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29 January 2002
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Oxford OX4 1JJ
Re: "Armaments and Politics in France on the Eve of the First World War" by Gerd Krumeich.
Dear Dr Krumeich,
First, please forgive me for troubling you about a book dating from 1985 and for doing so in English. I read German fairly well but shrink from trying to write it.
My main question concerns when the Loi de Trois Ans would achieve the objective of having two "adequately trained conscript classes plus a recruit class in the ranks". The last lines on page 114 say not before 1916. I have tried but failed to work out how this could have been. One difficulty is that I do not know all the rules of the game. The other is that it is not quite clear how they finally did decide how to manage the change from two years to three. I enclose a little chart showing that the objective would have been reached in the autumn of 1915 but it may well be wrong. Can you please elucidate?
My other point is minor and may well be simply a matter of translation. In English at least, "regular army" is taken to mean long service professional troops and certainly would not include conscripts. I suppose we would use the expression "standing army" for a combination of regular and embodied conscripts. But it is a useful distinction since the proportion of real regulars has a bearing on the enlistment and training of conscripts eg in France, that month when one class is discharged and another taken in.
These points apart, I must thank you for your painstaking work.
E. A. Rawes