31 Part I ‘Misconduct’ and disunity This first part of the book considers French behaviours under occupation that challenge the narrative of dignified suffering and patriotism.1 There is a temptation simply to label such behaviours ‘collaboration’, as certain historians have done.2 I believe that this should be avoided. Only very few members of the occupied population used the word in a negative sense,3 making its use anachronistic –although anachronistic terms can still be useful to historians. Yet the term is too associated in French cultural and historical
). Craze , J. , Tubiana , J. and Gramizzi , C. ( 2016 ), A State of Disunity: Conflict Dynamics in Unity State, South Sudan, 2013–15 , HSBA Working Paper 42 ( Geneva : Small Arms Survey ). de Waal , A. ( 2015 ), The Real Politics of the Horn of
This study considers the ways in which locals of the occupied Nord responded to and understood their situation across four years of German domination, focusing in particular on key behaviours adopted by locals, and the way in which such conduct was perceived. Behaviours examined include forms of complicity, misconduct, disunity, criminality, and resistance. This local case study calls into question overly-patriotic readings of this experience, and suggests a new conceptual vocabulary to help understand certain civilian behaviours under military occupation.
Drawing on extensive primary documentation – from diaries and letters to posters and police reports – this book proposes that a dominant ‘occupied culture’ existed among locals. This was a moral-patriotic framework, born of both pre-war socio-cultural norms and daily interaction with the enemy, that guided conduct and was especially concerned with what was considered acceptable and unacceptable behaviour. Those who breached the limits of this occupied culture faced criticism and sometimes punishment. This study attempts to disentangle perceptions and reality, but also argues that the clear beliefs and expectations of the occupied French comprise a fascinating subject of study in their own right. They provide an insight into national and local identity, and especially the way in which locals understood their role within the wider conflict.
This book will be useful to undergraduates, post-graduates and academics interested in an understudied aspect of the history of modern France, the First World War, and military occupations.
incontestable regimes, to be defended in their entirety. All other struggles, social, political, religious, were put aside.’6 I will suggest that, although there were many acts of unity, the occupied French did not engage in unqualified solidarity. Indeed, the experience of occupation offered opportunities for and even encouraged expressions of disunity among locals, beyond forms of misconduct examined thus far. Such a state of affairs may seem self-evident, but it has rarely been studied. Religious conflict Tensions between the Third Republic and Catholicism, especially
grain’ in order to open up fissures, fracture and faultlines in the text. 4 Indeed, Harris’s discussion of ‘untimely matter’ in early modern England in part aims to situate work on ‘objects’ within Marxist and post-structuralist frameworks. 5 Harris’s work arguably reflects what has been identified as a new aesthetics of disunity that is specific to the historical contexts of the twenty-first century
17 Part II Popular patriotism and resistance avant la majuscule The experience of occupation in the Nord involved more than misconduct, crime and disunity. The spectrum of possible behaviour, while more restricted than in peacetime, still allowed for choices to be made. Indeed, precisely because actions were limited, the consequences of every decision were exemplified and exaggerated. The Manichean judgements of the dominant occupied culture placed those engaging in misconduct on one side of the spectrum and ‘patriots’ and those opposing the occupiers on the
reminders of unpopular matters, and undermine the appearance of being a ‘government in waiting’. It may be the case that oppositions cannot win elections by their own efforts, but it is certainly true that they can lose them by their mistakes.20 This can occur in several ways, all of which will deter voters who might otherwise become disillusioned with the government. Visible disunity within a party makes it uncertain which direction it is going to take, and so makes reliance upon it risky. Whilst Labour had this problem in the 1950s and 1980s, the Conservatives have not
on the Prevention of Nuclear War (signed in Washington DC on 22 June 1973). Even though senior British officials enjoyed an often fraught relationship with Kissinger, this did not prevent the continuation of close cooperation. The choice in upgrading Polaris, of course informed by a concern about the future reliability of US nuclear cooperation, did cement US–UK ties.14 Heath had also illustrated during the Washington Energy Conference his propensity for close US–UK cooperation when he believed that it would better suit UK interests. Indeed, the EEC’s disunity at
’s management of foreign policy has been one of the key issues in this constitutional debate, not only because the negotiations in the Constitutional Convention coincided with the EU’s very public display of disunity before and during the 2003 Iraq war, and thus the need for a more effective handling of foreign policy issues was apparent to many, whether supporters or critics of the war. But foreign policy would have featured in the
Overall, the impression conveyed was one of disunity, drift and consequent impotence on the part of the European Union collectively. Individual member states – chiefly France and the UK – did make significant military contributions in Afghanistan. These were on the basis of national agreements with the US, however, and there was no role as such for the EU’s emerging military dimension. Indeed, in another embarrassing public