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Français libres à l’épreuve de la Libération

Abstract : Consisting largely of volunteers who had been fighting continuously since June 1940, the 1st Free French Division (DFL) underwent quite a difficult experience from August 1944 to August 1945. The analysis of what happened to the division offers some interesting research avenues concerning Free French demobilisation. The men of the 1st DFL, for all their conviction that they, almost alone, had upheld the honour of France, were obliged to take their place in a new French Army that was in the process of establishment in the autumn of 1944. As the French campaign of 1944-45 ran its course these men were progressively required to forget their origins, the combat techniques that had covered them in glory, and their hopes for a political role, in favour of re-locating themselves in a more traditional military situation. At the same time their encounters with their compatriots, whether people who has been in the Resistance or not, did not generate the recognition on which they had counted. And as far as the memory of what they had done was concerned, this too proved grounds for disillusionment. What ensued was a legacy of comparative bitterness, and a retreat into the bosom of old comrades and veterans’ associations.
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Guillaume Piketty. Français libres à l’épreuve de la Libération. Revue Historique des Armées, Service Historique de la défense, 2006, pp.27 - 35. ⟨hal-03416097⟩



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