France: The Dark Years, 1940-1944

By Julian Jackson | Go to book overview

23
Liberations

On 6 June 1944 at 5.30 p.m., eight hours after Eisenhower, General de Gaulle broadcast to the French people. Ordering them to obey the orders given by the 'French government', and making no mention of the American troops, he proclaimed: 'the supreme battle is engaged … it is France's battle and it is the battle for France … It is a battle which the French will fight with fury' He knew of course that there were no French troops among the forces landing in France on D-Day

On the same day Pétain broadcast a message which had been recorded three months earlier, following tough negotiations with the Germans. He summoned the French people not to obstruct the Germans in their defensive preparations or take any action that might invite German reprisals. To the end, Pétain clung on to French neutrality. In a subsequent message to the Legion, he appealed to the French to avoid 'fratricidal warfare': 'the French must not rise up against each other, their blood is too precious for the future of France and hatred can only compromise the unity of the country'.1 As he spoke these words, the French conflict was entering its final and bloodiest stages.


Uprisings and Massacres

De Gaulle's D-Day message warned against 'premature insurrection'. But on the previous day the BBC had broadcast coded messages instructing the Resistance to implement all the prearranged colour-coded plans. This break with caution, which took Koenig by surprise, was decided by SOE in order to confuse the Germans about where the real attack would come.2 During the first week after D-Day, the colour-coded plans were implemented with great success: 960 out of 1,055 planned operations of railway sabotage took place. Every train leaving Marseilles for Lyons after D-Day was derailed at least once during its journey; in the département of Indre, site of the railway line from

1 Ferro, Pétain, 562–4.

2 Crémieux-Brilhac, La France libre, 856–7.

-544-

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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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