Current issue

Issue 16, 2015 — June 1940



Thank you for reading the 16th edition of the University of Sussex Journal of Contemporary History.

This is a special micro-history issue, based on exploring the events of June 1940 in Britain and France from a range of perspectives. The inspiration for this issue came from a postgraduate conference on the theme of June 1940, which was held at the history department here at the University of Sussex last year. The organisers of that conference, Jessica Hammett and Sally Palmer, guest-edit this issue with us.

The papers in this journal take a micro-history approach to the historical practice of memory and commemoration. In various ways, they re-assess the myths surrounding the events of June 1940 and, if there can be said to be one unifying argument, it is that overarching national narratives around trauma and conflict should be questioned.

This year marks the 75th anniversary of June 1940. The articles in this issue confirm the significance of this month as a time of global conflict. But for ordinary people, whether military personnel or civilians, life carried on somewhat as normal in spite of immense disruptions. This issue addresses the emotional and practical ways in which disruption caused by conflict affected people’s lived reality.

The Editors,
Rose Holmes and Oliver Hill-Andrews


A note from the guest editors: There are several people who we would like to thank for their help in making both the conference on which this journal special edition is based and the journal itself such a success.

The conference received funding from the Centre for the History of War and Society at the University of Sussex, and the centre’s directors, Hester Barron and Claudia Siebrecht, gave invaluable practical and intellectual support.

We are also grateful for the funding received from the School, and the assistance of Clive Webb and Meaghan Clarke. Fiona Allen was, as ever, very generous with her time and organisational skills. And thanks also to Ahmed Koyes.

During the conference our two keynote speakers, Hanna Diamond and Richard Vinen, helped to make it such an enjoyable and stimulating day, alongside all of the postgraduate and early career researchers represented here, and of course the contributions of our attendees including Rod Kedward.

Finally, thanks to Oliver Hill-Andrews and Rose Holmes for offering the journal as a space to develop the conference themes further, and to all the peer reviewers for their thoughtful feedback.

The guest editors and 'June 1940' conference convenors,
Jessica Hammett and Sally Palmer


Material from the University of Sussex Journal of Contemporary History may be freely reproduced so long as the source (author and journal) is acknowledged. The opinions of the authors in the articles published do not necessarily reflect the views of the editors, or of the University of Sussex.

June 1940 Conference Report David Selway

‘We’re absolute heroes now to everyone’: The Fluctuating Popularity of Civil Defence in Britain Jessica Hammett

Memories of the ‘Exodus’ in Le Havre Rebecca Shtasel

Gritou and Annie Vallotton: Refugees, Reality and Radicalisation — Diary Entries from June 1940 France Sally Palmer

Enemy Alien and Refugee: Conflicting Identities in Great Britain during the Second World War Rachel Pistol

June 1940: A Month as Any Other for the British Home Front? Natacha Chevalier

‘The RAF Must Fly the Flag’: The British Army’s Interpretation of Tactical Air Power during the Battle of France, 1940 Matthew Powell

In the Courts or Off the Record: Discipline in the British Expeditionary Force, September 1939–June 1940 Edward Smalley