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France during World War II

From Defeat to Liberation

Thomas Christofferson

Publication Year: 2006

In this concise, clearly written book, Thomas and Michael Christofferson provide a balanced introduction to every aspect of the French experience during World War II.Synthesizing a wide range of scholarship, the authors integrate political, diplomatic, military, social, cultural, and economic history in this portrait of a nation and a people at war. Here is a chronicle of the battles and campaigns that stained French soil with blood. Here, also, is the full historical context of the war-its origins, realities, and aftermath-in French society. The authors pay particular attention to the key failures of institutional France-especially the officer corps, political elites, and the Catholic Church. They also assessthe controversial history of the Vichy regime and the German occupation, in carefully crafted accounts of resistance and collaboration, Vichy's National Revolution, and the fate of France's Jews.Accessible to both students and general readers, France during World War II develops a full understanding of the actors, events, issues, and controversies of a turbulent era.

Published by: Fordham University Press

France during World War II

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Contents

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pp. vii-

Abbreviations

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pp. ix-

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Preface

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pp. xi-xiv

This is a book about France during the Second World War, a subject that has been discussed and debated passionately by the French for the past sixty years, replacing the French Revolution as the event that most seriously divided the nation into warring factions. Today, however, it seems that the divisive debate on Vichy ...

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Chapter 1: Defeat of France

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pp. 1-33

In the spring of 1940 France suffered the most humiliating defeat in its modern history as the German military overran it in a few weeks, leading to a demoralizing armistice in June. No one had expected such a devastating outcome. The western democracies, England and the United States, were stunned. ...

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Chapter 2: National Revolution

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pp. 34-66

With sudden defeat in June 1940, France was left with few options. Although a small minority, led by General Charles de Gaulle, chose to go into exile to continue the war from overseas, the vast majority of the French chose to remain at home and hope that the armistice pursued by Marshal Pétain would work out for the best. ...

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Chapter 3: Collaboration

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pp. 67-101

With the signing of the armistice agreement in June 1940, the French state accepted collaboration with the Nazi occupying power. Henceforth the new order was contingent upon a German victory in World War II. During the history of Vichy, no leader who reached the top disagreed with this position. ...

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Chapter 4: Exclusion

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pp. 102-133

From its first acts until its ignominious end in 1944, the Vichy regime excluded groups of people from social, cultural, economic, and political life in France. The essence of the new order resided in the dichotomy of inclusion/exclusion as True France attempted to expel the other from its utopian dream of ...

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Chapter 5: Resistance

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pp. 134-165

For approximately three decades after the Liberation the official story of World War II in France was one of Resistance. The sixty children’s books on the war published by 1948 emphasized the heroism of the Resistance while hardly mentioning the role of the Allies in liberating the nation and entirely avoiding ...

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Chapter 6: Liberation

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pp. 166-196

By the end of 1943, the Resistance had become a powerful, united force, with Charles de Gaulle in charge of both the Fighting French headquartered in London and Algiers and the internal Resistance. No other Western European country under Nazi occupation had developed such an efficient, united movement to oppose it. ...

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Epilogue

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pp. 197-204

We can no longer view France as a nation of collaborators, any more than we can say it was a nation of resisters. On the contrary, the historical narrative on the "dark years" has revealed a nation that opposed collaboration virtually from the beginning and gradually accepted Resistance as the only solution to Nazi domination, ...

Further Reading in English

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pp. 205-210

Notes

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pp. 211-236

Index

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pp. 237-254


E-ISBN-13: 9780823247875
Print-ISBN-13: 9780823225620
Print-ISBN-10: 0823225623

Page Count: 208
Publication Year: 2006

Research Areas

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Subject Headings

  • World War, 1939-1945 -- Campaigns -- France.
  • France -- History -- German occupation, 1940-1945.
  • France -- Social conditions -- 20th century.
  • World War, 1939-1945 -- France.
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