Expecting war
in French children under the Allied bombs, 1940–45
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French military thinking during the interwar years was characterised by defensive planning and few offensive strategies were developed. This chapter examines the how the French prepared for war, moving from macro to micro. It analyses preparations for war generally and then children's expectations of war during the interwar period. Visions of future war do not seem to have sparked memorable activity, or inspired fear or anxiety. Oral transmission within the family was important in developing children's understanding of past war. War had a constant presence in children's early lives. 'Lurid atrocity tales' of mutilation and murder were widespread and transmitted across the generations, creating real Germanophobia. Reverberations from the Great War created an understanding of what war was. Future war had little presence in the children's lives, then, and past war painted an outmoded picture. Conflicts unfolding in the present brought children an understanding of modern war fare.


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