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ABGESAGT: The Invention of Terrorism in Early Twentieth-Century France

The words ‘terrorism’ and ‘terrorist’ have an extraordinary power to evoke mental images, and to trigger prejudices and preconceptions about what we ‘know’ of these phenomenon. We rarely stop to consider how we have come by this knowledge, yet we are sure that we ‘know what terrorism is’. People in the past also ‘knew’ what terrorism was. Whether we might recognise their terrorism as our terrorism, is another matter.

In his lecture, Chris Millington explores the political and social imaginaries of ‘terrorism’ in early twentieth-century France. He examines representations and perceptions of terrorism in French political and cultural discourse during the period of the late Third Republic, to understand how people in the past perceived, experienced, and reacted to terrorist violence. To illustrate this approach, he focuses the assassination of King Alexander I of Yugoslavia in Marseille in 1934. It’s by this time that we may perceive historical understandings of terrorism as something resembling our own. 

Chris Millington is Reader in Modern European History at Manchester Metropolitan University. He has written on fascism, political violence, and terrorism in twentieth-century France, including:

- The Invention of Terrorism in France, 1904-1939. Stanford University Press. 2023

- France in the Second World War: Collaboration, Resistance, Holocaust, Empire. Bloomsbury Academic. 2020. Trans: La France en guerre. Une histoire globale, 1940-1945. Flammarion. 2022.

- A History of Fascism in France: From the First World War to the National Front. Bloomsbury Academic. 2019.

- Fighting for France Violence in Interwar French Politics. British Academy Monographs. 2018.

- France and Fascism: February 1934 and the Dynamics of Political Crisis, with Brian Jenkins. Routledge. 2015.

- From Victory to Vichy Veterans in Inter-War France. Manchester University Press. 2012.

Der Vortrag findet in englischer Sprache statt.

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Internal responsibility:

Historisches Seminar, Lehrstuhl für Neuere und Neuste Geschichte Westeuropas

Dr. Barbara Schmitz