Face to face with the enemy: the reactions of young girls and young women to the Nazi occupation of France

Harrison, Victoria Louise (2012). Face to face with the enemy: the reactions of young girls and young women to the Nazi occupation of France. University of Birmingham. Ph.D.

PDF - Accepted Version

Download (2MB)


This study focuses on the experiences of young girls, who were aged between four and twenty-one when the Occupation began, growing up in Occupied France during World War II. Although youth and gender have been researched independently, this has been in terms of the policies that were implemented by the Vichy regime. Similarly studies on public opinion focus on the population as a whole rather than on a specific category of people. Using archival documents and published testimonies, my research explores the complexities surrounding the formation of opinions towards the Germans in young girls’ minds and how these opinions reflect their age and gender. An important factor in this interplay is that the Germans were often not much older than these young girls so in peacetime the two would have belonged to similar peer groups. In contrast to adults who could make conscious decisions about how to behave towards the enemy, young girls tended to react more naturally and instinctively. The thesis therefore argues that their accounts provide a deeper and more nuanced insight into public opinion at this time.

Type of Work: Thesis (Doctorates > Ph.D.)
Award Type: Doctorates > Ph.D.
College/Faculty: Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Arts & Law
School or Department: School of Languages, Cultures, Art History and Music, Department of Modern Languages
Funders: None/not applicable
Subjects: D History General and Old World > D History (General) > D731 World War II
D History General and Old World > DC France
H Social Sciences > HQ The family. Marriage. Woman
URI: http://etheses.bham.ac.uk/id/eprint/3808


Request a Correction Request a Correction
View Item View Item


Downloads per month over past year