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Summary: British First World War fictional propaganda film of the imposition of German culture on Alsace after the Franco-Prussian War.
Description: In 1872, after the end of the Franco-Prussian War, the use of the German language alone for all teaching purposes was made compulsory in Alsace. The schoolmaster in a small village is old and amiable, loved but little respected by the children. One evening he receives a letter from Germany that he is being replaced by a new German teacher. He and his wife despair at the news. Meanwhile one of his pupils, Philippe, would rather play than study his French grammar and sneaks out of the house to meet his friends, returning before his father notices. The schoolmaster wanders through his garden, asking "will the flowers all have German names ?" On the next day the German schoolmaster arrives, middle-aged, bespectacled and stern, but not sinister. He announces that he will take over the old man's house, and goes to meet him and look over the schoolroom. After he leaves the schoolmaster is enraged, imagining him beating the children. He puts up a notice asking all parents to come to school at 9am the next day. They assemble with their children, but Philippe, who stopped to steal apples and talk to a boy fishing, is late as usual. The schoolmaster explains that this is his last lesson and stresses the importance of French culture. "The language of a country is the key to liberty, but when a country is conquered both language and liberty are lost." Philippe, asked to recite his grammar, cannot do so, and thinks with shame of the time he wasted playing. The last lesson the schoolmaster gives to the villagers is "Vive la France". The words fade to the French flag.