Remembering the war

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Corpus Corpus 1 Remembering the war

France métropolitaine 2015 • LV1 séries générales




France métropolitaine • Juin 2015

Séries générales • LV1

  Text 1  Commemorating WW1
As the lights went out, their memories burned bright: London pays tribute to WWI heroes with dramatic display

London was plunged into darkness last night as lights across the capital were switched off in a poignant act of remembrance to those who gave their lives in World War One.

A single beam of light, visible for miles around, was projected from Westminster as landmarks including the Houses of Parliament and Buckingham Palace were shrouded in darkness.

On the 100th anniversary since Britain joined the First World War, millions of people across the country reflected by the light of a candle on the sacrifices made by the young men and women during the Great War.

At Piccadilly Circus, the bright lights of the advertising boards were replaced with pictures of poppies and black and white photos of scenes from the war, along with the message: “Westminster remembers”.

The project was a reference to then-foreign secretary Sir Edward Grey’s famous remark on the eve of the outbreak of war, when he said: “The lamps are going out all over Europe we shall not see them lit again in our lifetime.”

The poignant commemoration came after a day during which respects were paid across the UK and Europe to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice.

Robin De Peyer,, 5 August 2014.

  Text 2  Before the battle

The scene takes place during the First World War.

I wondered if the war had forgotten about us, although I knew it couldn’t have done. […] Then there was an order: we were to march to another quay, where the troopship lay.

I’d never imagined a vessel as tall as that one. It looked as if it could carry a city of men. Some were already up there, moving about like ants. Khaki ants. But my feet were still on solid earth. I wondered how I should ever come back. It seemed like a dream, that the ship was going to take all of us away with it, to another country, and that maybe we’d come back in that white ship1 with its green band, or maybe we wouldn’t come back. I wondered if the others thought of it, but no one said a word except about when we’d next have a brew2 [. . .]. The crossing was roughish and we had to wear life-jackets in case of mines, or maybe submarines. Some of the boys were sick. We sat on deck and smoked, and saw England sidle away backwards, as if it were trying to escape. Rain was spattering out of the clouds, but not much. Being on that boat was something and nothing. We were in the army, but the army doesn’t fight on water. We weren’t in England and we weren’t in France. I didn’t mind how long the crossing lasted.

When we landed, we were in France. After all the talking and training, there it was, an ordinary town with the gulls flying up against the houses and people going about their business, not stopping to look at us because they were so used to the sight of us I suppose.

Helen Dunmore, The Lie, 2014.

1. white ship: hospital ship.

2. have a brew: have a drink (tea or beer).

  Text 3  War-time

The scene takes place during the Second World War.

The convoy had entered a bombed village, or perhaps the suburb of a small town – the place was rubble and it was impossible to tell. Who would care Who could ever describe this confusion, and come up with the village names and the dates for the history books And take the reasonable view and begin to assign the blame No one would ever know what it was like to be here. Without the details there could be no larger picture. The abandoned stores, equipment and vehicles made an avenue of scrap that spilled across their path. With this, and the bodies, they were forced to walk in the centre of the road. That did not matter because the convoy was no longer moving. Soldiers were climbing out of troop carriers and continuing on foot, stumbling over brick and roof tiles. The wounded were left in the lorries to wait. There was a greater press of bodies in a narrower space, greater irritation. Turner kept his head down and followed the man in front, protectively folded in his thoughts.

Ian McEwan, Atonement, 2001.

compréhension  10 points

Text 1

1 Who is remembered Choose the right answer. (2 points)

1. Famous politicians of WW1.

2. Unknown soldiers who died during WW1.

3. Illustrious generals of WW1.

2 1. How are these people presented (2 points)

2. Why are they presented like this Justify with two quotes. (4 points)

3 Name four ways in which Great Britain remembered them on August 4th 2014. (4 points)

4 Say if the following statement is true or false, and justify your answer with a quote:

These commemorations only took place in London. (2 points)

Text 2

5 Copy out the following paragraph and fill in the blanks. One blank corresponds to one or several words taken from the text. (5 points)

The scene takes place during … . The narrator is in the British … . Together with other soldiers he is leaving … to go to … by … .

6 Is there a sense of danger during the crossing Justify with a quote. (2 points)

7 How does the narrator feel when he thinks about his future Choose the most appropriate adjective and justify with two quotes from the text. (2 points)

confident – optimistic – heroic – uncertain – excited

Seul(e)s les candidat(e)s en LV1 obligatoire traiteront la question 8.

8 Among the following sentences, say which statements are true or false. Justify each answer with a quote from the text. (3 points)

The soldiers:

1. are sharing their feelings about the situation.

2. are enjoying a very pleasant crossing.

3. have a sense of immobility.

Seul(e)s les candidat(e)s de la série L option LVA traiteront la question 9.

9 Explain in a few sentences what lines 13 to 19 reveal about the narrator’s state of mind. (3 points)

10 How does the narrator feel when he arrives in France Explain his reaction briefly. (4 points)

Text 3

11 Choose the correct answer each time.

1. Turner is… (1 point)

a) an officer.

b) a civilian.

c) an ordinary soldier.

2. He is with a convoy that… (1 point)

a) is advancing along a beach.

b) is advancing towards a small town.

c) has come to a stop.

12 Say in your own words what the men in the convoy can see all around them. (3 points)

13 Answer the following questions briefly and justify each time with a quote.

1. What are three of his concerns about the situation (6 points)

2. How is Turner coping with the situation (3 points)

The three texts

14 Use the three texts to describe three stages in the making of a war hero. (6 points)

Seul(e)s les candidat(e)s de la série L option LVA traiteront la question 15.

15 Contrast the way soldiers are commemorated nowadays with the way they viewed themselves during the World Wars. (6 points)

expression  10 points

> Les candidats de LV1 obligatoire traiteront les sujets 1 et 2.

Les candidats de série L-LVA traiteront les sujets 2 et 3.

1 A journalist writes a short magazine article to say why it is important to commemorate the World Wars. Write the article. (150 words, +/- 10%)

2 “No one would ever know what it was like to be here.” (Text 3, l. 5-6) Turner writes a letter to his mother to tell her about his war experiences. (150 words, +/- 10%)

3“Who would care ” (Text 3, l. 3) Why is it important that we should never forget the World Wars (250 words, +/- 10%)

Les clés du sujet

Texte 1


Robin De Peyer est journaliste pour le London Evening Standard, journal publié à Londres depuis 1827 et qui traite en particulier de l’actualité de Londres et de ses environs.

Pour en savoir plus :

Résumé du texte

L’article aborde la commémoration par Londres de l’entrée dans la Première Guerre mondiale, à l’occasion de laquelle la ville a presque entièrement été plongée dans l’obscurité en mémoire des soldats tombés au front.

Vocabulaire utile à la compréhension

A beam (l. 4) : un rayon  landmark (l. 5) : monument  shrouded (l. 6) : enveloppé  poppies (l. 12) : coquelicots  the outbreak (l. 16) : le déclenchement  to pay one’s respects to (l. 20) : rendre hommage à.

Texte 2


Helen Dunmore (1952-) est britannique. Elle publie des romans mais aussi des poèmes et des livres pour enfants.

Pour en savoir plus :

Résumé du texte

Le narrateur raconte son départ pour l’Europe en tant que soldat durant la Première Guerre mondiale, particulièrement ses sentiments durant la traversée de la Manche : la peur de ne pas revenir, mais en même temps un sentiment d’irréel et à la fois l’impression que ce qui se passe est ordinaire.

Vocabulaire utile à la compréhension

A troopship (l. 3) : un navire transport de troupes  a vessel (l. 4) : un vaisseau  ants (l. 6) : des fourmis  the crossing (l. 12) : la traversée  roughish (l. 12) : un peu rude  to sidle away (l. 14) : s’éloigner en glissant  to spatter (l. 15) : éclabousser  gulls (l. 21) : des mouettes.

Texte 3


Ian McEwan (1948-) est un célèbre auteur britannique. Il a publié de nombreux romans récompensés par des prix prestigieux, ainsi que des pièces de théâtre, dont The Imitation Game, qui a inspiré le film de 2015 sur le scientifique Alan Turing.

Pour en savoir plus :

Résumé du texte

Durant la Seconde Guerre mondiale, voici le récit de l’entrée d’un convoi militaire dans une ville bombardée. Il décrit le fatalisme et la résignation du narrateur devant la mort et la destruction, avec l’impression que l’histoire n’en gardera pas la trace.

Vocabulaire utile à la compréhension

rubble (l. 2) : les décombres  scrap (l. 8) : des débris  to stumble (l. 12) : trébucher  the wounded (l. 12) : les blessés  lorries (l. 13) : des camions  folded (l. 15) : replié.

Les points de convergence

Les documents font référence aux deux guerres mondiales en se focalisant sur le rôle des soldats. Mais le texte 1 insiste sur l’importance du souvenir des vies sacrifiées, à travers les commémorations. Les deux autres font revivre l’événement à travers la fiction, en montrant ces hommes comme résignés et subissant leur destin, non comme des héros. Dans le corpus, le texte 2 s’attache à la phase qui précède le combat, alors que le texte 3 dépeint un soldat dont la bataille est devenue un quotidien ordinaire. Mais dans les deux cas, il y a un refoulement des sentiments.

Le sujet d’expression (LV1 obligatoire)

Pistes de recherche

Le journaliste peut s’appuyer sur l’actualité (le 200e anniversaire de la bataille de Waterloo) pour engager la réflexion. La raison essentielle pour commémorer les guerres est le devoir de mémoire : il faut rendre hommage aux hommes tombés pour la patrie, pour défendre nos libertés. Il faut se souvenir des erreurs passées, pour ne pas y retomber, tout en se souvenant des valeurs que les soldats ont voulu défendre… et même s’ils ont été de la chair à canon pour des idéaux géopolitiques.

Vocabulaire utile

To pay tribute to (rendre hommage à)  the Unknown Soldier (le soldat inconnu)  a wreath (une gerbe de fleurs)  cannon fodder (chair à canon).

Le sujet d’expression (tous les candidats)

Pistes de recherche

Turner peut essayer de décrire ce qu’il vit, non seulement les événements mais aussi ce qu’il ressent, tout en estimant, comme c’est écrit dans le texte, qu’il est impossible de le savoir sans l’avoir vécu. Il pourra chercher à rassurer sa mère, tout en lui donnant des informations sur ce qui se passe sur le front.

Vocabulaire utile

Safe (en sécurité)  landmines (mines anti-personnel)  reassuring, solacing (réconfortant).

Le sujet d’expression (LVA)

Pistes de recherche

Ce sujet est similaire au hormis dans la forme et sa longueur : présenter les arguments de façon plus personnelle.




Text 1

1 2. Unknown soldiers who died during WW1.

2 1. These people are presented as heroes.

2. They are presented as such because they sacrificed their lives and died for their country (they “gave their lives in WW1”, l. 3 / “the sacrifices made by the young men”, l. 9 / “the ultimate sacrifice”, l. 21).

3 To commemorate the event, London switched off the lights in the capital. The city kept a beam of light projected from Westminster. The advertising boards at Piccadilly Circus showed pictures of poppies and photos of scenes from the war. Finally, all around the country, millions of people lit a candle.

4 : “millions of people across the country reflected by the light…” (l. 8)/ “respects were paid across the UK and Europe” (l. 20).

Text 2

5 The scene takes place during . The narrator is in the British . Together with other soldiers he is leaving to go to by .

6 Yes: “in case of mines, or maybe submarines”, l. 13.

7 Uncertain: “I wondered how I should ever come back” (l. 6-7), “or maybe we wouldn’t come back” (l. 10).

Uniquement pour les candidat(e)s en LV1 obligatoire.

8 1. : “no one said a word except about when we’d next have a brew”, l. 11-12.

2. : “The crossing was roughish”, l. 12 / “some of the boys were sick”, l. 13-14.

3. : “we […] saw England sidle away backwards” (l. 14-15).

Uniquement pour les candidat(e)s de la série L option LVA.

9 The narrator feels disappointed by the fact that they are at the same time both on the move and passive: they are “in-between”, not yet at war but not at peace either. He is obviously not looking forward to arriving in France and fighting, the ship is a safer place.

10 When he arrives in France the narrator is disappointed and feels powerless. What he finds doesn’t live up to his expectations: he had expected to fight and everything is quiet, which surprises him he probably thought he’d be welcomed as a hero but his presence remains unnoticed and life continues as usual.

Text 3

11 1. Turner is: c) an ordinary soldier.

2. b) He is with a convoy that is advancing towards a small town.


be strewn with : être jonché de.

12 All round them, the men can see the road strewn with bodies and devastated buildings due to intense bombing. There are abandoned stores, equipment and vehicles everywhere, which contributes to making the scene one of chaos.

13 1. What matters to him is that in the future, no one may be interested by what is happening.

L. 3: “Who would care ”

What’s more, no one will be able to tell what it was like exactly.

L. 4: “Who could ever describe the confusion… ”

Finally, no one will remember the places for history books.

L. 3: “come up with the village names and the dates for the history books”

2. Turner is coping by isolating himself, he tries to ignore what surrounds him (“protectively folded in his thoughts”, l. 15).

The three texts

14 The three stages are:

  • the moment when the soldier leaves home to join the battle (text 2),
  • when he is on the battlefield (text 3),
  • when he is commemorated by the nation as a hero (text 1).

Uniquement pour les candidat(e)s de la série L option LVA.

15 When soldiers are at war, they consider themselves ordinary and are perceived as such by the population. Their everyday life is surrounded by death and destruction. They are common people, whereas during the commemorations tribute is paid to these men as having done something extraordinary. They are glorified and viewed as saviors.


1 Guidelines


Commemorations of the Bicentenary of the Battle of Waterloo, staged in Belgium, revive questions about the usefulness of paying tribute to past war heroes.

Nowadays, wars that occurred long ago are still commemorated, be it on Remembrance Day or more recently for the 200th anniversary of the battle of Waterloo in 2015. What’s the point in remembering those dark events

First, honouring the Unknown Soldier’s memory, laying wreaths in front of war memorials, for their country, and the generations to come. At the first commemorations, everyone had a son, a brother, who had died and whose memory had to be celebrated. With time, we no longer know anyone who was there, but it’s a way for us to remember what they did, from those who were just considered as cannon fodder to those who behaved as heroes.

Second, it aims at avoiding making the same mistakes in the future. It reminds us all of what happens when diplomatic means fail, and of . It is important to learn from the past, and be aware of how lucky we are living in peacetime.

Third, it also reminds us of . Some landmarks have actually shaped our present values, and it’s important to remember that, even though some people still have difficulties knowing what is commemorated and when.

2 Guidelines

Dearest Mother,

Sorry for not writing sooner, , but it’s the first time we’ve reached a place safe enough for me to write. There have been bombings all around, and . My best friend Bob lost his leg and had to be shipped back home. I hope the time for me to come home will come soon – hopefully in one piece.

Yesterday, , and we had to bury the dead in haste, to prevent the spread of disease. I wish I could tell you more about my return home, but for the moment the orders are to reach Caen – .

Give my love to Annie and Fred, and please try not to worry about me. I will write again as soon as I can.

Your loving son,