Leading the procession were the mutiles de guerre, in wheelchairs or with the help of crutches or comrades they rolled or hobbled down the Champs Elysees. There were horribly disfigured veterans - the gueules cassees ('smashed faces') - and those psychologically destroyed by their experiences in the trenches. While France was not alone in having had enormous losses in the war the scale of her casualties was remarkable as a proportion of the population mobilised. The bulk of four years' fighting on the Western Front had been on French soil and great stretches of northeastern France had been laid waste by war and German depredation. France's concerns at the war's end were reparations and guarantees against renewed German aggression. This was the context to France's willingness to make concessions in the Middle East.