French Resistance

Discussion in 'France' started by Capt Beekee, Aug 1, 2010.

  1. Vitesse

    Vitesse Senior Member

    Something which would be worth seeking out would be Marcel Ophüls' film The Sorrow and the Pity (1969), which includes interviews with résistants of all sorts, including the distinctly peculiar Denis Rake, whose autobiography "Rake's Progress" is one of the oddest Resistance books I've ever read. He was as bent as a nine bob note and how he ever got through SOE screening, let alone training, is a complete mystery. His book is now as rare as rocking horse poo ...

    But I digress. The film is an absolute masterpiece - should be easy to find on DVD in France. I first saw it in the early 70s and again when C4 screened it in about 1987. I did tape it, but like so much of my stuff my ex-wife either flogged it or chucked it out :(
     
  2. Harry Ree

    Harry Ree Very Senior Member

    The Sorrow and the Pity is indeed a masterpiece and is based on resistance and occupation activities in and around Clemond Ferrand.But It did not address the plight of France's Jewish population.


    The truth of the documentry was hard hitting and embarrassed the French Government who banned its transmission.

    TV is an excellent conduit for information but there were already quite a number of serious accounts of The Resistance and the Vichy Government and all its elements if a person was so motivated to learn a little more of the era.However it took Beate and Serge Klarsfeld to highlight those in the employment of Vichy who had betrayed the Jews of France and had then led normal lives,postwar,untouched by their past misdeeds.

    What became clearer was the depth that the Vichy Government had sunk to in their anti republican attitute and anti Semite measures.The latter being a damning indictment of the Vichy French participitation in and collaboration with the Third Reich and its Nazi ideology.Evidence revealed that Vichy went beyond the the demands of the Nazi SS representatives in Paris.From this evidence there is no doubt that Vichy were willing participants in the Holocaust.They merely saw the policy as appropriate to their assumed membership of the New Order and when the Third Reich extolled its task as a fight against Bolshevism,Vichy were quick to echo those views.
     
  3. Oldleg

    Oldleg Well-Known Member

    Chris, I am hoping you are still watching this thread, my grandfather was in the resistance in the Puy de Dome area and I was wondering if there was any way you could help me learn about him. He lived at the time in a village called St Germain de Lembron.
     
  4. Paul Bradford

    Paul Bradford Active Member

    The Test of Courage-Biography of Michel Thomas is a very good read. Part of it covers his time trying to fight for the resistance in France and his capture and imprisonment by the Milice. He talks about the rounding up of Jewish children by the Vichy French (almost 8000 of them) and their deportation to the camps and later on his hunting for SS soldiers.

    Another good book is Fire from the Forest-Roger Ford. It tells the story of SAS and SOE operations in France in 1944. From memory, it also mentions Resistance groups (including Allied operatives) that were betrayed by other French groups in order that they could get the arms etc.
     
  5. Ramiles

    Ramiles Researching 9th Lancers, 24th L and SRY

    42mins BBC audio: BBC Radio 4 - The Reunion, The French Resistance

    The French Resistance
    The Reunion

    "Sue MacGregor brings together members of the French Resistance who fought against Nazi German occupation of France and the collaborationist Vichy regime during the Second World War.

    On 18 June 1940, as the French Prime Minister Phillipe Pétain prepared to sign an armistice with the Nazi invaders, General Charles de Gaulle spoke to the French people on the BBC from London asking them to join him in continuing the war.

    “You had to be completely insane to believe him at the time,” says John James - then one of 8 million refugees fleeing the advancing German army. “For people like me, to know everything wasn’t lost, gave us great hope.”

    Hundreds of thousands of people answered de Gaulle’s call and joined the French Resistance.

    They carried out acts of sabotage against the Nazis and their Vichy allies, published underground pamphlets or offered help to downed allied airmen or the persecuted Jewish population. Over 100,000 members of resistance movements died during the war – some executed, others killed in combat or left to die in camps.

    De Gaulle’s relationship with the Allies was difficult. London and Washington considered that the liberation was the task of the Allied troops, who would then occupy France under the authority of an allied Military Government that would run the country. De Gaulle and important sections of the Resistance had other ideas.

    Sue MacGregor is joined by Marcel Jaurent Singer, a secret agent of the Special Operations Executive set up by Winston Churchill; Rene Marbot, a soldier in de Gaulle’s Free French army; John James, a member of a guerrilla fighting unit; Michèle Agniel who helped Allied airmen escape to freedom; and historian Matthew Cobb.

    Producer: Emily Williams
    Series Producer: David Prest

    A Whistledown production for BBC Radio 4
    "
     
  6. Harry Ree

    Harry Ree Very Senior Member

    I think the claim that France would be subject to military occupation by the Allies requires some clarification.

    Had it not been for CDG and the formation of the Free French,Vichy France policies would have resulted in the occupation of France by the Allied military authorities as a satellite and alliance partner of the Third Reich.

    The creation of the Free French by CDG opposing the Vichy Government resulted in the clash of Les Deux Frances with CDG citing the 1793 constitution that "The French people do not make peace with an enemy who occupies its territory".FDR insisted that the Gaulists should be left completely out of the planning for the Normandy invasion. CDG was not made aware of the Normandy invasion until after the landings and only allowed into France a week later when the French 2nd Armoured Division landed. However he was quick to establish the civil authority of his Provisional Government of the Republic of France as the liberation of France unfolded,a policy that was not obstructed by the Allies.

    The political problem of the leadership working towards a free France stemmed from FDR whose resentment and hostility to CDG was intense and permanent. CDG's leadership for the French had been recognised by WSC since the defeat of France but as the junior partner in the alliance British confidence in CDG was eroded by FDR's assessment. CDG was continually snubbed in favour of their candidate,General Henri Giraud who they had ear marked as the leader of a liberated North Africa and ultimately France prior to the Torch invasion of Vichy North Africa.Earlier, the US had favoured Darlan,a former Vichyite,anti British,a leading Anglophobe as their candidate for North African leadership, dubbed by Gaulists as a turncoat de la derniere heure and angering the Free French. Darlan was eliminated from the political scene when on December 1942 he was assassinated by a young royalist Fernand Bonnier de la Chapelle. Giraud replaced Darlan as the High Commissioner and head of all French Forces in North Africa. CDG was determined that the destination of postwar France would be his responsibility.

    Although regarded as a fine soldier but not politically astute,Giraud cold not match the political leadership of CDG and in July 1944,FDR reluctantly agreed to accept CDG as the de facto authority for civil administration in France which never became subject to Allied military control.
     
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