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The Resistance in Western Europe, 1940-1945, Olivier Wieviorka in discussion with Robert O. Paxton and Mark Mazower

Olivier Wieviorka will be in discussion with Professors Robert O. Paxton and Mark Mazower to present his newly translated book, The Resistance in Western Europe, 1940–1945 (Columbia University Press, 2019), a sweeping analytical history of the underground anti-Nazi forces during World War II.


Examining clandestine organizations in Norway, Denmark, the Netherlands, Belgium, France, and Italy, Olivier Wieviorka sheds new light on the factors that shaped the resistance and its place in the grand scheme of Anglo-American military strategy. While national actors played a leading role in fomenting resistance, British and American intelligence services and propaganda as well as financial, material, and logistical support were crucial to its activities and growth. Wieviorka illuminates the policies of governments in exile and resistance actors regarding cooperation with the British and Americans, pointing to the persistence of national self-interest and long-standing historical tensions. Drawing on a wide range of archival sources and bringing together the political, diplomatic, and military dimensions of the conflict, this book is the first account of the resistance on a continental scale and from a trans-European perspective. 

“Olivier Wieviorka treats the resistance in Western Europe as a multinational coalition. Anglo-Americans supplied arms and funding to resistance groups on the continent, and Resistance movements in turn aided in the Allied war effort. It was part tug-of-war, résistants striving to maintain autonomy, and part pas de deux, the two sides working together in a common effort that helped shape what Wieviorka calls an incipient “European consciousness.” This is a history on a grand scale commensurate with the epic character of the complex struggle it recounts.“ Phillip Nord, Princeton University

See his interview for Columbia University Blog here.


Olivier Wieviorka is professor of history at the École Normale Supérieure de Paris-Saclay. His books in English include The French Resistance (2016), also translated by Jane Marie Todd.

Robert O. Paxton is the Mellon Professor Emeritus of Social Science at Columbia University. 

Mark Mazower is the Ira D. Wallach Professor of History at Columbia. 

Event co-sponsored by the Knapp Family Foundation, Department of History, Institute for Social and Economic Research and Policy, Columbia University Press, Alliance Program, and European Institute.

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