Normandy 39-45, an online bibliography of Normandy in times of war

Thanks to Céline Quint from the Carré International of the University of Caen-Normandie for the translation. The article is also in french.

Photography : Royal Marine Commandos attached to 3rd Division move inland from Sword Beach on the Normandy coast, 6 June 1944. Copyright : IWM, B5071

For a collaborative bibliography

If, for Normandy, the Second World War began in 1940 with the invasion and bombardment of Upper Normandy cities, it ended in 1944 with the Overlord operation and the bombardment of Lower Normandy cities. For nearly three months, the Allied and German armies clashed on the Norman front, where both soldiers and civilians paid the ultimate price. This “epic” of the Liberation still resonates in the nowadays body of publication. Witnesses, local scholars and historians have been studying the subject for 75 years, even if, as the graph shows, the writings still reflect the context of memory and remembering. Normandy 39-45, an online bibliography of Normandy in times of war, was particularly rich and varied in the years 1945-1950, including particularly civilian testimonials during the summer of 1944, and then, from the 40th anniversary onwards, the number of publications increased exponentially until 1994 after a long period of atony. Generally speaking, the works devoted to the history of the Normandy Landings and Battles overshadow those dealing with the Occupation period. However, these are varied and cover many municipalities in the region, and address various aspects of the Resistance and Cooperation. However, the production of the works shows an imbalance between Lower-Normandy, which is a highly prized field of investigation, to the detriment of Upper-Normandie, whose few studies generally focus on the military operations that took place in 1940 or 1944.

The bibliography produced by Jean Quellien in 1994 and published in the Annales de Normandie[1] in 1996, compiled to another unedited file and gathered until the 2000s were the starting point of Normandie (1939-1945). Thanks are due to its author for allowing the resumption of his work. From the 90s on, and together with Michel Boivin, professor in the History Department of the University of Caen Normandie, Jean Quellien initiated numerous student-projects devoted to local and regional history. The review of regional and national journals made it possible to add many references to this bibliography.


The various works are classified by theme and typology. Considered as a source, the testimonies form the first set are followed by the working tools: dictionaries, atlases, bibliographies. A second group is organized on the basis of the historical period under study. Following a brief overview of Normandy in the wake of the war, Internet users will be able to collect references according to their interests:
– The phony War and the 1940 Campaign-
 The Occupation from 1940 to 1944-
 The Landing and Battle of Normandy
– The post-war period-
–  The memory of war
Geographical or thematic subgroups are proposed on the most prolific topics, particularly on the local monographs dealing with the Occupation and classified by department and on the military operations of the summer of 1944, classified according to the major battle periods.


            The referenced documents can be consulted in at least one public library: university library, public library, departmental archives, Caen Memorial and in the library of the HisTeMé laboratory. The location of the various documents can be identified thanks to the Catalogue Collectif de France (CCFr).

The records listed are presented in various ways. The most important group of books are those published on a freelance basis or published by a publishing house. Their republications are indicated. The reviews dealing specifically with the Second World War or Normandy were also compiled: The Annals of Normandy, The Channel Review, Connaissance de l’Eure, etc. You will find the whole list by clicking on this link. However, given the extent of the work, we didn’t take the written press, such as Ouest-France, Paris-Normandie, etc., in consideration, apart from the special issues, although there are many testimonies and information on the post-war commemorations. As a general rule, preference was given to the work seen as part of a scientific approach consisting in comparing and referencing sources, while popular articles are scarcer. Academic work from the 1st and 2nd master’s degree to the doctoral thesis are considered. All these productions relate exclusively to the five Normandy departments. Nevertheless, the status of the Channel Islands, which depended administratively on the Prefecture of La Manche during the Occupation, does appear to deserve a study in its own right.
It goes without saying that this bibliography cannot be considered exhaustive by researchers, since, it still remains selective. Indeed, many general works on France or on the Second World War can also provide information on Normandy taken from archives or based on testimonies collected through research.
Finally, regarding the testimonies, Internet users can use another online bibliography: Ecrits de guerre et d’Occupation, EGO 1939-1945 in which they will find the memoirs of the main actors of the war and consequently of the Battle of Normandy, such as Heads of State or Army Generals: General de Gaulle, D.D. Eisenhower, Winston Churchill, etc.  In view of the much broader scope of their writings, they have not been included in our bibliography.

A necessary collaboration

The purpose of this bibliography is very ambitious: listing all the writings on the history of Normandy between 1939 and 1945.At the present time, its exhaustiveness can almost be reached for French-language publications, covering the period from the “Drôle de guerre” to the end of the Occupation. By contrast, the international nature of the Normandy Landings and Battles must be enriched by works published in the belligerent countries: the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom – but also Belgium, Norway, Poland – which still remain scarce, like those from Germany. Thus, the establishment of a collaborative bibliography should, in the long term, close these gaps.

Technical aspects


The project is directly inspired by the work of Franziska Heimburger, who developed a collaborative bibliography on the First World War for the International Society for First World War Studies using the open source bibliographic software Zotero. This allowed us to share and store our bibliography entitled “Normandy 1939-1945” on the cloud. To date, approximately 2700 references have been included. Whether Mac or PC, tablet or phone, it can be consulted from any media platform.
It can be consulted on the following link:

You will then have the possibility to search for references by entering the name of the author, the title of the work, or its date of publication, etc.

This is an open resource that can be consulted by anyone, without any restriction.

The bibliography on Zotero (cloud)


In order to make best use of the “Normandy bibliography”, you can download it on your personal computer and benefit from the weekly updates made by Guillaume Yverneau, student at the University of Caen Normandie, and project manager.
Here are the procedures:

  1.  download Zotero (for free) to your computer at the following address: “Download”
  2.  create an account to access “the Zotero cloud”, using the top right “Register” tab:, then entering a name and password.
  • There are two possible options to participate and enrich the bibliography:
  • Send a message to the following address: giving your Zotero login ID and request permission to bring your contribution to enrich the bibliography. You will then receive an invitation containing a link to the database.
  • Use the “Join the group” tab that you will find on the “Normandy 1939-1945” page

Once these steps are completed, you can download the bibliography to your Zotero personal account, and synchronize (Edit / Preferences: click on: “synchronize automatically) to get the latest updates.


The bibliography can only be enriched by the administrators. Please send any new proposals to the following address:  We will upload them.
We remain at your disposal for any further information you may require. Please, contact us on the below stated addresses:
. The laboratory’s :
The professional or personal addresses:
Françoise Passera, research engineer:
Guillaume Yverneau, project manager,

1] QUELLIEN, Jean, “Bibliographie : la Normandie et la Seconde Guerre mondiale”, in, Annales de Normandie, n°4, Nov. 1996, p. 439-672. Available at:, (accessed 3.09.2018)

Citer ce billet
Françoise Passera (2019, 11 décembre). Normandy 39-45, an online bibliography of Normandy in times of war. Autour de la Seconde Guerre mondiale. Consulté le 24 juin 2024, à l’adresse

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