Misères de Nous Autres (French Edition)

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Mali : Nés en France et rapatriés par leurs parents

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Views Read Edit View history. In other projects Wikimedia Commons Wikipedia Wikisource. This page was last edited on 17 May , at The mobilisation of women followed two parallel movements. One was voluntary and spontaneous, emanating from the women themselves, and won the approval of the authorities and French society, since it called upon qualities of the feminine ideal. The other was paid and necessary, a consequence of the men going into the armed forces, and was dreaded by employers and public opinion, since it brought about an upheaval in the traditional representations of the sexual division of labour.

These feminine mobilisations were increasingly subject to moral suspicions and war-weariness; and starting in , and especially in , they ran out of steam, but they were never rejected. However, the almost unfailing commitment of women did not procure then the anticipated recognition from society, which, once peace had returned, quickly sent them back to their homes and tried to erase the changes that had begun during the conflict. In August , while men were being mobilised to defend the country, women were obliged to remain in the rear to wait and hope. Many of them started wondering about how they, too, might be useful to the nation.

About , French women chose to serve as nurses , most of them as volunteers, often as members of the Red Cross. Only 30, did so as salaried workers. The mobilisation of women to assume this role was immediate and massive. The Ministry of War accepted volunteers from the Red Cross in the war zone starting in the spring of In the framework of contributions to the war effort, charity workshops numbering hundreds in Paris and dozens in the major provincial cities received thousands of women and girls who took action by knitting, sewing, making up care packages, offering welcome stations — in order to improve the living conditions of the combatants at the front, in captivity, on leave, mutilated, sick or injured , but also the civilian population in need unemployed men and women, refugees from the occupied territories in northeast France, war victims.

Charity workshops, helping the war effort through labour, were also one of the most widespread forms of aid to unemployed women there were of them in Paris. A very heterogeneous group occupied themselves with such tasks as sewing and were paid with a meal or a token sum of money.


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  6. In this charitable world, women mainly played the role of small hands. Rare were those who occupied posts with any responsibility, and the honorific titles and financial management were usually reserved to men. And such activities were even more controlled after the adoption in May of a law guaranteeing the wise use of gifts. The creation of any new service now had to be submitted for authorization and their accounts were frequently checked.

    Less visible because very ordinary was the devotion of wives, mothers, sisters and other family members of those mobilised, which constituted the most widespread feminine support to combatants, even within the least available and poorest sections of the population. The engagement of these women dates from the first days, when they prepared what was necessary for their men traveling to enlistment stations. It continued at a distance by the regular sending sometimes at the cost of great material sacrifice of many letters as well as parcels full of food, warm clothing, and affectionate words.

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    The postal traffic, with more than seven million letters per day, was much higher than in peacetime. This epistolary mobilisation facilitated by the establishment of postage exemption in August and considered as a true patriotic act, was the principal pillar of troop morale and one of the rare links between the home front and battle front. Originally it was a matter of offering a substitute family to soldiers who were orphans or deprived of ties to their own families residing in the northeast.

    Other volunteer initiatives did not meet the same approval, however, like the proposal that aviatrixes put their skills at the service of the army. The heroism of this native of Lille, who started a vast information network in the occupied zone, was never contested — unlike that of Mata Hari or Marthe Richard — and nor was Louise suspected of immorality. The war settled in to stay, and the nation could no longer be content with its industrial reserves and armaments and had to resort to women to replace men sent to the front. Indeed, between and , France mobilised 8 million men, including 3.

    These represented 60 percent of the active male population, of which almost half were assigned to combat units at the front. The needs of the nation coincided with the needs of women. A portion of the 7 million active women in France in found themselves without jobs due to the disorganisation of labour caused by entry into the war.

    The mobilisation of working women in France was never completely organised, as was the case in England, and it was much slower and less systematic than in Germany.

    Misère de l’athéisme – Période

    Mobilisation was carried out in an empirical way, gradually extending to all sectors of activity, as the war by its length overcame all hesitations about appealing to women. Their work was all the more difficult because they were deprived of a good share of their draught animals, requisitioned by the army, and because the palliatives offered by the state for the shortage of manpower were very insufficient. The replacement of men by women was later extended, at the start of , to salaried service jobs.

    Commercial firms, banks, companies in transport and in some kinds of administration, after some hesitation, but when they saw the war getting bogged down, to hire women — as a temporary measure - to keep the businesses. The post offices recruited 11, to replace their 18, mobilised men , the education sector hired 12,, amounting to half the mobilised teachers 30, and the Parisian tramways hired 5, Wives, daughters, and sisters now commonly filled in for employees who had been mobilised.

    In weapons factories mobilisation was still slower. It was only in November that the first ministerial circulars appeared that invited managers to hire women wherever this was possible. Military institutions, attached to a strict separation of men and women, were the last to widen recruitment to women. It was only in that the status of temporary military nurse was created to supplement the permanent nursing service and especially the Red Cross volunteers.

    In , they numbered ,, out of a total during the conflict of , The military hierarchy, fiercely hostile to the militarisation of women, gave none of them military status, not even the women employed in the Automobile Service, although they wore uniforms and appeared in war zones. Contrary to the engagement of women in the caring domain, their mobilisation in posts habitually devolved onto men was not unanimously welcomed. Women should only be present on an interim basis, only until the men returned, and in no case should they compete with them.

    Similarly, their salaries were always considered as extra income, although they performed identical work as men and were in fact sometimes the only breadwinner in their households. Moreover, very few of these substitute workers were thought of as being capable of assuming posts of responsibility. In the country, women farmers continued to receive instructions from their husbands by mail; sometimes the supervision of the property was entrusted to a young son or a grandfather rather than to a wife.

    While France was worried about its low birth-rate, there would be no question of the working-woman killing off the mother, or the producer killing the reproducer. After , when the spirit of the sacred union was beginning to crumble and exhaustion in public opinion was perceived, the state set up arrangements to anticipate the eventual demobilisation of women.

    Control or censorship of the post, initiated in , was systematised in and the military information department tried to stop the godmothers, since it considered them as potential circle of espionage. Their sexual behaviour was increasingly observed. It was helped in this respect by a Catholic Church that in consoling sermons tried to prevent widows from descending into despair, and invited them, by means of prayers and supplications, to play the role of redeemers of the nation. Strikes among them — non-existent at the beginning of the war — reappeared starting in and developed strength in One of the biggest burst out in May on the initiative of midinettes Parisian workers in fashion and soon extended to all sectors of activity.

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    Strictly oriented to working conditions at the beginning the workers were demanding salary improvements , these strikes took a more political turn when the munitionnettes joined the movement in June. Echoing the mutinies on the front, in the context of the Russian Revolution then taking place, women workers demonstrated not only for an improvement in their living conditions, but also against the war.

    They thought that all men should bear the burden of war in an equal way. Despite the spread of pacifist ideals among the workingwomen, very few of them rallied to the cause. In a general way, pacifists among French women were few and found little support in public opinion. But not even in , when the popular morale was at its lowest, did defeatism dominate. French women, like all civilians, were more resigned than desperate. Historiography has long given nuance to the idea that the war emancipated women.