French Colonialism Unmasked: The Vichy Years in French West Africa

By Ruth Ginio | Go to book overview

Acknowledgements

This book is the culmination of a long research project that started as a Ph.D. dissertation presented to the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. It all began in a conversation I had with Michel Abitbol, my advisor, who understood my deep and personal interest in the Vichy period and suggested that I dedicate my thesis to this period in French West Africa, which was fascinating but emotionally easier than delving into wartime Europe. During the years in which I wrote my dissertation and later, when he was no longer formally responsible for my work, Michel never ceased to provide professional guidance and practical help and advice. He read every chapter promptly but carefully, and although he was occupied with many other responsibilities and duties at the time, he always had time to resolve an unexpected difficulty. I wish to thank him with all my heart for his patience, his caring, and most of all his trust and encouragement. I would also like to thank the members of my dissertation committee, Naomi Chazan, Richard I. Cohen, and Robert Wistrich, for their useful advice. To Naomi I owe special thanks for teaching me some basic rules of academic writing and for “inflicting” on me her love for Africa.

The Harry S. Truman Research Institute for the Advancement of Peace provided me with an intellectually and socially vibrant environment, first as a Ph.D. candidate and later as a Research Fellow. The corridor conversations I had with some of my colleagues and friends there often proved very useful, as well as pleasant, and opened my mind in new directions. Efrat Ben Ze’ev never ceased to encourage me to think further about every statement I made, Louise Bethlehem opened up for me a whole new world of academic thinking, with Lynn Schler I could always discuss African history, and Asher Kaufman shared with me his perspective on French colonialism in Lebanon. I would like to thank the former director Amnon Cohen and the present one, Eyal Ben-Ari, for their encouragement and, no less important, for the institute’s invaluable financial assistance over the years. The research scholarships I received from the institute during the preparation of my thesis, particularly the Young Truman Scholar postdoctoral fellowship, allowed me to dedicate most of my time to research and travel to archives abroad. A special grant from the Truman Institute’s publications committee enabled me to complete the process of turning my dissertation into a book. Also from the Truman Institute, I would like to thank my friend and English editor, Lisa Perlman, who is probably a

-ix-

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French Colonialism Unmasked: The Vichy Years in French West Africa
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Illustrations viii
  • Acknowledgements ix
  • Introduction xiii
  • Part I - French West Africa and Its Place in the Vichy Colonial Idea 1
  • 1 - Setting the Stage for Vichy 3
  • 2 - "A Source of Pride and Greatness" 11
  • Part II 23
  • 3 - Vichy Settles In- Administrative Changes and Continuity 25
  • 4 - Spreading the National Revolution in FWA 33
  • 5 - "Thinking Big" 59
  • Part III 87
  • 6 - Vichy and the "Products" of Assimilation 93
  • 7 - The Vichy Regime and the "Traditional" Elements of African Society 117
  • 8 - Vichy Colonialism and African Society 153
  • Part IV 159
  • 9 - Vichy Colonialism 161
  • 10 - Vichy''s Postwar Impact 173
  • Conclusions 183
  • Notes 191
  • Bibliography 213
  • Index 231
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