Download Voices of the Foreign Legion: The History of the World's by Adrian D. Gilbert PDF

By Adrian D. Gilbert

The French international Legion has confirmed a name because the such a lot ambitious of army forces. Created as a method of defending French pursuits overseas, the legion spearheaded French colonialism in North Africa throughout the 19th century. Accepting volunteers from all elements of the realm, the legion received an charisma of mystery—and a under enviable recognition for brutality inside its ranks. Attracting recruits from around the globe, those new infantrymen clarify of their personal phrases why they submitted themselves to such brutal training.

Voices of the international Legion seems at how the legion selects its recruits, the place they arrive from, and why they search a lifetime of outstanding worry and possibility. It additionally analyzes the legion’s strict angle towards self-discipline, questions why desertion is a perennial challenge, and assesses the legion’s army achievements seeing that its formation in 1831. Its scope levels from the conquest of the colonies in Africa and the a ways East, in the course of the horrors of the 2 international Wars, to the sour yet finally hopeless battles to keep up France’s imperial possessions.

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Extra resources for Voices of the Foreign Legion: The History of the World's Most Famous Fighting Corps

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Long benches stood against the wall and men sat there, candidates for the Foreign Legion, waiting for the medical examination, waiting to know whether their bodies were still worth five centimes daily pay. One of them sat there naked, shivering in the chill October air. It needed no doctor’s eye to see that he was half starved. His emaciated body told the whole story. Another folded his pants with almost touching care, although they had been patched so often that they were now tired of service and in a state of continuous strike.

I paid his debts. Then I told him to join the Legion and if he did well for five years he could come back to his family. Now he is wounded. You write me that his conduct was brilliant. I am overjoyed, I am proud of him. He is once more my beloved Enrico. He will continue his service in the Legion and after the five years he will be once more accepted in the family. The idea that the Legion offers a break with the past and a chance to begin anew has been taken up by many writers. The French author André Maurois put it more grandly than most in his preface to Pechkoff’s memoirs: All civilisations have their sufferers.

In the modern, post-colonial period the number of would-be legionnaires has not diminished and the Legion can afford to be choosy in who it takes on, as Major Karli, a vocations officer during the 1990s, outlined: There is a certain turnover in the Legion and the gaps have to be filled but at present we have more candidates than we can use. We are now accepting about one in eight, so you can see the selection is fairly rigorous. The person’s background is taken into consideration. Previous military experience is helpful but not necessary.

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