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.
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