World Wars All books
Why were some soldiers tried and executed by their own military authorities during World War I? Using previously unpublished source material, the author has been able to throw light on one of the most sombre episodes of the Great War. Besides reviewing the history of the events themselves, the author also examines the struggle with the military authorities to clear the soldiers names, beginning in the period between the two world wars. By the 1960s, the public image of the executed soldiers had begun to change. It would culminate in the British campaign to grant them an official pardon and in the French decision to remember them a ceremony. How, he asks, did these changes come about? Nicolas Offenstadt is a graduate of the Institut des Etudes Politiques, in Paris. He holds an agrégation in history and is a member of the Thiers Foundation.
At the liberation of France, the country was covered in mines, planted by the Germans, the Allies and the Resistance during the conflict. The population were fearful of resuming normal life in the face of this danger: France had to remove the mines. Thus in 1945, mine clearance was invented, as before then no-one had any idea how to defuse these weapons of death! Who would be given the heavy responsibility of leading this task ? What did it involve ? What role did the German prisonners of war play ? Danièle Voldman, a historian, is the research director of the CNRS (Institute of Contemporary History).
Discreet by nature and secretive by necessity, Raymond Aubrac has been closely involved in more than half a century of history, in France and abroad. Within France, he is one of the great figures of the Resistance, and is one of the last survivors of the meeting at Caluire, on June 21st 1943, in the course of which Jean Moulin was arrested. A confidant of Ho Chi Minh, Raymond Aubrac also played a central role in the secret negotiations which accompanied the Vietnam war. In this book he gives a new, personal account of these events and others, including his meeting with de Gaulle, his role in the reconstruction of France, and his work at the heart of the UN.
Not everybody in the world become a Pétainist after the debacle and not all the resistance movements were infiltrated by communists working for the benefit of Moscow. Drawing upon numerous archives, Laurent Dazou explains why several men and women as diverse as a freewheeling navy officer, a normalien philosopher obsessed with maths, a young militant communist from the Latin Quarter and a founding banker from an anti-Semetic league, refused to crack under pressure, joining the ranks of disenchantment, and learning to resist by organizing themselves to fight and to blaze the trail of disobedience. Laurent Douzou is a specialist in the history of the Resistance.