Une sacrée désunion?
Conflict continues
in The experience of occupation in the Nord, 1914– 18

This chapter outlines the way in which occupied culture drew on both pre-war norms and daily interaction with the national enemy to create a unique breeding ground for disunity. In particular, it highlights continuing areas of tension between the French, beginning with religious conflict whereby anti-clericals accused clergymen of maintaining their anti-Republican crusade during a time of national solidarity, and certain clergymen preached that the war and occupation were divine punishment for the Republic’s sins. Political and personal tensions also continued, notably between socialists and radicals, and mayors and municipal councillors; the union sacrée was just as likely to fracture under foreign domination. Social tensions did not dissipate either, with workers and the wealthy each accusing the other group of profiting from the conditions of occupied life. The chapter concludes by underlining that such tensions contradict claims about dignified suffering in solidarity in the occupied Nord, but also that these conflicts are exceptions to the great deal of unity that was evident in other aspects of occupied life, from food provisioning to conceptions of resistance examined in Part II of the book.

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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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