Can we avoid periodizing time and giving names to eras? No doubt not. The human being, in an irrepressible way, projects his imagination, reconstructs the past, rewrites history according to his present vision of the world. To name time is to humanize it. Historians also, in their quest for elucidation and intelligibility, cut time into slices but ... to immediately exercise, in a contrary movement, their critical spirit. Dominique Kalifa, in a previous work, had questioned the "Belle Époque", a retrospective creation born in the troubled context of the late 1930s. In contrast to the black clouds that were piling up, we then perceived France at the end of the 19th century as a moment of carefree and joie de vivre. But it was in the 1950s that this expression had most flourished: it constituted an imaginary compensation at a time when the role of France as a power was called into question. The beginnings of the 20th century
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