The role of France in the Second world war

France in world war II fought on the side of Nazi Germanischen the official version of history, France in the anti-Hitler coalition’s victory over Nazi Germany. Did they really? Let’s see whose side fought France…


What does the victory over fascism has France?

The author – Andrey Vasilchenko, candidate of historical Sciences, writer and historian

Freedom-loving, democratic and left-oriented France (it is to this historical image is used many of us) was nothing more than a myth. Historian ze’ev Sternhell in his works repeatedly raised the question of the “French roots of fascism”.

Of course, in the Soviet Union knew that the “great” French resistance was impossible in hell to compare with the partisan movement in Belarus or Yugoslavia, as it is, according to some estimates, lost in his scope even of Italy and Greece. But, nevertheless, France saw the Soviet politicians as the weakest link in the capitalist system, again Charles De Gaulle did not hesitate to show his openly skeptical of the US and NATO, but because on some myths of French history condoned.

Now the situation has changed dramatically . From the former French independent policy not gone. France – regardless of which party government is in power behaves as a docile satellite of the United States. And it gives reason to us, Russians, citizens of a country that has suffered from war the world’s largest damage, finally an impartial look at the so-called French ally in the anti-Hitler coalition …

War couture

When in September 1939 the Second world war, French society had met her supremely weird: there are… a wealth of new “Patriotic” hats?! So, sales hit were the so-called “Astrakhan fezzes”. In addition, England was heavily imported plaid fabric, which was to cut women’s berets. This style of headwear was immediately brought to life many new hairstyles. Much was borrowed from the military Luggage.

For example, a hat designed by Rose Deska, resembled the English cap. In addition almost immediately became fashionable new accessory. Many were on the side of mandatory gas mask. Fear of gas attacks was so great that within a few months the Parisians dared without him even go outside. A gas mask could be seen everywhere: in the market, in school, in cinema, in theatre, in a restaurant, in the subway. Some of Frenchwomen showed a very considerable ingenuity to disguise the masks. High fashion almost immediately felt this trend. Thus, the light began to appear fancy bags for gas masks, made from satin, suede or leather.

A woman with a stroller equipped against gas attacks. England 1938

Immediately this process involved advertising and Commerce. A new style appeared – in the form of miniature masks began to produce bottles of perfume and even tubes of lipstick. But it was considered particularly chic cylindrical hat boxes, which were made Lanvin. They stepped even of the Atlantic. With cylindrical bags, very similar to boxes for gas masks, began to walk to the Argentine and Brazilian fashionista who is not threatened by the horrors of war.

The war and its first effects (air RAID and termination of electricity supply) dictated changes in the behavior of the French, especially of urban dwellers. Some of the eccentric Parisian women began to wear the khaki shirt with gold buttons. The jackets began to appear epaulets. The traditional styled hat replaced the shako, the hat and the FEZ. In Vogue the attributes of the operetta of the military. Many young women, individuals which haven’t lost my summer tan, I refused to wear my hair. They hung down to their shoulders, resembling a hood, which had previously been called upon in order to protect from the cold. Out of fashion almost immediately came the swirls and curls.

On the background of the official war propaganda in the press, the loudest sound was again strange at first glance, the questions: how it would be better to sell all the collections of fashionable clothes of the French and foreign customers? How to keep the palm, which was traditionally preserved for the Paris high fashion? In one of the French Newspapers flashed the following sentence: “Where are those good old days, when people from all corners of the globe flocked to Paris? When the sale of one luxury dress allowed the government to buy ten tons of coal? When selling a litre of spirits was allowed to buy two tons of gasoline? 25 what will happen to the thousands of women who worked in the fashion Houses?”…

As you can see, at first the war for the French was only an inconveniencethat hindered fashionable life. The only way to understand the essence of the sentence, which the authorities asked the famous French fashion designer Lucien Lelong. He wanted to receive guarantees of state support… the French couturier! He tried to explain that in war, such support was vital, and the continuation of sewing of high class in France would maintain a presence in foreign markets! He said:

Luxury and comfort are the branches of the national industry. They bring millions in foreign exchange reserves, which we now so desperately need. The fact that Germany earns with the engineering and chemical industries, we make transparent fabrics, perfumes, flowers and ribbons”…

The situation changed a little when there was a period of “phoney war” started the real hostilities. Disaster is seen mainly in what turned out to be closed upscale shopping, variety shows and restaurants. Now the war was understood not simply as a nuisance, and as ruinous.NT. In the end, the defeat of France in the war was met, though wary, but without the tragic sentiment.

Interrupted once daily life resumed almost immediately after the German occupation of Northern France. Already on 18 June 1940, almost all the stores opened at their Windows with iron shutters. Large Department stores of Paris: “the Louvre”, “Galeries”, “Lafayette”, etc. – once again began its work. Years later in France appears a new literary genre – “I don’t like boshi” (in Germany its analogue will be “How I sympathized with the anti-fascists”).

However, the real diary entries made by the French in the second half of 1940, showed a completely different picture. Many people almost rejoiced that once again could open their establishments. Owners of shops, stalls and restaurants were pleased with the unprecedented number of “new visitors“. Even more delighted that it was ready to buy everything the Germans paid cash

The crowd of women, children and soldiers with a branded welcome sign of the Nazis. France

Large groups of “tourists” in uniform color feldgrau and armlets with swastikas actively photographed all the Paris attractions: the Louvre, Notre Dame Cathedral, the Eiffel tower. Although the majority of the population warily watched what was happening, there were also those who openly welcomed the occupying troops. Gradually, the fear left. Young school girls with braided pigtails sometimes getting up the courage to smile at the conquerors. Paris gradually flew: “What are they polite!”, “What are they cute!”. The Germans began “charming invaders“. In the subway, without hesitation, they gave place to older people and women with children. Perked up not only trade but also social life, although it occurred in a very specific way.

The path to Nazi EU

“The European idea is deeply rooted in France. Since then, Europe has become associated primarily with Germany, this idea works only for us. Currently, the exhibition “France-Europeans”, the opening of which was organized by our diplomatic services, has attracted the attention of many visitors. We connected radio, the press, and the literary reviewers, and to continually promote European ideology.”

These are the words contained in the message of the German Ambassador Otto Abacathat on 23 June 1941 was sent to the Reich Minister for foreign Affairs Ribbentrop. I must say that the “European idea” for France was not new.

It was the French foreign Minister Aristide Briand in the late 20-ies put forward the idea of European unification. It immediately began to actively discuss in the left and right circles of the Republic. In France, a lot of new magazines: “the New order“, “New Europe, “”Plans,” “Fighting youth”. From the title follows that of the young French intellectuals who hold different political views, looking for new ways to convert “old Europe” with its disputed territories, mutual recriminations, economic crises and political scandals. Actively discussed the issues of how it is possible the emergence of a common European patriotism, transcending class socialism, and could these phenomena become the basis for uniting all the Western European Nations.

It should be noted that these discussions did not cease in the years of the Second world war. In any European country under German control was not written so much about the “European idea“, as in France! Not had time to form so-called “vishistkaya the government” as it is the most young representatives immediately appealed to the German Ambassador to Abaco. They presented to the German diplomat the plan of reorganization of France, which was not just to meet the “standards” of the countries of the axis, but also to integrate their economies in General (read German) economic space. The mission statement is not like the request of an occupied country – representatives of the “Vichy government” intended “through the defeat of France to gain victory in Europe.”

In particular, in their Memorandum stated:

“We have to be proactive, because our country is in distress. Military defeat, rising unemployment, hunger ghosts misled the public. Under the pernicious influence of old prejudices, false propaganda that is fed with facts foreign to the life of ordinary people, instead look to the future of our country is wrapped in the bygone past, with voices coming from abroad. We offer our countrymen a very useful and exciting activities that can satisfy the vital interests of the country, the revolutionary instincts and provide a national identity”.

The proposed conversion of France consisted of seven major components: the adoption of a new Constitution, transformation of the French economy, which was supposed to integrate into the European economy, the adoption of public works programs in the field of construction, the creation of the national socialist movement, new directions in the foreign policy of France.

Much of this list we have to wonder is the issue about the “new” foreign policy. On this issue, the paper reported the following:

“The French government doesn’t want to abuse the trust placed in him, and therefore cannot recreate the past system of alliances aimed at preserving the so-called equilibrium in Europe. In addition, France does not have to be a weak point, namely, the area through which would have leaked non-European political ideas. France forever linked with the fate of the continent, focuses on solidarity, which in the future should unite our country with all the peoples of Europe. On this basis, we believe that France should be the defense of Europe that was predetermined by our sea coast, and therefore can become a European Bastion in the Atlantic. France will be able to cope with this task, if in this area will be used as the harmonious distribution of responsibilities, and Economics. France must defend Europe primarily due to the strength of its Navy and colonial troops.”

By and large, the “European idea” in France was clearly anglophobe character. It was not surprising if to take into account the details of the meeting of Marshal pétain and Hitler on 24 October 1940 in the town of Montoir-sur-Le-Loir. During these talks Hitler said Marshall, who became head of France:

“Someone has to pay for the lost war. It will be either France or England. If England will cover the cost, France will take its rightful place in Europe and can keep their position colonial powers“.

Activists rallied around the journal “New Europe”, was active in developing this subject. In the course were history with the deceased at the stake Joan of Arc, the treacherous escape of British troops from Dunkirk, the attack on the French fleet near mers-El-Kebir and much more…

Adolf Hitler the day after the surrender of France 23.07.40. Reich Minister of armaments and military industry, albert Speer (left)

France as the birthplace of fascism

One of the most consistent supporters of the Franco-German rapprochement and folding on the basis of the Union “New Europe” was the historian and Secretary of the government of Jacques Benoist-Mechain. He dreamed not just about the “New Europe”, but about a kind of Imperial hierarchy based on the “great brotherhood of the revolutionary parties”. He insisted that Rome and Berlin have recognized France an equal partner in the axis, the third largest fascist powers of Europe

Our readers perhaps may seem strange that France was presented as a “fascist powers“, but it wasn’t an exaggeration. Freedom-loving, democratic and left-oriented France (it is to this historical image is used many of us) was nothing more than a myth. Historian ze’ev Sternhell in his works (unfortunately still not translated into Russian language) repeatedly raised the question of the “French roots of fascism“.

Indeed, the formation of Nazi ideology (or writes Sternhell – patashinskii) in France began many decades earlier than in Italy and Germany. A starting point can be considered of Maurice Barres, who first became a cross between a radical nationalist and syndicalist ideas. Again, do not forget that in 1934, the power in France was almost moved to radical nationalistswhen they took to the streets of Paris more than 40 thousand people (“popular front” could not boast of such mass actions). A year later Pro-Nazi “Fiery cross” De La Rock had several hundred thousand people, being the largest political organisation in France (and not counting the other far right and fascist organizations).

If you talk about Benoit-Machine, he repeatedly urged the Third Reich: “to Create a unified Europe that is your best fighting weapon“. Starting from this thesis, he, along with Jacques Gerard (another member of the “Vichy government”) developed the project “Transitional agreement” which was, according to its creators, to replace the armistice concluded between Germany and France in 1940. The “Transition agreement” was to be accompanied by a special secret Protocol, the text of which is of particular interest in France will continue the “national revolution”, the results of which should be “based on the people, authoritarian and socialist freedom” political movement; in foreign policy, France connects to all actions carried out by the governments of Germany and Italy, including participation in the fighting against the British (“as soon as is restored the military potential of the country”).

Essentially, this document suggested the creation of the tripartite Pact, and France was to act as an independent power, and not occupied by Germany country

The draft of this document was forwarded to the Imperial government of Germany July 14, 1941. The reaction of Berlin has largely discouraged the French. In July, Ernst Achenbach has notified the French government that Berlin was annoyed by the proposals made in the draft “tripartite Pact”. 23 July 1941, Ribbentrop instructed the Ambassador to Abaco pass to Jacques benoît-Mashinuthat “proposals were an unacceptable attempt to lift the state of truce that could lead to tensions between Germany and France.”

A similar response was disappointed by many members of the “Vichy government”. A senile Marshal Petain was still trying to appeal to the German sense of responsibility. He expected that a solution to this problem would happen during the meeting with Reichsmarschall Goering, but it never happened.

However, the Jacques Benoist-Mechain has not abandoned hopes to form “a United Europe without losers“, suggesting that a new impetus to European integration was to give the German attack on the Soviet Union. In November 1942 he wrote in one of his letters:

“I believed that Hitler would unite all continental countries, to begin the assault of the Soviet Empire. As a sample I’ve seen Alexander the great, who United all the Greek cities to start the capture of the Persian Empire. Not the struggle against Bolshevism was the General principle, which could give us a sense of a unified continent? It would be a message that would get rid of parochial patriotism, freed from long-standing contradictions and the traditional rivalry between countries in Europe. Moreover, it was the lever that would allow nationalism, plagued by internal conflicts, to expand and become the European supernationalism“.

These ideas are not less actively promoted and representatives of the collaborationist parties: “the National people’s enterprises”, “Francisco”, “movement of social revolutionaries, the Party of the French people”, whose leader, Jacques Doriot , like Benoit-Mashinu considered aggression against the Soviet Union as a springboard for the formation of “supernationally European consciousness”.

The partisans chose the Legion

I must say that despite the neglect on the part of the Germans, the collaborators in the case of Russophobia and anti-Sovietism were many supporters. The first recruiting center appeared in France in July 1941, where everyone was invited to take part in “the war against the Soviets“. In the first two weeks of work items by volunteers in the “Eastern campaign” was recorded about ten thousand Frenchmen! So all the post-war allegations of “General sympathy” of the French to the Soviet Union and the Russian was nothing more than a propaganda myth. And when in 1943 year, the entry in the SS, in a matter of days appeared fifteen hundred willing to try on the form of the elite units. So in Berlin is very cleverly used the idea of “New Europe” and those of the anti-Bolshevik sentiment that prevailed in France…

But how then to be with beautiful stories about the struggle against Nazism in France?!

Today we have to admit that this myth about the “great French resistance” is a myth in the square! First, in active guerrilla fighting at its peak was attended by approximately 20 thousand people (with the support of the British, supplying them with weapons). At the same time antipartisan the “French Legion of fighters and volunteers of the national revolution” were over a million people! That’s not counting formed in 1943 for punitive operations “of the French police” more than 8 thousand soldiers.

Second, the ethnic composition of the maquis groups allow to speak about “the French resistance” only from the point of view of the territory, which has made fighting action. Actually, the French began actively to join the partisan movement only after it took the allied landing in Normandy, and the question of the fate of France was virtually a foregone conclusion. Up to this point the backbone of the partisan units were brigades fighters of different nationalities, at the time, fought in Spain, and then departed into the territory of France; escaped Soviet prisoners of war; Jews, hiding from persecution; the representatives of the Armenian Diaspora. In General, up to 1943, inclusive , a considerable part of the French advocated an Alliance with Germany, believing the guerrillas-poppies “bandits”, only provoking violence .

The situation began to change only with the advent of the allied troops… More recently are satisfied with their life and occupation, the French inhabitants then turned into ultra-patriots, almost since 1940, hatched a plan to destroy the German hegemony. Typically, such “insight” was accompanied by the disgusting scenes!

It is estimated that in the period from 1944 to 1945 without trial, was killed about one hundred thousand people suspected of collaboration. It should be noted – to become the victim of lynching in 1944-1945 did not have to be a real collaborator of the German occupiers. Often under the guise of reduced scores with inconvenient witnesses, boring mistresses and lovers, creditors, etc. If we take into account that after the end of the war in various prison terms was sentenced to 50 thousand collaborators and 10 thousand were executed, the question arises: who were executed in total is more – the French partisans or the French collaborators? Of course, the latter was much more!

Former owners were cruel revenge

In the special scientific literature have described one of the mechanisms of psychological protection – the “substitution effect”. In relation to history, we can say that by the beginning of 1945 almost all the French decided to “revise” their past. They saw themselves not defeated the people who tried alongside the Nazis to create a “New Europe“, but equal to the allies the victors who now only looking for an excuse to take revenge on the Germans.

That is the post-war French zone of occupation allocated on the General background (Soviet, American and British) with an incredible amount of violence, sovershennyi against the civilian population of Germany!

Somehow, one of the American officers remarked on this occasion: “They were useless warriors, which made them even more nervous and vengeful, able to Express themselves only in drinking and hunting for women“. And it was true! When the French along with the Americans came into South-West Germany, their appearance has resulted in countless robberies and violence. It was in the French zone of occupation under the orders of General Lekarna officially introduced a system of hostages (the shooting of civilians in case of an attack on the French military) that shocked all allies. The Swiss newspaper “Berner Tageblatt” may 30, 1945 noted: “the Oppression perpetrated by the French, seem worse than the crimes of the Nazis”…

Men France revenge French women

Remarkable, and the value of the French occupation administration. It literally was like a flood! By the fall of 1945, “work” in Germany they found at least 300 thousand Frenchmen. If you were to draw a comparison, we find that in 1946, on 10 thousand Germans had 118 French, who worked for the occupation authorities. At the same time, the figure of the British was 66. While France did not consider it necessary to feed their compatriots, preferring to do Germany. Not surprisingly, this installation became the cause of mass deaths from malnutrition robbed literally to the bone of the civilian population. So the starvation of German civilians, contrary to the idle conjectures of modern commentators, was the lot not of the Soviet, namely the French occupation policy…

… It would seem that all these historical facts could continue to turn a blind eye, that, in fact, was done in the Soviet politicians. However, the first Wake-up call for us came in 1994, when the Russian delegation was not invited to the celebrations dedicated to the opening of a Second front. At the same time, the Western community has openly hinted that they say France is a real country of the winner, and Russia is “not very”. And today these sentiments on the perversion of history in the West only intensified.

So our historians and diplomats makes sense (until later) to put before the world community a number of questions that require clear answers:

why should a Frenchman who went to the guerrillas, had several of his countrymen, who voluntarily enrolled in a part of the Wehrmacht and the Waffen-SS?

– why a hundred pilots from the squadron “Normandie-Niemen” had many thousands of French who were in Soviet captivity, when he fought on Hitler’s side?

– why radical French fascist Georges Valois ended his days in a concentration camp Sachsenhausen, and the French Communist Jacques Doriot went as a volunteer on the Eastern front to fight against the USSR?

– why the last battles in Berlin at the Reich Chancellery by the red army had to fight not bigoted against Germans and against the French SS?

– why not features a long historical memory of Europeans began to ascribe to the arbitrary measures of the French occupation authorities in Germany, the red Army?

– why is the figure visitmy the administration of françois Mitterrand after the war, became a respected politician, the great French writer Louis-Ferdinand céline was subjected to “public disgrace”?

– why collaborated with the occupiers fashion designer Lucien Lelong was proclaimed leader of the “cultural resistance” (“He saved French fashion”), a French novelist and journalist Robert Brasillach was executed as an accomplice of the invaders?

And finally, the most important two questions:

– can France be considered the winner of fascism, if it gave rise to fascist ideology as such? (once again I recommend reading the work of Zeev Sternhell)

– can France be considered the winner of fascism, if it was her predatory policy pursued under the guise of the Treaty of Versailles, on the one hand provoked the emergence of Italian fascism and German national socialism, on the other hand laid the basis for a global geopolitical conflict, which ultimately resulted in the Second world war?




France during the occupation in world war 2.


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