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L'armistice du 24 juin 1940
German structures in France were even more complicated that the German
structures in the other occupied countries. In fact there were four main
sources of power within the German administration in France. Each of these
structures was in fierce competition with the others and their relative
levels of power oscillated during the occupation period.
the most important power on the Nazi side was the Militärbefehlshaber in
Frankreich (MBF) which was the German military administration in France
with headquarters in the Hotel Majestic in avenue Kléber
in Paris. This was controlled initially by Otto Von Stulpnagel from
October 1940. His cousin Karl Von Stulpnagel replaced him in the role from
February 1942. The German military were in a position of strength when
they arrived in 1940. They had just won a resounding victory in the field
and hoped to benefit from the prestige of this to gain a strong foothold
in the country.
second source of power was the German Embassy whose headquarters were in
the rue de Lille in Paris. At the beginning the German Embassy was
supposed just to advise the MBF but it gained increasing autonomy thanks
to the influence in Berlin of the Foreign Minister Von Ribbentrop who had
overall responsibilities for diplomatic missions. Other German
administrations in France remained a little suspicious of the Embassy
because of the Francophile reputation of its Ambassador, Otto Abetz.
level of administration was that imposed by the German Armistice
commission which like the MBF was a military structure. This Commission
had its headquarters in Wiesbaden, Germany. It was designed to see that
the French adhered to the terms of the armistice. To this end it had
delegations in those parts of France which were not directly occupied.
From these delegations it could organise spying missions into Vichy
controlled territory. Being the eyes and the ears of Germany in the
Southern zone gave it an important power base. It was also heavily
involved in illegal buying up of black market produce on the French
economy. However, once the Nazis invaded the Southern zone it became
increasingly irrelevant. Even before the total occupation of France the
Armistice Commission was largely bypassed on the political level.
Franco-German negotiations were usually held between the French and the
other German structures.
final source of German power was the Reichssicherheitshauptamt (RSHA). This was an umbrella organization for the parallel
police formations, such as the Sipo-SD
(Sicherheitspolizei-Sicherheitsdienst= ‘Security police-security
office’)), born directly from the Nazi party. The
repressive powers of the MBF were increasingly overtaken by the Sipo and
SD (better known as the Gestapo). The increasing dominance of the RSHA
formations reflected their increasing dominance over the Army structures
throughout the Reich. It was also the sign that the Germans objectives in
the occupied countries had shifted away from the largely military aims of
1940 to much more ideological aims. The two key events in this respect
were operation Barbarossa of June 1941- the German invasion of the Soviet
Union- and the Wannsee conference of January 1942 where the Nazi hierarchy
decided to embark on a policy of mass murder against the Jews through the
establishment of extermination camps in which they could be systematically
gassed to death. Although anti-Semitism and anti-communism were prevalent
within the German army, the more radical manifestations of these espoused
within the Nazi state were better suited to the radicalism of the
formations born of the Nazi party. Hitler was generally distrustful of the
Army which he viewed as socially conservative and ideologically too tame.
philosophy was based partly around a division of the world into racial
groups and a clear sense of hierarchy between these different racial
groups. Hitler placed latin peoples, like the French, Spanish and
ironically the Italians, low on his racial hierarchy but still someway
above the Slavs, the blacks or the Jews. In fact he had precious little
good to say about France. He was an admirer of French architecture and
made a visit to Paris in June 1940. He had originally intended to have
Paris entirely destroyed after this visit but was persuaded by his
architect Albert Speer to seek instead to make sure that he built up
Berlin’s architectural grandeur to such an extent that Paris would pale
Nazis desired revenge on France because of long-standing hostilities
between the 2 countries. This enmity had seen the Prussians fighting
against the Napoleonic armies at the beginning of the 19th
century. It had seen the Prussians and the French again at each other’s
throats in 1870. It had seen the long-drawn out conflicts on the western
Front between 1914 and 1918. German hostility to France was also fuelled
by French behaviour at the end of that conflict. Under Premier Georges
Clemenceau, France was seen to have been particularly harsh during the
Versailles peace settlement of 1919.
There were some Senior Nazi officials who were more sympathetic to France. Otto Abetz, the German ambassador to France during much of the period 1940 to 1944, was known as a Francophile although his exact position has been open to some controversy. His Francophilia has been seen in an admiration for French culture and the fact that he had a French wife. However, historians now generally accept that the true scope of his Francophilia was limited. He certainly hoped for German victory in the war and considered that France should only be given a secondary role in a Europe dominated by Germany.
It is often assumed that
relations between the Germans and Vichy passed without a hitch. Vichy did
after all take much initiative in offering collaboration to the Germans and
this collaboration brought important results for the Germans, particularly
against communists and Jews.
However it was
obvious from the outset that the Germans were not going to fully trust a
French government even one that was collaborating. They were careful to
retain means of subjugating the French. Dividing the country into different
zones of occupation was meant to assure its weakness. Limiting the army to
100,000 men offered both revenge for a similar clause imposed at Versailles
in 1919 and a practical means of keeping French military capabilities to a
minimum. Retaining around one and half million Frenchmen as Prisoners of
War, when it would have been cheaper and potentially more economically
profitable to release them, was the ultimate manifestation of a desire to
hold the French in check. That Vichy failed to get the return of all these
prisoners was clearly demonstrated that Vichy had not succeeded in
eradicating all doubts in German minds about French reliability.
backdrop to Franco-German relations was set by four major wars in less than
150 years. The Prussians had sided with the British against Napoleon at the
beginning of the 19th century. Subsequently they had rapidly
crushed the French forces in the Franco-Prussian war of 1870. In the
twentieth century the two nations had been major protagonists on opposing
sides in both of the world wars. Both viewed the other as a traditional
enemy. So behind the diplomatic relations lay a certain tension which was
clearly manifested in aggressive German espionage and equally aggressive
the Germans’ own experience gave them supplementary grounds for being
particularly vigilant. It should not be forgotten that there were
similarities between the Versailles treaty of 1919 which they had been
forced to accept and the armistice imposed on the French in 1940. Some of
the clauses of the post-World War One settlement were faithfully reproduced
in the 1940 document. It could not have escaped German attention that it was
possible to rise from the ashes of a military defeat. A country could be
rebuilt until it became a threat to its neighbours. This is what Germany
itself had done in the interwar period. The victors of 1940 were determined
that no such facilities should be accorded the French. The intelligence
agencies were especially aware of such possibilities. They had rapidly cast
off the shackles imposed on them by the Versailles treaty of 1919 and
reconstructed themselves clandestinely in the early 1920s.
That even Vichy was not fully trusted is further underlined by the
banning of certain Vichy organisations in the northern zone. These included
the Chantiers de la Jeunesse and Légion
des Anciens Combattants, which it was feared may camouflage clandestine
remobilisations. Following the occupation of the southern zone the occupiers
were also quick to dissolve the Armistice army altogether. The Germans also
made use of the policy of divide and rule by encouraging extremist
‘collaborationist’ groups in Paris. These groups were used as a threat
to Vichy because the French government were made aware that if it didn’t
co-operate the Germans would constitute a government from these more
extremist elements. The Germans made massive and increasing use of espionage
against France, including against the French government.
Although the Germans were
aware that overall Vichy was offering them considerable co-operation a
series of incidents did keep them on their guard. The sacking and arrest of
Pierre Laval by Philippe Pétain on 13 December 1940 was not well received
in Berlin. It was wondered whether this represented a change in diplomatic
direction. The fact that some Resistance newspapers in the southern zone
continued initially to cite Marshall Pétain fed suspicion. Likewise the
circulation of Resistance publications in the Vichy zone, in particular
documents such as General Cochet’s appeal to continue the fight. The
indiscreet anti-Axis comments of Vichy’s representative in North Africa,
General Weygand, and his subsequent links with the Americans were criticised
by the Germans who immediately arrested him as soon as they arrived in the
southern zone. The rapidity with which Admiral Darlan changed sides after
operation Torch did much to discredit Vichy. Had not Darlan a few months
before not been presenting himself as a partisan of collaboration? The
rivalries within the Vichy government meant that individuals such as Fernand
de Brinon were feeding the Germans with doubts about the reliability of
their rivals within the Vichy government.
The historian Yves Durand has
described in the following way Germany’s policy towards France:
“Hitler required a government in power strong enough to guarantee the
passivity of populations subjected to domination and German demands, yet
weak enough never effectively to oppose Germany or one day unite the
people against Germany in a true defence of national interests, nor even
to compete with Germany or speak with it on an equal basis, as might
happen, the Germans thought, if a government were to be truly
‘renovated’ by a national fascism”.
(Y. Durand, ‘Collaboration French
style: A European Perspective’, in Sarah Fishman et al (eds) France
at War, Oxford, Berg, 2000, p 73).
Although there were differences
between different administrations and different personalities, the
essential German aims towards France can be summarised to the following
objectives, which were sometimes difficult to reconcile. France was to be:
(1) Seduced, (2) Humiliated, (3) Neutralised, (4) Exploited.
should be seduced
It was important for the Germans to
occupy France with the minimum amount of manpower. To this end they
generally hoped to be able to rely on the French as far as possible. They
therefore sought to give the French the impression that through
collaboration they would eventually be granted a privileged place in
Hitler’s Europe and that in collaborating they would be able to maintain
their independence. The Germans generally sought to exploit Vichy’s
desire for sovereignty which included a willingness to use French
administrations to do the Germans dirty work for them. Initially the
Germans did make some efforts to appear relatively moderate.
people remember most about the summer of 1940 is the 'correct' attitude of
the Germans. This was a deliberate strategy to keep the peace.
'Correctness' was also encouraged by the fact that German soldiers were
given a period of leave directly after the defeat of France and since they
had loads of money they spend their time shopping and paying excessive
prices for goods. Indeed throughout the occupation, although there were
many arbitrary acts and acts of indiscipline, many German soldiers did
behave themselves quite well on an individual basis. They recognised that
being in France was a relatively cushy number compared to being sent to
fight on the eastern front and their officers issued threatening reminders
to this effect in order to keep them relatively well-behaved. It is
important to distinguish here between their off-duty and on-duty behaviour
because however 'correct' they were they were still part of a brutal
The armistice terms were also more
moderate than the French were expecting. At first glance the Franco-German
armistice is relatively benevolent. The military terms were typical of any
armistice arrangements and indeed reflected similar provisions in the post
World War One treaty. The Army was demobilised and limited in number and
the armed forces were disarmed. There were no territorial demands and
therefore no reference to the contentious issue of Alsace-Lorraine.
Hitler's objectives in signing the
armistice were to remove France from the war; to prevent the French
government from leaving mainland France and to prevent the French fleet
falling into the hands of the British. With these objectives in mind the
Armistice must appear relatively mild firstly to ensure that the French
don't refuse the armistice and secondly to encourage the British to seek a
In fact there were two armistices in
1940. The Franco-German one was signed on 22 June and three days later an
armistice was signed with the Italians. The Italians for their part had
hoped for territorial concessions from France but Hitler dissuaded them
from including any territorial clauses.
Early attempts at seduction were also seen through the organising of cultural events designed to show the quality of German culture.
should be humiliated
Even at the moment when the Germans
are trying to appear relatively moderate, they found it difficult to
resist the temptation to humiliate the French. The Germany military
procession in Paris followed the same route taken by the French victors in
1918. This saw the German army marching under the Arc de Triomphe and down
the Champs Elysées. Huge German
swastika flags were flown on the rue de Rivoli in Paris.
The defeated French were made to sign the armistice in the same railway
carriage as the used by the defeated Germans in 1918. This was the famous
carriage in the Compiègne railway siding. Having got the French negotiators to sign the armistice
here the Germans promptly ordered the destruction of the site (it was
later rebuilt by the French after the war).
Some of the clauses of the Armistice
were the same as those imposed on Germany in 1918. In particular its army
was limited to 100 000 men in the same way that the German army had been
after world war one.
Less attempts were made to humiliate France after the end of 1940, the focus shifting instead to neutralising and exploiting her.
should be neutralised
Restricting French military power and
dividing France into numerous zones of occupation were ways of weakening
France to ensure that she could not rise from the ashes. The Germans were
particularly conscious of the possibilities of doing that because they
themselves had clandestinely risen from the ashes of defeat after World
War One and they were determined that no such facilities should be
accorded to the French.
should be exploited
The Germans were keen to exploit
France’s geographical position and to use it as a launch-pad for its
on-going military operations against the British.
the outset the Germans also engaged in a programme of pillaging France.
For example they massively pillaged French works of art.
Germans also engaged in a deliberate policy of exploiting the French
economy in order to feed their own economy. The Germans imposed heavy
occupation costs on the French. They made them pay 400 million francs a
day between 1940 and 10 May 1941. This was subsequently reduced to 300
million from 10 May 1941 through to 11 November 1942. Thereafter it rose
again to 500 million- an increase justified by the fact that the Germans
were henceforth occupying the whole of the country. In other words the
French were required to pay the Germans to occupy their country.
Germans also imposed their own rate of currency exchange on France. The
Reichsmark was now worth 20 francs rather than 12. This allowed them to
buy up French produce at will using French money to do so.
1942 German demands were increasingly expressed in terms of recruiting
human resources to work for them. In 1940 the Germans had been content to
make do with volunteer workers. However, from 1942, as the strains of the
war began to be felt, they became ever more demanding in this respect.
They looked to the possibility of some sort of forced labour scheme. When
they put forward this idea to Vichy premier Pierre Laval he countered with
a scheme known as the ‘Releve’ (‘relief’) scheme in June 1942. By
the terms of this scheme, which the subject of considerable propaganda,
for every 3 skilled French workers who volunteered to go and work in
Germany one prisoner of war would be returned to France.
the departure of volunteer workers for Germany against the return of
prisoners of war, the scheme had initially offered a small glimmer of hope
to the families of these prisoners, who were led to expect the imminent
return of their loved ones. Very quickly, however, hope gave way to
widespread scepticism. The scheme proved to be a failure because many
French people refused to believe the Germans would keep their part of the
bargain or felt the terms of the exchange were unfair for France. There
were few volunteers- the Germans had wanted 250,000 they found only
35,000. Propaganda posters proclaimed to workers ‘you have the key to
the [Prisoner of War] camps’; they were defaced with a simple five
letter graffiti: ‘merde’
Given the failure of voluntary schemes it was decided to introduce a new law which became known as the ‘relève-obligatoire’. From 4 September 1942 certain specialist workers were obliged to leave for German, still in return for the release of prisoners-of-war. There was massive opposition to this scheme and it recruited too few workers to satisfy the Germans. In February 1943 the Germans forced Vichy to introduce the STO and made labour service obligatory for most young Frenchmen born between 1920-1922. Overall, from the summer of 1942 through to 1944 about 650, 000 workers were sent off to Germany for forced labour.
(*1) Archives Départementales des Bouches-du-Rhône M6 11072, Le Commissaire Principal, Renseignements Généraux, à M le Commissaire Divisionnaire, Renseignements Généraux, 30/3/43.
fact there were two armistices in 1940. The Franco-German one was signed
on 22 June and three days later an armistice was signed with the Italians.
objectives in signing the armistice were to remove France from the war; to
prevent the French government from leaving mainland France and to prevent
the French fleet falling into the hands of the British. With these
objectives in mind the Armistice must appear relatively mild firstly to
ensure that the French don't refuse the armistice and secondly to
encourage the British to seek a similar settlement.
Italians for their part had hoped for territorial concessions from France
but Hitler dissuaded them from including any territorial clauses.
first glance the Franco-German armistice is relatively benevolent. The
military terms were typical of any armistice arrangements and indeed
reflected similar provisions in the post World War One treaty. The Army
was demobilised and limited in number and the armed forces were disarmed.
There were no territorial demands and therefore no reference to the
contentious issue of Alsace-Lorraine.
were however 5 worrying clauses which allowed the Germans considerable
means of pressure. By the terms of Article 19 the Germans could reclaim
any of their nationals from the French. This clearly undermined the
traditional rights of asylum offered in France. Under Article 20,
Prisoners of War were to remain in Germany until the conclusion of a peace
treaty. Article 18 assured that the costs of occupation would be met by
the French. The Germans were given the right to occupy 2/3 of mainland
France and to introduce a demarcation line. They were to have the rights
of a sovereign power in the occupied zone.
defeated French were made to sign the armistice in the same railway
carriage as the defeat Germans in 1918. This was the famous carriage in
railway siding. Having got the French negotiators to sign the armistice
here the Germans promptly ordered the destruction of the site. It was
reconstructed by the French after the Second World War as a symbol of
French victory over Germany in the First World War.
situation of France was extremely complex during the dark years. In order
to weaken the country the Germans and Italians divided it into several
zones of occupation, divided by customs’ barriers known as demarcation
zones under direct German tutelage
The Germans violated the
armistice almost immediately by placing certain areas under direct German
contradiction of the terms of the Armistice the Germans annexed Alsace and
part of Lorraine in August 1940. These areas, which had been the subject
of a long-running border dispute between French and Germans, were now
considered a part of the Reich. Henceforth the area was governed by a
German Gauleiter and Vichy had no say in how the area was run. Access to
Alsace-Lorraine was extremely restricted.
The Germans showed
considerable brutality in Alsace and Lorraine. In the autumn of 1940 they
expelled 150,000 people considered as 'undesirable' (ie Jews and those
most hostile to the German annexation). They also insisted on enforced
Germanisation. Thus street names were changed and family names were
germanised. German was the only language allowed. From August 1942, 130
000 Alsatians were forced to enrol in the German army, the Wehrmacht
(these forced recruits were known as the ‘Malgré Nous’).
réservée’ was established in north-east France. This was worrying for
the future because it looked like this area was being prepared for a
future annexation. Access to this area was severely restricted to the
French and a German organization called Ostland
was given the task of encouraging German settlers to this area.
For strategic reasons, the
Nord and the Pas-de-Calais were directly attached to the German military
administration in Brussels and was thus known as the ‘zone rattachée’.
These areas were considered strategically important because of their
proximity to Great Britain- it should not be forgotten that the war with
Britain was continuing during this time. The French thus lost access to
the industries of the Nord and Pas de Calais. Here the Germans showed
considerable firmness particularly in May and June 1941 when a miners'
A ‘zone interdite’
was created above the Somme. It was made difficult for non-German elements
to enter this zone.
A further zone
was created in April 1941. This was the ‘zone interdite côtière’
within the ‘zone rattachée’. This
covered an area of 18 kilometres from the coast.
Vichy laws did not
generally apply in the zones under direct German tutelage and for people
in those areas the Vichy government seemed like an irrelevance.
The occupied zone covered
the north and west of the country and included big cities like Paris,
Nantes and Bordeaux.
The German military
administration exercised direct control over this zone. Vichy laws applied
here but only if they were not in contradiction to German ones. Vichy
struggled to maintain an influence in this area but it was clearly a
junior partner to the Germans and its administration was often reduced to
doing the German dirty work for them.
The 53 départements
of this zone were rich in resources. The occupied zones were the most
heavily industrialised but also had important agricultural resources,
particularly in Normandy. They also contained most of France’s
Most of the south-east of
France was unoccupied until November 1942. In this zone there were few
resources. Around 14 million French people lived in this zone which
included major cities such as Lyon, Marseille, Toulouse, Toulon,
Montpellier and Nice. Its main products were olive oil and wine. The
population in some of the Southern cities such as Nice or Marseilles came
close to starvation during the dark years. Being short on natural
resources made the southern part of France dependent on resources imported
from the northern zone.
Having a free zone
had been an essential goal of the French in the armistice discussions
because it allowed the government to project an image of itself as
independent from the Germans.
This zone was
governed independently by the Vichy regime, so called because it installed
itself in the spa town of Vichy. Until November 1942 Vichy held sovereign
powers in this area and guarded them jealously. German policies did not
apply here but the Germans and Italians did keep a watchful eye on what
was going on in the southern zone. The only German or Italian soldiers
present in this zone during this time were those attached to their
armistice commission delegations which had offices in most of the major
cities in southern France and the empire. The Axis powers, Germany and
Italy, did however send spies into this zone to check that the Vichy
government was not actively plotting to take up arms against them again.
Wishing to highlight
its independence Vichy referred to this southern area as the ‘Zone Libre'.
Resisters, however, often called it the ‘Zone dite Libre' or the ‘Zone
non-directement Occupée’. This was to underline that although there was
no significant German physical presence here the political philosophy of
the Vichy regime was sufficiently close to that of the Nazis to give the
impression that this area was under German control. Such criticisms seemed
to gain credibility when in the summer of 1942 Vichy agreed to arrest and
transport Jews from the unoccupied zone to be handed over to the Germans
as part of the Nazi programme of deportation to the death camps of Eastern
Europe. This seemed to many Frenchmen and women to highlight the level of
subservience of Vichy to the Germans.
Vichy liked to
claim that by signing an armistice with Germany it had ensured that at
least part of the country would remain unoccupied. In reality the
non-occupation of the south suited the Germans well. They did not want to
waste troops occupying this unproductive area unless they had to. In
November 1942 it was felt necessary to do so and German troops poured
across the demarcation line that month. The reason for this change in
situation was that the Americans had invaded French North Africa (Morocco,
Algeria and Tunisia) and the possibility of an Allied invasion of southern
France thus loomed large. The fact that the Vichy administration in North
Africa had, after a period of initial fighting, had agreed to a ceasefire
with the Americans did not reassure the Germans about what Vichy would do
in the event of an Allied invasion. Even after the invasion of the
southern zone Vichy tried to maintain the fiction of its sovereignty by
insisting that German troops in the area should be referred to as ‘troupes
d’opération’ rather than
d’occupation’ because the former appellation suggested something more
limited and temporary than the latter.
of Italian occupation
1942-September 1943 Corsica and the eastern section of southern France,
including the city of Nice, were occupied by Italian soldiers.
Surprisingly this zone became something of a haven for Jews since the
Italian authorise refused to allow the French police to arrest foreign
Jews in that part of France. This changed when the Italians changed sides
in the war and in September 1943 the Germans invaded this zone and began
an energetic operation against the Jews.
The Germans had many means of pressure
that they could apply to the French and in keeping with their
contradictory aims of seducing and neutralising the French they made use
of both the carrot and the stick.
of peace treaty
Vichy hoped that a permanent peace
settlement could be reached with the Germans. This may involve the loss of
some territory and perhaps reparations but it was hoped that it would
allow for the departure of German troops from France. In 1940 Vichy had
signed an armistice with the Germans but it hoped a more permanent
settlement in the shape of a peace treaty could be negotiated. The Germans
hinted that the signature of a peace treaty was dependent on German
victory in the war against Britain. This encouraged an already existent
anti-British feeling in Vichy circles.
1.5 million Frenchmen were taken as
Prisoners of War in the battles of 1940. The Vichy government was
desperate to have them returned and made some concessions to this effect.
There were occasions on which the Germans returned a limited number of
them but more than one million remained as Prisoners of War right through
to the end of the war in 1945.
Between July 1940 and March 1943 France was officially divided up by a demarcation line. This line caused an important split between the Southern unoccupied zone and the Northern occupied zone. It severely restricted communications between these two main zones. An 'ausweis' (pass) was needed to cross the line. This allowed the Germans effective control over the passage of persons between one zone and the other. Even ministers of the Vichy government initially had trouble obtaining this 'ausweis' and of Vichy ministers only Pierre Laval and Francois Darlan had permanent passes. The public initially could only communicate with the Northern Zone on pre-written postcards where they simply had to tick a box indicating their state of well-being: 'in good health', 'wounded', 'not dead'. The Germans could use their control over this line as a means of blackmail: the French could be granted a loosening of the demarcation line in return for good behaviour or alternatively could be punished with its tightening or complete closure. In addition, since most of France's industrial strength was in the North, the South became dependant on the German controlled zone for supplies and raw materials. Those companies situated in the south often had to negotiate with the Germans in order to assure raw materials for their factories.
The Germans imposed heavy occupation costs on the French: 400 million francs a day between 1940 and 10 May 1941; 300 million from 10 May 1941 through to 11 November 1942 and 500 million per day thereafter. Given that it is the occupiers who controlled the levels of these occupation costs it gave them a bargaining tool in negotiations with the Vichy government.
The imbalance between French and
German military strength was heightened because the signing of the
armistice effectively limited the French army to 100,000 men and because a
large number of soldiers were held in German captivity. Given how quickly
the French had been beaten it was difficult on the French side to imagine
an immediate reprisal of hostilities. The Germans gave themselves the
right to renounce the armistice at any moment- so the military threat was
there. Given that Vichy prided itself on maintaining an unoccupied zone in
France the Germans could threaten Vichy with the invasion of the
unoccupied zone if Vichy was seen as not co-operating. It was feared that
the Germans would do just that in early 1941 when diplomatic tensions
arose between France and Germany. Eventually it was in November 1942 that
the Germans did indeed occupy the previously unoccupied Vichy zone.
the Summer of 1940 there were some German atrocities. 98 British prisoners
were massacred in Lestrehem; 98 civilians were massacred on 22 May at
Aubigny-en-Artois and 124/128 killed at Oignies and Courrières on 28 May.
Senegalese soldiers are thrown under the tracks of tanks near Lyons.
However, what people remember most about the Summer of 1940 is the 'correct' attitude of the Germans. This was a deliberate strategy to keep the peace. 'Correctness' was also encouraged by the fact that German soldiers were given a period of leave directly after the defeat of France and since they had loads of money they spend their time shopping and paying excessive prices for goods.
between the end of the military campaign and the Summer of 1941 a further
60 people were executed by the Nazis.
From August 1941 the occupiers embarked on a policy of mass executions in reprisal for Resistance attacks on German soldiers. Up to 50 hostages were to be shot for each German person. Overall in the period September 1941 to May 1942 the Germans executed 471 civilian hostages in reprisal for Resistance attacks against German military personnel. This policy of hostages was progressively abandoned from the Summer of 1942 because it is counter-productive. (Julian Jackson, France, the dark years, Oxford, OUP, 2001, p 182).
final stage of Nazi terror is entered into during the Spring and Summer of
1944. There were mass executions like that carried out on 10 June at
Oradour-sur-Glâne in Haute-Vienne.
is obvious that not all sections of the population were subject to the
same repression in particular Jews and Resisters.
1940 there are about 330,000 Jews living in France. The Germans set out to
isolate them and began on 27 September 1940 by defining Jews as those
having 2 grandparents practising the Jewish religion. They organised a
census of all Jews living in the Northern zone. Jews were forced to have
the word 'Jew' ('Juif') stamped on their I.D. cards and from June 1942 to
wear a gold star.
the occupied zone Jews were forbidden from owning radios, telephones or
bicycles, from going out between 8 pm (20.00) and 6 am (06.00) and from
visiting certain public places. They were obliged to do their shopping
between 3 pm (15.00) and 4 pm (16.00) and had to travel in the last
carriage of the metro.
arrests of Jews took place in Northern Zone in May, August and December
1941 and, with the help of the French police, became more generalised from
the Summer of 1942.
the Wannsee conference of 20 January 1942 it had been decided by the Nazis
to embark on a process of exterminating Jews. From March onwards Jews were
deported eastwards to the death camps. Overall around 76000 Jews were
deported from France towards the Nazi death camps. Less than 2000 of these
On June 10, 1944, four days after the Allied landings in Normandy, 120 soldiers of the Waffen-SS tank division ‘das Reich’ entered the market village of Oradour-sur-Glane near Limoges in Central France. They rounded up the population in the market-place. The men were herded into a barn, shot and set on fire. The women and children were crowded into the church where they were showered with bullets and also burnt. The SS then pillaged shops and houses and set light to numerous other buildings. Overall, 642 people (including 205 children) were massacred. Only 8 of those present escaped.
Compared to the Eastern Front there had been few massacres of civilians in France prior to this event. Groups of (mainly communist) hostages had been shot in late 1941, most notably in Châteaubriant. In 1944 shootings of civilians as reprisals for Resistance attacks became more frequent. Public hangings took place in Nîmes (Gard) in March and the mass shooting of 60 civilians was recorded in Ascq, near Lille, in April. The day before the Oradour massacre another unit of the ‘Das Reich’ division had committed atrocities in Tulle (Corrèze) hanging 99 men. In these cases the objective had been to terrorize local populations believed to be helping the Resistance. Oradour differed from these examples: the town had no record of Resistance activity, the nearest ‘Maquis’ unit being over 12 km away. The ‘Das Reich’ division, which during service on the Eastern Front had become accustomed to using brutality, probably chose to vent its cruelty on Oradour precisely because, unprotected by the ‘Maquis’, it offered an easy target.
Oradour immediately adopted huge symbolic importance. To preserve it in its ruined state it was accorded ‘martyred village’ status. The site would be used to remind future generations of Nazi barbarity. Equally important from a French perspective were the possibilities this symbol offered for cementing the unity of a divided nation. Since most of the French population had not been actively engaged politically during the war, this village’s random victimisation could be used to symbolise the innocent suffering of all French people at the hands of the occupier.
Unfortunately, Oradour ultimately became an instrument of division when 21 of the SS who participated in the massacre were brought before the courts. Their trial, which began in Bordeaux on 12 January 1953, was highly controversial because 14 of the defendants were Alsatians of whom all but one had been incorporated by force into the German army. Opinion in Alsace was horrified that they should be bought to trial. The residents of Central France were equally horrified that the Alsatians received lighter sentences than their fellow defendants and even more so when parliament, trying to pacify autonomist feelings in Alsace, subsequently amnestied them. Controversy also arose because no senior SS officers were in the dock. Either they had already died, were in hiding or like the ‘Das Reich’ commander Heinz Lammerding were protected by their association with American intelligence agencies.
For further information on this question see Sarah Farmer, Martyred Village: Commemorating the 1944 Massacre at Oradour-sur-Glane, University of California Press (Berkeley), 1999.
COMMENTS & DEBATES
on Hitler’s visit to Paris
Extract from Ian Kershaw, Hitler, 1936-1945: Nemesis, London, Penguin, 2000, pp 299-300.
Then, on 28 June, before most Parisians were awake,
Hitler paid his one and only visit to the occupied French capital. It
lasted no more than three hours. And its purpose was cultural, not
military. Accompanied by the architects Hermann Giesler and Albert Speer,
and his favourite sculptor, Arno Breker, Hitler landed at Le Bourget
airport at, for him, the extraordinarily early hour of half-past five in
the morning. The whistle-stop sightseeing tour began at L’Opéra.
All the lights were ablaze, as if for an evening gala performance, as the
three large Mercedes pulled up. A white-haired French guide, deferential
but reserved, took the small group through the empty building. Hitler was
thrilled by its beauty. He had doubtless been reading up on the
descriptions of the opera house during wakeful hours on the previous
nights, and delighted in showing off his detailed knowledge. The guide
refused the 50-Mark tip that Hitler had his adjutant attempt to proffer.
The tourists moved on. They drove past La Madeleine, whose classical
formed impressed Hitler,
up to the Champs Elysées, stopped at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier
below the Arc de Triomphe, viewed the Eiffel Tower, and looked in silence
on the tomb of Napoleon in Les Invalides. Hitler admired the dimensions of
the Panthéon, but found its interior (as he later recalled) ‘a terrible
disappointment’, and seemed indifferent to the medieval wonders of
Paris, like the Sainte Chapelle. The tour ended, curiously, at the
nineteenth-century testament to Catholic piety, the church of Sacré-Coeur.
With a last look over the city from the heights of Montmartre, Hitler was
gone. By mid-morning he was back in his field headquarters. Seeing Paris,
he told Speer, had been the dream of his life. But to Goebbels, he said he
had found a lot of Paris very disappointing. He had considered destroying
it. However, he remarked, according to Speer, ‘when we’re finished in
Berlin, Paris will only be a shadow. Why should we destroy it?’
Franco-German relations under
Extract from Robert Gildea, Marianne
in chains, Basingstoke, Macmillan, 2002, pp 414-416.
The first conclusion is that
Franco-German relations under the occupation were not always as brutal or
even as one-sided as they have often been portrayed. Recent German
research points in the same direction and reinforces the call for a
reassessment. The Germans were content to allow the French administration
a certain autonomy, to practise indirect rule, so long as the
administration delivered public order and resources. Indeed it was felt
that these were more likely to be delivered by means of good relations
with the French, with their tacit consent, than by means of what was
called ‘Polonization’. The French administration, isolated from Vichy,
had no alternative but to do business with the German military
administration, and like indigenous chiefs under indirect colonial rule,
might find their authority thereby reinforced. Despite the hereditary
enmity between French and Germans, reinforced by the ideology of Nazism,
there was a counter-current of mutual respect based on a common sense of
military honour shared by veterans of 1914-18, a common European
civilization, and sometimes even a common religion too. These
relationships made it possible tom defuse crises that arose when public
order was threatened by either side. Prefects and mayors instructed French
citizens how unwise it was to persist in graffiti campaigns or to
demonstrate too openly. The consequences of deaths on each side were
minimised by negotiation, especially when they seemed like accidents. Even
when the military commander of Nantes was shot in October 1941, frantic
negotiations at all levels saved the lives of a second batch of fifty
French and Germans also learned to live together. German atrocities feared
by the French population in the summer of 1940 never took place: troops
arriving in towns and cities declared ‘open’ by their municipalities
were more likely to distribute cigarettes and sweets. The billeting of
German troops on French families could be very trying , but as we have
seen there were cases of disruptive lodgers being moved on after appeal to
the Kommandantur, and
relations between German guests and French families were not always as icy
as those described in Le silence de la Mer. The Germans requisitioned
everything that could be requisitioned at various times, but they also
gave lucrative contracts to French firms, did plentiful business with
French people on the black market, and employed a vast array of French
domestics with whom relations sometimes became more intimate.
is not to deny the brutality of the occupation or the imbalance of power
between French and Germans; rather, these both intensified as the
occupation dragged on. The German invasion of the Soviet Union, nullifying
the Nazi-Soviet pact, tipped some communists in France into a campaign of
assassination directed against members of the Wehrmacht. It caused the
Germans to increase their demands for labour to fight a Total war and to
seek to eliminate ‘enemies within’ who were seen to be sabotaging
their war effort, notably communists and Jews. The Germans gradually
concluded that the French authorities were not able to guarantee public
order or deliver supplies in the quantities they required. The French
authorities were steadily swept aside as indirect rule gave way to direct
rule, and the German military was displaced by the secret police. A style
of collaboration based on negotiation was replaced by Diktat
|M. le Colonel Général
Keitel, Chef du Haut Commandement allemand, mandaté par le Führer du
Reich allemand et commandant suprême des forces armées allemandes, d'une
part, et M. le Général d'Armée Huntziger, M. Léon Noèl, Ambassadeur
de France, M. le Vice-Amiral Le Luc, M. le Général de Corps d'Armée
Parizot, M. le Général de l'Air Bergeret, Plénipotentiaires du
Gouvernement français munis de pouvoirs réguliers, d'autre part, sont
convenus de la convention d'armistice suivante:
ART.1. Le Gouvernement français ordonne la cessation des hostilités contre le Reich allemand, sur le territoire français, ainsi que dans les possessions, colonies, protectorats et territoires sous mandat et sur les mers. Il ordonne que les troupes françaises déjà encerclées par les troupes allemandes, déposent immédiatement les armes;
ART 2. En vue de sauvegarder les intérêts du Reich allemand, le territoire français, situé au nord et à l'ouest de la ligne tracée sur la carte ci-annexée sera occupé par les troupes allemandes. Dans la mesure où les régions du territoire occupé ne se trouvent pas encore au pouvoir des troupes allemandes, leur occupation sera effectuée immédiatement après la conclusion de la présente convention;
ART 3. Dans les régions
occupées de la France, le Reich allemand exerce tous les droits de la
puissance occupante. Le Gouvernement français s'engage à faciliter par
tous les moyens les réglementations relatives à l'exercice de ces droits
et à la mise en exécution avec le concours de l'Administration française.
Le Gouvernement français invitera immédiatement toutes les autorités et
tous les services administratifs français du territoire occupé à se
conformer aux réglementations des autorités allemandes et à collaborer
avec ces dernières d'une manière correcte.
ART. 4. Les forces armées
françaises sur terre, sur mer et dans les airs devront être démobilisées
et désarmées dans un délai encore à déterminer. Sont exemptes de
cette obligation les troupes nécessaires au maintien de l'ordre intérieur.
Leurs effectifs et leurs armes seront déterminés par l'Allemagne ou par
ART. 5. Comme garantie de la stricte observation des conditions d'armistice il pourra être exigé que toutes les pièces d'artillerie, les chars de combat, les engins anti-chars, les avions militaires, les canons de la D.C.A., les armes d'infanterie, tous les moyens de traction et les munitions des unités de l'armée française engagés contre l'Allemagne et qui se trouvent, au moment de l'entrée en vigueur de la présente convention, sur le territoire qui ne sera pas occupé par l'Allemagne, soient livrés en bon état. La Commission allemande d'armistice décidera de l'étendue de ces livraisons. Il peut être renoncé à la livraison d'avions militaires si tous les avions encore en possession des forces armées françaises sont désarmés et mis en sécurité sous contrôle allemand;
ART. 6. Les armes, munitions et matériel de guerre de toute espèce restant en territoire français non occupé -dans la mesure où ceux-ci n'auront pas été laissés à la disposition du Gouvernement français pour l'armement des unités françaises autorisées- devront être entreposées ou mises en sécurité sous contrôle allemand ou italien respectivement. Le haut commandement allemand se réserve le droit d'ordonner à cet effet toutes les mesures nécessaires pour empêcher l'usage abusif de ce matériel. La fabrication de nouveau matériel de guerre en territoire non occupé devra cesser immédiatement;
ART. 7. Toutes les
fortifications terrestres et côtières avec leurs armes, munitions et équipements,
les stocks et installations de tout genre, se trouvant dans les régions
à occuper, devront être livrés en bon état. Devront être remis, en
outre, les plans de ces fortifications ainsi que les plans de celles déjà
prises par les troupes allemandes.
ART. 9. Le Haut
Commandement français devra fournir au Haut Commandement allemand les
indications précises sur toutes les mines posées par la France, ainsi
que tous les barrages de mines dans les ports et en avant des côtes,
ainsi que sur les installations militaires de défense et de protection.
ART. 10. Le Gouvernement
français s'engage à n'entreprendre à l'avenir aucune action hostile
contre le Reich allemand avec aucune partie des forces armées qui lui
restent, ni d'aucune autre manière.
ART. 11. Jusqu'a nouvel
ordre, il sera interdit aux navires de commerce français de tout genre, y
compris les bâtiments de cabotage et les bâtiments de ports se trouvant
sous le contrôle français de sortir des ports. La reprise du trafic
commercial sera subordonnée à l'autorisation préalable du Gouvernement
allemand ou du Gouvernement Italien respectivement.
ART. 12. Une interdiction
de décollage à l'égard de tous les avions se trouvant sur le territoire
français sera prononcée immédiatement. Tout avion décollant sans
autorisation préalable allemande sera considéré par l'aviation
militaire allemande comme avion ennemi et sera traité comme tel.
ART. 13. Le Gouvernement
français s'engage à veiller à ce que, dans le territoire à occuper par
les troupes allemandes, toutes les installations, les outils et stocks
militaires soient remis intacts aux troupes allemandes. Il devra en outre
veiller à ce que les ports, les entreprises industrielles et les
chantiers navals restent dans l'état dans lequel ils se trouvent
actuellement et à ce qu'ils ne soient endommagés d'aucune façon, ni détruits.
Il en est de même pour les moyens et voies de communications de toute
nature, notamment en ce qui concerne les voies ferrées, les routes et
voies navigables, l'ensemble des réseaux télégraphiques et téléphoniques,
ainsi que les installations d'indication de navigabilité et de balisage
des côtes. En outre, le Gouvernement français s'engage, sur ordre du
Haut Commandement allemand, à procéder à tous les travaux de remise en
ART. 14. Tous les postes émetteurs de T.S.F. se trouvant en territoire français doivent cesser sur le champ leurs émissions. La reprise des transmissions par T.S.F. dans la partie du territoire non occupée sera soumise à une réglementation spéciale;
ART. 15. Le Gouvernement français s'engage à effectuer le transport en transit des marchandises entre le Reich allemand et l'italie, à travers le territoire non occupé dans la mesure requise par le Gouvernement allemand;
ART. 16. Le Gouvernement français procédera au rapatriement de la population dans les territoires occupés, d'accord avec les services allemands compétents;
ART. 17. Le Gouvernement
français s'engage à empêcher tout transfert de valeurs à caractère économique
et des stocks du territoire à occuper par les troupes allemandes dans les
territoires non occupés ou à l'étranger.
ART. 18. Les frais d'entretien des troupes d'occupation allemande sur le territoire français seront à la charge du Gouvernement français;
ART. 19. Tous les
prisonniers de guerre et prisonniers civils allemands, y compris les prévenus
et condamnés qui ont été arrêtés et condamnés pour des actes commis
en faveur du Reich allemand, doivent être remis sans délai aux troupes
allemandes. Le Gouvernement français est tenu de livrer sur demande tous
les ressortissants allemands désignés par le Gouvernement du Reich et
qui se trouvent en France, de même que dans les possessions françaises,
les colonies, les territoires sous protectorat et sous mandat.
ART. 20. Les membres des forces armées françaises qui sont pri-sonniers de guerre de l'armée allemande resteront prisonniers de guerre jusqu'à la conclusion de la paix;
ART. 21. Le Gouvernement français est responsable de la mise en sécurité de tous les objets et valeurs dont la remise en bon état ou la tenue à la disposition de l'Allemagne est stipulée dans cette convention ou dont le transfert en dehors de la France est défendu. Le Gouvernement français sera passible de dommages et intérêts pour toutes les destructions, dommages ou détournements contraires à la présente convention;
ART. 22. Une Commission
d'armistice allemande, agissant sous les ordres du Haut Commandement
allemand, réglera et contrôlera l'exécution de la convention
ART. 23. Cette convention
entrera en vigueur aussitôt que le Gouvernement français sera également
arrivé, avec le Gouvernement italien, à un accord relatif à la
cessation des hostilités.
ART. 24. La présente
convention d'armistice est valable jusqu'à la conclusion du traité de
paix. Elle peut être dénoncée à tout moment pour prendre fin immédiatement,
par le Gouvernement allemand si le Gouvernement français ne remplit pas
les obligations par lui assumées dans la présente convention.
CONVENTION D'ARMISTICE FRANCO-ITALIENNE
- 24 JUIN 1940
La France cessera les hostilités contre l'Italie dans les territoires
français métropolitains, dans l'Afrique française du Nord, dans les
colonies, dans les territoires protégés et sous mandat. Elle cessera également
les hostilités contre l'Italie par mer et dans les airs.
ART. 2. Les
troupes italiennes se maintiendront, au moment de l'entrée en vigueur de
la présente convention d'armistice et
ART. 3 Dans le
territoire français métropolitain, la zone comprise entre les lignes visées
à l'article 2 et une ligne située à 50 kilomètres de celle-ci, à vol
d'oiseau, sera démilitarisée pour la durée de l'armistice.
ART. 4. - Les zones à démilitariser visées à l'article 3 seront évacuées par les troupes françaises dans les dix jours qui suivront la cessation des hostilités, à l'exception du personnel strictement nécessaire pour la garde et l'entretien des ouvrages de fortification, casernes, magasins et bâtiments militaires et des forces pour le maintien de l'ordre à l'intérieur que la commission d'armistice déterminera dans chaque cas particulier.
ART. 5. - Sous réserve de
l'obligation mentionnée à l'article 10 ci-après, toutes les armes
mobiles et les munitions correspondantes existant dans les zones à démilitariser
du territoire français métropolitain et dans celui contigu à la Libye,
autres que celles dont sont dotées les troupes qui évacuent, comme il
est dit ci-dessus, les territoires en cause, doivent être évacuées dans
un délai de quinze jours. Les armes fixes des ouvrages de fortification
et les munitions correspondantes doivent être mises dans le même laps de
temps en situation de ne pas pouvoir être utilisées.
ART. 6. - Tant que dureront
les hostilités entre l'Italie et l'Empire britannique, les places fortes
militaires maritimes et les bases navales de Toulon, Bizerte, Ajaccio et
Oran (Mers El-Kébir) seront démilitarisées jusqu'à la cessation des
hostilités contre ledit empire.
ART. 7. - Dans les zones, places fortes militaires maritimes et bases navales à démilitariser, les autorités civiles françaises et les forces de police nécessaires au maintien de l'ordre public demeureront naturellement en fonction; y resteront aussi les autorités territoriales et maritimes qui seront déterminées par la commission italienne d'armistice.
ART. 8. - La commission
italienne d'armistice visée ci-après déterminera sur la carte les
limites exactes des zones, places fortes militaires, maritimes, bases
navales à démilitariser et les détails des modalités d'exécution de
la démilitarisation. Ladite commission aura le droit entier et permanent
de contrôler l'exécution dans les
ART. 9. Toutes
les forces armées de terre, de mer et de l'air de la France métropolitaine
seront démobilisées et désarmées dans un délai à fixer ultérieurement,
à l'exception des formations nécessaires au maintien de l'ordre intérieur.
ART. 10. - L'Italie se réserve
le droit d'exiger comme garantie de l'exécution de la convention
d'armistice la remise en tout ou partie des armes collectives d'infanterie,
d'artillerie, autos blindées, chars, véhicules automobiles et
hippomobiles et munitions, appartenant aux unités qui ont été engagées
ou déployées, de quelque façon que ce soit, contre les forces armées
ART. 11. - Les armes,
munitions et matériel de guerre, de toute nature, qui demeurent dans les
territoires français non occupés, y compris les armes et munitions évacuées
des zones, places fortes militaires, maritimes et bases navales à démilitariser,
à l'exception de la partie qui sera laissée à la disposition des unités
autorisées, seront réunis et placés sous contrôle italien ou allemand.
ART. 12. - Les unités de
la marine de guerre française seront concentrées dans les ports qui
seront désignés. Elles seront démobilisées et désarmées sous le
contrôle de l'Italie et de l'Allemagne.
ART. 13. - Tous les barrages de mines seront notifiés au commandement suprême italien. Les autorités françaises pourvoiront dans un délai de dix jours à faire décharger avec leur personnel toutes les interruptions ferroviaires et routières, les champs de mines et fourneaux de mines en général, préparés dans les zones, places fortes militaires, maritimes et bases navales à démilitariser.
ART. 14. - Le gouvernement
français, outre qu'il s'engage à ne pas entreprendre, en quelque lieu
que ce soit, une forme quelconque d'hostilités contre l'Italie, s'engage
à empêcher les membres de ses forces armées et les citoyens français
en général de sortir du territoire national pour participer d'une manière
quelconque à des hostilités contre l'Italie.
ART. 15. - Le gouvernement français s'engage à empêcher que des unités de guerre, des aéroplanes, des armes, des matériels de guerre et des munitions de quelque nature que ce soit, de propriété française ou existant dans le territoire français ou contrôlés par la France, soient envoyés sur les territoires de l'Empire britannique ou d'autres Etats étrangers.
ART. 16. - Aucun navire
marchand de la marine française ne pourra sortir jusqu'à ce que le
gouvernement italien ou allemand accorde la reprise partielle ou totale du
trafic maritime commercial français.
ART. 17.- Tous les navires
marchands italiens capturés seront immédiatement restitués avec tout le
chargement qui était dirigé sur l'italie au moment de leur capture.
ART. 18. - Il est fait défense
immédiate de décoller pour tous les avions qui se trouvent sur le
territoire français ou sur les territoires placés sous contrôle français.
ART. 19. - Jusqu'au moment où le gouvernement italien ou le gouvernement allemand fixeront d'autres dispositions, seront interdites les transmissions radio en général dans tous les territoires de la France métropolitaine. Les conditions dans lesquelles pourront s'effectuer les communications radio entre la France et l'Afrique française du nord, la Syrie et la Côte des Somalis seront déterminées par la commission italienne de l'armistice.
ART. 20. - Le trafic des marchandises en transit entre l'Allemagne et l'Italie, à travers les territoires français non occupés, sera libre.
ART. 21. - Tous les prisonniers de guerre et civils italiens internés, arrêtés ou condamnés pour des raisons politiques ou de guerre, ou pour des actes quelconques en faveur du gouvernement italien, seront immédiatement libérés et remis aux autorités militaires italiennes.
ART. 22. Le gouvernement français se porte garant de la bonne conservation de tout ce qu'il doit ou peut devoir remettre en vertu de la présente convention.
ART. 23. - Une commission
italienne d'armistice, dépendant du commandement suprême italien, sera
chargée de régler et de contrôler, soit directement, soit au moyen de
ses organes, l'exécution de la présente convention.
ART. 24. - Au siège de la commission visée à l'article précédent, s'installera une délégation française, chargée de faire connaître les desiderata de son gouvernement relativement à l'exécution de la présente convention, et de transmettre aux autorités compétentes les dispositions de la commission italienne d'armistice.
ART. 25. - La présente
convention d'armistice entrera en vigueur au moment de sa signature.
ART. 26. - La présente
convention d'armistice demeurera en vigueur jusqu'à la conclusion du
traité de paix. Elle pourra être dénoncée par l'Italie à tout moment,
avec effet immédiat, si le gouvernement français ne remplit pas les
juin, à 19 h. 15.
PAR M. LE GENERAL OBERG DEVANT LES PREFETS REGIONAUX DE LA ZONE OCCUPEE
ET LES KOMMANDEURS REGIONAUX DES S.S.
Messieurs les Secrétaires Généraux et Préfets.
Je suis vraiment heureux de vous saluer ici comme invités, en présence de mes camarades de la S.S. et de la police et j 'espère que vous allez passer quelques heures en conversation agréable avec eux.
Je profite de l'occasion pour remercier cordialement Messieurs les Secrétaires Généraux HILAIRE et BOUSQUET d'avoir eu l'obligeance de favoriser mon impulsion pour cette entrevue.
Le règlement de questions de police, en particulier la question d'une lutte énergique contre les criminels, a toujours été d'une importance internationale. Vous savez qu'en raison de ce fait, plusieurs nations se sont groupées dans la Internationale Kriminalpolizeiliche Kommission depuis bien des années pour un travail commun. Ces dernières années, cette Commission était sous la présidence du Général HEYDRICH, décédé des suites d'un attentat criminel et qui portait le plus grand intérêt aux tâches de la D.K.P.K. et secondait efficacement le travail par beaucoup d'impulsions personnelles.
Ayant été moi-même un collaborateur et ami intime du Général HEYDRICH, pendant de longues années j'ai décidé de continuer dans mon service actuel ses idées d'une collaboration internationale de la police, qui par suite de la guerre avait dû être interrompue. A ma grande joie, mon intention a trouvé l'approbabtion entière de Monsiuer le Président LAVAL et de Monsieur le Secrétaire. Général BOUSQUET.
Après les quelques entretiens que j'ai eu avec Monsieur le Secrétaire Général BOUSQUET, j'avais le sentiment que sous sa conduite énergique le travail de la police française pourrait encore être sensiblement augmenté. Ayant obtenu sa pleine force de réalisation, la Police française doit sous sa propre responsabilité contribuer à la lutte contre nos ennemis communs communistes, terroristes, saboteurs de concert avec les forces de la S.S. et de la police sous mes Ordres.
J'ai pris la résolution de fixer par écrit les directives générales d'une collaboration, la limitation des tâches respectives, ainsi que les possibilités de mon aide pour la réorganisation de la Police française. Je me réjouis que Monsieur le Secrétaire Général BOUSQUET a approuvé ma décision, de sorte que pour vous, Messieurs les Préfets, et pour vous mes Commandants, les questions d'une collaboration de la police sont nettement réglées.
Pour terminer je constate, que les hommes de la Police française se sont montrés ces derniers temps particulièrement courageux et énergiques dans la lutte contre nos ennemis communs, même au prix du sang. Ce fait me donne l'espoir, que la Police française mettra tout en oeuvre pour éclaircir les graves attentats de ces derniers jours, afin de châtier leurs auteurs. Je souhaiterais, que le travail commun commencé de nos deux polices devienne par la suite la base d'une collaboration pleine de confiance dans l'Europe Nouvelle, dans laquelle le malfaiteur criminel ou politique ne pourra trouble le travail de redressement des peuples.
Le Général de Corps d'Armée BERARD, Président de la Délégation Française auprès de la CAA à M. le Général der Artillerie, VOGL, Président de la CAA
"Incidents, juillet 1941- juin 1944"
Objet- Exécutions de Français sans jugement
Les exécutions d'otages et les exécutions sommaires sans jugement de citoyens français ont pris depuis le mois d'octobre 1943, une ampleur croissante. D'autre part, la liste des personnes qui, au moindre geste de fuite, ont été abattues avec une rigueur impitoyable par les patrouilles et la police allemandes s'allonge tous les jours.
Au total, du 1/10/43 au 1/5/44, plus de 1,200 personnes ont été ainsi victimes des mesures de répression, ce nombre ne comprenait pas, bien entendu, les réfractaires tués en combat, ni les personnes exécutées après jugement.
[...] Un grand nombre des faits signalés se sont passés au cours d'opérations répressives dirigées contre des populations accusées de relations avec le Maquis. Dans ces opérations, jamais n'est intervenu le souci de savoir si les personnes suspectées d'avoir rendu des services aux réfractaires étaient réellement coupables, et encore moins, dans ce cas, celui de discerner si ces personnes avaient agi de leur plein gré ou sous la contrainte. Le nombre des innocents exécutés est ainsi, fatalement, considérable.
[...] En dehors de toute question de droit et d'humanité, ai-je besoin de faire remarquer que de telles pratiques vont à l'encontre du but poursuivi? Frappant des population françaises dont le moral est particulièrement sensible, s'accompagnant d'incendies de fermes et de destructions de mobilier, elles ne peuvent que développer l'esprit de révolte dont les ennemis de l'Allemagne sont, en définitive, les seuls bénéficiaires, et rendre plus difficile l'établissement d'un régime de calme et de paix. [...]
Kernan was an American who was the Director of the French language edition of the Vogue magazine and a representative of Conde Nast publications in Europe. In 1941 he published a book France on Berlin Time recounting what he had seen and experienced in occupied France
Extract from Thomas Kernan, France on Berlin Time, New York, 1941, p 16.
The German soldiers who invaded France- those blond young giants who caused French women on that first morning to say angrily to each other, ‘And they told us that the Germans were starving!’- were simply the vanguard of the real conquerors of France, the experts following in their wake, whose mission is to conquer France economically. During the seven months I observed the occupation at first hand it was again and again called to my attention in a thousand different ways that the economic occupation was not an incident of the military conquest, but a carefully designed plan prepared years in advance. The story used to be told of the German staff officer in 1914 who was notified in the middle of the night that the war had started. Without interrupting his rest he ordered briefly: ‘Second drawer, first folder- there are the orders’. It often seemed to me that the Nazi plan for the economic conquest of France was completed years ago in the same thorough fashion. On May 10, 1940, when the Germans strode across the body of Luxemburg into France, the assigned economic specialists were packing up their grips in Berlin and placing in their briefcases the detailed blueprints of the economic occupation which was to follow. There was nothing to improvise. The very buildings, the different offices they were to occupy in Paris, were probably figured out.
Links to German repression in France: torture
|Photo Gallery-Torture chamber
in Gestapo headquarters. A French resistance agent, lashed hand and foot
to a wooden beam, is seen hanging between two chairs in a German torture
chamber. This photograph was taken by a Nazi torturer.
Links to German repression in France: Oradour-sur-Glâne
devoted to Oradour-sur-Glâne
This site describes the background and events leading up to the massacre at Oradour-sur-Glane
French Site devoted to Oradour-sur-Glâne
Personal site devoted to Oradour
The «Village Martyr» at Oradour-sur-Glane
English site called 'Le Village Martyr'
Links to German repression in France: Natzweiler-Struthof
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