RESTORING THE IMAGE OF FRANCE IN BRITAIN, 1944–1947

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Abstract

At the end of the Second World War, British society’s hostility and resentment towards France’s military defeat and the French State’s collaboration with Germany were strong. In order to deflate this enmity and thus prepare the ground to forge Western European cooperation, the French and British governments cooperated and developed gendered public and media strategies within which citizens, and in particular, former female resistance fighters, were central to the dissemination of positive images of France. This article takes seriously these strategies and adds nuance to understandings of modern foreign policy in terms of methods and actors. The article elaborates on neglected agents of diplomacy, such as female members of civil society and the significance of rhetoric, gendered performance and appearances that contributed to the restoration of the image of France in Britain. By doing so, the article also sheds light on the efforts of French and British authorities to construct a narrative of binational unity that disrupted the tenacious idea that Britain had fought alone during the war.

Bibliographical metadata

Original languageEnglish
JournalHistorical Journal
Early online date18 Feb 2021
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2021