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Was there a civil war or similar situation in France in WW2 during Nazi occupation?

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  • Was there a civil war or similar situation in France in WW2 during Nazi occupation?

    I remember 4 years ago in World History 2 Class back in High School, when we were in the chapters about WW2. my teacher said that during WW2,France was divided and that there was a civil war like situation during the allied invasion of Normandy.She went on to say a portion of the population supported Vichy and the Nazis,a portion supported the resistance,and most were neutral. Basically French were fighting among themselves.Is this true?

    She goes on to add this sort of Civil War (or at least disunity) played a major role in France's quick defeat in the 2nd World War IIRC and its a big reason why Germany was able to hold France throughout much of the war. The French Resistance practically was fighting a two-front war, one against the Vichy supporters in addition to the one against the Germans. Can anyone add on?

  • #2
    Within the French Resistance there was infighting between the communist and those who support De Gaulle. Vichy was for all purposes allied with the Germans especially when it came to internal polices. To call it a civil war is overstated imo.
    "Ask not what your country can do for you"

    Left wing, Right Wing same bird that they are killing.

    you’re entitled to your own opinion but not your own facts.

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    • #3
      Well, the closest to actual civil war you would get is probably Syria, the French colony, where you did get Vichy regular army fighting Free French units during the British invasion of it.

      Otherwise you basically got the place divided between Vichyists and fellow travellers — ragbag of reactionaries, monarchists, anti-republicans, anti-communists, ultra-catholics etc — the Communists, and the republican Free French.

      The democratic Third Republic of France was after all abolished in coup-like forms by the Pétain government in 1940, and the "French state" that was then created was certainly NOT republican, and not democratic.

      The divisions between the Free French and the Communist guerillas were such that one of the major reasons for de Gaulle being a right pain about the need to liberate Paris was due to the importance of not ending up in a very bad situation in relation to the Communists over it, one way or another.

      There was also the instance when Gen. Leclerc's armoured division, the 2me DB, executed prisoners — Frenchmen who had fought for Nazi Germany.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Half Pint John View Post
        Within the French Resistance there was infighting between the communist and those who support De Gaulle. Vichy was for all purposes allied with the Germans especially when it came to internal polices. To call it a civil war is overstated imo.
        or did you find an alliance between Germany and France Vichy? can you show sources (process, diplomatic exchange etc ...)

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        • #5
          I believe in the book "Path to Victory", Douglas Porch relates how the French Army had to purge certain elements after the "Dragoon" landings and this led to very tense situations at times approaching near "civil war" levels.


          I'm heading out to a XMas party shortly, so haven't the time to research and elaborate, but may be able to do so tomorrow.
          Scientists have announced they've discovered a cure for apathy. However no one has shown the slightest bit of interest !!

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          • #6
            Originally posted by arkai View Post
            or did you find an alliance between Germany and France Vichy? can you show sources (process, diplomatic exchange etc ...)
            Did Vichy round up Jews and turn them over to the Germans? They did. What do you call that? End of debate.
            "Ask not what your country can do for you"

            Left wing, Right Wing same bird that they are killing.

            you’re entitled to your own opinion but not your own facts.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by tigersqn View Post
              I believe in the book "Path to Victory", Douglas Porch relates how the French Army had to purge certain elements after the "Dragoon" landings and this led to very tense situations at times approaching near "civil war" levels. ...
              Was not much of a army left by the time of Operation Dragoon, in August 1944. Perhaps the reference is to the time of operation Torch in 1942 or earlier when the French government still had a small army existant. Alternately the reference may be to the Gendmere or police. there was a ongoing 'purge' of unreliable officers from the police forces.

              I'd recommend either 'The Dark Years' by Jackson, of 'Vichy France' as worthwhile English language histories of occupied France, social, economic, government, and military are covered in either of those.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Pisces Adonis View Post
                I remember 4 years ago in World History 2 Class back in High School, when we were in the chapters about WW2. my teacher said that during WW2,France was divided and that there was a civil war like situation during the allied invasion of Normandy.She went on to say a portion of the population supported Vichy and the Nazis,a portion supported the resistance,and most were neutral. Basically French were fighting among themselves.Is this true?

                She goes on to add this sort of Civil War (or at least disunity) played a major role in France's quick defeat in the 2nd World War IIRC and its a big reason why Germany was able to hold France throughout much of the war. The French Resistance practically was fighting a two-front war, one against the Vichy supporters in addition to the one against the Germans. Can anyone add on?
                Well I don't know about civil war but there was certainly a disunity amongst the people (partly to do with the punishment they, as well as the Germans received from the allied invasion) but as I understand it particularly in the agricultural areas,if the population behaved themselves (by the occupiers standards) the Germans did leave them alone to a certain extent.(Unless of course if they were Jews or connected with the resistance) So apart from the fact that they were occupied by the Germans,thousands of the French did just carry on with their normal lives,until they perhaps came under fire and destruction from us and then I suppose not unnaturally,they became quite aggressive towards the forces that were bringing them freedom. lcm1
                'By Horse by Tram'.


                I was in when they needed 'em,not feeded 'em.
                " Youuu 'Orrible Lot!"

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Johan Banér View Post


                  There was also the instance when Gen. Leclerc's armoured division, the 2me DB, executed prisoners — Frenchmen who had fought for Nazi Germany.
                  Well, learn something new every time I'm in the forum.
                  "I think I understand what military fame is; to be killed on the field of battle and have your name misspelled in the newspapers." William Tecumseh Sherman

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Half Pint John View Post
                    Did Vichy round up Jews and turn them over to the Germans? They did. What do you call that? End of debate.
                    It was under Pierre Laval as head of government that Vichy France became a collaborationist regime with Nazi Germany. Besides rounding up Jews an arrangement was reached with Nazi Germany to exchange French skilled laborers for French POW's, to let the Gestapo round up French resistance members in Vichy and to form the French Milice used to capture left wingers and to fight the Frecnh Resistance in Vichy and possibly in occupied France too.
                    "I think I understand what military fame is; to be killed on the field of battle and have your name misspelled in the newspapers." William Tecumseh Sherman

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Carl Schwamberg View Post
                      Was not much of a army left by the time of Operation Dragoon, in August 1944.


                      So Juin's Corps in Italy was near "non-existent" ?

                      They did even better than I thought for a non-existent corps.

                      Will renew in the morning.
                      Scientists have announced they've discovered a cure for apathy. However no one has shown the slightest bit of interest !!

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Jack Torrance View Post
                        It was under Pierre Laval as head of government that Vichy France became a collaborationist regime with Nazi Germany. Besides rounding up Jews an arrangement was reached with Nazi Germany to exchange French skilled laborers for French POW's, to let the Gestapo round up French resistance members in Vichy and to form the French Milice used to capture left wingers and to fight the Frecnh Resistance in Vichy and possibly in occupied France too.
                        Not just skilled laborers.
                        Quoted from this WWII chronology web page:
                        October 20th, 1942
                        FRANCE: Paris: Pierre Laval, the Vichy premier, today called for another 100,000 French workers to join the hundreds of thousands of Frenchmen already working in Germany. On 11 August, at Compeigne, the first train of French PoWs passed the first train taking Frenchmen to work for the Germans. Fritz Sauckel, Hitler's manpower chief, made Laval send three workers to Germany for each PoW freed. In September, Laval mobilized all Frenchmen between 18 and 50 and all unmarried women between 21 and 35 for forced labour.
                        "Keep Calm. Use Less X's"

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by arkai View Post
                          or did you find an alliance between Germany and France Vichy? can you show sources (process, diplomatic exchange etc ...)
                          It's generally known and easily found. Feel free to avail yourself by searching in the various threads here, at AHF, or on the net.

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                          • #14
                            show offcial paper declaring the alliance between Germany and France in Vichy for historians is the least of things
                            75% of French Jews survived a war that means that he was an ally of the German plonais saw the percentage of dead Polish Jews
                            the truth is simple low power was forced to live alongside an enemy with half the population requires a thank you sea some concessions biensur no American would act this way ...

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by arkai View Post
                              show offcial paper declaring the alliance between Germany and France in Vichy for historians is the least of things
                              75% of French Jews survived a war that means that he was an ally of the German plonais saw the percentage of dead Polish Jews
                              the truth is simple low power was forced to live alongside an enemy with half the population requires a thank you sea some concessions biensur no American would act this way ...
                              There was never any formal alliance between Vichy France and Nazi Germany but there was close co-operation at times on military and political issues. For example, Admiral Darlan, representing Vichy France, signed an agreement with Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy that became known as The Paris Protocols. This agreement permitted Germany to use airfields in the Levant and the use of port facilities in Sousse and Bizerte and the use of port facilities at Dakar to Axis submarines.

                              Apparently Darlan went beyond his instructions from the Vichy government and two weeks later concessions were reduced to permitting Axis airplanes disguised with Iraqui markings to use airfields in the Levant.

                              With Japan you must know the concessions granted by Vichy. Other concessions were Vichy French breaking diplomatic relations with the USSR after the German invasion.
                              "I think I understand what military fame is; to be killed on the field of battle and have your name misspelled in the newspapers." William Tecumseh Sherman

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