At the outbreak of the First World War, Louis Barthas was a cooper in Peyriac-Minervois, a job he returned to after the armistice. A socialist activist, he participated in the creation of the union of agricultural workers and shared the peaceful ideas of Jean Jaurès. He was mobilised to the 280th Infantry Regiment of Narbonne with the rank of corporal, a rank he held for the duration of the conflict. In December 1915 he joined the 296th Infantry Regiment and then the 248th Infantry Regiment in November 1917. For four years he fought in the most dangerous sectors of the front: Notre-Dame-de-Lorette, Verdun, the Somme, and the Chemin des Dames.
After the war, Barthas transcribed his diaries and letters into nineteen notebooks, pasting in picture postcards, illustrations, and maps clipped from newspapers and magazines. The notebooks remained unpublished in the family armoire for more than fifty years. In 1978 the notebooks, discovered and edited by Professor Rémy Cazals of the University of Toulouse, were published as "Les carnets de guerre de Louis Barthas, tonnelier, 1914-1918," by Librairie François Maspero, and in subsequent editions by Éditions La Découverte (ISBN 9782707177520). An annotated English-language translation by Edward M. Strauss was published by Yale University Press in 2014 (ISBN 978-0-300-191592), and in paperback in 2015 (ISBN 978-0-300-21248-8), entitled "Poilu: The World War I Notebooks of Corporal Louis Barthas, Barrelmaker, 1914-1918."
- The Great War (6 July 2015). "Socialist and Front Soldier - Louis Barthas I WHO DID WHAT IN WW1?" – via YouTube.
- (in French) www.editionsladecouverte.fr Les carnets de guerre de Louis Barthas, tonnelier 1914-1918 Louis BARTHAS
- (in French) http://www.crid1418.org/temoins/2008/02/09/barthas-louis-1879-1952/
- (in French) LE GALL, Erwan, Barthas, le 248e RI et les Bretons, En Envor, retrieved 6 November 2013.
- (in French) Les carnets de guerre de Louis Barthas, tonnelier, 1914-1918, preface by Rémy Cazals, first edition : Maspero, 1977; other editions Éditions La Découverte, 1997 and 2003. Most recent edition, 2014
- Cazals, Rémy: Bartha, Louis, in: 1914-1918-online. International Encyclopedia of the First World War.
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