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


Liberation of Paris (c) Royalty-free


Thursday, June 5 | 6:00 pm


On June 5, join Villa Albertine for “D-Day and the Soul of France – Exploring the Narratives of an Epic World Event,” part of the French-American Histories, One Story, Two Narratives series of virtual talks.

To mark the 80th anniversary of the historic event, this episode of “One Story, Two Narratives” will focus on D-Day with Roger Mummert. Launched by Villa Albertine, in collaboration with the Federation of Alliances Françaises USA, “French-American Histories, One Story, Two Narratives” is a series of virtual talks in which each episode reveals a different facet of the vibrant French-American relationship, through interviews with leading scholars, experts, and practitioners.

Moderated by Dr. Iris de Rode, an expert in the history of French-American relations, the interviews are broadcast live and recorded at the French Embassy or other locations in the United States.

Link to access the Zoom webinar:

A Conversation with Roger Mummert

In conversation 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 the 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 here, 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

About French-American Histories, One Story, Two Narratives

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 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.

In partnership with

Fédération des Alliances françaises USA

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