Instructions for British Servicemen in France, 1944
Distributed for Bodleian Library, University of Oxford
Instructions for British Servicemen in France, 1944 reminds British soldiers of the common points of culture and history Britain shares with France, and, above all, their mutual aim of defeating Hitler. The pamphlet attempts to teach British soldiers the ways of the French and warns them not give in to their urges: “If you should happen to imagine that the first pretty French girl who smiles at you intends to dance the can-can or take you to bed, you risk stirring up a lot of trouble for yourself—and for our relations with the French.” The pamphlet also features a pronunciation guide (“Bonjewer, commont-allay-voo?”), a list of useful phrases, and an unflinching account of the diseases and poverty ravaging the citizens of battle-torn France.
Instructions for British Servicemen in France, 1944 captures the complex dynamics of Anglo-French relations during the Second World War on an intimate and often humorous level and reveals all the fascinating aspects of life off the battlefield. Essential for the shelf of every historian and history buff, Instructions for British Servicemen in France, 1944 is a small document that nonetheless speaks volumes about its era.