General misconduct and popular reprisals
in The experience of occupation in the Nord, 1914– 18

This chapter examines three forms of misconduct involving both women and men. It begins by studying denunciations: considered a commonplace occurrence during the occupation and understood as mainly carried out by women, the actual extent of and motives for this behaviour are difficult to discern, but there are some verified cases. The chapter then turns to individuals who engaged in general voluntary labour for the Germans, from making sandbags to working for the German police; it reflects on the complexity of establishing genuine cases set against popular, critical perceptions of this, arguing that only a small minority of voluntary workers existed. Next, it examines alleged cases of espionage for the Germans, where the distance between belief and reality is even harder to establish. The second half of the chapter focuses on the way in which the population enacted revenge on those believed to have engaged in misconduct, from verbal insults to physical attacks; it concludes that such punishments occurred up to summer 1915, were rarer afterwards, and returned on a small scale during and after the liberation.

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The experience of occupation in the Nord, 1914– 18

Living with the enemy in First World War France

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