Politics, Society and Christianity in Vichy France

By W. D. Halls | Go to book overview

to the eighteenth century. This had given rise to insubordination, to lack of authority, whereas 'l'univers entier est une grande hiérarchie'. 33 That a reasonable deduction from all such breast-beating might be that God had sided with nazism escaped the perception of most.

It is true, however, that other Catholic voices spoke differently from the very beginning. The Bishop of Annecy denounced 'the mechanical victory of chunks of ironmongery organised in the service of barbarous cupidity'. 34 There were reminders that France had entered the war to protect civilisation against barbarism. In the Figaro Mauriac, the Catholic writer, wrote: 'We have no need to blush for having cherished liberty, but only for having defended it so badly.'35 Where the German presence was most oppressive, as in northern France, the mood of repentance soon passed, and rallying to the Pétain regime was even seen by some as an act of defiance against the occupier.

Thus Catholics, left without a lead from the Vatican, were forced back on remorse for alleged past misdeeds. It was almost as if they regarded the Nazis--surely far more corrupt than any leaders of France under the Third Republic--as God's avenging angels. The Protestant minority, on the other hand, had an alternative: they could embrace Barth's counsel of defiance. What united all Christians in 1940, however, was a sentiment of patriotism embodied in Marshal Pétain, although from the outset there was a certain ambiguity in expectations of how he and the regime he established would act. What did Vichy represent for Christians, and above all, what could Marshal Pétain do for them?


Notes

Unless otherwise stated the place of publication is Paris

1.
X. de Montclos et al. (eds), Eglises et Chrétiens dans la Deuxiène Guerre mondiale. La région Rhône-Alpes, Actes: Grenoble, p. 56. Intervention of André Latreille in the discussion.
2.
Actes: Lyons, diagram on p. 31. For a note on L'Aube and the pre-war Catholic press see Appendix I.
4.
G. Fessard, Epreuve de Force, 1939, pp. 70f.
5.
M. Martin du Gard, La Chronique de Vichy, 1940-1944, 1948, p. 87.

-40-

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Politics, Society and Christianity in Vichy France
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Berg French Studies ii
  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Preface vii
  • List of Abbreviations x
  • Part I - Christianity in Crisis 1
  • 1 - Introductory 3
  • Notes 13
  • 2 - Christians and Pre-War Politics 15
  • Notes 28
  • 3 - Prelude to Vichy 31
  • Notes 40
  • Part II - Aspirations, Realisations and Disappointments 43
  • 4 - The Man of Destiny 45
  • Notes 65
  • 5 - Christians in Disarray 69
  • Notes 84
  • 6 - The Church: New Laws 87
  • Notes 92
  • Part III - The Scapegoats 93
  • 7 - Christians and Jews--I 95
  • Notes 110
  • 8 - Christians and Jews--Ii 113
  • Notes 124
  • 9 - Christians and Jews: The Aftermath 127
  • Notes 144
  • Part IV - Friends and Foes 149
  • 10 - Christians and the Allies 151
  • Notes 162
  • 11 - Christians, Bombings and 'terrorism' 165
  • Notes 174
  • 12 - Christians and Germans 177
  • Notes 195
  • 13 - Christians and the Resistance 199
  • Notes 220
  • 14 - Vichy, the Church and the Vatican 223
  • Notes 236
  • Part V - The Church and Society 239
  • 15 - The Church and Economic and Social Affairs 241
  • Notes 265
  • 16 - Youth Policy and the Church 269
  • Notes 284
  • 17 - Youth Movements 287
  • Notes 307
  • 18 - Christians and Deportation to Germany 311
  • Notes 334
  • Part VI - Settling the Accounts 339
  • 19 - Christians and the Collaborationists 341
  • Notes 356
  • 20 - 'Epuration' and the Higher Clergy 361
  • Notes 379
  • 21 - Concluding Remarks 383
  • Notes 388
  • Appendix I Before the War: L'Aube and the Catholic Intellectual Press 389
  • Notes 391
  • Appendix II Bishops and Archbishops by Province 393
  • Bibliographical Note 397
  • Select Bibliography 399
  • Index 405
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