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and thirty wounded men at that date had gone through these schools;
381 were taking courses. 95 The cause of these small numbers is to be

" Gourdon, J. : Rapport general sur l'ecole pratique et normale de reeducation profes-
BlonneUe dea mutiles et estropies de guerre de Bordeaux. Bordeaux, 1917, pp. 45-47.

w Weill, Mme. David: Les mutiles et estropies de la guerre dans la' menulserie et
qnelques autres Industries du bois. Paris, 1917, pp. 7-10.

"Conference interallied pour I'etude de la reeducation professionnelle et des questions
qui lnteressent les invalides de la guerre. Paris, 1917, p. 117.

« Hirschf eld, Gustave: Tourvielle. Lyon, 1917, p. 113.

"Federation nationals d'assistance aux mutiles. Notice. Jan. 1, 1917, pp. 3-4.
Reeducation fonctionnelle et reeducation professionnelle des blesses. Paris, 1917, p. 212!

" Conference interallied pour I'etude de la reeducation professionnelle et des questions
qui lnteressent les Invalides de la guerre. Paris, 1917, p. 213.


found in the difficulty of obtaining pupils encountered by all the
schools not connected with hospitals. The agricultural school at
l'Oisellerie (Charente) reported to the minister of agriculture in
October, 1916, that it had only one pupil, in spite of an active propa-
ganda carried on by the teachers of the school and by the depart-
mental association for aiding the mutiles. 96 In the dairying school
at Mamirolle (Doubs) at the beginning of 1917 there was also only
one mutile, with two others expected. Yet notices of the oppor-
tunities offered by the school had been sent to all the convalescent
depots. 97 The director of the dairying school at Aurillac writes :

To expect that the director of a school situated far from the great conva-
lescent centers can obtain pupils for his school is a wild dream. Men must be
sent to the schools from the hospitals."

Peasants who have received their discharge can, it seems, be per-
suaded to enter agricultural schools only with the greatest difficulty.
Those who were independent farmers owning or leasing small prop-
erties have only one thought — to return as soon as possible to their
homes, where no doubt their head and hands are badly needed.
Those who were farm hands often wish to escape from the hard
work of the farm into some better paid city position.

On the other hand, the schools which draw their pupils from hos-
pitals, such as those at Ondes, Grignon, and Beaulieu, are well filled
and doing an excellent work in returning men to the land."

Agricultural Courses.

Most of the schools aim to do more for the men than simply to
teach them how to manage their appliances and readapt themselves
to their old work. It is felt that more men will be tempted to enter
the schools if after reeducation they have the prospect of becoming
something better than good farm servants. Eeeducation should, it
is believed, give additional knowledge which will more than compen-
sate a man for his disability. The general agricultural schools, there-
fore, give a course in scientific farming planned to fit men to become
superintendents or managers of a farm for others or for themselves,
and also courses in special branches of farming work, such as vine
culture, dairying, poultry raising, truck gardening, beekeeping, etc.
Men without the capacity for an executive position take whatever
special course will give them the knowledge most valuable in their

» Baillarge, E. : Ecole d'agriculture de la Charente. Eapport. 1916.

" Reeducation fonctionnelle et reeducation professionnelle des blesses. Paris, 1917,

p. 154.

» Conference interallied pour l'gtude de la reeducation professionnelle et des questions
qui Interessent les invalides de la guerre. Paris, 1917, p. 214.

"Ibid., p. 207.

57710°— 18 4


region. Some schools teach also the trades with which a farm
worker or farm owner can occupy himself during the winter or dur-
ing bad weather. These are the trades of blacksmithing, carpentry,
cooperage, and basket making. The courses in general agriculture
last from four to six months ; the courses in special subjects from two
to four months. 100

Rural Credit System.

If after taking the general agricultural course a man feels that he
wants to manage his own farm, he can acquire a piece of land
through the rural credit system which operates under the minister
of agriculture in every Department of France. Under this system
the regional rural credit banks (caisses regionales de credit agricole
mutuel) are authorized to make three kinds of loans — for long, short,
and medium terms. On long-term credit the banks can lend sums
up to 8,000 francs for the acquisition or restoration of small farms.
These loans are payable in 15 years, with interest at 2 per cent.
They must be secured by a mortgage or by a lien on a life insurance
policy. On short-term credit farmers can obtain as an advance on
the harvest smaller sums for the purchase of fertilizers, seeds, agri-
cultural implements, and animals, for the payment of their help and
their rent. These loans are made at a moderate interest and are
payable in from three months to one year. On medium-term credit
farmers can obtain loans up to 5,000 francs. They are payable in
five years. 101

Farm Mechanics.

Farm mechanics, or the use and repair of tractors and other agri-
cultural machinery, is taught in a number of the schools, and prob-
ably even greater emphasis will be laid on this work in the future.
In order to make up in part for the alarming shortage of hands, the
Government is putting forth every effort to turn the French peasant
from his old-fashioned methods of farming and to induce him to use
modern labor-saving machinery. Large numbers of tractors are
being imported from America, and every machine introduced makes
a demand for a man who can run and repair it.

The first course in farm mechanics was started by Dr. Bourrillon
at the National Institute at Saint-Maurice when that school was
organized in April, 1915. It is now taught in eight agricultural
schools in the Provinces, and in the Maison du soldat du XIII Ar-
rondissement in Paris. 102 At Saint-Maurice, the course is from five
to six months long, and gives to the pupils a thorough understanding

i» Conference interallied pour 1'iStude de la reeducation professlonneUe et des ques-
tions qui inttreasent les invalides de la guerre. Paris, 1917, pp. 205-226.
m IMd., p. 211.
M Ibid., p. 217.


of the gasoline and electric motors used in stationary and tractor
engines for farm use. It includes some turning, forge work, solder-
ing, etc., in order that men engaged to run %uch machines in remote
country districts shall be able to make all repairs and even to replace
parts when necessary. 103 At the Maison du soldat, the course lasts
three months, at Ondes two months. Inasmuch as the wages paid to
skilled men are much higher than those which ordinary farm labor-
ers receive — equaling, indeed, those in city industries — there is no
difficulty in recruiting pupils for these courses. 104

Dr. Bourrillon asserts that the work is suitable for men with lesser
disabilities only. It should not be taught, he believes, to men with an
amputated leg or arm, since it requires agility in getting on and off
the machines and the ability to assemble and adjust numerous small
parts. 105

M. Chancrin, who made a report on agricultural reeducation to the
interallied conference, says that the driver of a tractor may have lost
a leg below the knee or a forearm if the elbow and shoulder joints
are normal. 103

Graduates of the course at Saint-Maurice have in some cases been
placed directly with farmers. In other cases, they have been placed
with the companies that sell the machines, usually as demonstrators,
who accompany the machines on their delivery to the purchaser. 107


Placement Work of the Schools.

Disabled men who have attended a reeducational school are easily
placed in good positions by the school itself. Dr. Bourrillon, of the
National Institute, reports: "We receive, in all trades, more de-
mands from employers than we can fill," and " in the majority of
cases our pupils have secured positions superior to those they occu-
pied before the war." 10S Statements to the same effect are found in
the reports of the directors of other schools. Many schools have or-
ganized a placement service in connection with their other work.
Schools which do not wish to take on this extra work notify the local
employment bureaus of the men who are about to finish their training
and of the kind of places they will want.

103 Reeducation fonctionnelle et reeducation professlonnelle des blesses. Paris, 1917,
p. 173.

104 Conference interallied pour l'etude de la reeducation professlonnelle et des questions
qui interessent les invalides de la guerre. Paris, 1917, p. 217.

i« Reeducation fonctionnelle et reeducation professlonnelle des blesses. Paris, 1917,
p. 175.

"• Conference interalliee pour l'etude de la reeducation professlonnelle et des questions
qui interessent les Invalides de la guerre. Paris, 1917, p. 217.

im Reeducation fonctionnelle et reeducation professlonnelle des blesses. Paris, 1917,
p. 180.

108 Bourrillon, Maurice : Comment reeduquer nos invalides de la guerre. Paris, 1916,
pp. 111-112.


Private and Public Bureaus.

The large proportion of discharged soldiers who have not passed
through reeducational schools are placed by various public and
private employment bureaus. Owing to the great scarcity of labor
in France, workmen, trained or untrained, have no great difficulty in
obtaining work. 109 In the early days of the war, large numbers were
helped by the two great societies for aiding the mutiles, Aide immedi-
ate aux invalides et reformes de la guerre, and the Federation
nationale d'assistance aux mutiles, 110 but adequate placement machin-
ery has now been provided by the Government and it is probable that
in the future, less work of this kind will be done by private societies.
Both the minister of labor and the minister of war have made it their
business to organize placement bureaus.

The minister of labor, at the end of December, 1915, requested the
prefect of each Department to establish a system of employment
bureaus in his Department, the cost of maintaining these bureaus to
be borne by the minister of labor. 111 Later instructions (dated Feb.
10, 1916) stated that existing public bureaus were to be utilized as
far as possible, and that the placement of disabled men should not
be separated from that of normal workmen. The effect of such a
separation would be, wrote the minister of labor, a lowering of the
wages of the disabled, difficulties in their relations with normal
workmen, differences between manufacturers employing normal
workmen and those employing the disabled, and the tendency to con-
centrate the disabled in a small number of trades or industrial con-
cerns. The minister of labor requested further that whenever any
employment bureau found a man whose earning capacity could be
increased by functional or vocation reeducation, it should notify the
central office. 112

The system of employment bureaus now operating in the different
departments under the control of the minister of labor consists of
municipal bureaus in the cities and towns and a central bureau in the
prefecture. The central bureau acts as an exchange agency for the
others. A main office in the ministry of labor in Paris is the co-
ordinating agency for them all. 113

The minister of war, for his part, by a decree issued February 29,
1916, created in Paris a national placement office for discharged and
disabled soldiers. A short time afterwards he found it was necessary

109 Todd, John L. : A report on how France returns her soldiers to civilian life, in
American Journal of Care for Cripples, New York, 1917, V, 21.

u» Formation prof essionnelle. . 15e annee, No. 9, p. 73. F4d£ratIon nationale d'assist-
ance aux mutilfis. Bull. No. 1, p. 7.

111 Todd, John L. : A report on how France returns her soldiers to civilian life, in
American Journal of Care for Cripples, New York, 1917, V, 23.

u* Journal Offlciel, 1916, p. 1347.

■"Office nationale des mutiles et reformes de la guerre. Bull. No. 1. Paris, 1917,
p. S5.


to decentralize the work, and by a decree issued May 11, 1916, he
ordered the establishment of a branch office in each of the 21 military
regions. 114

An applicant at the national placement office fills out a form, by
which he gives all the necessary information about himself. This
form he then takes to the medical officer in attendance, who examines
him, and fills out on the back of the form a complete statement of his
physical condition. The form is then passed on to the officer in
charge, who advises the man in regard to hi's future, and either puts
him in communication with a vacancy in Paris or passes him on to
the branch bureau in his native district. If the man is incapable of
work without reeducation, he is strongly urged to enter one of the
schools. 116

Coordination of Placement Through the National Office.

When the Office national des mutiles et reformes de la guerre
(described in a preceding section) was established by a joint decree of
the ministers of war, labor, and the interior, the national placement
offices attached to the ministry of war and the various placement
offices attached to the ministry of labor were merged for the purpose
of joint action in the national office. 116

As a part of the coordinating work for which the national office
was created the office has organized a valuable system of intercom-
munication between the employment bureaus operating throughout
the country. On the basis of reports transmitted to it by the different
bureaus it publishes every month an employment bulletin (Feuille
-mensuelle de placements), containing a list of the demands for
work that have not been satisfied and the positions that have not
been filled in each Department. Through this information a man
who can not find work in his own department or an employer who
can not find the man he wants may be served by the bureaus in
some other department. The employment bulletin publishes also
a list of the positions filled by each bureau, with an indication in
each case of the disability of the man placed, so that all may know
what disabilities are being found compatible with different kinds of

An even closer coordination has been effected by the national
office between the public and private employment bureaus of Paris
and the Department of the Seine. For them there is prepared in
the departmental placement office a daily bulletin, which is dis-
tributed before 2 o'clock every afternoon to all the bureaus par-

u« Journal Offlciel, 1916, pp. 1634, 4232.

111 Norman, Sir Henry : The treatment and training of disabled and discharged soldiers
In France. London, 1917, p. 29.

no Office national des mutiles et reformes de la guerre. Bull. No. 1, Paris, 1917, p. 35.


ticipating in the service. This bulletin contains a list of the posi-
tions unfilled by the bureaus where they were filed, a list of the
positions announced vacant in preceding bulletins but since filled,
and a list of those to which applicants have been sent and which are
possibly no longer vacant. Any office which received the bulletin has
therefore at its disposal for the benefit of the men it wishes to place
all the offers of positions recorded in the different employment
bureaus of the department. 11 '

Principles of Placement.

Instructions on the subject of placement issued by the minister of
labor and by the national office state that men should be, whenever
possible, replaced in their old trade and in the district where they
lived before the war. The national office has announced further
that the greatest care should be taken to see that the situations in
which applicants are placed are suited to disabled men. The em-
ployment should be stable, not seasonal, and working and living
conditions should be good. Especially to be discouraged is the ten-
dency to place men in any position which happens to turn up or to
trust that the benevolence of the employer will make up for the
workman's incapacity. 118

Equal pay for equal work is generally accepted as the principle
which should govern the employment of mutiles. In a report to the
interallied conference by the head of the central placement office
attached to the ministry of labor and the permanent inspector of
the labor bureau, it is stated that " all the manufacturers from whom
the labor bureau has collected information on the employment of
disabled men have declared that reeducated or readapted mutiles
will be employed under normal conditions and that the work they
do at home or in the shop will be paid for at the usual rates." 119

Laws Concerning the Employment of Disabled Men.

Two laws have been passed in France to help solve the problem
of employment for disabled men. The law of April 17, 1916, pro-
vides that for five years after the close of the war certain Govern-
ment positions not requiring full physical powers, reserved hitherto
to noncommissioned officers of a certain length of service, shall be
reserved for disabled soldiers and sailors without regard to their
rank or length of service. Fathers of large families will have the
preference for these positions. Furthermore, the law provides that

m Office national des mutiles et r<5form<§s de la guerre. Bull. No. 1, Paris 1917 rro

118 Ibid., p. 161.

i» Conference interallied pour l'etude de la reeducation professionnelle et des questions
qui lnt&essent les lnvalldes de la guerre. Paris, 1917, p. 251.


government administrations and industrial or commercial concerns
profiting from a concession, monopoly, or subvention from the State
shall be obliged to make out a list of positions not reserved by the
old law which might be reserved for disabled men.

In future, no industrial or commercial enterprise can obtain a
concession, monopoly, or subvention from the Government except on
condition that it reserve a certain number of positions to disabled

Succeeding decrees enumerated the classes of disabilities compat-
ible with the different positions and stated the conditions under
which candidates would be accepted. 120

After the passage of this law, many men had the idea that it would
be easy for them to step into a Government position. The facts are,
however, that the positions are far too few to satisfy all the aspir-
ants and that the conditions imposed by the Government are so
strict as to debar many of them.

The national office has observed, with respect to this law, that by
admitting to reserved positions the slightly injured men who could
easily find employment elsewhere, the law is contrary to the interests
of the most severely wounded. The national office has also expressed
regret that in the classification of disabilities compatible with dif-
ferent positions, no account is taken of reeducation. 121

The law of November 25, 1916, was passed to overcome a tendency
on the part of employers to discriminate against disabled men on
account of the increased cost of workmen's compensation insurance.
It could not be disputed that disabled men were more exposed to
accidents and more, liable to suffer serious consequences from them
than were normal workmen, and it was inevitable that insurance
companies would demand higher premiums when disabled men in
large numbers were employed. If the employer should be asked to
bear this additional burden, it must be expected that he would refuse
to employ disabled workmen. 122

To meet this situation the new law provided that when a disabled
soldier met with an industrial accident the court which fixed the
amount of compensation due him should determine whether the acci-
dent was caused by his previous disability, and to what extent the
permanent reduction of his earning capacity following his accident
was due to his disability. If the accident was caused exclusively by
the disability, the employer should be absolved from paying any
part of the allotted compensation; if the reduction of capacity was
due in part to the previous disability, the employer should be
required to pay only that part of the compensation which corre-

"> Office national des mutll&s et rgformes de la guerre. Bull. No. 1. Paris, 1917,
pp. 143-144.

>" Ibid., pp. 14-16.

«• Jade, Jean : Les accidents du travail pendant la guerre Paris, 1917, pp. 163-164.


sponded to the actual consequences of the accident. The compensa-
tion from which the employer was thus absolved should be paid to
the workman by the State out of a fund raised by a tax on employers
and on insurance companies. 123

Inasmuch as this tax is levied on all firms regardless of whether
they employ disabled men or not, there is no longer any reason for
any employer to discriminate against cripples on the ground of the
greater insurance risks.

Government Procedure Toward Men Needing a Prosthetic Appliance.

The French Government has engaged itself to supply every maimed
and crippled soldier with the artificial limb or other appliance suited
to his needs. 12 * It fits and distributes all appliances in certain in-
stitutions of prosthetic equipment (centres d'appareillage) which it
has established in different parts of the country — namely, at Paris,
Rennes, Bourges, Nancy, Lyons, Bordeaux, Clermont-Ferrand, Mar-
seilles, and Montpellier. Men who have suffered an amputation and
those with other injuries requiring them to wear an appliance are
sent from the hospital where their wounds have been treated to the
institution of prosthetic equipment into which that hospital empties
or to the one nearest their home. This transfer is effected as soon
as but not before their wounds, from a surgical standpoint, are com-
pletely cured. Men sent to an equipment institution must need no
treatment other than functional reeducation, which can be sup-
plied them by the service of physiotherapy attached to the institu-

On arrival at the institution of prosthetic equipment, men are
subjected to a thorough examination, the results of which are filed in
a booklet. For amputation cases the booklet records (1) the physical
condition of the wounded man, (2) a photograph of his stump, (3)
photographs of the limb above the amputation and of the limb of
the other side, (4) an X-ray photograph of the stump, (5) measure-
ments, (6) a plaster cast of the stump, and (7) the functional value
of the stump. For men without an amputation, but with injuries
requiring an appliance, the booklet records (1) the physical condi-
tion of the man, (2) an electrodiagnosis (if the injury is of the
nerves or muscles), or (3) an X-ray photograph (if the injury is
of the joints or bones), (4) measurements, (5) a plaster cast if neces-

1S3 Office national des mutiles et rSformfis de la guerre. Bull. No. 1. Paris, 191T,
pp. 146-147.

"* The source of this and the following statements with regard to prosthetic appliances
Is the Circulaire du Sous-secrttariat du Service de Sante\ du 2 Juin, 1916, in Le Journal
d«s mutiles, reformed, et blesses de la guerre. Paris, 1916, No. 12, p. 4ff.


sary, and (6) the functional value of the limb. On the basis of these
facts, an artificial limb or other appliance is ordered made to meas-
ure for each man.

Appliances Supplied.

In principle the choice of what kind of an appliance a man shall
have is not left to the man himself, but is decided by the physician
in charge of the equpiment service. In making the decision, however,
the physician considers as far as possible the man's wishes and his
future occupation or social position.

Every man receives first a temporary and then a permanent ap-
pliance, both of which he takes with him when he is discharged. It
is expected that the temporary appliance will be used in after life
when the other must be repaired. The man who has lost a leg or
foot receives as a temporary appliance either a wooden peg leg or
an orthopedic shoe, and as a permanent appliance, depending on his
occupation, either an articulated leg or an articulated peg with an

Online LibraryDouglas C. (Douglas Crawford) McMurtrieThe evolution of national systems of vocational reeducation for disabled soldiers and sailors → online text (page 6 of 38)