But the defences constructed by the Allies in preparation failed to repel a German army with superior tactics.The British Expeditionary Force soon found themselves in an increasingly chaotic retreat. By the end of May 1940, over 400,000 Allied troops were trapped in and around the port of Dunkirk without shelter or supplies. Hitler's army was just ten miles away.
On 26 May, the British Admiralty launched Operation Dynamo. This famous rescue mission sent every available vessel - from navy destroyers and troopships to pleasure cruisers and fishing boats - over the Channel to Dunkirk. Of the 850 'Little Ships' that sailed to Dunkirk, 235 were sunk by German aircraft or mines, but over this nine day period 338,000 British and French troops were safely evacuated.
Drawing on the wealth of material from the Imperial War Museum Sound Archive, Forgotten Voices of Dunkirk presents in the words of both rescued and rescuers in an intimate and dramatic account of what Winston Churchill described as a 'miracle of deliverance'.
Paris in the 1940s was a place of fear, power, aggression, courage, deprivation, and secrets. During the occupation, the swastika flew from the Eiffel Tower and danger lurked on every corner. While Parisian men were either fighting at the front or captured and forced to work in German factories, the women of Paris were left behind where they would come face to face with the German conquerors on a daily basis, as waitresses, shop assistants, or wives and mothers, increasingly desperate to find food to feed their families as hunger became part of everyday life.
When the Nazis and the puppet Vichy regime began rounding up Jews to ship east to concentration camps, the full horror of the war was brought home and the choice between collaboration and resistance became unavoidable. Sebba focuses on the role of women, many of whom faced life and death decisions every day. After the war ended, there would be a fierce settling of accounts between those who made peace with or, worse, helped the occupiers and those who fought the Nazis in any way they could.
An established fascist state has never existed in France, and after World War II there was a tendency to blame the Nazi Occupation for the presence of fascists within the country. Yet the memory of fascism within their ranks still haunts French intellectuals, and questions about a French version of fascist ideology have returned to the political forefront again and again in the years since the war. In Reproductions of Banality, Alice Yaegar Kaplan investigates the development of fascist ideology as it was manifested in the culture of prewar and Occupied France. Precisely because it existed only in a "gathering" or formative stage, and never achieved the power that brings with it a bureaucratic state apparatus, French fascism never lost its utopian, communal elements, or its consequent aesthetic appeal. Kaplan weighs this fascist aesthetic and its puzzling power of attraction by looking closely at its material remains: the narratives, slogans, newspapers, and film criticism produced by a group of writers who worked in Paris in the 1930s and early 1940s — their "most real moment."These writers include Pierre Drieu la Rochelle, Louis-Ferdinand Celine, Lucien Rebatat, Robert Brasillach, and Maurice Bardeche, as well as two precursors of French fascism, Georges Sorel and the Italian futurist F.T. Marinetti, who made of the airplane an industrial carrier of sexual fantasies and a prime mover in the transit from futurism to fascism. Kaplan's work is grounded in the major Marxist and psychoanalytic theories of fascism and in concepts of banality and mechanical reproduction that draw upon Walter Benjamin. Emphasizing the role played by the new technologies of sight and sound, she is able to suggest the nature of the long-repressed cultural and political climate that produced French fascism, and to show—by implication — that the mass marketing of ideology in democratic states bears a family resemblance to the fascist mode of an earlier time.