PRINT May 2008


IT IS CLEAR THAT NICOLAS SARKOZY takes an especial interest in history. One of the French president’s first steps on taking office last year was to mandate that a letter by Guy Môquet, a martyr of the Resistance who was executed at seventeen, be read annually in all of the nation’s high schools. This past February, he announced that he would have each of France’s schoolchildren learn the name and biography of one Jewish child deported during the Occupation. And in March, he ordered a state funeral for France’s longest-living World War I infantryman and paid tribute to 105 maquisards, or Resistance fighters, who died battling the Germans sixty years ago.

But if the president is intent on commemorating and recuperating certain aspects of the world wars, his relation to France’s more recent history is conflicted, to say the least. One date he won’t be celebrating is the fortieth anniversary

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