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France’s World War II: Division, Defeat, and Denial

April 22 @ 2:00 pm - 5:00 pm


Why did France, with the largest and most well-equipped army in Western Europe in 1939, fall to Nazi Germany in little over a month in the spring of 1940? To answer this, we will explore the volatile political climate of France in the 1930s and consider how it may have led to the collapse of the Third Republic and the decision to turn to collaborationist Marshal Petain in France’s darkest hour. We will then turn to occupied and Vichy France to learn about those who resisted, those who collaborated, and the far greater number of French people who did a little of both in order to survive.


Strange Defeat:” Did France Conquer Itself? 

Resistance, Collaboration, and Ambiguity in Occupied France (1940-1944)

Maximilian P. Owre is Teaching Assistant Professor of History and Executive Director of Carolina Public Humanities.


2:00 pm-5:00 pm, Saturday, April 22. The tuition is $65 to attend in person or $50 for virtual viewing.  A meal will not be offered with this seminar.

UNC Students can attend for free, but pre-registration is required. Discounts are available for UNC faculty, & staff. To register as a UNC Student, Staff, or Faculty, see our Registration Policy here.

Co-Sponsored by the General Alumni Association.  For information about GAA discounts and other scholarships available to Humanities Program participants, click here.

In-person tuition for teachers is $32.50. Current K-12 teachers interested in receiving a complimentary virtual viewing registration for this seminar can apply here.

*Registration for this event closes on April 21 at 3pm*

Register online or call us at 919.962.1544. 

Participants will receive an email with venue information and background information about 1 week before the program.

Interested participants may join Dr. Owre on Sunday, April 23 at 2pm, for a viewing and discussion of Louis Malle’s LACOMBE, LUCIEN (1974), set in Occupied France, with the Hillsborough Classic Film Society. The screening will take place at the Passmore Center Auditorium/Great Hall (next to Orange County SportsPlex). Registration details will be available soon.

**Please note that due to UNC regulations, masks are recommended, but not required for all in-person events regardless of vaccination status. In-person and hybrid events may switch to virtual-only based upon recommendations from local, state, and national public health officials. If an in-person or hybrid event is designated “virtual-only,” the CPH staff will contact registrants and provide them with information on how to attend virtually or with options for receiving credits or refunds. If you have any questions, please email or call 919.962.1544. We appreciate your flexibility during these trying times.**


April 22
2:00 pm - 5:00 pm
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