At the beginning of the new school year, all Somme school children in the French 3rd year receive an educational booklet : The Somme in the First World War.
The Somme Department was particularly marked by the First World War, as the commemorations of the centenary will soon remind us. Conscious of how important it is to transmit this chapter of history to our younger generations, the Conseil Départemental has published an educational booklet for school children in the French 3rd year in relation to their history programme: The Somme in the First World War.
The objective is to make our younger generations more aware of the conflict and its influence on both global and local history; to enable them to identify with the history that was made in their homeland and better understand the world of today before building the one of tomorrow.
This edition of reference has been written by specialists, academics and history and geography teachers of secondary education and was enabled by a partnership with the Rectorat of Amiens.
From pre-war to today
The booklet describes the mounting tensions, the beginning of war, the fighting, the Battle of the Somme, the civilians’ role and life at the rear at Abbeville and the military hospitals based in maritime Picardy.
It talks about some of the people who marked the period, like the infamous Red Baron, or Otto Dix, a young German artist, who was initially an enthusiastic soldier but was later revolted by the violence and horror of war. His artwork, which is a Brevet (National Diploma) subject for the History of Art, can be viewed at the Historial of Péronne. The post-war period is also evoked with a focus on the prosthetics of the “Gueules Cassées” (Broken Faces – name given to soldiers suffering from facial trauma), and other subjects; such as, reconstruction, war memorials and what is now known as “Remembrance Tourism”, for example.
Images from the Somme
Readers can explore the history of the war from a local point of view, with newspaper quotations from Le Progrès de la Somme and photographs of places well known to them - places where their ancestors fought. The carefully selected illustrations come from the Departmental Archives, the Historial and Somme Tourisme, etc. Maps, a timeline and internet resources enable the subject to be taken further.
Widely distributed and available in three languages
This innovate edition was awarded a “Centenary” certificate and is distributed to all of the Somme’s secondary and primary schools. The Departmental libraries and town halls will also receive a copy.
As an emblem of the Somme – a place that received men and women from the world over, and is today a land of peace and reconciliation - this booklet is translated into English (and will be into German) and given to foreign students during school exchanges throughout the five years of the centenary.
The Centenary booklet can be downloaded or read below.