Two Years of French Foreign Policy: Vichy, 1940-1942

Two Years of French Foreign Policy: Vichy, 1940-1942

Two Years of French Foreign Policy: Vichy, 1940-1942

Two Years of French Foreign Policy: Vichy, 1940-1942

Excerpt

In most of the already numerous books devoted to the short but dramatic period of French history, which goes by the allusive name of Vichy, the foreign policy of France has necessarily been examined, and often at length. Yet, to the best of our knowledge, no work has studied it exclusively, as a whole, and for its own sake.

The more detailed studies have dealt with a single episode; those broader in scope, usually the best known to the general public, have covered both domestic and foreign policy without paying any special attention to the nature of the latter. Those which have come the nearest to treating our topic have approached it from an angle which is not ours and have centered their interest not on the foreign policy pursued by Vichy, but on the policy pursued towards Vichy by some particular country. Even if we had a complete series of such monographs, which is far from being the case, we could not, by merely adding up the conclusions reached in each, hope to get any real understanding of Vichy's foreign policy, for it is not the sum of the relations of America, England, Germany and the other countries involved, with Vichy. To be understood, it must be grasped at its origin. Attention must be focused on, France during that period when she was not yet entirely occupied, was living in constant fear of seeing the armistice denounced, but could still maneuver both on the European and the world stage and take some part in the interplay of the great powers whose traditional relationships of hostility and friendship had been modified or even upset.

Some might think that it is too early to examine this complex problem. Yet the documents, which were lacking until even recently, are now sufficient not only to perceive broad outlines, but to elucidate controversial points and to evaluate the significance of events. Much official correspondence and many reports of experts, which form the basis of a study of this sort, are available today. A fortunate plethora of memoirs by famous, well-known or obscure participants, as well as by privileged onlookers, has contributed a mass of information susceptible of verification and cross-checking. A whole series of polemic writings, justifying or defending opposite positions, and even attempts at reconciliation, permit an appreciation of the opinions held and the attitudes adopted. The trials which followed the liberation have furnished, pell-mell, with their passionate accusations and indignant apologies, revelations of incontestable interest. And lastly, the passage of time and the return of peace, the quieting of emotions and even a . . .

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.