France: The Dark Years, 1940-1944

By Julian Jackson | Go to book overview

17
The Resistance 1940-1942

Where does the history of the Resistance begin? From the first weeks of the Occupation there were sporadic anti-German incidents: stray shots fired on German patrols, German posters slashed, cables cut. Clearly these brave but futile acts were gestures of 'resistance', but rather than anticipating what came to be 'the Resistance', they represented desperate final skirmishes in the battle of France.1 They were an end, not a beginning, and their perpetrators were usually young men or boys, acting alone, and often paying with their lives. The future Resistance also started with the acts of isolated individuals, but individuals seeking to make contacts and develop new responses rather than continue a lost battle.


Personalities

In July 1940, the Socialist Jean Texcier, witnessing the first contacts between the Paris population and smiling German soldiers photographing each other in front of Parisian monuments, penned his Conseils à l'occupé (Advice to an Occupied Population) which comprised thirty-three 'rules of conduct for the population of an occupied country'. Texcier's Conseils originally circulated like a chain letter; two months later he heard them quoted on the BBC.2 In September 1940, in the Free Zone, General Cochet started producing a series of tracts called Tour d'horizon, calling on the French to 'watch, resist and unite'. His readers formed groups to disseminate the tracts more widely.3

While Cochet was attempting to appeal to opinion, other army officers were trying to act more discreetly against the Germans. Many of these were to be found within the army intelligence services, the 2 Bureau. There was, for example, Colonel Alfred Heurtaux, also a vice-president of the Legion of Veterans and Captain Paul Paillole, head of the counter-espionage department. Also operating within the orbit of the Vichy regime was Colonel Georges

1 F. Marcot, 'Resistance et population 1940–1944', 45; id., 'Villes et pouvoir de commandement', in
Douzou et al. (eds.), La Résistance: Villes, 215–28: 217–18.

2 J. Texcier, Écrits dans la nuit (1945).

3 Kedward, Resistance in Vichy, 37.

-402-

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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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