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University at Buffalo Libraries

World History

France–History–German Occupation

.  Please ask for assistance if this guide does not fully meet your needs.


I.  Begin by writing down what you are looking for.  As your research develops, you will have more and more things to write down or remember – things you will want to understand and – perhaps – research. 

II. To begin your research, search for background information on your topic.  Scholarly encyclopedias can be a wonderful first step or a complement to what you have learned from readings or lectures.  Be sure to use the following: 

Blackwell Reference Online

By far the most useful is A Companion to Europe, 1900 – 1945.  It is part of Blackwell Reference Online.

Cambridge Histories Online

Gale Virtual Reference Library 

Do not forget the Wikipedia, there are several especially useful articles.  You definitely cannot simply trust Wikipedia articles as a rule.  Although they are generally accurate, it is unlikely you will cite a Wikipedia article.  Nonetheless, the articles and the references and links that conclude them can be extremely useful. 


See also the more trusted: Britannica Concise Encyclopedia 

Not all encyclopedias are available electronically.  Visit the Lockwood reference collection and use encyclopedias devoted to World War II and to the Holocaust.  Some of these titles include: 

Encyclopedia of World War II

Lockwood Reference Collection

D740.A94 2007

The Oxford Companion to World War II

Lockwood Reference Collection

D740.O94 1995

The Holocaust Encyclopedia

Lockwood Reference Collection

D804.25.H65 2001

Encyclopedia of the Holocaust

Lockwood Reference Collection

D804.25,E53 2000 

III. E-books and Google Book search deserve special attention.  The wide universe that Google Book covers ensures that you will find relevant information.  The problem, regrettably, is that it may not be available to you in full text.  Nonetheless, the search inside the book feature may serve you well.  You can also try Amazon’s “search inside the Book.  You can turn any book into a reference book.  Because the electronic ones are so accessible you can readily turn to them for reference purposes as needed. 

Google Books 

IV. Use the full catalog, BISON.  Obviously, we hold many books that may be useful for your work.  The trick, of course, is finding them.  Use the subject headings France – History – German Occupation, 1940-1945.  Headings, because you will see that this heading is further sub-divided.  You can browse titles cataloged with this subject heading by searching in Advanced mode and then, on the left of the Advanced screen, select Subject (LC) and enter France—History—German Occupation.  Do not enter spaces within or on either side of the dashes. 


V.  The most important index to journal literature for your topic is Historical Abstracts.  You might also search in JStor.  But the journals that comprise JStor are indexed – generally in their entirety – in Historical Abstracts.  You may also wish to use the special Clio Notes feature in Historical Abstracts.  Never hesitate to do a Google Scholar search. 

Historical Abstract

Historical Abstracts: Clio Notes

This wonderful feature will lead you to over 571 citations to articles and books, many in French, on FRANCE – History – German Occupation, 1940-1945.  Access the Clio Notes feature on the far left of the Historical Abstracts search screen.  Select Europe [1901-2001] Western Europe, then select World War II, then Occupation, Resistance, and Collaboration, and then FRANCE – History – German Occupation, 1940-1945.


Google Scholar 

VI. Web Sites are available as well.  In addition to simply searching Google, try these Web search services designed specifically for historical work.  Generally, they will lead to a range of material, but – apparently – not on this topic.  A Google search seems more promising, offering many resources that suggest topics for further study.  Use Vichy “German occupation” as entered here, as your search statement. 

World History Resources

WWW VL: History Central, Catalogue 

VII. Finding a primary source requires you to decide what you would like to find: documents, letters, diaries, literature, articles, newspapers, etc.  Decide what you would like to find and then ask one of us to help you find it. 

VIII. Obviously, the usefulness of material does not end if it is not in English.  Use the Google Language tools if an article or document is available in digital form.  Paste it in the provided box and Google will translate it.  Actually, the larger the piece pasted in, the more accurate the translation is likely to be.  This is because Google does “computational” translation, using probability, determined from context, to create a translation. 

Google Language Tools 


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