|Perceptions of Colonial North Africa during the Tunisia Campaign (1942-3)
This paper analyses differential views, approaches and reactions by the Anglo-American Allies to the conditions of (co )existence of the military personnel and civilians of diverse nationalities, encountered during the 1942-3 Allied invasion of Tunisia: Tunisian Arabs, French and other European settlers, as well as the various nationalities among the fighting parties on the ground.
It discusses perceptions and representations on the part of members of the Allied forces following episodes of interaction, as gathered from campaign records. It focuses on the interactions between communities as witnessed by the Allied forces - including the Free French Forces - and between the communities and the forces themselves. Issues raised centre around the following themes: tensions and collusions; perceptions of the French colonised ‘Orient’; and first ripples of decolonisation, brought into the open on the occasion of the shock to the collective system arising from military invasion. The central thesis is that according to these testimonies, British servicemen on the ground, unlike American personnel, had yet to take on board the inevitability of a future postcolonial order in that part of the world.
These perceptions and assessments of the situation are examined on the basis of evidence taken from the campaign archives: log books, memoirs and diaries, photographs and sketches, circulars and private correspondence etc. held in the Imperial War Museum in London and in the Memorial Leclerc in Paris.
|Bulletin of Francophone Africa
|21/22, pp. 12-27
|University of Westminster