FR20220 World War 2 in French Culture

Academic Year 2023/2024

This module will examine how the Second World War has been remembered in France from 1945 to the present. It is aimed at students interested in memory studies, history, and French culture. This module will first explore the cultural legacies of the 'Franco-Prussian' War of 1870-71 and the First World War. After a historical overview of France during WWII, it will focus on how and why memories of the Second World War have evolved in France since 1945, using a wide range of sources, including propaganda posters, songs, films, political discourses, mainly in the French language. Special attention will be given to: the individual and collective difficulties of remembering traumatic events; the emergence of Holocaust memories in the 1960s; the major historiographical change in the 1970s which demonstrated that, to some extent and for complex reasons, the French wartime government of Vichy collaborated willingly with Nazi Germany during the war; and the high-profile trials of French collaborators that took place in the 1990s.

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Curricular information is subject to change

Learning Outcomes:

On completion of this module students should be able to:
- present an informed view of the history of France during WWII;
- identify how and why memories of this conflict evolved in France since 1945;
- engage critically with primary sources;
- assess the workings of individual and collective memory.

Student Effort Hours: 
Student Effort Type Hours


Seminar (or Webinar)


Specified Learning Activities


Autonomous Student Learning




Approaches to Teaching and Learning:
-Online interactive lectures, seminars and group work.
-Individual or group meetings, face-to-face or online (ad hoc basis).

Requirements, Exclusions and Recommendations
Learning Recommendations:

Most primary sources, lectures and discussions will be in French. A CEFR B1 level or above is therefore required.

Module Requisites and Incompatibles
Additional Information:
Most primary sources will be in French. A CEFR B1 level or above is therefore required.

Assessment Strategy  
Description Timing Open Book Exam Component Scale Must Pass Component % of Final Grade In Module Component Repeat Offered
Continuous Assessment: Preparation to be uploaded online weekly before each seminar and participation in the seminars Throughout the Trimester n/a Graded No


Examination: End of semester examination (time-limited essay) 2 hour End of Trimester Exam No Graded No


Group Project: Presentation in French - live or pre-recorded (TBC) - on a given topic. End of semester (week TBC). Varies over the Trimester n/a Graded No



Carry forward of passed components
Resit In Terminal Exam
Autumn Yes - 2 Hour
Please see Student Jargon Buster for more information about remediation types and timing. 
Feedback Strategy/Strategies

• Feedback individually to students, on an activity or draft prior to summative assessment
• Feedback individually to students, post-assessment
• Group/class feedback, post-assessment

How will my Feedback be Delivered?

Feedback will be provided during the lectures and seminars as well as post-assessment.

Name Role
Dr Siobhan Donovan Lecturer / Co-Lecturer
Assoc Professor Douglas Smith Lecturer / Co-Lecturer