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Sorta looks like it might be earlier than WWI ???
 

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These boys look younger than 14. Their "rifles" are probably non shooting replicas, since they were not learning marksmanship before the age of fourteen. And the fact these very young boys are in uniforms shows it was probably taken between 1882 and 1892.
After 1892, only the shooting instruction was still taught.
 

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I wanted to write, but I do not know how to correct a message with the new version of the website : After 1892, only the shooting instruction was still taught in most communities, but exceptions could have existed.
At the beginning, everybody was agree about the value of school battalions.
Everybody was agree about preparing the revenge and recovering the lost territories.
Surprisingly, the first promoters of these battalions were very lefty. Beyond preparing the revenge, they would like to instruct "soldiers-citizens" to avoid the monopoly of the conservative Army on armed violence.
The more moderate politicians in charge were delighted with the idea of a military cheap instruction at school that allowed to shorten military service from five years to only three, saving a lot of money.
And the Army was not against the idea of having already half instructed recruits, and possibly good shooters.

But the military instruction given at school was considered a failure by both politicians and military. The level of the instructors was low, the kids were instructed too young, too far from the military service. And military authority was more and more upset to see kids playing to do war, turning into ridiculous their very serious activities.
Also, the left wing of the teachers, who originally promoted these battalions were less and less fond off military things, turning themselves slowly to pacifism.
And also, the very powerful French Catholic Church was against the fact these military exercises did not allow the kids to follow religious instruction.
 
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