Two world wars largely dominated French history in the 20th century. Throughout the years between 1900 and 1950, France and other Western European countries underwent an ongoing industrialization process. The French government of the early 1900s was one of the leftist governments in Europe: a mixture of centrists and socialists. There were laws guaranteeing freedom of religion and the separation of church and state; all government funding of churches was abolished, and all religious buildings were nationalized.
Paris occupied a preeminent position in the art world at the beginning of the twentieth century. After 1900, the French avant-garde continued the development of artistic modernism that began in the nineteenth century. Despite periodic efforts at decentralization, Paris continues to be the economic, political, cultural, and social center of French life.
Below are some fascinating historical photos that show life in France in the early 20th century.