France Since 1871 - Video
By John Merriman
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(HIST 276) This course covers the emergence of modern France. Topics include the social, economic, and political transformation of France; the impact of France's revolutionary heritage, of industrialization, and of the dislocation wrought by two world wars; and the political response of the Left and the Right to changing French society. This class was recorded in Fall 2007.
|1||Video01 - Introduction||Professor Merriman lists the books on the syllabus, and offers a brief précis of each of them. Three of the principal themes of the course will be national identity, linguistic identity, and the consequences of the two world wars. Although the course ...||10/7/2009||Free||View in iTunes|
|2||Video02 - The Paris Commune and Its Legacy||The Paris Commune of 1871 remained a potent force in Europe for several generations afterwards. The reprisals following the fall of the Commune anticipated the great massacres of the twentieth century. While the brief reign of the communards witnessed ...||10/7/2009||Free||View in iTunes|
|3||Video03 - Centralized State and Republic||Despite various attempts at reform, France remains the most centralized state in Europe. The organization of the country around the Parisian center was originally a consequence of the French Revolution, which gave birth to the departmental regions. ...||10/7/2009||Free||View in iTunes|
|4||Video04 - A Nation? Peasants, Language, and French Identity||The problematic question of when people in France began to consider themselves part of a French nation, with a specifically French national identity, has often been explained in terms of the modernizing progress of the French language at the expense of...||10/7/2009||Free||View in iTunes|
|5||Video05 - Workshop and Factory||Religion in France after the Revolution can be understood in terms of two forms of de-Christianization. The first of these is political, and takes place in the de jure separation of church and state. The second is a decline in religious practice among...||10/7/2009||Free||View in iTunes|
|6||Video06 - The Waning of Religious Authority||The Industrial Revolution in France is often said to have been entirely overshadowed by British industrial development. This analysis is inaccurate because it ignores the significance of domestic and other non-factory occupations. Indeed, it was the ...||10/7/2009||Free||View in iTunes|
|7||Video07 - Mass Politics and the Political Challenge from the Left||The history of socialism in France can be understood in terms of the competition between revolutionary socialists and reform socialists. The former advocated abandoning electoral politics, while the latter attempted to improve conditions for workers by...||10/7/2009||Free||View in iTunes|
|8||Video08 - Dynamite Club: The Anarchists||Anarchists, unlike syndicalists and other leftists, seek to destroy the state rather than to capture state power for themselves. Emile Henry and other late nineteenth-century radicals inaugurated the modern practice of terrorism in their individualism ...||10/7/2009||Free||View in iTunes|
|9||Video09 - General Boulanger and Captain Dreyfus||Two of the major crises of nineteenth-century France, the Boulanger Affair and the Dreyfus Affair, can be understood in terms of the rising fortunes of anti-Semitism and Far Right politics. The German conquest of Alsace and Lorraine, in particular...||10/7/2009||Free||View in iTunes|
|10||Video10 - Cafes and the Culture of Drink||Because drinking is such an integral part of French culture, alcohol abuse has been historically ignored. Although there have been celebrated attempts to address this problem, such as Zola's L'Assomoir, it is only in the past five or ten years that the...||10/7/2009||Free||View in iTunes|
|11||Video11 - Paris and the Belle Epoque||Modern Paris was indelibly shaped by the rebuilding project ordered by Napolean III and carried out by Baron Haussmann in the 1850s and '60s. The large-scale demolition of whole neighborhoods in central Paris, coupled with a boom in industrial ...||10/7/2009||Free||View in iTunes|
|12||Video12 - French Imperialism (Charles Keith)||France's colonial properties were thought of in the latter half of the nineteenth century as consolation for the bitter loss of Alsace and Lorraine to Germany. As civilian administrators came to replace military personnel in the colonies, and as more ...||10/7/2009||Free||View in iTunes|
|13||Video13 - The Origins of World War I||The traditional, diplomatic history of World War I is helpful in understanding how a series of hitherto improbable alliances come to be formed in the early years of the twentieth century. In the case of France and Russia, this involves a significant ...||10/7/2009||Free||View in iTunes|
|14||Video14 - Trench Warfare||The sacred union that united France's political parties during World War I contributed to a resilient morale on the home front. Germany's invasion of France, and the conflict over Alsace-Lorraine in particular, contributed to French concern over ...||10/7/2009||Free||View in iTunes|
|15||Video15 - The Home Front||1917 is a critical moment in World War I, as the Bolsheviks seize power in Russia and Woodrow Wilson leads the U.S. into war on the side of the Allied powers. Although morale held steady on the home front in France, there were multiple mutinies and ...||10/7/2009||Free||View in iTunes|
|16||Video16 - The Great War, Grief, and Memory (Bruno Cabanes)||The human cost of World War I cannot be understood only in terms of demographics. To better understand the consequences of the war upon both soldiers and civilians it is necessary to consider mourning in its private, as well as its public dimensions. ...||10/7/2009||Free||View in iTunes|
|17||Video17 - The Popular Front||A plethora of Far Right and fascist organizations emerged in the wake of World War I. Economic depression, nationalism, anti-Semitism and xenophobia all played a part in this upsurge. On the left, the tension between communist revolutionaries and ...||10/7/2009||Free||View in iTunes|
|18||Video18 - The Dark Years: Vichy France||For decades after the end of World War II the question of French collaboration with the Nazis was obscured. One of the reasons for this was the desire of de Gaulle and others to downplay the central role of communists in resisting the occupation. ...||10/7/2009||Free||View in iTunes|
|19||Video19 - Resistance||If the extent of French collaboration during World War II has been obscured, so too has the nature of resistance. Although the communist Left represented the core of the resistance movement, resistors came from any different backgrounds, including in ...||10/7/2009||Free||View in iTunes|
|20||Video20 - Battles For and Against Americanization||Anti-Americanism in France has historically been directed toward the U.S. government and corporations rather than American citizens. In the wake of World War II, the Marshall Plan for rebuilding Europe was considered by many to be a form of American ...||10/7/2009||Free||View in iTunes|
|21||Video21 - Vietnam and Algeria||France's colonial territories were of very high importance after the embarrassment of occupation during World War II. Algeria, in particular, was a complicated case because it involved large numbers of French settlers, the pieds-noirs. Despite ...||10/7/2009||Free||View in iTunes|
|22||Video22 - Charles De Gaulle||Charles de Gaulle's importance in postwar French political life was matched by his importance in the nation's collective imagination. This authority was consciously contrived by de Gaulle, who wished to bear upon his figurative body the will of the...||10/7/2009||Free||View in iTunes|
|23||Video23 - May 1968||The student protests of May 1968 in France were linked to international protests against the American war in Vietnam and other political and social consequences of the Cold War. In many respects, the terrible condition of many schools in France that ...||10/7/2009||Free||View in iTunes|
|24||Video24 - Immigration||French culture is threatened both by European Unification and the rise of xenophobia within France itself. The defeat of the referendum on the European Constitution testified to the dissatisfaction of many people in rural France with the economic ...||10/7/2009||Free||View in iTunes|
It made me move to France for a year.
I understand why he loves France, but why does he hate America?
Professor Merriman is highly knowledgeable about France and French history, but I wish he had a better appreciation for America and our history. He is fond of pointing out that America has civil rights, but no human rights. What planet does he live on?
The most fundamental of all human rights is freedom, because all other rights depend on it. The United States has done more to promote and secure human freedom than any other nation in history, including securing the freedom of the French and other Europeans in the 20th century.
Professor Merriman is a nice man, and I'm sure he means well. But he is misguided, I believe, by his ultra left ideology and apparent distaste for free-market capitalism. Perhaps he should be reminded that many of his Yale students are supported by parents that are products of this system and that they ultimately pay his salary and support wonderful institutions like Yale.
A Joy to Watch!
Dr. Merriman is brilliant with extraordinary knowledge of French history, geography, and culture. Better yet, he is a natural and gifted teacher with a burning interest in his subject.
I enjoy that he does not try to oversimplify -- historical influences are complex. And, without overdoing it, he gives us a sense of what ordinary men and women experienced in their lives.