Published online by Cambridge University Press: 20 May 2021
Despite historians’ rediscovery of the ‘DP story’ since the late 1980s, the French zone has remained understudied, for France was a second-rank occupying force, one whose zone and DP population was significantly smaller, and its wider political influence more limited than those of its Western Allies. And yet, the French zone offers an ideal site in which to trace how relief approaches and practices were coloured by domestic concerns, with France facing specific material constraints resulting in part from its experiences of Nazi occupation. Contributing to a recent expansion of scholarly literature that focuses on Allied administration of DPs, this book unearths how discussions about how best to serve the interests of DPs resonated with broader national debates about the immediate past and the fate of France after Vichy. It argues that humanitarian aid became a component of French efforts at restoring France’s international prestige against the backdrop of increasing anxieties about its international standing. It also reveals the fragmentation of visions for relief work within international organisations, beyond their claims to the embodiment of a ‘new humanitarianism’.