France: The Dark Years, 1940-1944

By Julian Jackson | Go to book overview

2
Rethinking the
Republic: 1890-1934

The Vichy regime styled itself the 'État français' (French State). This did not define what it was, but it signalled clearly what it was not: the Third Republic, founded in 1875, was dead. The busts of Marianne, symbol of the Republic, were replaced in town halls by statues of Pétain; 'Liberty, Equality Fraternity' gave way to 'Work, Family, patrie.

It was not only Vichy which rejected the Republic in 1940. Many early resisters felt little loyalty to it either. De Gaulle initially refused to identify himself with the defunct regime or with republicanism in general. For a year, the broadcasts of his Free French movement were introduced by the slogan 'Honour and patrie not 'Liberty Equality, Fraternity'. The Republic had few friends in 1940.

This was not altogether surprising in light of the defeat of 1940. The Second Empire, which had triumphed in the plebiscite of May 1870, collapsed four months later in the defeat of Sedan. But, unlike the Empire, or the Weimar Republic, the French Third Republic had put down deep roots in French society. It had been in existence for sixty-five years. It symbols—the tricolour, the Marseillaise, Bastille Day—were intimately bound up with French national identity. How could this heritage be so totally repudiated in 1940? One reason was the polarization of French politics after February 1934 when anti-parliamentary riots took place in Paris. That polarization, which forms the immediate background to 1940, will be considered in the next chapter. But there was a longer tradition of disaffection from the Republic which stretched back beyond 1934. One historian has even asserted, with some exaggeration, that the Republic was 'culturally dead' in 1900.1

Critics of the Republic could be found not only among the doctrinaire antiRepublicans like Charles Maurras, but also within the Republican consensus. Vichy was the victory not only of the Republic's enemies, but also of those of

1 D. Lindenberg, Les Années souterraines 1937–1947 (1990), 15.

-43-

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France: The Dark Years, 1940-1944
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Preface vii
  • Contents ix
  • List of Maps and Figure xvi
  • Abbreviations xvii
  • Introduction: Historians and the Occupation 1
  • Part I - Anticipations 21
  • 1: The Shadow of War: Cultural Anxieties and Modern Nightmares 27
  • 2: Rethinking the Republic: 1890-1934 43
  • 3: Class War/Civil War 65
  • 4: The German Problem 81
  • 5: The Daladier Moment: Prelude to Vichy or Republican Revival? 97
  • 6: The Debacle 112
  • Part II - The Regime: National Revolution and Collaboration 137
  • 7: The National Revolution 142
  • 8: Collaboration 166
  • 9: Collaborationism 190
  • 10: Laval in Power: 1942–1943 213
  • Part III - Vichy, the Germans, and the French People 237
  • 11: Propaganda, Policing, and Administration 246
  • 12: Public Opinion, Vichy, and the Germans 272
  • 13: Intellectuals, Artists, and Entertainers 300
  • 14: Reconstructing Mankind 327
  • 15: Vichy and the Jews 354
  • Part IV - The Resistance 383
  • 16: The Free French 1940-1942 389
  • 17: The Resistance 1940-1942 402
  • 18: De Gaulle and the Resistance 1942 427
  • 19: Power Struggles 1943 447
  • 20: Resistance in Society 475
  • 21: Remaking France 506
  • Part V - Liberation and After 525
  • 22: Towards Liberation: January to June 1944 529
  • 23: Liberations 544
  • 24: A New France? 570
  • Epilogue: Remembering the Occupation 601
  • Appendix: The Camps of Vichy France 633
  • Bibliographical Essay 637
  • Index 647
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