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Relations between Britain and France in World War Two

May 3, 2017
Institut Français d’Ecosse, Edinburgh

United Kingdom

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Relations between Britain and France in World War Two

Institut Français d’Ecosse, Edinburgh, 3 May 2017

Roundtable speakers: Professor Peter Jackson (Glasgow) and Dr Emile Chabal (Edinburgh)

When war was declared in September 1939, Britain and France stood together as allies with similar democratic traditions, levels of military and economic strength and global interests. Within less than a year, however, the two states had severed diplomatic relations and become bitter enemies. This one-day workshop seeks to explore the trajectory of relations between Britain and France over the course of the Second World War. While historians have often highlighted how military defeats and political tensions caused mutual suspicions rooted in centuries of imperial and naval rivalries to resurface, this workshop aims to examine how the interconnections between the two states were critical to their survival and future.

We invite speakers to interpret this subject in its broadest sense. Possible topics might include:

·         ·         Diplomatic relations between Britain, Vichy France and the Free French

·         Military and intelligence relations

·         Propaganda and perceptions

·         The SOE and British roles in French resistance activities

·         The RAF bombing campaign in France

·         The liberation of France

·         Colonial rivalries between Britain and France, 1939-45

·         Legacies of the war in postwar relations between Britain and France

Proposals for papers of 20 minute or for panels of two or three papers are invited. We particularly invite contributions from postgraduate students and overseas scholars. Paper proposals should comprise a paper title, abstract of 300 words and a one-page CV in a single pdf file. Please send proposals to Dr Karine Varley at: by 3 April 2017. Funding assistance will be available to contribute towards speakers’ travel expenses.

The workshop will be followed by a public roundtable discussion on the lessons and legacies of the Second World War for relations between the UK and France today. Roundtable speakers include Professor Peter Jackson (Glasgow) and Dr Emile Chabal (Edinburgh).

The workshop is part of a wider two-year project funded by the Royal Society of Edinburgh on ‘Relations between Britain and France in World War Two’, led by Dr Rogelia Pastor-Castro and Dr Karine Varley, University of Strathclyde.

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