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D-Day and the Soul of France: French American Histories
D-Day and the Soul of France: French American Histories

Wed, Jun 05


Zoom event

D-Day and the Soul of France: French American Histories

“French-American Histories, One Story, Two Narratives” is a program of virtual talks launched by the Villa Albertine in collaboration with the Federation of Alliances Françaises USA.

Time & Location

Jun 05, 2024, 3:00 PM – 4:00 PM PDT

Zoom event

About the event

“D-Day and the Soul of France – Exploring the Narratives of an Epic World Event” A conversation with Roger Mummert with Iris de Rode, Ph.D.

Roger Mummert will revisit D-Day and the Battle of Normandy through an exploration of narratives, both American and French. The GIs who fought and died in this epic invasion and liberation were called to duty in a “Great Crusade” that was fueled by a sense of “American exceptionalism.” Then, in the horrors of battle, they were driven by basic instincts to survive and get home. The people of Normandy faced a more complex set of narratives. After four years of bitter occupation, liberation would come via a hellfire that claimed the lives of loved ones and reduced farms and towns to smoldering ruins. Some followed the narrative of restoring an “eternal France.” They fanned the “flame of resistance” with acts of sabotage against their occupiers. Others chose collaboration, still others the middle ground of attentisme.

The narratives they followed and the choices they made were starkly illuminated in the national reckoning that followed the war. Historical interpretations of the narratives of these events have changed greatly over time. Now, at the 80th anniversary of D-Day, we examine them anew.

Roger Mummert is founder of The Paris Project ( and editor of its newsletter, “Paris: A City of Ideas.” He is a writer and photographer whose work on cultural topics has been published in the New York Times and elsewhere. He also has written on travel and culinary topics for print, radio and television. Mummert has created a series of presentations for the Alliance Française that include “Paris: A City of Ideas” and “Myths and Mysteries of the Bastille.” Other series accessible on include “Quelle Bourgeois: Biography of a Social Class”; “Walking a Lobster: The Birth of la Bohème”; “The Greening of Paris”; and “Laïcité: It’s a French Thing.” Mummert recently toured battle sites and towns in Normandy in preparation for this presentation on D-Day.


240 years ago, fighting side by side for American independence, France was the first ally of the newly formed United States of America. Since then, the two countries have stood firm as “Sister Republics”, championing shared principles of democracy, freedom, and equality. The durable partnership has been characterized by a shared ambition and a common necessity for cooperation in a wide variety of fields in an increasingly globalized world. These encounters, spanning more than two centuries and ranging from the military to economic policy, agriculture, trade, philosophy, art, science and technology, have resulted in dynamic, fruitful and inspirational cross-exchanges that have shaped the destiny of both countries. The two countries have numerous similarities but also separate histories, cultures, and institutions, making the relation dynamic and creative, but also at times contentious. Over the years, comparable concepts that have been implemented in the distinct French and American cultures have flourished, but also encountered alteration, adaptation or even opposition, requiring hurdles to be overcome and compromises to be found. France and the United States have frequently expressed their conviction in a single, unifying story, yet they needed two narratives to tell their peoples: One Story, Two Narratives.

This event will be on Zoom and is free for all. Please click here to register.

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