The Crisis of Liberation
In the excitement of D-Day and in the jubilation about decisive victories following it, less than two months later the political struggle accompanying the advance of the allied armies was completely obliterated in the public conscience of the English- speaking world. Yet, actually, this political struggle was of far greater importance than the sound and fury of military operations. Hitler's defeat was at that time a foregone conclusion: it was only a question of achieving it with the greatest possible speed and at the smallest possible sacrifice. But it was not a foregone conclusion whether democracy or communism would replace Nazi rule in any part of the Continent. At the moment of liberation communist policy reached its climax in a large-scale attempt to capture power in Western Europe.
In France, during the weeks preceding the allied landing, the communists, by the infiltration tactics previously described, had finally achieved effective control of most of the military forces of the resistance. Having possessed themselves of Comac through Villon's and Valrimont's intrigues, they were now able to control the whole body of the FFI (Forces Françaises de l'Intérieur) besides their own military force, the FTP. In consequence the FTP now receded into the background and the communists acted through and in the name of the whole of the FFI. Besides, there were the Milices Patriotiques, a largely fictitious body during the resistance period, but now serving to fill the FFI with tens of thousands of 'resistance fighters' who in no serious sense had ever been part of the resistance. Similarly, in the political field, the National Front lost importance and the communists tried with a large measure of success to act through such comprehensive national bodies as CNR; especially through the latter's regional and departmental Committees of Liberation, which they filled