In much of the English-language scholarship on the post-1945 Allied occupation of Germany, French officials appear as little more than late arrivals to the victors’ table, in need of and destined to follow Anglo-American leadership in the emerging Cold War. However, French occupation policies were unique within the western camp and helped lay the foundations of postwar Franco-German reconciliation that are often credited to the 1963 Elysée Treaty. Exploring how the French occupation has been neglected, this article traces the memory of the zone across the often-disconnected work of French-, German-, and English-speaking scholars since the 1950s. Moreover, it outlines new avenues of research that could help historians resurrect the unique experience of the French zone and enrich our appreciation of the Franco-German “motor” on which Europe still relies.
Recasting the Image of the Post-1945 French Occupation of Germany
Michael Sutton, France and the Construction of Europe 1944–2007 (Oxford: Berghahn, 2007).
Tilo Schabert, How World Politics is Made: France and the Reunification of Germany, trans. John Tyler Tuttle (Columbia: University of Missouri Press, 2009).
Frédéric Bozo, Mitterrand, the End of the Cold War and German Unification, trans. Susan Emanuel (Oxford: Berghahn, 2009).
How and Why the French Imagined Françallemagne in Recent Years
This article examines recent efforts to foster a sense of “Franco-Germanness” in France through an analysis of popular media generated by the fortieth anniversary of the Elysée Treaty in 2003, including: (1) a Franco-German television news program, (2) a light-hearted television program called Karambolage that presents daily life in France and Germany, and (3) a new history textbook for use in both German and French schools. These recent efforts differed from previous attempts to bring France and Germany closer both in terms of how they operated (earlier efforts focused on informing one country about the other's foreign culture; recent efforts were more about identifying what the two have in common) and why they occurred (earlier efforts focused on transforming a former enemy into a friend; recent efforts were about coming together in the face of a common adversary, namely, the Bush administration and its position on Iraq).
Noces de diamant ou chronique d'un divorce annoncé?
The proposal of 9 May 1950 by Robert Schuman to put coal and steel industries under a common High Authority was a signal of reconciliation with the new Germany. General de Gaulle, in spite of his opposition to the federal perspective, decided to implement the Treaty of Rome (1957) establishing a common market between France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Belgium, and Luxembourg. The French presidents and the German chancellors maintained a strong relationship despite differences of views about British application, NATO, trade and monetary policies, institutional development and, more recently, the consequences of the collapse of the Soviet empire.
moteur ou frein de l'intégration européenne?
Sabine von Oppeln
This article addresses the impact of the Franco-German couple on European integration since the Schuman Declaration. Based on qualitative research von Oppeln reveals that constructive influence only took place in the 80s; otherwise it was rather ambivalent or even negative. Five analytical approaches are used to define the variations in the Franco-German couple's level of influence: the different political stakeholders, the institutions involved, the main ideas and visions about European politics, the policy preferences, and the general external conditions. Ultimately, the conciliation of the German and French interests remains an indispensable condition for the success of European politics, but it has also become more and more elusive because of external factors such as EU enlargement. To overcome the recent deadlock the Franco-German couple needs to commit to the EU, foster cooperation between the main stakeholders, and conciliate different views and policies.
Fabrice Virgili and Danièle Voldman
Last spring in France a controversy arose over an exhibit of André Zucca's photographs of Paris under German occupation. The well-known photo journalist worked for the Nazi magazine Signal during World War II. For that reason, some people disapproved of an exhibit on the work of a former "collaborateur," a man who, in a way, helped Hitler's Germany. Those who prepared the exhibit justified the project on the basis of the beauty of Zucca's colored photos and the rarity of wartime color photos. They insisted on the importance of his use of agfacolor film, which was generally available only to Germans. Critics of the exhibition found Zucca's privileged access all the more disturbing. An analysis of the archives from the period exposes the complexity of the affair and the need for further research. Evidence from documents on Zucca's activity and opinions during the war reveal a man little interested in the world except to photograph it.
Are the Founding Ideas Obsolete?
Isabelle Petit and George Ross
On 9 May 1950, in an elegant salon of the Quai d’Orsay in Paris, France’s Foreign Minister Robert Schuman proposed that France and Germany, plus any other democratic nation in Western Europe that wanted to join, establish a “community” to regulate and govern the coal and steel industries across national borders. France and Germany had been at, or preparing for, war for most of the nineteenth and twentieth century, at huge costs to millions of citizens. Moreover, in 1950 iron and steel remained central to national economic success and war-making power. The Schuman Plan therefore clearly spoke to deeper issues.
Lloyd Kramer Enlightenment Phantasies: Cultural Identity in France and Germany, 1750-1914 by Harold Mah
Cheryl Welch L’Impensé de la démocratie: Tocqueville, la citoyenneté et la religion by Agnès Antoine
Judith Surkis Jews and Gender in Liberation France by K.H. Adler
Frédéric Viguier Violences urbaines, violence sociale. Genèse des nouvelles classes dangereuses by Stéphane Beaud and Michel Pialoux
Representations of Franco-German Friendships in a Post-Liberation Trial Dossier and Suite Française
This article explores representations of Franco-German friendship through two complementary lenses: through the post-liberation trial dossier of a female collaborationist in southwestern France, and through Dolce, the second part of Irène Némirovsky's compelling novel, Suite Française. The primary aim is to illuminate and contrast the roles that historical and fictional narratives play in our interpretations and understanding of Franco-German relations in occupied France. The article also assesses the ethnographic value of the novelist's notes that accompanied the unfinished manuscript of Suite Française. Located at the intersections of history, ethnography, and literature, the article examines the ways in which the methods of the historian and the ethnographer, on the one hand, and the novelist, on the other, overlap and differ.
Une nouvelle approche fondée sur un texte inédit
Senghor was a German prisoner of war for twenty months. The article examines his claims about his captivity in light of archival evidence, in particular an unknown report about his experiences in two POW camps that he deposited at the French diplomatic mission for POWs a few months after his dismissal. The article confirms that Senghor identified himself foremost as a French patriot but argues that his claims about having been a Gaullist and resister of the first hour rest on insecure ground. In particular, Senghor after the war dramatized the story of his combat experience and made dubious claims about having been sent to a reprisal camp as a punishment for helping some prisoners escape. His captivity report, however, provides much evidence on the effects of German pro-Islamic propaganda and on corrupt prisoner networks. The report also describes many experiences reflected in his poetry cycle Hosties noires.