Danièle Voldman

The Mine Clearance of France after 1945 Publication date : November 1, 1998

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 recounts the story of these thousands of men who, in dramatic circumstances, and at risk of their lives, participated in this essential aspect of the reconstruction of France.

Danièle Voldman, a historian, is the research director of the CNRS (Institute of Contemporary History).