The history of France at war

Strathclyde researcher explores the impact of the two world wars and previous conflicts.

How war shaped France

Dr Karine Varley, a History researcher at the University of Strathclyde, is examining the effect of 19th and 20th century wars on France.

Dr Varley has extensively studied the legacy of the 1870-1 Franco-Prussian War, in which a German coalition defeated France and which gave rise to the first widespread war remembrance in Europe.

She is now researching France’s role in the Second World War, with a particular focus on the Vichy Government, established under German occupation, and its relations with Italy’s fascist regime.

Dr Varley said:

I am currently working on a new project exploring the relatively neglected subject of French encounters and entanglements with Italy during the Second World War.

My research analyses relations between Vichy France and Fascist Italy at government level and locally in south-eastern France, Corsica and North Africa, and the Italian occupation of France. This project seeks to shift the focus of historical investigation away from analyses of collaboration and resistance that are conceived exclusively in Franco-German terms.

Statue of Charles de Gaulle, Carlton Gardens, London

Research and debate

Dr Varley is also co-organiser of a forthcoming conference, to be held at Strathclyde in July 2015. The two-day event, entitled France and the Second World War in Global Perspective, 1919-45, aims to explore France in the Second World War from a global as well as domestic perspective, including the interwar years of shifting foreign relations, international entanglements, political upheaval and military build-up.