Accessibility statement

France & the Second World War: memory, trauma & identity



This module will discuss the evolving representations of the Second World War in French collective memory. It will use a wide variety of primary and secondary materials including newspaper articles, speeches, documentaries, films, short stories, diaries, eye-witness accounts and photographs to analyse the impact of the French experience of the war on the construction of national identity.

Satisfactory completion of the course should enable students to:

  • Demonstrate an in-depth understanding of the topics discussed
  • Demonstrate an ability to undertake personal research
  • Discuss sources in French from a critical perspective and develop arguments effectively
  • Develop increased confidence and advanced accuracy in the production of French




Students must have successfully completed:

  • F03I French Language & Society II



Contact hours

Two hours per week.

Teaching programme

The module will be taught in French.

A range of key issues will be discussed in the class, including:

  • the construction and collapse of the ‘Resistance’ myth,
  • the extent, nature and legacy of collaboration,
  • the crimes against humanity trials of the 80’s and 90’s (Barbie, Papon etc.),
  • the difficult post-war process of acknowledging and dealing with French involvement in the Holocaust and,
  • the continuing relevance of the war years to contemporary French politics and society.

Students will be expected to reflect on and analyse a wide range of authentic materials dating from the immediate post-war period to the present-day.

Assessment and feedback

Assessment and feedback

Feedback on formative work

Formative essay and seminar presentations throughout.

Summative assessment and feedback

  • Coursework 
    • Due: Spring Term, Week 10
    • Weight: 40%
  • Written assignment
    • Length: 3000 words
    • Due: Summer Term
    • Weight: 60%

About this module

  • Module name
    France & the Second World War: memory, trauma & identity
  • Course code
    F53H (LAN00053H)
  • Teacher 
    Angela O'Flaherty
  • Term(s) taught
  • Credits