The Second World War challenged the well-established circulation of cultural practices between France and Britain. But it also gave individuals, communities, states, and aspiring governments opportunities to invent new forms of international cultural promotion that straddled the national boundaries that the war had disrupted. Although London became the capital city of the main external Resistance movement Free France, the latter struggled to establish its cultural agenda in Britain, owing, on the one hand, to the British Council's control over French cultural policies and, on the other hand, to the activities of anti-Gaullist Resistance fighters based in London who ascribed different purposes to French arts. While the British Council and a few French individuals worked towards prolonging French cultural policies that had been in place since the interwar period, Free French promoted rather conservative and traditional images of France so as to reclaim French culture in the name of the Resistance.
Charlotte Faucher is a British Academy postdoctoral fellow at the University of Manchester's History department (School of Arts, Languages and Cultures). She was awarded her Arts and Humanities Research Council funded Ph.D. in history from Queen Mary, University of London in 2016. She is currently preparing a monograph on French cultural diplomacy in Britain c.1870–1945 and has recently published an article on anti-Gaullism in wartime London, which appeared in Journal of Contemporary History. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org