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The experience of occupation in the Nord, 1914–18

Living with the enemy in First World War France

By James E. Connolly

The experience of occupation in the Nord, 1914–18
Hardcover

Book Information

  • Format: Hardcover
  • ISBN: 978-1-5261-1780-9
  • Pages: 352
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
  • Price: £80.00
  • Published Date: May 2018
  • BIC Category: History, HISTORY / Military / World War I, HISTORY / Social History, HISTORY / Europe / France, Humanities / European history, Humanities / Social & cultural history, Humanities / First World War, France
  • Series: Cultural History of Modern War

Description

This book is available as an open access ebook under a CC-BY-NC-ND licence.

Much of the French department of the Nord was occupied during the First World War. This book considers the ways in which occupied locals responded to and understood their situation, focusing on key behaviours adopted by locals and the beliefs surrounding such conduct. Key topics examined include forms of complicity, disunity, criminality, resistance, and the memory of the occupation. 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, this book proposes that a dominant 'occupied culture' existed among locals: 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.

Reviews

'The mastery of the conceptual stakes, of a now-abundant historiography and the affirmation of a strong thesis [.] guide the dive into departmental and municipal archives, which are the principal sources drawn upon alongside numerous printed sources published during and after the four years of the occupation of the Nord during the First World War.'
Stéphane Lembré, Lecturer in Modern History, Institute of Historical Research of the North, Lille 3 University. Revue du Nord

'[an] immensely valuable, well written, exhaustively documented book. James E. Connolly has shown how important it is to illuminate the history of those who acted not only with dignity, but also the many who disrupted and deteriorated France's social fabric during a time of national crisis.'
H-France Reviews

'James E. Connolly's [book] is a well-crafted study of the German occupation in the Nord during World War I. It argues against using World War II histories of occupation for understanding the experience of occupation in the Great War. It shows how the range of civilian responses were shaped by social class, as well as by regional, religious and gender differences. Finally, it illuminates the "culture of occupation"-a moral-patriotic framework-that emerged in the process. Using a wealth of archival and printed sources, this sophisticated study contributes to a better understanding of the war "behind the lines."'
Eugen Weber Book Prize - Honorable Mention

'James Connolly provides an important new investigation into the French experience of German occupation in the First World War. Based on impressive archival research, this book brings to light findings that revise our understanding of the war's impact on northern France and is an essential read for anyone interested in French and First World War history.'
Heather Jones, Professor of Modern and Contemporary European History, University College London.

'Connolly's monograph does more than just make this history accessible to those who do not read French; he uses original and thoughtful archival research to challenge and deepen the French historiography [...] Connolly's strong suit is his diligent, breathtakingly detailed archival work [...] This gives The Experience of Occupation in the Nord an ethnographic thickness [...] Connolly is a master of these archives [...] he treats the material with great sensitivity to bias and reliability.'
Journal of Military History

'In contrast to previous accounts of this "total occupation" [...] Connolly privileges neither the suffering nor the patriotism of the occupied [...] Together, the chapters of this book provide a more or less comprehensive survey of the range of experiences of the occupied in the Nord during the Great War [...] for readers interested in the history of occupation, the Great War, and/or modern France, this book provides a good English-language introduction to its topic.'
The Journal of Modern History

'Connolly's work represents an outstanding contribution to sociocultural studies on war... The tools and data provided by [the book] will be of use to a large number of students, professionals, academics and researchers interested in military occupations in times of war...'
Cuadernos de Historia

Contents

Introduction
Part I: 'Misconduct' and disunity
1 Sexual misconduct
2 General misconduct and popular reprisals
3 Male misconduct
4 Une Sacrée désunion? Conflict continues
5 Moral borderlands: Criminality during the occupation
Part II: Popular patriotism and resistance avant la majuscule
6 Notable protests: respectable resistance (coups de gueule polis)
7 Symbolic resistance (coups de coeur)
8 Active resistance (coups de poker, coups d'éclat)
Epilogue: Liberation, Remembering and Forgetting
Index

Author

James E. Connolly is a Lecturer in Modern French History in the French Department at University College London

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