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"Vichy France, Collaboration and Resistance " Topic

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283 hits since 12 Jun 2018
©1994-2019 Bill Armintrout
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Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP13 Jun 2018 12:04 p.m. PST

by Chris Millington

"Following the armistice in June 1940, France was divided into several zones: a small zone in the north-east of France known as the ‘forbidden zone', an Occupied Zone in the North (which included the Atlantic coastline) and an Unoccupied Zone in the South. An internal border, known as the Demarcation Line, separated the two zones. Germany wanted to keep the Empire out of Allied hands and Hitler believed the best solution was for France to defend the Empire itself. The unoccupied zone was therefore technically an independent state. This zone was known as Vichy France, named after the town where the French government set up its headquarters. Pétain was head of the Vichy state and he governed with a team of ministers.

The period 1940-1944 is known as the Dark Years in France and not without good reason. During these years, 650, 000 civilian workers were deported to work in Germany; 75 000 Jews were deported to Auschwitz; 30, 000 French civilians were shot as hostages or members of the Resistance, another 60,000 were sent to concentration camps.

Yet in August 1944, when France was liberated, General Charles de Gaulle, recognised leader of the French forces, was asked to proclaim the restoration of the Republic. He refused: on the grounds that the Republic had never ceased to exist. What did he mean? He meant that Republican France, the ‘true' France, had always existed – in the form of himself and the Resistance. Vichy was an abnormality, an aberration – it was ‘not really France'…."
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Mark 113 Jun 2018 4:16 p.m. PST

Very interesting article. I have downloaded it for a more thorough reading and for future reference.

Thank you, Armand.

(aka: Mk 1)

robert piepenbrink Supporting Member of TMP13 Jun 2018 5:41 p.m. PST

Interesting. But I notice what's not there, too. For example there's nothing on the continuing efforts of Vichy to evade their armistice commitments and rebuild French war-making capacity over the 1940-42 period, producing the weapons, ammunition and trained manpower which will later be used by the resistance, by French forces in Tunisia and by the French Army in 1944-45. And it's not altogether kosher to talk about Petain packing off French laborers to German fields and factories without mentioning that in return, he was getting French POW's returned from German camps.

Resistance and collaboration in France were not always a zero-sum game, and both--some of the time, at least--were looking at French interests rather than those of any of the other combatants. Good luck sorting out feelings and motives at this range.

foxbat14 Jun 2018 7:16 a.m. PST

I will respectfully have to disagree.
There is strictly zero effort from the Vichy government ( discounting those of a few French patriotic officers, which cannot amount to a lot) for rebuilding FRench military capacities, nor was there any planning whatsoever to try to combat a very likely gErman invasion, as happened later. To Petain's discharge, one can say that the German Armistice commision was not staffed by incompetents easily fooled. May I add that in Morroco and Algeria, the standing orders were to oppose the Allied invasion?
Now, on to "La Relève", as it was called by Vichy. It actually allowed the return of 90 000 miltary prisoners, at a supposed rate of 3 workers for a POW. The German got actually 70 000 voluntary workers, so that the Vichy regime substituted the Service de TRavail Obligatoire (STO, mandatory work service) to compensate and send French workers to Germany. The irony of the thing is that a lot of the armed resistants of the "Maquis", the "maquisards", were actually there to avoid the STO. What comes around…
In the end, anyways, to get back to the core of Tango's post, it is clear, IMO, that History vindicated DE Gaulle's claims that the Republic never ceased to exist, albeit in exile, and that Petain's Etat Français was but the Vichy Regime, since he was a contributor to the war effort, and a signatory to Germany's capitulation, as the head of the Gouvernement Provisoire de la République Française (GPRF, provisional government of the French Republic.

Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP14 Jun 2018 9:52 a.m. PST

Glad you like it my friend!. (smile)


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