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From social outcasts to stars of the mainstream : the combatants of the collaboration in postwar France

Morris, A.I. (2009) From social outcasts to stars of the mainstream : the combatants of the collaboration in postwar France. Journal of War and Culture Studies, 2 (2). pp. 167-179. ISSN 1752-6272

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Abstract

Focusing on those French collaborators who fought for the Nazis as members of the Legion of French Volunteers against Bolshevism, the Sturmbrigade Frankreich/Division Charlemagne of the Waffen SS, the 'Malgré nous' ('against our wills') and the Milice (Militia), and especially on their portrayal in literature and in films, this article examines the political and cultural responses to these 'soldiers' from the Liberation through to the present. As a result of a complicated process of mythologizing and counter-mythologizing, it is argued, representations of these combatants can be seen to have changed radically over the years, allowing them to progress from being social outcasts reviled in France to prominent, though often no less reviled, stars of the mainstream.