FR20220 World War 2 in French Culture

This module will examine how the Second World War has been remembered in France from 1945 to the present. It is aimed at students interested in memory studies, history, and French culture. This module will first explore the cultural legacies of the ‘Franco-Prussian’ War of 1870-71 and the First World War. After a historical overview of France during WWII, it will focus on how and why memories of the Second World War have evolved in France since 1945, using a wide range of sources, including propaganda posters, songs, films, political discourses, mainly in the French language. Special attention will be given to: the individual and collective difficulties of remembering traumatic events; the emergence of Holocaust memories in the 1960s; the major historiographical change in the 1970s which demonstrated that, to some extent and for complex reasons, the French wartime government of Vichy collaborated willingly with Nazi Germany during the war; and the high-profile trials of French collaborators that took place in the 1990s.

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