Martin Thomas
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France’s inter-war empire: a framework for analysis
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In the twenty years between the end of the First World War and the start of the Second, the French overseas empire reached its greatest physical extent. Geographically, the inter-war period marked the zenith of France's colonial power. The framework for analysis of French imperialism is based on a model of a French 'imperial community': the network of politicians, traders, educators and settlers that dominated the political discourse of empire after the First World War. The empire's contribution to French international power was a problem that engaged colonial administrators, politicians, and the police and military agencies responsible for the apparatus of imperial security. The armed services, where one might expect imperial pride to burn strongest, never concurred over their strategic responsibilities in the colonies. An integrated system of colonial defence planning was put in place only in 1938, following the disintegration of the French alliance system in Eastern Europe.

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The French empire between the wars

Imperialism, Politics and Society


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