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Pourquoi les soldats Français sont appelés poilus ?

Why are French soldiers called poilus?

French soldiers of the First World War were often called " les poilus " because of their physical appearance. The term "poilu" literally means "hairy" or "hairy" in French, and it was used to describe soldiers who had beards and long hair due to the harsh conditions of the trenches and the lack of access to shaving during the war .

The poilus, soldiers in extreme conditions

Hairy French soldiers

The poilus faced extremely difficult living conditions on the Western Front during World War I. They often had to hide in muddy, unsanitary trenches for long periods of time, making shaving difficult. Soldiers were sometimes deprived of hot water and soap , making personal maintenance even more complicated. As a result, many soldiers grew their hair and beards , hence the nickname "hairy" .

A symbol for the French army

The term "poilu" became a symbol of the endurance , courage and resilience of French soldiers during this period in history, and it remained associated with their experience of World War I.

Discover our article on the military haircut .

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