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"The French Resistance: How Resistant?" Topic

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Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP In the TMP Dawghouse12 Sep 2020 10:27 p.m. PST

"Ever since he wrote For Whom the Bell Tolls (1940), the popular image of the wartime partisan has been one of T-handles shoved down into detonator boxes, of bridges blowing and railway tracks pretzeling, of snipers taking out troops that stumble into their sights. That image has also shaped modern-day impressions of the French Resistance, the multifaceted, misunderstood World War II movement that eventually coalesced among brave civilians after Germany steamrolled France in 1940.

But the Hemingwayesque view of resistance in For Whom the Bell Tolls (set during the 1936–39 Spanish Civil War) bears little semblance to the real-life French Resistance. The truth, however, is hard to determine—what the Resistance was, what it accomplished, who its members were, how big and effective or small and ineffective it was—because the France of World War II had one large piece of dirty linen waving in the wind: Alone among the countries of Europe overrun by the Wehrmacht, France chose to collaborate actively with the enemy, and the French people became deeply ashamed of that choice as soon as the Allies liberated them. The country compensated for that shame by sometimes exaggerating the accomplishments of those partisans who did propagandize, spy upon, sabotage and even openly fight the Germans…"
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Jcfrog Supporting Member of TMP13 Sep 2020 5:34 a.m. PST

Alone collaborating? Compared to the population with Nl, Dk, Be how many ss divisions?

Also not many concetration camps and certainly not with the nice local volunteers garding it.

Then how many countries had near a million troops in them?
And most of their fighting age trained youth caged?

Then till Babarossa the commies were actively allied if only de facto with the nazis.

Those who did fight ( or more usefully sabotage, search intel) before 44 do deserve praise. How many enthousiastic people to fight an army who seems to win everwhere 40-42+)?

Yougoslavs and Greeks spent a lot if not most of their armed fighting, killing each other more than the occupying forces. Another propaganda ( leftist typical) cover up post war.

For De Gaulle the inflating praise was a will of reuniting people and avoiding more nastyness, useless. One of the difference with other countries (Poland comes to mind) the established governement submitted instead of fleeing to fight from abroad. Many, (too many, but it is easy a posteriori in an armchair) follow orders from what appears to ge the legitimate authority.

Legion 413 Sep 2020 2:59 p.m. PST

From what I have read they did pretty good job overall. Generally made somethings easier in a number of cases, etc., for the Allies. And helped with the overall effort of defeating the Nazis.

If nothing else, like partisan groups in other occupied countries they forced the Germans[and in some cases the IJFs e.g. in the PI] to use/ tie up assets that could probably have been used better elsewhere.

Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP In the TMP Dawghouse13 Sep 2020 3:06 p.m. PST



RudyNelson15 Sep 2020 10:48 a.m. PST

It was real life and not the movies. Resistance fighters due to a large number of factors were only able to conduct an assignments once in several weeks. It was not an everyday affair. The Vecors operation is an example of how aggressive they could be.

Personal logo 4th Cuirassier Supporting Member of TMP15 Sep 2020 3:06 p.m. PST

They'd have been profoundly foolish to undertake armed resistance against regulars, as was evident when this was tried in Warsaw.

Given the brutality of their occupiers, espionage was the most significant contribution it was reasonable to make.

Few occupied countries covered themselves with glory.

catavar17 Sep 2020 3:19 p.m. PST

Can you blame them? The French didn't have to look elsewhere for the price of resistance. Consider the DR Pz Div's march thru southern France after D-Day.

The butchers bill was too exorbitant to pay in my opinion.

Legion 417 Sep 2020 3:49 p.m. PST

Good point, and in general the Resistance in many countries were only a small minority of those nations' populations. The fact that they could "blend in with the masses" is a standard in insurgency/guerilla/partisan movements. Didn't Mao say something like to "swim among the fishes" ?

Regardless the Nazis and IJFs were very draconian on these partisans, etc.

Albeit some did undertake some very risky missions, etc., to take the fight to the Nazis and IJF.

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