Chapter

The context of exile: communities, circumstances and choices

Nicholas Atkin

in The Forgotten French

Published by Manchester University Press

Published in print July 2003 | ISBN: 9780719064388
Published online July 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781781700402 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7228/manchester/9780719064388.003.0001
The context of exile: communities, circumstances and choices

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This chapter begins with a discussion of why French exiles, who sheltered in Britain during the ‘dark years’ of 1940–44, have largely been forgotten by historians. It then sets out the purpose of the book, which is to lift out of obscurity and to dissect the existence of these ‘forgotten French’. The book serves as a corrective in that it displays the majority of French men and women were not enamoured of the General de Gaulle; in many ways, the lure of Pétain was stronger. It shows that the history of the ‘forgotten French’ is a tale of several communities: communities that struggled to acclimatise to life abroad; communities that kept their distance from one another; communities that were often internally divided; and communities that frequently exasperated, irritated and bemused the British government and public.

Keywords: French exiles; Britain; General de Gaulle; Pétain

Chapter.  11758 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Modern History (1700 to 1945)

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