Mapping Post-War Networks
Mapping Post-War Networks
Raphael Veron, Yale College
Combat was a daily newspaper produced by the resistance movement of the same name in Nazi-occupied France. It came above ground in August 1944, at the Liberation of Paris, and soon came to represent in the public mind the spirit of the Resistance in post-war France. The newspaper’s editors, Albert Camus and Pascal Pia, assembled a group of young, forward-thinking writers and intellectuals who reported nationally and internationally on politics and culture. The paper nourished the careers of many important writers and thinkers and set a high standard in the press for its style and intellectual ambitions. Camus’s editorials, eagerly read and debated, explored the polemics and moral issues of the day,from the punishment of collaborators to the consequences of Hiroshima.
Our team is mapping a network of contributors based on an index of signed and unsigned articles published in Combat from 1944-1947. We are working with a searchable .pdf of a full collection of the newspaper, obtained from the French national library with the support of Yale’s Digital Humanities Laboratory. We are tracking variables such as author, title of article, political affinity of the author, author’s nationality, and the number of articles translated from other languages.
Camus and the editorial team gathered to toast the New Year, January 2, 1945. Photo taken by Combat photographer René Saint-Paul. Photo credit: René Saint-Paul, Rue des Archives.
Guiding Research Questions
Did Combat operate as a “feeder” to other magazines and publishing houses? How much overlap was there between Combat and the contributors to L’Arche, Fontaine, La Nef, Esprit, Action, etc.?
Did the writers at Combat really belong to a new generation? How many writers already known in the 1920s and 1930s occupied its pages? How many writers compromised under Vichy? How many Communists? How many Gaullists?
Our index of titles allows us to measure the amount of space given to various issues. How much film criticism? How much political coverage—national and international? How soon did the newspaper acknowledge the death camps? How did it cover the massacres at Sétif in 1945? What names and events appear repeatedly?
Women won the right to vote in 1944. How did Combat measure this sea change? How many women wrote for the newspaper?
What is Combat’s geographical frame of reference —to what cities and countries does it refer? Is Germany, the vanquished enemy, the most frequently cited? What about French anxiety—or enthusiasm—over “Americanization”? How many foreign writers did it publish? How many translations?
Do the categories “right” and “left” apply to Combat? Its motto is “from Resistance to Revolution” and yet it was fiercely anti-Stalinist. How does it convey its political views in the postwar landscape, especially in contrast to the other major post-war newspapers (L’Humanité, Le Monde, Le Figaro, Le Parisien libéré)?
This project received a grant from the French Embassy Centers of Excellence in 2020. Prior awards include a Seed Grant from the Yale Digital Humanities Laboratory to support student work and acquire the digitized and OCRed print run of Combat.
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