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Liddell-Hart expressed a similar attitude in his opposition to conscription in the 1930s. 13 Despite the military distrust of Jaure`s’s short-term enlistments, the system of conscription did provide the masses needed. The idea of a total mobilization and throwing of all French manpower against the enemy united rather than divided the two political factions. But, as in the United States and the United Kingdom, France found that this military strategy had a direct impact on mobilization strategy.
The military participation rate describes the percentage of males in the pool of eligibles (generally 18 to 45) who served. 16. Adams & Poirier, Conscription, pp. 6, 26; Feldman, “An Illusion of Power,” II: 94, 98. 17. Adams & Poirier, Conscription, pp. 19, 26. 18. Feldman, “An Illusion of Power,” II: 88, 94; Adams & Poirier, Conscription, pp. 10–11. See also Michael Pearlman, To Make Democracy Safe for America: Patricians and Preparedness in the Progressive Era (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1984).
The ratio of Frenchmen aged 20 to 34 compared to Germans in this age bracket grew increasingly less favorable by 1910. France recruited all its young men, but such men required extensive training. Professionals ridiculed the notion that thousands of new conscripts could confront the Germans. For the general staff, the recruitment law was inadequate because of the short tour and because it was only a partial levy, given the limited authorized strength of the army. 10 As war approached, the professional army continued to worry about the value of a short-term conscript.