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Elise Mazurié




Phd project: "Occupying Germany, Representing France? (Ex-)Colonized soldiers in the French Army in the French Zone of Occupation (FZO) in Germany, 1945-mid-sixties"

This dissertation project deals with the Algerian, Moroccan and Tunisian soldiers who were stationed in the French Occupation Zone in Germany from 1945 to 1955. Based on administrative, military as well as private archives from France, Germany as well as the home countries of those soldiers, it will be attempted to follow the experiences of those soldiers during their stationing period in Germany, through contextualising the latter within their broader personal life stories as well as within the contemporary histories of all the concerned countries, but also in the immediate contexts of the Cold War and the decolonisation processes. Interactions within the army with metropole and settler soldiers, as well as with the German local population, and mutual perceptions will be given particular attention. The issue regarding the impact of the stationing of those soldiers as representing France in occupied Germany on their identity, more particularly their political identity, and their relationship to citizenship as well as to the practices linked to it, will be central to this project.

From this perspective, it will also be analysed how the transposition of the relation between metropole and colony in a third occupied land potentially could have led to hierarchies’ reversals within the triangular relationship between colonized soldiers, the French Army and the German population, and what were the consequences of this transposition on each group.

Through the study of the German population’s reaction to the soldiers’ presence and to interactions, its relationship to its own colonial history as well as to the recent history of national socialism are graspable. Thus, a peculiar attention will be given to historical comparisons, notably with the precedence case of the Rhineland occupation after World War One.