Lord Ashdown gives St Hugh’s-Maison Francaise Lecture
Lord Paddy Ashdown gave the St Hugh’s-Maison Francaise Lecture on Thursday 6 November, at St Hugh’s College. The event was chaired by Robert Gildea, Professor of Modern History at the University of Oxford.
Lord Ashdown discussed his new book, The Cruel Victory, which tells the long neglected D-Day story of the Resistance uprising and subsequent massacre on the Vercors massif – the largest action by the French Resistance during the Second World War. Overlooked by English language histories, Ashdown sets the story in the context of D-Day, the muddle of politics and the many misjudgements of D-Day planners in both London and Algiers. Most importantly it also gives voice to the many fighters who fought to gain a stake in their country’s future.
Lord Ashdown served as a Royal Marine and as an intelligence officer for the UK security services before becoming a Member of Parliament for Yeovil from 1983 to 2001, and leader of the Liberal Democrats from 1988 until 1999. He was the international High Representative for Bosnia and Herzegovina from 2002 to 2006 and was made a Knight Grand Cross of the Most Distinguished Order of Saint Michael and Saint George in 2006.
The Maison Francaise d’Oxford is a French research centre in the humanities and social sciences at the University of Oxford.