The Vichy regime established in France in Julyled by Marshall Petain, is the most famous example of official collaboration, but the governments of Denmark, the Low Countries, Norway, Hungary, Yugoslavia and Greece all signed alliances with the Third Reich.
The text below is exactly the text that I used in class — so bear in mind it was intended to be read aloud. I have removed references from the document to save space.
In writing the lecture I referred to several key works, all of which are required readings for the student of Vichy. OUP, ; Robert O. Vinen, The Unfree French: Life under the Occupation; R.
Vichy France, Collaboration and Resistance: A lecture by Chris Millington for second year undergraduates, Following the armistice in JuneFrance was divided into several zones: An internal border, known as the Demarcation Line, separated the two zones.
Germany wanted to keep the Empire out of Allied hands and Hitler believed the best solution was for France to defend the Empire itself. The unoccupied zone was therefore technically an independent state.
This zone was known as Vichy France, named after the town where the French government set up its headquarters. The period is known as the Dark Years in France and not without good reason. During these years,civilian workers were deported to work in Germany; 75 Jews were deported to Auschwitz; 30, French civilians were shot as hostages or members of the Resistance, another 60, were sent to concentration camps.
Yet in Augustwhen France was liberated, General Charles de Gaulle, recognised leader of the French forces, was asked to proclaim the Collaboration and resistance of the Republic. What did he mean? This is now known as the Gaullist Resistance myth. In the post-war years, it provided a comforting image of French wartime conduct at a time when national unity was vital to the reconstruction of the country.
Intellectuals, journalists and filmmakers reinforced the myth and it went largely unchallenged until the s. From the s though, the myth began to crumble.
Old Guard and New Order, shattered the resistance myth for good. Based on research in French and German archives, Paxton showed that collaboration was not a policy imposed on France, but one that originated in France itself.
Furthermore, Paxton concluded that the majority of French people did little to oppose Vichy; in fact, their very apathy had allowed the regime to remain in place.
The resistance myth was thus turned on its head — the French had not been a nation of resisters but a nation of collaborators.
State collaboration was informed by the view that Hitler would defeat England, win the war, and that a new German and Nazi order would prevail in Europe.
Vichy therefore needed to get the best deal possible for France. The Protocols were a set of agreements in which France hoped to regain some political powers in return for military concessions to Germany.
Germany wanted access to French military facilities and bases in Syria, so to exploit the Iraqi rebellion against the British. Meanwhile, France wanted a new era of Franco-German co-operation and political concessions from the occupier.
When the Allies invaded Syria and the Germans no longer needed French bases there, Hitler lost interest in negotiations. The story of the Protocols of Paris is representative of the pitfalls of state collaboration. We see a Germany willing to negotiate only when it suited it; and the French overestimating their importance to Hitler because Vichy was desperate to reach a permanent arrangement with Germany.
In reality, Hitler was more concerned with planning the rest of the war than hammering out a French peace treaty. Certainly there were men in France who were fervent collaborators. In the occupied zone, committed French fascists vied with each other, and with Vichy, for political influence in Paris.
Laval was a former deputy and had been prime minister for a time during the thirties. He was powerful at Vichy because his close relationship with the German ambassador in Paris, Otto Abetz, meant he had the ear of the Occupier.
Vichy went above and beyond what the Germans asked it to do because it hoped to stave off German intervention in French domestic affairs.
The Forced Labour Service is a prime example. When Vichy failed to meet the target for volunteers, Laval drew up a law in September that allowed the French government to recruit workers by force.
By the end of the year, the target had been reached. The story of French relations with Germany between and is therefore one of Vichy persistently trying to negotiate with a very indifferent Hitler.Collaboration and Resistance has 7 ratings and 1 review.
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Lecture 23 - Collaboration and Resistance in World War II Overview.
One of the principal myths concerning collaboration during World War II in France, as in other countries, is that the domestic collaborators did so despite themselves, or to . Sydney Film Festival Collaboration and resistance in Vichy France The Sorrow and the Pity directed by Marcel Ophuls By Richard Phillips.
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In Occupied Europe, resistance and collaboration could take many forms. The Vichy regime established in France in July , led by Marshall Petain, is the most famous example of official collaboration, but the governments of Denmark, the Low Countries, Norway, Hungary, Yugoslavia and Greece all signed alliances with the Third Reich.