The IHR Modern French History seminar was delighted to host a book launch for Karine Varley’s new book, Vichy’s Double Bind. Vichy’s Double Bind advances a significant new interpretation of French collaboration during the Second World War. The path to collaboration involved not merely Nazi Germany, but Fascist Italy. On the one hand, many of the threats to France’s territory, colonial empire and power came from Rome as well as Berlin. On the other, Vichy was caught between the irreconcilable yet inescapable positions of the two Axis governments. Unable to resolve the conflict, Vichy sought to play the two Axis powers against each other. By exploring French dealings with Italy at diplomatic, military and local levels in France and its colonial empire, this book reveals the multi-dimensional and multi-directional nature of Vichy’s policy.
You can now view a recording of the event. Varley was joined by three discussants who specialise in the Italian occupation and collaboration more broadly: Valerie Deacon (Toronto Metropolitan University), Sandra Ott (University of Nevada, Reno) and Emanuele Sica (Royal Military College of Canada).
Karine Varley is Lecturer in French and European History at the University of Strathclyde. She has published widely on nineteenth and twentieth-century European history, including Under the Shadow of Defeat: The War of 1870–71 in French Memory(2008) and (ed. with Marco Maria Aterrano), A Fascist Decade of War: 1935–1945 in International Perspective ( 2020). She is currently working on a project funded by the Royal Society of Edinburgh, exploring the moralisation of violence in the bombing of France during the Second World War.