France: The Dark Years, 1940-1944

By Julian Jackson | Go to book overview

21
Remaking France

In January 1944, Raymond Aubrac was waiting for the Resistance to organize the transport that would take him and his wife Lucie to safety. Having escaped twice from prison in the previous year, Aubrac was too well known to the Germans to be able to stay in France. Although the Aubracs had been founding members of Libération-Sud, the joy of being in France for the denouement was to be denied them. Aubracs sadness at this knowledge was deepened by the news that his (Jewish) parents had been recently arrested by the Germans.

While preparing to take his leave of France, Aubrac wrote a long reflective letter to dAstier in Algiers. After recounting his own adventures, he gave vent to the frustrations that many resisters in France felt towards London and Algiers: the excessive influence of veteran politicians, the lack of consideration for the sacrifices of the Resistance. He even wondered if dAstier was not succumbing to the poisonous atmosphere of Algiers. But Aubrac ended his letter on a more upbeat note: 'This is the last news I have to send you, with a certain melancholy to which I add my good wishes for the new year which will I hope become Year I. Year I: these two words encapsulated the almost Messianic self-perception of the Resistance that it was struggling not only to remove the Germans from France, but also to inaugurate a new political order. What was the nature of that order to be?


Vichy and the Resistance: Shared Values

'Pernod, sports stadia, brothels: are these reasons for living?' This is not Pétain speaking, nor Brasillach. It is François Mauriac in Le Cahier noir. Such echoes of Vichy moralism were not unusual in the language of the Resistance. We have seen this in the reception accorded to Le Corbeau and Le Ciel est à vous. Similar ambiguities emerge from another film, Louis Daquin's Premier de cordée (1943). The title refers to the leader of a group of mountain climbers, and the

1 Douzou, La Désobéissance, 151–4.

2 Steel, Littératures de l'ombre, 176.

-506-

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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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