The French call them 'the Dark Years'... This definitive new history of Occupied France explores the myths and realities of four of the most divisive years in French history. Taking in ordinary people's experiences of defeat, collaboration, resistance, and liberation, it uncovers the conflicting memories of occupation which ensure that even today France continues to debate the legacy of the Vichy years.
"Jean Guéhenno's [diary] ... is the most oft-quoted piece of testimony on life in occupied France. A sharply observed record of day-to-day life under Nazi rule in Paris and a bitter commentary on literary life in those years, it has also been called 'a remarkable essay on courage and cowardice' ... Here, David Ball provides not only the first English translation of this important historical document, but also the first ever annotated, corrected edition"--
Historians agree: the diary of Léon Werth (1878-1955) is one of the most precious--and readable--pieces of testimony ever written about life in France under Nazi occupation and the Vichy regime. Werth was a free-spirited and unclassifiable writer. He is the author of eleven novels, art and dance criticism, acerbic political reporting, and memorable personal essays. He was Jewish, and left Paris in June 1940 to hide out in his wife's country house in Saint-Amour, a small village in the Jura Mountains. His short memoir 33 Days recounts his struggle to get there. Deposition tells of daily life in the village, on nearby farms and towns, and finally back in Paris, where he draws the portrait of a Resistance network in his apartment and writes an eyewitness report of the insurrection that freed the city in August, 1944. From Saint-Amour, we see both the Resistance in the countryside, derailing troop trains, punishing notorious collaborators--and growing repression: arrests, torture, deportation, and executions. Above all, we see how Vichy and the Occupation affect the lives of farmers and villagers and how their often contradictory attitudes evolve from 1940-1944. Werth's ear for dialogue and novelist's gift for creating characters animate the diary: in the markets and in town, we meet real French peasants and shopkeepers, railroad men and the patronne of the café at the station, schoolteachers and gendarmes. They come off the page alive, and the countryside and villages come alive with them. With biting irony, Werth records, almost daily, what Vichy-German propaganda was saying on the radio and in the press. We follow the progress of the war as people did then, day by day. These entries make interesting, often amusing reading, a stark contrast with his gripping entries on the persecution and deportation of the Jews. Deposition is a varied and complex piece of living history, and a pleasure to read.
A SUNDAY TIMES, THE TIMES, DAILY TELEGRAPH, NEW STATESMAN, SPECTATOR, FINANCIAL TIMES, TLS BOOK OF THE YEAR 'Masterly ... awesome reading ... an outstanding biography' Max Hastings, Sunday Times The definitive biography of the greatest French statesman of modern times In six weeks in the early summer of 1940, France was over-run by German troops and quickly surrendered. The French government of Marshal Pétain sued for peace and signed an armistice. One little-known junior French general, refusing to accept defeat, made his way to England. On 18 June he spoke to his compatriots over the BBC, urging them to rally to him in London. 'Whatever happens, the flame of French resistance must not be extinguished and will not be extinguished.' At that moment, Charles de Gaulle entered into history. For the rest of the war, de Gaulle frequently bit the hand that fed him. He insisted on being treated as the true embodiment of France, and quarrelled violently with Churchill and Roosevelt. He was prickly, stubborn, aloof and self-contained. But through sheer force of personality and bloody-mindedness he managed to have France recognised as one of the victorious Allies, occupying its own zone in defeated Germany. For ten years after 1958 he was President of France's Fifth Republic, which he created and which endures to this day. His pursuit of 'a certain idea of France' challenged American hegemony, took France out of NATO and twice vetoed British entry into the European Community. His controversial decolonization of Algeria brought France to the brink of civil war and provoked several assassination attempts. Julian Jackson's magnificent biography reveals this the life of this titanic figure as never before. It draws on a vast range of published and unpublished memoirs and documents - including the recently opened de Gaulle archives - to show how de Gaulle achieved so much during the War when his resources were so astonishingly few, and how, as President, he put a medium-rank power at the centre of world affairs. No previous biography has depicted his paradoxes so vividly. Much of French politics since his death has been about his legacy, and he remains by far the greatest French leader since Napoleon.
This title provides an introduction to almost every aspect of the French experience during World War II by integrating political, diplomatic, military, social, cultural and economic history. It chronicles the battles and campaigns that stained French soil with blood.
France was slow and somewhat ineffectual in organizing resistance movement. In Occupation Ian Ousby challenges the myth that France was liberated " by the whole of France." The author explores the Nazi occupation of France with superb detail and eyewitness accounts that range from famous figures like Simone de Beauvoir, Charles de Gaulle, Andre Gide, Jean-Paul Sartre and Gertrude Stein to ordinary citizens, forgotten heroes and traitors.
Provides the definitive account of Vichy's own antisemitic policies and practices. It is a major contribution to the history of the Jewish tragedy in wartime Europe answering the haunting question, "What part did Vichy France really play in the Nazi effort to murder Jews living in France?"
If the German invasion of France in 1940 had failed, it is arguable that the war might have ended right there. But the French suffered instead a dramatic and humiliating defeat, a loss that ultimately drew the whole world into war.
In Paris in 1954, a young man named André Baudry founded Arcadie, an organization for “homophiles” that would become the largest of its kind that has ever existed in France, lasting nearly thirty years. In addition to acting as the only public voice for French gays prior to the explosion of radicalism of 1968, Arcadie—with its club and review—was a social and intellectual hub, attracting support from individuals as diverse as Jean Cocteau and Michel Foucault and offering support and solidarity to thousands of isolated individuals. Yet despite its huge importance, Arcadie has largely disappeared from the historical record. The main cause of this neglect, Julian Jackson explains in Living in Arcadia, is that during the post-Stonewall era of queer activism, Baudry’s organization fell into disfavor, dismissed as conservative, conformist, and closeted. Through extensive archival research and numerous interviews with the reclusive Baudry, Jackson challenges this reductive view, uncovering Arcadie’s pioneering efforts to educate the European public about homosexuality in an era of renewed repression. In the course of relating this absorbing history, Jackson offers a startlingly original account of the history of homosexuality in modern France.
This concise history of France from the occupation in 1940 to liberation in 1944 focuses on the struggle between those who favoured collaboration with the occupying Germans and those who opted to resist. Roderick Kedward shows how ordinary people experienced the occupation; he examines the politics and ideology of the Victory regime, and he discusses the many different forms of resistance launched from inside and outside France. He particularly emphasizes the changing nature of both collaboration and resistance as the pressure of the occupatoin intensified, and asks whether France was involved in a civil war by 1944.
Basing his extensive research into hitherto unexploited archival documentation on both sides of the Rhine, Allan Mitchell has uncovered the inner workings of the German military regime from the Wehrmacht’s triumphal entry into Paris in June 1940 to its ignominious withdrawal in August 1944. Although mindful of the French experience and the fundamental issue of collaboration, the author concentrates on the complex problems of occupying a foreign territory after a surprisingly swift conquest. By exploring in detail such topics as the regulation of public comportment, economic policy, forced labor, culture and propaganda, police activity, persecution and deportation of Jews, assassinations, executions, and torture, this study supersedes earlier attempts to investigate the German domination and exploitation of wartime France. In doing so, these findings provide an invaluable complement to the work of scholars who have viewed those dark years exclusively or mainly from the French perspective.
In May and June 1940 almost four million people fled Paris and its suburbs in anticipation of a German invasion. On June 14, the German Army tentatively entered the silent and eerily empty French capital. Without one shot being fired in its defence, the Occupation of Paris had begun. When Paris Went Dark tells the extraordinary story of Germany's capture and Occupation of Paris, Hitler's relationship with the City of Light, and its citizens' attempts at living in an environment that was almost untouched by war, but which had become uncanny overnight. Beginning with the Phoney War and Hitler's first visit to the city, acclaimed literary historian and critic Ronald Rosbottom takes us through the German Army's almost unopposed seizure of Paris, its bureaucratic re-organization of that city, with the aid of collaborationist Frenchmen, and the daily adjustments Parisians had to make to this new oppressive presence. Using memoirs, interviews and published eye-witness accounts, Rosbottom expertly weaves a narrative of daily life for both the Occupier and the Occupied. He shows its effects on the Parisian celebrity circles of Pablo Picasso, Simone de Beauvoir, Colette, Jean Cocteau, and Jean-Paul Sartre, and on the ordinary citizens of its twenty arrondissements. But Paris is the protagonist of this story, and Rosbottom provides us with a template for seeing the City of Light as more than a place of pleasure and beauty.
The French resistance to Nazi occupation during World War II was a struggle in which ordinary people fought for their liberty, despite terrible odds and horrifying repression. Hundreds of thousands of Frenchmen and women carried out an armed struggle against the Nazis, producing underground anti-fascist publications and supplying the Allies with vital intelligence. Based on hundreds of French eye-witness accounts and including recently-released archival material, The Resistanceuses dramatic personal stories to take the reader on one of the great adventures of the 20thcentury. The tale begins with the catastrophic Fall of France in 1940, and shatters the myth of a unified Resistance created by General de Gaulle. In fact, De Gaulle never understood the Resistance, and sought to use, dominate and channel it to his own ends. Brave men and women set up organisations, only to be betrayed or hunted down by the Nazis, and to die in front of the firing squad or in the concentration camps. Over time, the true story of the Resistance got blurred and distorted, its heroes and conflicts were forgotten as the movement became a myth. By turns exciting, tragic and insightful, The Resistancereveals how one of the most powerful modern myths came to be forged and provides a gripping account of one of the most striking events in the 20thcentury.
From 1940 to 1942, French secret agents arrested more than two thousand spies working for the Germans and executed several dozen of them—all despite the Vichy government’s declared collaboration with the Third Reich. A previously untold chapter in the history of World War II, this duplicitous activity is the gripping subject of The Hunt for Nazi Spies, a tautly narrated chronicle of the Vichy regime’s attempts to maintain sovereignty while supporting its Nazi occupiers. Simon Kitson informs this remarkable story with findings from his investigation—the first by any historian—of thousands of Vichy documents seized in turn by the Nazis and the Soviets and returned to France only in the 1990s. His pioneering detective work uncovers a puzzling paradox: a French government that was hunting down left-wing activists and supporters of Charles de Gaulle’s Free French forces was also working to undermine the influence of German spies who were pursuing the same Gaullists and resisters. In light of this apparent contradiction, Kitson does not deny that Vichy France was committed to assisting the Nazi cause, but illuminates the complex agendas that characterized the collaboration and shows how it was possible to be both anti-German and anti-Gaullist. Combining nuanced conclusions with dramatic accounts of the lives of spies on both sides, The Hunt for Nazi Spies adds an important new dimension to our understanding of the French predicament under German occupation and the shadowy world of World War II espionage.
Olivier Wieviorka’s history of the French Resistance debunks lingering myths and offers fresh insight into social, political, and military aspects of its operation. He reveals not one but many interlocking homegrown groups often at odds over goals, methods, and leadership. Yet, despite a lack of unity, these fighters braved Nazism without blinking.
This is the first full-length study in English of the Popular Front, the left-wing coalition which emerged in France during the 1930s in response to the threat of fascism and which went on to win the elections of 1936, giving France her first socialist premier, Léon Blum. After a brief narrative history of the Popular Front the book is organised thematically around the main historiographical debates to which the Popular Front has given rise. Among the issues considered are the origins of the strikes of 1936, the reasons for the failure of the Popular Front economic policy, the relationship between culture and politics in France in the 1930s and the causes of France's policy of non-intervention in the Spanish Civil War. The book views the Popular Front at three levels - as a mass movement, political coalition and government - and argues that it must not be seen just as a narrowly political phenomenon but as a political, social and cultural explosion which attempted to break down the barriers between all areas of human activity in the highly compartmentalised society of France in the 1930s. Even if the Popular Front ultimately failed in this aim it has acquired legendary status in France, and the epilogue to the book briefly examines the 'myth' of the Popular Front from 1936 to the present day.
Robert Gildea’s penetrating history of France during World War II sweeps aside the French Resistance of a thousand clichés. Gaining a true understanding of the Resistance means recognizing how its image has been carefully curated through a combination of French politics and pride, ever since jubilant crowds celebrated Paris’s liberation in 1944.
David Drake chronicles the lives of ordinary Parisians during WWII, drawing on diaries and reminiscences of people who endured these years. From his account emerge the broad rhythms and shifting moods of the city and the contingent lives of resisters, collaborators, occupiers, and victims who, unlike us, could not know how the story would end.
A startling and original view of the occupation of the French heartland, based on a new investigation of everyday life under Nazi rule In France, the German occupation is called simply the "dark years." There were only the "good French" who resisted and the "bad French" who collaborated. Marianne in Chains, a broad and provocative history, uncovers a rather different story, one in which the truth is more complex and humane. Drawing on previously unseen archives, firsthand interviews, diaries, and eyewitness accounts, Robert Gildea reveals everyday life in the heart of occupied France. He describes the pressing imperatives of work, food, transportation, and family obligations that led to unavoidable compromise and negotiation with the army of occupation. In the process, he sheds light on such subjects as forced labor, the role of the Catholic Church, the "horizontal collaboration" between French women and German soldiers, and, most surprisingly, the ambivalent attitude of ordinary people toward the Resistance. A great work of reconstruction, Marianne in Chains provides a clear view, unobscured by romance or polemics, of the painful ambiguities of living under tyranny.