Symbolic resistance (coups de coeur)
in The experience of occupation in the Nord, 1914– 18

This chapter highlights and assesses symbolic gestures and actions that allowed allowing the occupied French to express local and national identity, oppose the occupier, and undermine the sense of German dominance. These included singing songs, writing poems, telling jokes or using humour to mock the occupation and occupiers, wearing or displaying national colours, demonstrating humanitarian impulses towards Allied prisoners of war, and preventing successful German requisitions. The chapter reflects on the way in which such actions can be considered resistance, noting that many were explicitly forbidden by the Germans, whereas sources attest to their positive effect and the transgressive motives of those carrying them out. Local and national identity came together in certain acts of symbolic resistance, which often adhered to the norms of occupied culture and in particular a sense of respectable expressions of hostility.

The experience of occupation in the Nord, 1914– 18

Living with the enemy in First World War France

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