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La société britannique, la monarchie et la guerre, 1914-1945

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  • Philippe Chassaigne

Abstract

[fre] Clef de voûte du système institutionnel britannique, la monarchie ne pouvait échapper à la mise à l'épreuve que constituèrent les deux guerres mondiales. Si, dans le domaine de la politique intérieure, le pouvoir du souverain n'augmenta pas, pas plus qu'il ne joua, dans aucun des deux conflits, le rôle du «roi de guerre», en revanche, la dimension impériale de la couronne en sortit renforcée: l'Empire démontra un loyalisme à toute épreuve (exception faite de la neutralité irlandaise en 1939) et l'adoption du Statut de Westminster (1931), redéfinissant les rapports entre la métropole et les Dominions, mettait expressément l'accent sur l'allégeance à la Couronne comme facteur de l'unité impériale. Surtout, les Royals surent se mettre à l'unisson de la nation: George V et George VI jouèrent pleinement leur rôle de «père tutélaire» de leurs sujets et, lors de chaque conflit, l'ensemble de la famille royale multiplia les visites sur le terrain ou s'engage dans maintes activités caritatives. En outre, les media déclinèrent à l'infini ce thème de la monarchie partageant les épreuves des Britanniques. L'institution sortit donc renforcée de deux conflits qui, sur le Continent, entraînèrent la ruine de plus d'une dynastie européenne. [eng] As the keystone of the constitutional architecture, the British monarchy was unlikely to escape the ordeal of two world wars. As far as home politics were concerned, the sovereign did not — and did not even try to - regain any of the prerogative lost during the 19th century, neither did he try to effectively assume his functions of military commander-in-chief. But the Imperial dimension of the monarchy stood comforted: Dominions and colonies alike displayed an unflagging loyalism (with the exception of the neutrality of Ireland in 1939) and the 1931 Statute of Westminster expressly mentioned a "common allegiance to the Crown " as the cement of Imperial unity. Above all, the Royals knew how to present themselves as sharing the burdens of their people. George V and George VI were real "father figures" and all of the members of the Royal family had to fulfil an increasing number of public engagements that the media scrupulously advertised. The "people's wars" gave birth to a "people's monarchy" .

Suggested Citation

  • Philippe Chassaigne, 2004. "La société britannique, la monarchie et la guerre, 1914-1945," Histoire, économie & société, Programme National Persée, vol. 23(2), pages 181-189.
  • Handle: RePEc:prs:hiseco:hes_0752-5702_2004_num_23_2_2415
    Note: DOI:10.3406/hes.2004.2415
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