Dr Chris Millington

I graduated from the University of Liverpool with a degree in History and French and a Master’s in Twentieth Century History. I studied for a PhD at Cardiff University under the supervision of Professor Kevin Passmore. Before coming to the department in 2012, I was lecturer in Modern European History at Birkbeck, University of London (2009-10) and British Academy Postdoctoral Fellow at Cardiff University (2010-2012). I have written on the French veterans’ movement after the First World War and on political violence in interwar France. I have contributed to History Today magazine. Visit my personal webpage for resources for students and researchers of French History.

Current research
Political violence in France, 1918-1940
Scholarship on interwar France has claimed that political violence was a marginal phenomenon. However, studies of extra-parliamentary groups, based on limited research, have suggested that this may not be the case. My project takes research in several new directions. It examines the violence of left- and right-wing groups and the police, and the role and scale of violence in action and discourse between 1918 and 1940. It investigates cultural practices, such as political meetings, and what these can tell us about the unspoken assumptions and rules of violent action. It sets French political violence in its European context, investigating the extent to which foreign groups influenced their French counterparts. The project seeks to develop broader conclusions regarding French republican political culture, principally on the place of violence as an accepted form of expression within the Third Republic.

My project on French veterans of the Great War explores the political mobilisation of the two largest French veterans’ associations during the interwar years, the Union fédérale (UF) and the Union nationale des combattants (UNC).

My profile: chrismillington.info

Areas of Expertise

  • Modern France
  • The French Third Republic
  • Vichy France
  • Political Violence
  • terrorism
  • War Veterans and their associations
  • Fascism in interwar Europe

Publications

  1. Getting Away with Murder: Political Violence on Trial in Interwar France. European History Quarterly
  2. & France and Fascism: February 1934 and the Dynamics of Political Crisis. Routledge.
  3. & (Eds.). Political Violence and Democracy in Western Europe, 1918-1940. Chris Millington and Kevin Passmore (Ed.), Basingstoke: Palgrave.
  4. Communist Veterans and Paramilitarism in 1920s France: TheAssociation républicaine des anciens combattants. Journal of War & Culture Studies 8(4), 300-314.
  5. From Victory to Vichy: Veterans in Interwar France. Manchester: Manchester University Press.

See more...

Teaching

  • HI-M39 Research Folder

    This module is designed to help students to identify a dissertation topic appropriate to their interests and expertise, and to tackle the problems of methodology, develop the research techniques, and undertake the project planning which are the necessary preliminaries to researching and writing a 20,000 word dissertation.

  • HI-M80 Directed Reading in History

    Under the guidance of an expert supervisor, students analyse developments in research and historiography relating to a topic in History which they choose from a wide range of options.

  • HI-M81 Power, Conflict and Society in the Modern World

    This course examines key themes, ideas and processes that have defined 'modern' history. These include the rise of nation states and nationalism, the increasing totalisation of warfare, the rise and fall of revolutionary ideologies, understandings of human rights, the penal system, and the persistence of violence. This is a wide-ranging comparative course that explores the historical theories and concepts behind such areas, while bringing in case studies to illustrate them. Each theme is dealt with across two seminars. The first seminar introduces students to the debates/theories/concepts for the theme, taking a historical and comparative perspective; the second seminar takes the form of a case study, allowing students to pursue the topic in greater depth and in line with the expertise of the tutor for that theme. Students will develop a broad knowledge of the most significant ideas and developments in modern history and will be challenged to compare and contrast both national contexts and historical periods in order to consider what makes this history modern. Seminar themes may change from year to year.

  • HIH121 Europe of Extremes: 1789 - 1989

    The nineteenth century saw the rise of a western European civilization, characterized, as Eric Hobsbawm has noted, by capitalist economics, liberal politics, and the dominance of a middle class that celebrated morality and science. In the twentieth century this civilization faced unprecedented challenges from new political ideologies, and from a working class demanding the right to govern in its own name. The result was an eruption of violence not seen on the continent for centuries; in its wake, the Cold War divided the Europe with an Iron Curtain, and saw the continent become the client of two world superpowers ¿ the USA and the Soviet Union. This team-taught module relies on the specialist knowledge of its tutors to examine economic, political and social themes in the history of nineteenth and twentieth-century Europe.

  • HIH122 Making History

    History is an imprecise art and what historians say and write about the past is not the same as what actually happened in the past. Most people's knowledge about the past doesn't come from professional historians at all but rather from 'public history'. Public history is the collective understandings of the past that exist outside academic discipline of history. It is derived from a diverse range of sources including oral traditions, legends, literature, art, films and television. This module will introduce you to the study and presentation of the past. It will consider how the content, aims and methods of academic and public history compare and contrast and you will engage in your own small research project to investigate this. The module will also teach you about the fundamentals of studying and writing history at university. You will learn about essay writing, group work and critical analysis and employ these skills to understand and assess history today, both as an academic activity and as public knowledge.

  • HIH237 The Practice of History

    The purpose of the module is to encourage you to think more deeply about how historians work and, in particular, about how we as historians can locate and use primary historical sources effectively as a means of interpreting and understanding the past. During the module we will learn about the survival of historical evidence, how it is organised and made accessible to historians to undertake their research, and how to effectively locate and interpret it in your studies. We will consider how the process of doing historical research changes over time, in particular with the impact of recent developments like digitization. At the core of the module will be the work you undertake with others in your seminar group using a range of primary sources which your seminar tutor will introduce to you. As part of the module assessment you will also undertake your own primary source based research project using items from these collections. The module is designed strengthen your analytical skills and to help prepare you for the more extensive uses of primary evidence which you will encounter in final year special subjects and dissertation.

  • HIH268 From War to Revolution: France 1914-1968

    From the outbreak of the First World War to the uprising of May 1968, France endured one of the most turbulent periods in its history. The French experienced triumph in 1918 yet political, economic and social crisis almost tore the country apart in the interwar years. After the Nazi invasion of 1940, France entered its darkest years, as collaborators and resisters clashed and the ordinary French faced a daily struggle for survival. New challenges arose in the post-war years with the decline of the French empire, mass immigration, the emergence of the superpowers and lasting changes in French society. This course covers the most significant events and themes in this period, including the Great War, the crisis of the 1930s, the Vichy regime, the Cold War and the war in Algeria. Students will use a variety of sources and will develop an understanding of France¿s history during the twentieth century, the place of France in the wider world and how the French have come to terms with their own past. No knowledge of French is required.

  • HIH3300 History Dissertation

    The History dissertation is a free-standing, 40-credit module that runs across both semesters of Level Three. Candidates conduct research upon a subject of their choice, devised in consultation with a member of staff teaching for the degrees in History, and concerning a topic that falls within staff research and teaching interests.

  • HIH3315 France in Crisis 1934-1944 Part One

    Nineteen-thirty-four saw the beginning of what some historians have termed a French civil war. Beset by political, economic and social crises, France was increasingly divided against itself as parliamentary government broke down and uniformed fascists and their left-wing adversaries fought to control the streets. The defeat of France to Germany in 1940 saw the opening of what are termed the `Dark Years¿, and not without good reason. During these years, 650, 000 civilian workers were forced to work in Germany; 75 000 Jews were deported to Auschwitz; 30, 000 French civilians were shot as hostages or members of the Resistance, while another 60,000 were sent to concentration camps. The war years left an indelible mark on French politics, society and historiography. The module (along with HIH3316) comprises classes broadly based around five themes: 1) The 1930s 2) Defeat and Occupation 3) Collaboration 4) Resistance 5) Memory. Students will develop an understanding of the historiographical issues involved in the study of the subject, as well as knowledge of the broader context of 20th century French history and the role of the Vichy years in this trajectory. Students will use a variety of political, social and cultural sources including film, literature and texts. No knowledge of French is required.

  • HIH3316 France in Crisis, 1934-1944 Part Two

    Nineteen-thirty-four saw the beginning of what some historians have termed a French civil war. Beset by political, economic and social crises, France was increasingly divided against itself as parliamentary government broke down and uniformed fascists and their left-wing adversaries fought to control the streets. The defeat of France to Germany in 1940 saw the opening of what are termed the `Dark Years¿, and not without good reason. During these years, 650, 000 civilian workers were forced to work in Germany; 75 000 Jews were deported to Auschwitz; 30, 000 French civilians were shot as hostages or members of the Resistance, while another 60,000 were sent to concentration camps. The war years left an indelible mark on French politics, society and historiography. The module (along with HIH3316) comprises classes broadly based around five themes: 1) The 1930s 2) Defeat and Occupation 3) Collaboration 4) Resistance 5) Memory. Students will develop an understanding of the historiographical issues involved in the study of the subject, as well as knowledge of the broader context of 20th century French history and the role of the Vichy years in this trajectory. Students will use a variety of political, social and cultural sources including film, literature and texts. No knowledge of French is required.

  • HIH3319 A History of Violence

    Violence has played a key role in European and world history. This module will explore how cultures of violence have developed from the early modern period to the end of the twentieth century. It will chart the changing practice of violence and examine how attitudes towards it have changed between 1500 and 2000. Students will explore different aspects of violence, including state sponsored and interpersonal forms. Topics will includes warfare, ritual violence, such as the duel, criminal violence and state violence, such as judicial torture and executions. A particular them of the module will be the increasing state monopolization of violence. Students will be introduced to the theoretical literature on organized and individual violence and be challenged to draw comparisons from different epochs. The course questions whether, as has recently been argued, humanity is becoming less violent.

Career History

Start Date End Date Position Held Location
2010 2012 British Academy Postdoctoral Fellow Cardiff University
2009 2010 Lecturer in Modern European History Birkbeck, University of London

Key Grants and Projects

  • Violence during strikes in interwar France 2014 - 2014

    , British Academy Small Research Grant (£7000 approx)

  • Political Violence in interwar France 2010 - 2012

    , British Academy Postdoctoral Fellowship (£250,000 appox)