After the fall: British strategy and the preservation of the Franco-British alliance in 1940

Chin, R. (2020) After the fall: British strategy and the preservation of the Franco-British alliance in 1940. Journal of Contemporary History, 55(2), pp. 297-315. (doi: 10.1177/0022009419846951)

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The conclusion of the Franco-German armistice in June 1940, followed by the severing of Franco-British diplomatic relations less than two weeks later, has been viewed by historians as the end of Anglo-French cooperation against the Nazi war machine and the beginning of a resurgence in tensions between two historical rivals. However, my research argues that in the days and weeks surrounding the French defeat the British government followed a policy of continuity in its depictions of the Anglo-French relationship. It did so by publically distancing the bulk of the metropolitan French population from Marshal Philippe Pétain’s government. Shining a light on these British policies provides new insights into a number of crucial points. First: the assumption that once victory was achieved, France would assume a place in the victor’s circle. Maintaining, rhetorically at least, the indivisibility of the French population with British war aims was thus crucial to the survival of the long-term and ultimately post-war Anglo-French relationship. Second: these early claims of the non-representativeness of Pétain’s government are important because they suggest that the construction of the French myth of resistance began much earlier and was in fact born out of the idea of Anglo-French cooperation rather than conflict.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Chin, Dr Rachel
Authors: Chin, R.
College/School:College of Arts & Humanities > School of Humanities > History
Journal Name:Journal of Contemporary History
Publisher:SAGE Publications
ISSN (Online):1461-7250
Published Online:30 May 2019

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