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French Resistance during World War II in the light of sensitivities and emotions


Since 1944, tens of thousands of articles and books have been written about the French Resistance during the Second World War. Former resisters and historians, French and non-French, took part in this grand enterprise. Over the years, against a backdrop of sometimes overwhelming memories and despite the debates and the disputes that took place, “the clandestine city of honor” (Copeau) and its counterpoint outside France have been thoroughly studied. Nevertheless, there remains the feeling that, in a certain number of these very serious studies, something is missing that would make it possible to get closer to the personal experiences of the resistance fighters. The issue is all the more important as the last of these fighters gradually disappear, taking their intimate secrets and personal memories to the grave. This lecture intends to show how useful the history of sensitivities and the history of emotions can be in such circumstances. Not only do they settle the debate between oral history and written archives, but they also make it possible to fully exploit other sources such as private writings, personal objects created by resisters, photographs and drawings, etc. They allow the historian to study at the same time the interior and external resistances, which for too long have been analyzed separately. They offer a fresh look, from below, at what the commitment to the resistance and the fight that followed represented on a daily basis. They make it possible to fully approach a field of study that has been too little considered so far, that of the resistant fight in prisons and concentration camps. They further enrich the study of the long and sometimes painful process of coming out of resistance. Lastly, they establish a natural link with the sensitive and emotional context in which, even today, the Resistance struggle is celebrated in France


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hal-03997801 , version 1 (20-02-2023)


  • HAL Id : hal-03997801 , version 1


Guillaume Piketty. French Resistance during World War II in the light of sensitivities and emotions. Sir Michael Howard Annual Annual Lecture, Sir Michael Howard Center for the History of War, King's College London, Dec 2022, London, United Kingdom. ⟨hal-03997801⟩


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