The French Who Fought for Hitler: Memories from the Outcasts

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Overview

Thousands of Frenchmen volunteered to provide military help to the Nazis during World War II, fighting in such places as Belorussia, Galicia, Pomerania, and Berlin. Utilizing these soldiers' memoirs, The French Who Fought for Hitler examines how these volunteers describe their exploits on the battlefield, their relations to civilian populations in occupied territories, and their sexual prowess. It also discusses how the volunteers account for their controversial decisions to enlist, to fight to the end, and finally to testify. Coining the concepts of "outcast memory" and "unlikeable vanquished," Philippe Carrard characterizes the type of bitter, unrepentant memory at work in the volunteers' recollections and situates it on the map of France's collective memory. In the process, he contributes to the ongoing conversation about memory, asking whether all testimonies are fit to be given and preserved, and how we should deal with life narratives that uphold positions now viewed as unacceptable.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Philippe Carrard's The French Who Fought for Hitler offers a sensitive, intelligent, and thorough analysis of an important - and until now taboo - subject: the memoirs and other writings of those misguided Frenchmen who chose to fight for Hitler and Nazism during World War II. In addition to filling a crucial gap in our understanding of the French experience during the war, Carrard's study serves as a cautionary tale and a grim reminder of the dangers of political idealism and military virtue gone astray." - Richard Golsan, Texas A&M University

"Based on a close textual and thematic reading of a set of memoirs by former combatants, Philippe Carrard tells the largely ignored, unsettling story of Frenchmen who chose to join the Nazis in World War II and who typically present themselves as unsung heroes of genuine political and ideological commitment. With an insistent desire to tell their stories, often with unrepentant bravado, they legitimate decisions, vindicate a fighting resolve, and conveniently excise knowledge of discomfiting dimensions of the past (notably genocidal policies and actions). The 'je-ne-regrette-rien' terms in which they testify may well surprise or scandalize readers. Carrard's book is a model of its kind and a basic contribution to a critical, rhetorically sensitive study of memory and witnessing that successfully conjoins literary and historical analysis." - Dominick LaCapra, Cornell University

"This is a thoughtful and thought-provoking book on a subject that has never been treated at length before. The project is of real interest and importance, and I admire Philippe Carrard for the courage to undertake it, and to successfully complete it." - Susan Rubin Suleiman, Harvard University, author of Crises of Memory and the Second World War

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521198226
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 9/13/2010
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 272
  • Product dimensions: 3.20 (w) x 7.00 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

Educated in Switzerland, Philippe Carrard has taught at the University of Pennsylvania, the University of California at Santa Barbara, the University of California at Irvine, and the University of Vermont and is currently a Visiting Scholar in the Comparative Literature Program at Dartmouth College. Over the past twenty years, his research has mainly concerned factual discourse - the discourse that claims to represent actual events and situations. In this area, he has published Poetics of the New History: French Historical Discourse from Braudel to Chartier (1992), as well as numerous articles and book chapters that analyze conventions of writing in nonfiction.

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Table of Contents

Introduction; 1. Backgrounds; 2. Authenticity; 3. Veracity; 4. Textualization; 5. Frameworks; 6. Bearing witness; 7. From the outcasts' point of view; Conclusion.

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