Leclerc’s Mosaic: Historicism, Institutionalism, and Memory

  • Siba N. Grovogui
Part of the Culture and Religion in International Relations book series (CRIR)


In 1995, the American Public Broadcasting System (PBS) produced a month-long televison series commemorating the fiftieth anniversary of the end of World War II. The PBS series was one of many events that sought to recapture the high moments of the “great war.” According to PBS, these were inter alia the collapse of France; German invasion of Belgium; the march of Werhmacht toward the Low Countries; the Russian Front; the Stalin-CHitler Pact; the blitzkrieg or bombing of London; the Normandy landing; the Pacific Front; the fall of Germany; the liberation of death camp survivors; the division of Europe; and above all the selfless entry of the United States into war to defend democracy. Except for sequences on the loyalty of colonial troops to the Allied cause, the series characteristically omitted the role played by colonial populations. Africa was shown merely a theater for motorized battles opposing the ultimate victors to their Nazi and Fascist antagonists. Where it was mentioned, African participation was attributed to loyalty to the métropoles and/or compliance with metropolitan fiats. By a feat of visual effects, therefore, the series reduced the entire war to its American and European dimensions. Variations on this perspective are also commonsense in Europe. Related narratives pay little attention to the multiplicity of political symbols, motivations, ideas, and beliefs that drew other regions into that war.


Epistemic Community International Morality Global Politics French Colonial Transnational Network 


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© Siba N. Grovogui 2006

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  • Siba N. Grovogui

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