The French Resistance during the Second World War

Course Dates: 02/12/23
Time: 10:30 - 16:30
Location: Keeley Street
Behind the post-war myth, what was the French Resistance? Who resisted against Nazi occupation and the collaborationist Vichy regime, and why? How did de Gaulle emerge as its leader and used it to strengthen his power?
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Full fee £59.00 Senior fee £47.00 Concession £38.00

Course Code: HEH33

Sat, day, 02 Dec - 02 Dec '23

Duration: 1 session

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What is the course about?

The history of the French Resistance has been obscured by the politically motivated myth created after the war by the Communists and especially by de Gaulle to legitimate his position and power. During this course, we will look beyond this myth to study the diverse components of the Resistance movement, both in France and abroad, their strategies and goals. We will then analyse how and why the unification of the different movements in May 1943 not only made the Resistance a more effective combat force but increased the legitimacy of Free France as an alternative government under the leadership of de Gaulle. We will conclude by considering the Resistancialist myth and the motivations behind it.

What will we cover?

• The early stages of the Resistance in France and abroad
• The different groups of the internal Resistance: different motivations, different visions
• Free France against Vichy in the colonial empire
• The Resistance as a combat force
• De Gaulle and the unification of the Resistance
• The Resistance as an alternative government
• The Resistance: memories and myth.

What will I achieve?
By the end of this course you should be able to...

List the different groups that formed the Resistance and explain their key differences
Analyse how de Gaulle managed to unify the Resistance
Discuss constructively how the Resistance managed to be recognised by the Allies as France’s alternative government
Analyse how the Communists and Gaullists used the memory of the Resistance to legitimate their role in post-war France.

What level is the course and do I need any particular skills?

Some background knowledge about French history would be useful but is not essential.
A good standard of English is required.

How will I be taught, and will there be any work outside the class?

The course will be a combination of lecture, backed by PowerPoint presentation, and discussions in large and small groups. Handouts will be given.

Are there any other costs? Is there anything I need to bring?

Please bring a pen and paper.
Books will be recommended but students are not required to purchase them if they do not wish.
This is not an exam course.
There are no extra costs.

When I've finished, what course can I do next?

HEH72 Modern France: from the Paris Commune to the Vichy Regime.

Sebastien Ardouin

After under- and post-graduate studies in Politics and History in both France and the UK, Sébastien settled in London. He has been teaching at the City Lit since 2001. Over the years, he has covered many different subjects, including politics, history, economy and culture of Latin America, French modern history, European history, global issues and current affairs. In his classes, Sébastien hopes to give learners the skills, tools and information that can help them not only to make sense of the world we live in but also to understand the origins of the key issues we face.

Please note: We reserve the right to change our tutors from those advertised. This happens rarely, but if it does, we are unable to refund fees due to this. Our tutors may have different teaching styles; however we guarantee a consistent quality of teaching in all our courses.