Vichy

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.

Vichy

Vichy (vĬsh´ē, Fr. vēshē´), city (1990 pop. 28,048), Allier dept., central France, on the Allier River. Vichy's hot mineral springs made it one of the foremost spas in Europe, with a casino (now a convention center) and grand hotels. In addition to bottled Vichy water, pharmaceuticals, clothing, and cosmetics are manufactured.

The Vichy government was the regime set up there by Marshal Henri Pétain in July, 1940, subsequent to the Franco-German armistice of June 22. Its effective control extended only to unoccupied France and its colonies. The Third Republic was voted out of existence by a truncated parliament, and a new constitution established a corporate state (see fascism). The Vichy government, which was never recognized by the Allies, became a German tool in the hands of such men as Pierre Laval and Jean François Darlan, although German expectations were never completely satisfied. When the Allies invaded North Africa in Nov., 1942, Hitler annulled the armistice of 1940 and occupied all France. The Vichy government continued a shadowy existence, eventually fleeing before the Allied advance to Sigmaringen, Germany, where it collapsed when Germany surrendered in 1945.

See R. O. Paxton, Vichy France (1972).

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