Politics, Society and Christianity in Vichy France

By W. D. Halls | Go to book overview

11
Christians, Bombings and
'Terrorism'

Although northern France sustained prolonged bombing throughout the war, it was not until late 1942 that Allied air raids became extensive over the whole country, when to the terror by night was added that of the arrow that flies by day, in the shape of the American Flying Fortresses. Likewise, although active Resistance was apparent almost immediately after the collapse, it was not until 1943 that the Maquis, led by the FFI, Gaullist or Allied agents, spread its net over the national . territory. It was these new manifestations of war that caused some ecclesiastics to speak of 'terrorism', a characterisation that some had later cause to regret. Many bombs did indeed rain down indiscriminately and not a few exploits by so-called 'patriots' were carried out by robber bands whose links with the genuine forces of Resistance were often tenuous or non-existent. The clandestine publication Témoignage Chrétien drew clear distinctions between what were legitimate acts of war and what were not, but reminded Frenchmen of the sacrifice made in 1914-18, when 1,000 soldiers had been killed every day for four years. 1 To their great credit many civilians accepted stoically and courageously these new trials as harbingers of hope and heralds of ultimate German destruction.

The RAF raid on the Renault works at Boulogne-Billancourt ( 3-4 March 1942), which killed 623 people, aroused the first significant ecclesiastical reactions. Père Roguet spoke of it on Radio Lyons: 'In the name of law, humanity and France, we condemn these assassins and butchers.'2 The Hierarchy was, however, more restrained. The clandestine Voix du Nord ( 18 March 1942) acknowledged the dignity shown by Cardinal Suhard at the funeral ceremony held in Notre Dame, when he declared that the victims had died for France, although no one would wish to make a spectacle of their suffering. Témoignage Chrétien praised the cardinal, who had characterised the bombings as the 'douleureuse conséquence de l'état de guerre'. 3 But his failure to condemn the 'crime' or name the 'assassins' drew down the wrath of the

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Politics, Society and Christianity in Vichy France
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Berg French Studies ii
  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Preface vii
  • List of Abbreviations x
  • Part I - Christianity in Crisis 1
  • 1 - Introductory 3
  • Notes 13
  • 2 - Christians and Pre-War Politics 15
  • Notes 28
  • 3 - Prelude to Vichy 31
  • Notes 40
  • Part II - Aspirations, Realisations and Disappointments 43
  • 4 - The Man of Destiny 45
  • Notes 65
  • 5 - Christians in Disarray 69
  • Notes 84
  • 6 - The Church: New Laws 87
  • Notes 92
  • Part III - The Scapegoats 93
  • 7 - Christians and Jews--I 95
  • Notes 110
  • 8 - Christians and Jews--Ii 113
  • Notes 124
  • 9 - Christians and Jews: The Aftermath 127
  • Notes 144
  • Part IV - Friends and Foes 149
  • 10 - Christians and the Allies 151
  • Notes 162
  • 11 - Christians, Bombings and 'terrorism' 165
  • Notes 174
  • 12 - Christians and Germans 177
  • Notes 195
  • 13 - Christians and the Resistance 199
  • Notes 220
  • 14 - Vichy, the Church and the Vatican 223
  • Notes 236
  • Part V - The Church and Society 239
  • 15 - The Church and Economic and Social Affairs 241
  • Notes 265
  • 16 - Youth Policy and the Church 269
  • Notes 284
  • 17 - Youth Movements 287
  • Notes 307
  • 18 - Christians and Deportation to Germany 311
  • Notes 334
  • Part VI - Settling the Accounts 339
  • 19 - Christians and the Collaborationists 341
  • Notes 356
  • 20 - 'Epuration' and the Higher Clergy 361
  • Notes 379
  • 21 - Concluding Remarks 383
  • Notes 388
  • Appendix I Before the War: L'Aube and the Catholic Intellectual Press 389
  • Notes 391
  • Appendix II Bishops and Archbishops by Province 393
  • Bibliographical Note 397
  • Select Bibliography 399
  • Index 405
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