Cross Channel Reflections : French Perceptions of Britain from Fashoda to the Boer War.
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This Thesis adopts a variety of different approaches in order to throw light on French perceptions of the British at the turn of the twentieth century. Introduction, chapters one and two set these in the broader context of nineteenth-century attitudes, in particular the genre of invasion literature, and the corpus of work produced by writers from the Ecole Libre, Paris. Not straightforwardly Anglophobic or Anglophile, both drew upon similar British stereotypes, and were shaped by French self-perceptions and internal concerns. The impact of the 1898 Fashoda incident and 1899-1902 Boer War upon French attitudes generally and these strands is considered, before analysis of French diplomacy. This departs from the contending ideas that the French Foreign Minister, Delcassé, determinedly sought an alignment with the British from June 1898 onwards, or that across 1898-1901 he was presumptively hostile to Britain, suggesting instead a self-interested opportunist agenda pursued irrespective of others in policymaking circles. Chapter five takes up John Keiger’s suggestion that the Paris press may have been less hostile towards Britain before and during the Fashoda incident than is often depicted, to broaden its evidential base, and push it further, arguing that French anger over Fashoda was in part directed against other, often domestic, targets and its Anglophobia was largely retrospective. Chapter six pursues this story into the early months of the Boer War, pointing to how French press opinions, if emboldened by the tide of international criticism of British policy, again strongly reflected internal preoccupations. The French who volunteered to fight on the Boer side in the war might represent an avowed kernel of Anglophobic opinion. Chapter seven, however, concludes that their motivation had more to do with asserting a certain vision of France, not least at home, something clearly understood by them and the French press of the time.
AuthorsBlockley, John Edward
- Theses