The inter-war empire and French defence
in The French empire at war 1940–45
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In the imperial history of inter-war France, memories of the First World War should figure large. The experience of the Great War shaped interwar French attitudes to empire more than any other single event. After heightened French settlement following the First World War, colon representation was again increased to nine Deputies in 1927. In spite of the advances in military technology in the inter-war period, on the eve of the Second World War, French defence planners viewed the empire in terms reminiscent of the earlier conflict. Although both French civil and military planning for imperial defence became increasingly sophisticated from 1936 onwards, it was none the less assumed that fighting men would constitute the empire's major contribution to European war. As the Haut Comite Mediterraneen was taking on a new role as a quasi-intelligence agency, colonial reform acquired unprecedented importance within inter-war French politics.


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