France: The Dark Years, 1940-1944

By Julian Jackson | Go to book overview

9
Collaborationism

Fanatics, Criminals, and Adventurers

Parisian collaborationism has fascinated film-makers and novelists. It is depicted as a world of louche marginality and decadence: fraternization with Germans over champagne in Maxims or the Tour d'Argent; glamorous first nights at the Opéra and galas at the German Embassy; job openings for informers, sadists, and black marketeers; opportunities for fanatics to indulge their hatred of Jews, Communists, Freemasons, or the British; the chance for failures to settle scores with rivals; or, finally, for those bored with existence, the excitement of transgressing conventional moral codes. In this light collaborationism becomes a series of individual stories of fanaticism, naivety, opportunism, and adventure.

Naivety and adventure were certainly present in the case of Marc Augier, a former pacifist who ended up fighting for Germany on the eastern front. In the 1930s Augier had been a leader of the non-Catholic youth hostel movement, with links to the Popular Front, but like many pacifists he became increasingly antiCommunist. By defending 'Europe' in the French (Charlemagne) division of the Waffen-SS, he rediscovered the outdoor life and youthful camaraderie which he had celebrated while supporting the Popular Front: this was 'collaborationism' as youth-hostelling and male fraternity.

Fanaticism was present in the case of the historian Bernard Fäy, a professor at the Collège de France, who was made director of the Bibliothèque nationale, in place of Julien Cain, sacked because he was a Jew. Fäy, who ran a supposedly scholarly publication called Documents Maçonniques, was obsessed by Freemasonry; he even suspected Freemasons among the episcopate. Among those with scores to settle was the journalist Alain Laubreaux, a leading light of Je suis partout. During the Occupation he became the most powerful Parisian theatre critic, on one occasion lavishing praise on a play he had himself written under a pseudonym. But how does one characterize the strange journey of Maurice Sachs? Before the war he had been a minor literary figure, friendly

1 Gordon, Collaborationism in France, 254–6.

2 Rist, Un saison gâtée, 433–4.

-190-

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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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