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Surviving the Second World War: resilience strategies within the French facially disfigured veterans’ association

Gehrhardt, M. ORCID: (2023) Surviving the Second World War: resilience strategies within the French facially disfigured veterans’ association. Modern and Contemporary France. ISSN 1469-9869

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1080/09639489.2023.2195157


Veterans’ organisations boomed in the wake of the First World War, many of their members joined together by a shared experience but also the desire to make this conflict the war to end all wars. Yet only two decades later, a new conflict started. This article examines how one of the best-known and wealthiest organisations, the Union des Blessés de la Face – Association des Gueules Cassées [Union of the Facially Wounded – ‘Broken Mugs’’ Association] responded to the outbreak of another conflict. Drawing upon press articles and the bulletins and newsletters published by the Union, this article investigates the impact of the war on a group set up by and for mutilated WWI veterans. Having defended a pacifist agenda in the interwar years, with Pétain as its honorary president and faced with the merger of most veterans’ associations into a single Légion française des combattants in 1940, how did the Union adapt to try and survive the new war, the division of France, and the Libération? This study furthers our understanding of the history of veterans’ organisations and the history of the Second World War, and it provides insights into organisational resilience within the charitable sector in a historical perspective.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Arts, Humanities and Social Science > School of Literature and Languages > Languages and Cultures > French
ID Code:111381
Publisher:Taylor and Francis


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