Friends, enemies and the wider war
in French children under the Allied bombs, 1940–45
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This chapter looks at the interviewees' explanations of the Allied bombing and the way in which they situate it within a wider war, comprised with their own experiences as well as others. American bombing was explained in two ways. The first was impersonal and the second explanation hinged on an emotive attitude that chimed in places with anti-Allied propaganda. But acceptance of bombing suggests a more purposeful idea of victimhood: death was not a waste. Explaining casualties like this contextualised bombing within the wider war was awful, but they had to beat the enemy. For some children, concepts of enemy and friend, and the geopolitical context were blurred and partial. Usually, the Germans were depicted as the enemy. An impervious group of people seemed less affected by propaganda, while in another group held evidence of children's agency: they sought information and engaged with it, organising it into maps and scrapbooks.


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