Toggle text. A.A. [Alan Alexander] Milne, novelist, humorist and journalist (Winnie the Pooh). There is no doubt that De Gaulle’s speech was undeniably influential and motivated the people of France. Fully 90 percent of France’s population either supported the collaborationist Vichy regime or were too frightened to have anything to do with the underground. Therefore, there was no immediate drive to create a resistance movement en masse in central and southern France.eval(ez_write_tag([[580,400],'historylearningsite_co_uk-medrectangle-4','ezslot_3',114,'0','0'])); On June 18th, 1940, Charles de Gaulle addressed the people of France from London. Heft III/2007. Originally published in the March 2011 issue of Military History. Director: Gillian Armstrong | Stars: Cate Blanchett , James Fleet , Abigail Cruttenden , Charlotte McDougall This was their chance to liberate their country, and they seized it with both hands. The intelligence, maps, photos and reports they sent to England were helpful to invasion planners and would have been even more useful had the Allies fully trusted the resisters. The German attack on Russia – Operation Barbarossa – led to many French communists joining the resistance movement. The French Resistance, the covert volunteers who had been struggling against the Nazis since 1940, leaped into action. The French have long boasted the Resistance so harried that division that it took the Germans more than three weeks to move from Strasbourg to Caen after the Normandy Invasion, normally a three-day slog for an armored division. But official French government numbers say 220,000, while Porch’s research shows 75,000. Along with pictures of important people, places, and events, you will learn about the French Resistance like never before, in no time at all. HistoryNet.com contains daily features, photo galleries and over 5,000 articles originally published in our various magazines. To subscribe, click here. Special Ops History: The French Resistance In spite of their organization’s clandestine nature, many members of the Resistance still had IDs like this one. So the Resistance was an amateur “army,” ready and able to produce anti-Nazi propaganda and gather intelligence but not do battle. Related Topics. Cary Grant, U.S. film actor (Gunga Din, Bringing Up Baby, The Philadelphia Story, North by Northwest). To many, collaboration meant making the best of an awkward situation, sharing space (and sometimes beds) with fellow Europeans, albeit ones in gray Wehrmacht and black SS uniforms. The first resistance movements were in the north, such as the OCM (Organisation Civile et Militaire) and by the end of 1940, six underground newspapers were being regularly printed in the north. Paperback $9.99 $ 9. The disruption to the Germans ability to move equipment was massive. The French Resistance supplied the Allies with vital intelligence reports as well as doing a huge amount of work to disrupt the German supply and communication lines within France.eval(ez_write_tag([[580,400],'historylearningsite_co_uk-medrectangle-3','ezslot_2',129,'0','0'])); The surrender of France in June 1940, was a major blow to many French people in terms of their pride. This simple act greatly increased its potency. Many believed that the government had let the people down. Managed by Caboodle UX design studio in London, Citation: C N Trueman "The French Resistance". 2. On November 11th 1942, German forces occupied the whole of France. Women were generally confined to underground roles in the French Resistance network. The French Resistance played a vital part in aiding the Allies to success in Western Europe – especially leading up to D-Day in June 1944. Andrea Smith. Perhaps, in some places at some times, but its value was often grossly exaggerated. Also in the days after the British attack on Mers el Kébir, there was a degree of anti-British sentiment in France. There had always been a strong undercurrent of doubt, particularly among the Americans, regarding the veracity of the intel the amateurs provided. Such mythmaking abounds in French, British and American postwar accounts. This lawless, post-liberation purge was called l’Épuration légale (“the legal purification”). Experienced agitators, skilled at organizing strikes and rabble-rousing, the communists gravitated toward the Resistance, especially after Adolf Hitler broke his nonaggression pact with the Soviet Union and attacked on the Eastern Front on June 22, 1941. A WWII French Resistance museum in Paris has re-opened with access to an original underground bunker. The Maquis (French pronunciation: [maˈki]) were rural guerrilla bands of French Resistance fighters, called maquisards, during the Nazi occupation of France in World War II. In: La France des années noires. Entirely separate cells and cadres formed spontaneously among such disparate groups as Paris museum curators and angry café esthetes. Gen. Charles de Gaulle’s fledgling Free French forces, but among those few remaining in France, guerrilla warfare was something they neither understood nor wanted any part of. Members of the French Resistance are photographed in the midst of a battle against German troops during the Liberation of Paris. Small groups of Resistance fighters did harass and annoy the German occupiers, but whenever larger bands gathered to fight the occasional skirmish, Wehrmacht firepower, armor and air support quickly destroyed them. The Parti Communiste Fran- çais was at the core of much of the early Resistance movement. Copy link. Most civilians evidently no longer wanted to be part of any war, and many French soldiers lacked the will to continue the fight. Because of the peculiar political complexities of France, the resistance movement got off to a difficult start. The Maquis officially disbanded once France had been liberated in 1944. The ‘ By contrast, when the Germans invaded Greece and flew their garish banner from the Acropolis, resisters tore it down within days. By the end of 1942, de Gaulle became head of the Comité Français de Libération Nationale which headed all resistance movements in France. He called on the French people to continue the fight against the Germans. In 1940, French soldiers were overwhelmed by Nazi forces and the government sought for peace with Germany. Hélène Viannay, more highly educated than her husband Philippe Viannay, the founder of the Défense de la France, did not write one single article for the clandestine newspaper of the same name, nor did the other companions … Oliver Hardy, film comedian, one half of Laurel and Hardy. The French Resistance, in turn, supplied vital intelligence reports. He had been betrayed to … For further reading Stephan Wilkinson recommends France: The Dark Years, 1940–1944, by Julian Jackson, and Occupation: The Ordeal of France, 1940– 1944, by Ian Ousby. Initially, at least, the French were far more interested in getting along with the Germans than in challenging them. Aufl., Berlin 2006. Just one year earlier, there were just 40,000 members.. By the spring of 1944, there were 60 intelligence cells whose task was solely to collect intelligence as opposed to carrying out acts of sabotage. The Resistance also sometimes charged fees for its intelligence, saying “the cause” needed the money. The Real Story of the French Resistance Paris Martyrisé, Paris Libéré The most effective resistance in WWII was disproportionately made up of immigrants, students, and Spanish communists. The French Resistance: The History of the Opposition Against Nazi Germany’s Occupation of France during World War II looks at the legendary Resistance and its efforts to undermine Vichy France. Although the Hollywood image is one of vast derailments, with entire trains and their cargoes tumbling down mountainsides, such sabotage was more annoying than disruptive to the Germans, who usually made repairs and resumed service within hours. The Resistance Movements fought the Nazi German Occupation of France and the collaborationist Vichy regime using clandestine methods. Clandestine publishing also made good use of the talents of these early French partisans, for many were intellectuals and had no idea how to fire a gun. Moulin, given the task of uniting the Resistance by the leader of Free French forces in London, was killed on 8 July 1943. They circle around an area map to plan strategy, as one of the... World War II. What the Resistance didn’t have was military professionals; most of the French army had been captured and imprisoned—1,540,000 men were in German captivity. Frenchmen who made their way to England often discounted resisters as those who had cravenly “stayed behind,” while the resisters considered the expatriates Frenchmen who had “fled to safety.” Few understood or respected the other’s motive. They weren’t particularly skillful amateurs, and their radios were bulky, hard-to-hide units. Consequently, there was little unity in the resistance movement during the early phase. The Germans did their part by being polite to the French populace, giving up Métro seats to old people, handing candy to children and spending freely at Paris cabarets, restaurants and couturiers. HistoryNet.com is brought to you by Historynet LLC, the world's largest publisher of history magazines. In response, Hitler allowed the creation of a new French government in Vichy, France. The non-occupied region of France, known as Vichy France, was set up by the Germans and governed by Marshall Pétain. Within weeks of the 1940 collapse, tiny groups of men and women had begun to resist. The public had been assured that the French army, along with the Maginot Line, was more than strong enough to resist a German attack. The Resistance first revealed itself as underground publishers of anti-Nazi broadsides and mimeographed mini-newspapers. So, was the French Resistance effective? Regardless of what many thought of the Vichy government, the area they controlled was run by French people. The French Resistance: Is the term used to describe a group of active opponents of Hitlers Invasion of France during WW 2. When this figure is added to the 2,400 destroyed by Allied bombers, it is easy to understand why the Germans had such difficulty transporting equipment across France.eval(ez_write_tag([[250,250],'historylearningsite_co_uk-leader-1','ezslot_16',115,'0','0'])); Post-war analysis of the success of the resistance shows that the 150 most successful acts of sabotage against factories in France between 1943 and 1944, used just 3,000 lbs of explosives – the equivalent of the bomb load of one single Mosquito plane. Ever since he wrote For Whom the Bell Tolls (1940), the popular image of the wartime partisan has been one of T-handles shoved down into detonator boxes, of bridges blowing and railway tracks pretzeling, of snipers taking out troops that stumble into their sights. Resisters ultimately had as much to fear from countrymen-turned-informants as they did from the Nazis. … The resisters also learned they didn’t even need explosives and the accompanying danger. A young Scottish woman joins the French Resistance during World War II to rescue her Royal Air Force boyfriend who is lost in France. The French Resistance played a vital part in aiding the Allies to success in Western Europe – especially leading up to D-Day in June 1944. These weren’t Parisian café- sitters or underground newspaper editors but rough-hewn, would-be saboteurs and fighters, and they became the Hemingwayesque public image of the Resistance—those cinematic guys in berets with Sten guns slung from their shoulders and Gauloises drooping from their lips. Much more was transmitted by radio. Some of the intel made its way to England in the hands of British agents, picked up at night in pastures and fields by slow, black-painted Westland Lysanders of the Royal Air Force. 99. This acted independently but planning was carried out in co-operation with the SOE which supplied equipment. Daniel Hale Williams, physician who performed the first open heart surgery, founder of Chicago's Provident Hospital. Liberation of Paris, 25 August 1944. The first violent act of armed resistance to the occupation of France is generally thought to have been the shooting of Alfons Moser, a low-level German naval adjutant, in the Paris Métro on Aug. 21, 1941. The Resistance came to maturity in the months just before and after the June 1944 Allied invasion of Normandy. History Learning Site Copyright © 2000 - 2021. They put their lives on the line as at no other time in the Second World War, risking everything to help the professional soldiers. In France during World War II, Rene Artois runs a small café where Resistance fighters, Gestapo men, German Army officers and escaped Allied POWs interact daily, ignorant of one another's true identity or presence, exasperating Rene. A considerable number of French men and women were outright collaborationists, and those who weren’t were content to simply coexist with their conquerors. Homegrown resistance, especially not under his command, was not his intent. The movement eventually comprised wellmeaning anti-Fascist activists, especially communists; a relatively small number of the bourgeoisie and intellectuals; the inevitable young thugs, malcontents and outcasts who gravitate toward the action; and a core of men and women who despised what the Germans had done to France. Resistance in France began as soon as the Germans invaded in May 1940. They simply removed the bolts holding track lengths together. They initially served as propagandists, intelligence gatherers and couriers to return downed Allied airmen to England. However, by June 1941, the resistance movement had become more organised and its work against the Germans increased accordingly. Paris and much of the rest of occupied France flew swastika flags on every hotel and public building until the August 1944 liberation. The French Resistance movement is an umbrella term which covered numerous anti-German resistance movements that were based within France. Then, most strikingly, we see a woman in shorts, a patterned top, and a military hat in the center. The British and Americans dismissed much of the Resistance intelligence, however, as amateurish, useless or just plain wrong. The Vichy government had handed over to the Germans all foreign Jews who had fled to France as refugees, most of whom died in concentration camps and forced labor. Whatever its initial shortcomings, the Resistance was substantially strengthened when in early 1943 the collaborationist Vichy government made a fateful concession to the Germans—agreeing to the Service du travail obligatoire (STO), new work rules requiring the forced labor in Germany of virtually all able-bodied Frenchmen. A few had fled to England to join Brig. “The French, understandably, reacted [after liberation] to their ordeal by retreating into a myth,” writes Ian Ousby in Occupation: The Ordeal of France, 1940–1944. Published. After all, the thinking went, national socialism at least looked preferable to the communism that was already a powerful force among French workers. His reputation was still high and in the early days of Vichy, his leadership gave it some stability and kudos. As an example, the British attack on the radio base at Bruneval in 1942 could have been a lot more costly in terms of lives lost, if the British had not received intelligence reports from the resistance with regards to the building of new blockhouses there. It was the intelligence they provided he felt was priceless. Share. Britain, via the SOE, supplied the French with equipment and trained agents. by Charles River Editors and Kevin Kollins. Resistance records claim that ultimately there were 400,000 resisters. Many in the south were angered by the compulsory labour service that had been brought in. German soldiers were stunned when some of the French they captured in June 1940 danced jigs and sang folksongs, delighted to be done with warfighting. But the treatment of the Jews was a major cause of resentment towards the Vichy government and many joined the resistance as a means of fighting against a policy that the vast majority found abhorrent. Lucie Aubrac, who has become a symbol of the French Resistance within France, never had a clearly defined role in the hierarchy of the movement, which in her case involved the regional Southern Liberation. Many French people joined as the support for Vichy quickly waned. So the French Resistance grew slowly. The truth, however, is hard to determine—what the Resistance was, what it accomplished, who its members were, how big and effective or small and ineffective it was—because the France of World War II had one large piece of dirty linen waving in the wind: Alone among the countries of Europe overrun by the Wehrmacht, France chose to collaborate actively with the enemy, and the French people became deeply ashamed of that choice as soon as the Allies liberated them. The Resistance reportedly destroyed 1,800 railway targets in the months before and after the invasion, versus 2,400 hit by Allied bombers. French Resistance fighters learning how to use a radioset. But for the first time, the Resistance had planned specific, well-coordinated sabotage campaigns against railroads, power networks, highways, fuel and ammunition depots, command centers and communications lines to aid the invasion they knew was inevitable. The Resistance, for example, claimed it had killed 6,000 members of the vicious Das Reich Division. This remained a problem for the Resistance. One of France’s last remaining French resistance heroes Daniel Cordier, has died aged 100. Following the invasion of Normandy on June 6, 1944, the Allies’ advance through France depended heavily on help from a secret underground force of French men and women. After the war, Supreme Allied Commander in Europe General Dwight D. Eisenhower grandly estimated the French Resistance had been worth “an extra six divisions.” It was a rare bit of Eisenhower hyperbole likely foisted upon him by de Gaulle, but Ike certainly never meant the resisters were the equal of 90,000 fully armed and trained troops. His speech is one of the most important speeches in French history. Among the most caustic comments on the Resistance was uttered by German Reichminister for Armaments and War Production Albert Speer. Eventually, however, they became less discriminating about whom they shot or hanged. But in France, “a handful of German police backed by Vichy authorities and the ruthless reprisals of the Wehrmacht and SS were enough to keep the population acceptably docile until the very eve of D-Day and beyond.”. Home; Contact us; Log In; Search; Search for: Menu . By September 1943, this had increased to 530. About sharing. Regardless, few early resisters ever heard the de Gaulle speech. However, when the Vichy government began to openly collaborate with the Germans, attitudes hardened. P-O Life Life in the Pyrénées-Orientales. The latter network comprised safe houses and trekking guides who would deliver the downed airmen to Allied submarines off French beaches or to safety in neutral Spain and Portugal. By 1944, it is estimated that there were 100,000 members of the various resistance movements that existed in France. Still, for those of us who have never experienced enemy occupation or ill-equipped, marginal guerrilla warfare—criticism comes too easily in retrospect. 00. The French Resistance: The History of the Opposition Against Nazi Germany's Occupation of France During World War II. The French Resistance was never a homogeneous organization. Get it as soon as Thu, Jan 21. 00 $6.95 $6.95. Accounting for just 1 percent of the population in an infamously anti-Semitic country, they were said to comprise 15 to 20 percent of its Resistance. That image has also shaped modern-day impressions of the French Resistance, the multifaceted, misunderstood World War II movement that eventually coalesced among brave civilians after Germany steamrolled France in 1940. The shooter was Pierre Georges, a communist. Attacks on the French rail system increased greatly. Given the diligence with which the Geheime Staatspolizei, or Gestapo, sought to ferret them out, Resistance radio operators were reputed to have an average life expectancy of just six months. While some Resistance mythologizers have compared this network to the 19th century Underground Railroad, others say it bore more similarities to the “coyotes” who today prey on illegal immigrants, as many of the passeurs who guided the escapees over the Pyrenees were well paid for their work. Some collected fees twice—once from their clients and again from the Germans to whom they turned over the airmen. The country compensated for that shame by sometimes exaggerating the accomplishments of those partisans who did propagandize, spy upon, sabotage and even openly fight the Germans. The French Resistance (or Maquis in the countryside), were an organized resistance movement in France during Nazi Germany's occupation and the collaborationist Vichy régime during World War II. The murder on the Métro elicited from the Germans a brutal but effective response: reprisal executions. As a result of this greater organisational security, the resistance became more effective in 1943. “So powerful was the Resistance myth, so important did it become to French self-esteem, that only gradually, and not without controversy, have historians been able to assess its size and significance.”, Citizen resistance works well, Porch points out, when a populace is deeply committed to the cause. French Resistance. At that point the communist resisters took it upon themselves to commit as much mayhem as possible, particularly in metropolitan areas, and force the Germans to deploy additional troops against them, thus diverting soldiers from service in war zones.”. A museum with a very long name has just re-opened in a brand new location in Paris and it will tell the story of the people who risked their lives to join the French Resistance. The French Resistance supplied the Allies with vital intelligence reports as well as doing a huge amount of work to disrupt the German supply and communication lines within France. France honours six-year-old WW2 Resistance agent. They called themselves the Maquis, a word that loosely translates to “the bush.”. FREE Shipping on orders over $25 shipped by Amazon. Anti-Nazi partisans in Yugoslavia, Poland and Greece were far more effective and constituted a substantially higher percentage of the population of each country. The Resistance initially had few weapons—obsolete World War I pistols, a few hunting rifles and shotguns—and even fewer people who knew how to use them. Éditions du Seuil, Paris 1993. It was an offense that could get one arrested, jailed, tortured or even executed, so this was indeed resistance. Share page . 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