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Yves Pourcher

This article details the results of a very long investigation into the life of a character who incarnates the darkest years of French history. Pierre Laval, first a cabinet member and then Council President, was the leader of a collaboration government under German occupation. The research was undertaken in the archives that his son-in-law, Count René de Chambrun, had assembled in his offices and apartment in Paris. It led to the discovery of a new source: the private notebooks that Josée, Pierre Laval's only child, had kept between 1936 and 1992. Once deciphered and analyzed, this source constitutes an extraordinary narrative of the period. It reveals the complicity of a worldly, fashionable milieu that never opened its eyes to the seriousness of what was happening. It reconstitutes the choices and cultural codes of French high society, which submitted meekly to the Nazis. This text emphasizes issues of methodology and the difficulties that writing this story entailed.

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Kolberg

Goebbels' Wunderwaffe as Counterfactual History

David Culbert

The most expensive film produced in the Third Reich, Veit Harlan's Kolberg (1945) represents a culmination of Nazi cinema's interwoven ideological and artistic ambitions, aiming simultaneously to entertain, impress, and instruct spectators. Joseph Goebbels, who served as the film's unofficial executive producer, conceived it as a psychological miracle weapon capable of preserving national unity in increasingly hopeless circumstances and turning the tide of the war. In theory this was to be achieved by drawing a parallel between the civilian militia's successful defense of Kolberg during the Napoleonic Wars and Germany's situation in early 1945. However, close study of the film's production, distribution, and reception suggests that the film largely failed to achieve its propagandistic goals for a variety of factors, especially Goebbels' obsessive meddling with the script and editing process.

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Yves Pourcher

This article details the results of a very long investigation into the life of a character who incarnates the darkest years of French history. Pierre Laval, first a cabinet member and then Council President, was the leader of a collaboration government under German occupation. The research was undertaken in the archives that his son-in-law, Count René de Chambrun, had assembled in his offices and apartment in Paris. It led to the discovery of a new source: the private notebooks that Josée, Pierre Laval's only child, had kept between 1936 and 1992. Once deciphered and analyzed, this source constitutes an extraordinary narrative of the period. It reveals the complicity of a worldly, fashionable milieu that never opened its eyes to the seriousness of what was happening. It reconstitutes the choices and cultural codes of French high society, which submitted meekly to the Nazis. This text emphasizes issues of methodology and the difficulties that writing this story entailed.

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Carl Strikwerda

ten years before the war broke out, the major imperial rivalries were between Britain and France and Britain and Russia, not with Germany. Germany came late to the imperial game. By 1914, it had settled all of its disputes peacefully. 5 Lenin believed

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Rethinking World War I

Occupation, Liberation, and Reconstruction

George Robb and W. Brian Newsome

atrocities as commonplace or as magnified by propagandists; the influence of the war on women’s work and relationship to the home; the extent to which food shortages in Germany were caused by the British blockade or by poor management of resources by German

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Nicole Hudgins

photographs in German-occupied territory. The wartime propaganda apparatus distributed photographs of ruins for a domestic French audience and for the military archives. In addition to French archival sources, collections in the US Library of Congress and the

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Richard Bessel

, among the German armed forces during World War I, the ratio of dead to wounded was roughly 1:2.36. 27 That is to say, the counterparts of many of those who a hundred years ago would have been counted among the dead more recently would have been among

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Michael B. Loughlin

“successes” of foreign fascism in Italy and Germany but in a French manner, “without castor oil or anti-Semitism.” Responding to threats from Nazi Germany and the Popular Front in 1935 and 1936, Hervé campaigned to draft the “hero of Verdun,” Philippe Pétain

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“Clear and Present Danger”

The Legacy of the 1917 Espionage Act in the United States

Petra DeWitt

example, outlawing the speaking of German and coercing disloyal individuals to conform. They insisted on minimal federal government interference with the existing social, economic, and political order. State legislation, gubernatorial proclamations, and

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The Ill-Equipped Modernist

Historicizing Édouard Dujardin’s Les Lauriers Sont Coupés

Kelly J. Maynard

petites revues , first the Revue wagnérienne and then, within a few years, the Revue indépendante . Also, as an avid promoter of the works of Richard Wagner in a virulently anti-German moment in French national history, Dujardin was particularly