In 1870, Napoleon III declares the war to Germany. Hardly eight month later, it is the defeat. France is condemned to pay repairs. But most seriously, it is the annexation of Alsace and part of Lorraine to Germany being unified. Vis-a-vis this humiliation, journalists and politicians questions arise. The French soldiers did not show themselves very combative, retreating in a great disorder. And the peasants of the areas of combat did not show a great patriotism. Didn't they prefer to sell their products to the Germans than to nourish their soldiers?
"What made the education of these people? “ can be heard in the Parliament.
The school is strongly challenged. It must now train children to become citizens ready to defend the fatherland!
At the origin, the school was ensured by the Roman Catholic Church, only official religion in France. After the Revolution, the state school developed without to eliminate the catholic school. At the beginning of the 20th century, the competition between the state schools and catholic is very sharp. In the village of Elie and Florentine, to avoid the conflict and to keep the unit of the population, a solution is adopted: the boys go to the state school, the girls go to the catholic school. The Florentine's notebook (documents 1 to 4) shows how patriotic morals is taught in a catholic school:
"The school is the place where people work to make us educated and honest persons. The school today is built better, healthier, held better than that of formerly. It is necessary to be grateful towards the fatherland of all this progress by liking the school and by having the ambition to make it honor.We go to the school to acquire there the instruction and education, these two so invaluable goods. By the instruction and education, the hard child even without fortune can rise to the high positions."
"The fatherland is the whole of the men living on the same ground, having the same history and governed by the same laws. We have the right, us, French, to be proud of our fatherland because it is the ground of devotion, genius and honor."
The maps (documents 5 and 6) are raised in the book of geography of Florentine (Hatchette 1906). The France map shows that our country can be beautiful and be balanced only if Alsace and Lorraine are French. The map locating France in the world shows that our country is at equal distance from the ends of planet. France is the center of the world! In Antiquity, the navel of the world wasn't in Delphes, in Greece?
The document 7 shows how, in this book of geography, the concept of human races was taught:
"Europe contains 380 million inhabitants, the quarter of the population of the sphere. It counts approximately 38 inhabitants on average per square kilometre of extent. These inhabitants belong mainly to three races which are:
the Latin race, Greeks, Italians, Spanish, Portuguese, French
the Germanic race, Germans, Dutchmen, English, Scandinavians
the Slavic race, Russians"
On cover page of the “Book of Recitation and Morals” (Larousse about 1895), it is mentioned: “Work registered on all the departmental lists and the list of the books freely provided by the Town of Paris to its elementary Schools”. Documents 8 to 12 show how the children were prepared to the sacrifice of their life, to the war for the Fatherland. Document 13, positively putting in scene a king of Persia, gives an international opening.
The document 14 gives an example of morals and political courage:
"The republican mayor of Rennes, a tailor who saved this city of Terror and the Vendée, is attacked one day by a furious rabble, who, under pretext of famine, wants to lapidate their magistrates.
He goes down, intrepid, of the Town Hall, in the middle of a hail of stones; wounded with the face, he wipes his forehead while smiling and says:
“I cannot change the stones into bread… But if my blood can nourish you, it is for you to the last drop.”
They fell on their knees."
Introduction in the knowledge of the Army and the military problems is illustrated by the documents 15 (Book of Recitations) and 16 (Book of Geography).
This teaching is supplemented by the learning of the patriotic songs that all our grandfathers sang us:
"La victoire en chantant
Nous ouvre la barrière
La liberté guide nos pas Freedom guides our steps
Et du Nord au midi
La trompette guerrière
A sonné l'heure, l'heure des combats.
Tremblez ennemis de la France, Tremble enemy of France,
Rois ivres de sang et d'orgueil. Drunk kings of blood and pride.
Le peuple souverain s'avance : The sovereign people advance:
Tyrans descendez au cercueil. Tyrants go down to the coffin.
La république nous appelle, The republic calls us,
Sachons vaincre ou sachons périr; Let us overcome or let us perish;
Un Français doit vivre pour elle, A French must live for it,
Pour elle un Français doit mourir. For it a French must die.
Un Français doit vivre pour elle,
Pour elle un Français doit mourir."
Until in the Sixties, our teachers, especially oldest, taught us, with a great enthusiasm, republican song above, Song of the Departure (Marie-Joseph Chénier - Etienne Nicolas Méhul - 1794).
Shortly after the Second World War, the racist theories were questionned. The call to the sacrifice was replaced by the valorization of the life and the respect of the life. After 1968, the learning of the patriotic songs was definitively abandoned.