffer from great
earthquakes in 1924. Mme. De Thelème says that there will be fires
and catastrophes of all sorts in the U.S.
Flooding of the Seine River after Christmas causes evacuations in the
area around Paris.
The French dirigible Dixmude is feared on Dec. 28 lost when the body
of a crewman is found on a Sicillian shore. By Dec. 30 loss of the
dirigible is confirmed.
Google search strategy:
Use the Proquest historical search of the New York Times. Proquest is
a fee-based service but available at no charge from larger public
libraries. The search keyed on the term ?France? and subjectively
selected a variety of articles.
There?s such an over-abundance of material that you may wish to search
one month at a time.