Graduate Theses & Dissertations

After the Fall
Utilizing pre-existing scholarship on post-conflict reconstruction in twentieth-century Europe, as well as a variety of French primary sources, this thesis explores the concept of national-moral reconstruction as utilized by French political leaders in the wake of their country's defeat by Nazi Germany in June 1940. In particular, this study analyzes the competing discourses employed by the Vichy regime and the various organizations of the French Resistance, as each group sought to explain to a broader public both the causes of the French defeat, as well as the repercussions of the German occupation of the country from June 1940 to August 1944. While previous scholarship has emphasized the physical and/or economic dimensions of post-conflict reconstruction--especially when considered in the context of the Second World War--this thesis focuses on issues of cultural identity and national history/memory in order to look at how French political leaders hoped to reconstruct the moral and cultural, as opposed to the strictly physical, fabric of their country in the wake of the comprehensive social, political, and military disaster brought about by the German occupation. Author Keywords: collective memory, German occupation, national-moral reconstruction, Philippe Pétain, post-conflict reconstruction, Vichy France

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2009 - 2019
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