War Tourism: Second World War France from Defeat and Occupation to the Creation of Heritage

TitleWar Tourism: Second World War France from Defeat and Occupation to the Creation of Heritage
Publication TypeBook
Year of Publication2018
AuthorsGordon, Bertram M.
Number of Pages307
PublisherCornell University Press
CityIthaca, NY

Contrary to what is often assumed, tourism in France did not stop with the war. Thousands of German military personnel were given tours in occupied France and French civilians continued to take vacations as well. Many turned out with tourist gazes to watch General de Gaulle march down the Champs-Élysées at the time of the Liberation and sites frequently acquired new significance as in Normandy where Arromanches changed from a spa village to a war tourist destination. Based on French and German archival materials, memoirs, films, the press, and personal interviews, this book addresses the conflicts and competition between the 19th and early 20th century French tourism narratives and the German-dominated tourism version of the Second World War that replaced it, followed by the Gaullist/Resistance accounts after 1944. Although the Germans hardly treated the French kindly during the war, France was not relegated to the position of occupied Poland. Paris was spared the fate of Warsaw during the war. Postwar memory tourists brought home memories of Normandy and other sites that informed their own understandings of war. Narratives changed but war tourism remains a significant contributor to the French economy.

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