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France from Defeat to Liberation (Level 5)


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On this short course, France from Defeat to Liberation, we shall study the history of France’s années noires - the ‘dark years’ of defeat, occupation and collaboration during the Second World War, including the immediate aftermath of Liberation. The aims of the course are: to survey key themes and episodes in this complex and problematic period of contemporary French history; and to explore questions of approach and method which arise from the study of contemporary history and memory in the French case.

We plan to cover the following content:

  • The French Third Republic in the crisis of the 1930s
  • Munich, the 'Drôle de guerre' and the Battle of France
  • Formation of the Vichy regime
  • Elements of Vichy’s 'Révolution Nationale'
  • French antisemitism, Vichy ‘Jewish policy’ and the Shoah
  • Origins and development of the Resistance
  • De Gaulle, la France Libre and la France Combattante
  • The Maquis and the Allied landings, June and August 1944
  • Liberation, the purges and provisional government
  • Memory wars and the 'Vichy syndrome'

This course will be taught primarily in English, but some original sources will be presented in French. Essays may be written in French or in English, but no particular credit will be given for writing in either language.

Assessment is via a 2500-word essay (100%).

This can be taken as a standalone short course or as a part of:

15 credits at level 5

  • Entry requirements

    Entry requirements

    Most of our short courses have no formal entry requirements and are open to all students.

    This short course has no prerequisites.

    As part of the enrolment process, you may be required to submit a copy of a suitable form of ID.

    International students who wish to come to the UK to study a short course can apply for a Visitor visa. Please note that it is not possible to obtain a Student visa to study a short course.

  • How to apply

    How to apply

    You enrol directly onto the classes you would like to take, using the Enrol Now link below. Classes are filled on a first-come, first-served basis - so apply early. If you wish to take more than one short course, you can select each one separately and then enrol onto them together via our online application portal. There is usually no formal selection process, although some modules may have prerequisites and/or other requirements, which will be specified where relevant.