Society for French Historical Studies 4
French Colonial Historical Society 3
On this panel, the papers by Foray and Kuby are both centrally concerned with the ways in which enduring memories of local anti-Nazi resistance and pro-Nazi collaboration between 1940 and1945 continued to inform imperial policies and practices for decades to come. Foray focuses on the intersectional memories mobilized in late-1940s Dutch military propaganda proclaiming the country’s duty to restore “order and peace” and “liberate” the Indonesian people from Sukarno’s tyrannical rule, demonstrating how such calls disconcertingly echoed both the German occupiers’ recent rhetoric and, at the same time, the language of opposition to it. Kuby, meanwhile, considers how the particular French mode of remembering some World War II-era “camps” while forgetting others shaped government policies of political internment in the Algerian War (1954-1962) as well as anticolonialist strategies for countering such repression. Like Foray, she shows that highly selective schemas of memory centered on Hitler’s aggressions against “patriots” were key to the ways that Europeans forged and understood the violence of late colonialism. Nord’s paper complements Foray’s and Kuby’s work by demonstrating that this process also worked in reverse. Here, President de Gaulle’s particular understanding of French imperial nationhood and its role in a decolonizing Europe informed French commemorative practices and the memorial to the martyred French resisters of World War Two, inaugurated just as France’s sub-Saharan African colonies negotiated their independence.
Collectively, these papers contribute to our understanding of the complex, evolving legacies of war, occupation, and decolonization in Western Europe, and they open a conversation about the continued politicization of violent histories in post-war societies.