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French Colonial Soldiers in German Captivity during World War II


  • Date Published: March 2015
  • availability: In stock
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9781107056817

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About the Authors
  • This book discusses the experience of nearly 100,000 French colonial prisoners of war captured by Nazi Germany during World War II. Raffael Scheck shows that the German treatment of French colonial soldiers improved dramatically after initial abuses, leading the French authorities in 1945 to believe that there was a possible German plot to instigate a rebellion in the French empire. Scheck illustrates that the colonial prisoners' contradictory experiences with French authorities, French civilians, and German guards created strong demands for equal rights at the end of the war, leading to clashes with a colonial administration eager to reintegrate them into a discriminatory routine.

    • Draws on rich archive documents in three languages from France, Germany, Switzerland, and the United States
    • Analyzes a previously unknown report by Senegalese president Léopold Sédar Senghor
    • Investigates the role colonial prisoners played in Franco-German collaborations and how Nazi racism and pro-Islamic propaganda influenced their treatment
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'This book makes a great contribution to our understanding of the experiences of colonial POWs during WWII, which had significant repercussions on the postwar political development in the French empire. To date no study has dealt so extensively with the experiences of the French colonial prisoners of war. The fact that Raffael Scheck is also able to present the German perspective of the story is essential to our understanding of the colonial prisoners' experiences. Rarely does one see such a detailed and dedicated work based on so many different archives. This is a remarkable piece of scholarship.' Ruth Ginio, Ben Gurion University of the Negev

    'French Colonial Soldiers in German Captivity during World War II follows the soldiers from France's colonial empire from their assignment to POW camps to their postwar repatriation. It does so on the basis of very careful and extensive work in relevant archives in Europe and in the United States, as well as an astounding command of the relevant literature in French, German, and English. It is for those who are interested in learning about prisoners of war in World War II, modern French and German history, and the postwar development of decolonization of the French empire. This book will be a standard work for many years.' Gerhard L. Weinberg, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

    'Scheck's study will be of interest to scholars in French, colonial, and postcolonial studies not least because of the ways in which it illuminates the conditions for the articulation of identities, in the interactions among different groups of prisoners in the camps and between them and the civilian population, both white and black.' Eve Rosenhaft, French Studies

    'It is a valuable addition to the literature on POWs during World War II, ranging from Germany's murder of Soviet prisoners to assessments of its more careful treatment of Allied troops.' Norman J. W. Goda, European History Quarterly

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    Product details

    • Date Published: March 2015
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9781107056817
    • length: 336 pages
    • dimensions: 235 x 160 x 24 mm
    • weight: 0.66kg
    • contains: 16 b/w illus. 2 tables
    • availability: In stock
  • Table of Contents

    Introduction: a soldier's story
    1. The start of captivity
    2. The colonial prisoners in Franco–German diplomacy
    3. The German treatment of the colonial prisoners in France
    4. French guards for colonial prisoners
    5. German propaganda for Muslim prisoners
    6. The labor of colonial prisoners
    7. The physical and mental state of the prisoners
    8. Human relations: co-prisoners and civilians
    9. Colonial prisoners and the end of the war

  • Author

    Raffael Scheck, Colby College, Maine
    Raffael Scheck is Katz Distinguished Teaching Professor of Modern European History at Colby College, Maine. He is the author of five books and more than twenty articles on German history ranging from 1871 to 1945. In 2006, Scheck published the book Hitler's African Victims: The German Army Massacres of Black French Soldiers in 1940 (Cambridge, 2006), which also appeared in French and German. The German edition was selected as the fourth best nonfiction book published in German in 2009 by a group of editors and journalists. He completed a habilitation at the University of Basel in 2003.

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