The French community in Britain during World War I: a Talk with Julia Espinasse

Tue 11 June
Books & Ideas

Julia Espinasse, graduate of a research master’s degree in contemporary history at Nantes University, has been working on the French presence in Britain during the First World War (1914-1919).

This talk will explore the profile of the French community in Britain before the upheaval caused by the outbreak of the First World War in 1914. From the rising tensions in Europe to the departure of French soldiers from British stations, we will follow the mobilisation of French people marked by ambivalent feelings between patriotic commitment and attachment to their lives in Britain. We will then explore the daily experience of the French men and women who remained in Britain at war. The very specific situation of the French people from Alsace and Lorraine will provide an opportunity to examine the experience of the French community while the war questioned identities and nationalities. Finally, the period from November 1918 to November 1919 saw the return of soldiers from France and Victory celebrations, as well as the issue of mourning for those who died for France.