France: The Dark Years, 1940-1944

By Julian Jackson | Go to book overview

19
Power Struggles 1943

De Gaulle's relationship with the Resistance in 1943 was intimately linked to his conflicts with the British and Americans. These had worsened significantly after the Allied landings in North Africa in November 1942. De Gaulle was given only three hours' notice of the landings because Roosevelt still harboured the belief that Vichy could be more useful to him than the Free French. Darlan's slowness in rallying to the Allies did nothing to shake this conviction. Roosevelt told André Philip: 'Darlan gave me Algiers, long live Darlan! If Laval gives me Paris, long live Laval! I am not like Wilson, I am a realist.' Such 'realism' so shocked Allied public opinion that on 17 November Roosevelt tried to defuse criticism by announcing that Darlan was only a 'temporary expedient'. This did not stop Darlan installing himself at the head of a committee of imperial proconsuls—including Boisson and Noguès—who had been loyal to Vichy. Pétainist legislation remained intact and North Africa became a sort of Vichy across the sea under the patronage of America. There were now three claimants to French sovereignty: the Vichy regime in France; Darlan in North Africa; de Gaulle in London.

Churchill, anxious not to antagonize Roosevelt, forbade de Gaulle from criticizing Darlan publicly. Public opinion, however, remained hostile to Darlan, and this assisted de Gaulle's evolution into a symbol of democracy, even for those on the British left who had previously been suspicious of him. The choice of Darlan also alarmed the Foreign Office on the grounds that de Gaulle had now acquired legitimacy and that it would not be in Britain's long-term interests to abandon him. In 1940 Churchill had backed de Gaulle in the teeth of Foreign Office reluctance; now Foreign Office officials frequently shielded de Gaulle from Churchill's increasing animus against him.2

On 24 December 1942, Darlan was shot dead by a 22-year-old royalist, Fernand Bonnier de la Chapelle. Because this was a crime for which everyone had a motive—even the Americans who were increasingly embarrassed by their deal with Darlan—speculation about who ordered the assassination has kept conspiracy theorists happy for fifty years. The finger has often been pointed at

1 Crémieux-Brilhac, La France libre, 442.

2 Thomas, Britain and Vichy, 157–70.

-447-

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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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