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THE FRENCH ECONOMY DURING THE WAR

 

Ministry of Finance and the Economy

MINISTERE DES FINANCES/DE L'ECONOMIE
NOM DU MINISTRE/  SECRETAIRE D'ETAT ARRIVEE  DEPART
Yves Bouthillier* 16-06-1940 18-04-1942
Pierre Cathala 18-04-1942   17-08-1944

* The first Pétain government was still part of the Third Republic. 'Vichy' can be considered to start with the government created on 12 July 1940

 

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Ministry of Employment 

MINISTERE DU TRAVAIL*

NOM DU MINISTRE/SECRETAIRE D'ETAT ARRIVEE  DEPART
André Février* 16-06-1940 27-06-1940
Charles Pomaret *  27-06-1940 14-07-1940
René Belin * 14-07-1940  18-04-1942
Hubert Lagardelle  18-04-1942 21-11-1943
Jean Bichelonne  (par intérim)  21-11-1943  16-03-1944
Marcel Déat  16-03-1944  17-08-1944

* The first Pétain government was still part of the Third Republic. 'Vichy' can be considered to start with the government created on 12 July 1940
* From July 1940 to February 1941, 'Travail' and 'Production Industrielle' were both controlled by René Belin.

 

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Ministry of Industrial Production

MINISTERE DE LA PRODUCTION INDUSTRIELLE *

NOM DU MINISTRE/SECRETAIRE D'ETAT  ARRIVEE DEPART
René Belin* 14-07-1940 23-02-1941
Pierre Pucheu  23-02-1941 18-07-1941
François Lehideux  18-07-1941 17-08-1942
Jean Bichelonne  17-08-1942 17-08-1944

* From July 1940 to February 1941, 'Travail' and 'Production Industrielle' were both controlled by René Belin.

 

 

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Economic exploitation of France in figures

Montant des frais d’occupation/ occupation costs

1940

80 000 000 000 francs

1941

121 500 000 000 francs

1942

109 000 000 000 francs

1943

194 000 000 000 francs

1944

126 000 000 000 francs

TOTAL

630 500 000 000 francs

Source: Yves Durand, La France dans la Deuxième Guerre Mondiale, Armand Colin, Paris, 1993, p 65

 

 

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Le Chant du Secours National

quoted in:

Philippe-Jean Hesse et Jean-Pierre Le Crom (eds), La protection sociale sous le régime de Vichy, PUR, Rennes, 2001, p 206

 

Donnez, donnez pour le Secours national

Donnez, donnez pour aider les malheureux;

En répondant à l'appel du Maréchal

Vous serez tous plus heureux et plus joyeux:

C'est en donnant pour ceux qui souffrent

Que l'on devient toujours meilleur;

Si notre tronc est comme un gouffre

vous le remplirez de tout coeur.

Donnez, donnez, donnez

Tout ce que vous avez,

Nous vous dirons merci.

Le Maréchal aussi.

 

Lorsque Pétain fit le don de sa personne,

Il nous fallait aussi en mettrte un coup

Et devant le drapeau qui frisonne

Près de lui, nous venons tous, nous venons tous!

Cat la Patrie a besoin de courage

Pour se refaire et forcer le destin

C'est Pétain qui est notre meilleur gage

Vive Pétain! Vive Pétain! Vive Pétain!

 

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Rod Kedward describing resistance propaganda against the Relève 

H.R. Kedward, Resistance in Vichy France, OUP, Oxford, 1978, p 225

 

The campaign for the Relève coincided with the deportation of foreign Jews from the southern camps, and the coincidence was not seen as accidental by the Resistance press. From the start the Relève was denounced as the deportation of workers to slave labour in Germany, but it is clear from the tone of the arguments that some workers were allowing themselves to be attracted by the scheme. L'insurgé, for example, found it necessary to give a detailed counter image of the fate of workers in Germany to offset the Vichy propaganda: 

"Journey: long, little food, under German supervision

On arrival: camps where workers treated like cattle.

Later: sleeping in barracks, herded together.

Work: 12 hours a day, piece-work but no increase in wages.

Wages: enormous taxes and fines.

Cost of living: higher than in France.

Food: not even enough for Italians who are used to low subsistence.

Freedom: nil.

Conclusion: exploitation; prisoner's status. Thousands of workers killed by bombing". 

 

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Simon Kitson 

French Studies, University of Birmingham,

Edgbaston, B15 2TT,

West Midlands, UK

s.k.kitson@bham.ac.uk