Theses and Dissertations

Issuing Body

Mississippi State University

Advisor

Barbier, Mary Kathryn

Committee Member

Damms, Richard

Committee Member

Hui, Alix

Committee Member

Osman, Julia

Committee Member

Bourque, Stephen

Date of Degree

4-30-2021

Original embargo terms

Complete embargo for 2 years

Document Type

Dissertation - Open Access

Major

History

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

College

College of Arts and Sciences

Department

Department of History

Abstract

The vast literature of World War II in France contains a major gap. There is little on the daily life of civilians prior to France's defeat during the Battle of France or civilian life after the liberation of France from the German occupier. Most literature on France during the war focuses on the Vichy years from 1940-1944. This dissertation extends the timeline to encapsulate the whole war from 1939-1945. By doing so, historians can uncover other themes central to the French civilian experience besides the German presence. This dissertation shows the benefits of this chronological extension through its investigation of the southern French city of Montélimar. This dissertation argues that from the time France entered World War II until the end of the war France was occupied. To consider this, one must look at the central theme of requisitions. For the entirety of the war, people all over France had to adapt because of the imposition of requisition policies. French government policy required the sacrifice of civilian possessions in a time of war. These policies continued across different governments: the French Third Republic, Vichy France, the Italian occupation, the German occupation, and during the Free French provisional government. Montélimar's civilians understood that requisitions were necessary. There was, however, a limit to their understanding. When civilians felt they were excessively burden with requisitions or unfairly treated, they appealed in a number of ways. They engaged with the state in what this dissertation calls the "politics of requisitioning." It provided a figurative space where civilians challenged their responsibilities to the state. Though civilian appeals usually failed, they provided an opportunity where civilians contested the meaning of their civic responsibilities and the state explored the limits of its obligations to the inhabitants of the city. These experiences, in addition to the Axis occupation, capture daily life in wartime Montélimar.

Available for download on Monday, May 15, 2023

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