Compulsory military service was an institution in France since its creation, in 1872, under the Third Republic, when Léon Gambetta declared: “That for everyone it is understood that when in France a citizen is born, he is born a soldier”.
Its duration will have fluctuated a lot throughout the twentieth century, going from two years in 1905 to three years in 1913, when France was already preparing for a new confrontation with Germany, then to 18 months, in 1923, and at twelve months, in 1928. In 1935, it was reduced to two years. The Fourth Republic reinstated it in 1946 for a period of twelve months, a lease extended to 18 months, in 1950, then to three years during the Algerian War, at the end of which it was shortened to 16 months in 1963, twelve months in 1970 and finally ten months in 1992.
Share your conscript memories
In February 1996, the President of the Republic, Jacques Chirac, announced his decision to professionalize the armies, thus announcing the imminent end of compulsory military service, which would be made final on June 27, 2001.
Citizen duty or necessary passage to enter adult life for some, deep drudgery, even real trauma for others, this period in uniform marked, in one way or another, all those who have lived.
Le Télégramme invites you to share your memories as a conscript by testifying through this questionnaire.
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