Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts




During the Second World War, the French Resistance failed to unify or work effectively with Charles de Gaulle, the movement's symbolic leader. The Resistance maintained a troublesome relations with Great Britain. Neither side overcame a series of conflicts, battling egos, and internal confusion. As a result, Britain and the Resistance never developed a mature relationship that could aid the Allied invasion of French North Africa in November 1942 (Torch) and Normandy in June 1955 (Overlord). The British lacked a unified policy toward the French Resistance. Acting out a sense of desperation and isolation, the British clung to de Gaulle in the early days after the German Blitzkrieg but later came to question their support. Building up de Gaulle while keeping other options open, the British pursued conflicting goals, confusing not only policy toward de Gaulle and the Resistance but also fostering internal disagreements within the offices of the prime minister and foreign secretary.

Wartime conditions, inexperience, personal vendettas, and political competitions precluded both a unified and effective Resistance and a cohesive and consistent British policy toward the Resistance.