France: The Dark Years, 1940-1944

By Julian Jackson | Go to book overview

22
Towards Liberation:
January to June 1944

By the spring of 1944, much of southern rural France could be more appropriately described as 'Resistance France' than 'Vichy France'. In many areas the Resistance now had more impact on people's lives than the Vichy government.1 In March, the new prefect of the Corrèze, Pierre Trouillé, described his département as experiencing two occupations: seventeen cantons were controlled by the Maquis, and nine, mainly in the urban areas, by the Germans. Without resistance approval, a prefect could no longer operate, and Trouillé quickly made contact with the Maquis.2 A similar situation existed in the neighbouring Dordogne where the prefect reported that he had lost control over his département. The Germans stuck to the towns, emerging only on brief and bloody forays.3 They now viewed the Maquis as a genuine military threat in the eventuality of a landing.4 After a meeting with d'Astier in January 1944, Churchill too was persuaded of the potential of the Maquis, and he ordered an intensification of arms drops to the Resistance.


The Milice State: Darnand and Henriot

Enfeebled from above by the Germans, from within by the collaborationists, from below by the Resistance, and from outside by de Gaulle, the Vichy government existed in only the most nominal sense. Since December 1943, Pétain was constantly shadowed by his German minder, Cecil Renthe-Fink, whom he called his gaoler. Laval hardly had more power than Pétain. In January Sauckel, whose influence was now eclipsing Speer's, demanded a further million workers, at a rate of 91,000 per month, and threatened to comb the protected 'SperrBetriebe'. Laval was forced to extend STO liability to every man aged between

1 Kedward, In Search of the Maquis, 116.

2 P. Trouillé, Journal d'un préfet sous l'Occupation (1965), 8, 19.

3 M.-T. Viaud, 'Problèmes stratégiques et tactiques des maquis de Dordogne', in Marcot (ed.), La
Résistance: Lutte armée et maquis, 261.

4 Jäckel, La France dans l'Europe, 438.

-529-

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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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