French Resistance

French Resistance

Overview

The French Resistance is the name used to denote the collection of French resistance movement
Resistance movement
A resistance movement is a group or collection of individual groups, dedicated to opposing an invader in an occupied country or the government of a sovereign state. It may seek to achieve its objects through either the use of nonviolent resistance or the use of armed force...

s that fought against the Nazi German
Nazi Germany
Nazi Germany , also known as the Third Reich , but officially called German Reich from 1933 to 1943 and Greater German Reich from 26 June 1943 onward, is the name commonly used to refer to the state of Germany from 1933 to 1945, when it was a totalitarian dictatorship ruled by...

 occupation of France and against the collaborationist Vichy régime
Vichy France
Vichy France, Vichy Regime, or Vichy Government, are common terms used to describe the government of France that collaborated with the Axis powers from July 1940 to August 1944. This government succeeded the Third Republic and preceded the Provisional Government of the French Republic...

 during World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

. Résistance cells were small groups of armed men and women (called the Maquis
Maquis (World War II)
The Maquis were the predominantly rural guerrilla bands of the French Resistance. Initially they were composed of men who had escaped into the mountains to avoid conscription into Vichy France's Service du travail obligatoire to provide forced labour for Germany...

 in rural areas), who, in addition to their guerrilla warfare
Guerrilla warfare
Guerrilla warfare is a form of irregular warfare and refers to conflicts in which a small group of combatants including, but not limited to, armed civilians use military tactics, such as ambushes, sabotage, raids, the element of surprise, and extraordinary mobility to harass a larger and...

 activities, were also publishers of underground newspapers, providers of first-hand intelligence information, and maintainers of escape networks that helped Allied
Allies of World War II
The Allies of World War II were the countries that opposed the Axis powers during the Second World War . Former Axis states contributing to the Allied victory are not considered Allied states...

 soldiers and airmen trapped behind enemy lines.
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The French Resistance is the name used to denote the collection of French resistance movement
Resistance movement
A resistance movement is a group or collection of individual groups, dedicated to opposing an invader in an occupied country or the government of a sovereign state. It may seek to achieve its objects through either the use of nonviolent resistance or the use of armed force...

s that fought against the Nazi German
Nazi Germany
Nazi Germany , also known as the Third Reich , but officially called German Reich from 1933 to 1943 and Greater German Reich from 26 June 1943 onward, is the name commonly used to refer to the state of Germany from 1933 to 1945, when it was a totalitarian dictatorship ruled by...

 occupation of France and against the collaborationist Vichy régime
Vichy France
Vichy France, Vichy Regime, or Vichy Government, are common terms used to describe the government of France that collaborated with the Axis powers from July 1940 to August 1944. This government succeeded the Third Republic and preceded the Provisional Government of the French Republic...

 during World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

. Résistance cells were small groups of armed men and women (called the Maquis
Maquis (World War II)
The Maquis were the predominantly rural guerrilla bands of the French Resistance. Initially they were composed of men who had escaped into the mountains to avoid conscription into Vichy France's Service du travail obligatoire to provide forced labour for Germany...

 in rural areas), who, in addition to their guerrilla warfare
Guerrilla warfare
Guerrilla warfare is a form of irregular warfare and refers to conflicts in which a small group of combatants including, but not limited to, armed civilians use military tactics, such as ambushes, sabotage, raids, the element of surprise, and extraordinary mobility to harass a larger and...

 activities, were also publishers of underground newspapers, providers of first-hand intelligence information, and maintainers of escape networks that helped Allied
Allies of World War II
The Allies of World War II were the countries that opposed the Axis powers during the Second World War . Former Axis states contributing to the Allied victory are not considered Allied states...

 soldiers and airmen trapped behind enemy lines. The men and women of the Résistance came from all economic levels and political leanings of French society, including émigrés; conservative Roman Catholics, including priests; members of the Jewish community; and citizens from the ranks of liberals
Liberalism
Liberalism is the belief in the importance of liberty and equal rights. Liberals espouse a wide array of views depending on their understanding of these principles, but generally, liberals support ideas such as constitutionalism, liberal democracy, free and fair elections, human rights,...

, anarchists
Anarchism
Anarchism is generally defined as the political philosophy which holds the state to be undesirable, unnecessary, and harmful, or alternatively as opposing authority in the conduct of human relations...

, and communists
Communism
Communism is a social, political and economic ideology that aims at the establishment of a classless, moneyless, revolutionary and stateless socialist society structured upon common ownership of the means of production...

.

The French Résistance played a significant role in facilitating the Allies' rapid advance through France following the invasion of Normandy
Operation Overlord
Operation Overlord was the code name for the Battle of Normandy, the operation that launched the invasion of German-occupied western Europe during World War II by Allied forces. The operation commenced on 6 June 1944 with the Normandy landings...

 on 6 June 1944, and the lesser-known invasion of Provence
Operation Dragoon
Operation Dragoon was the Allied invasion of southern France on August 15, 1944, during World War II. The invasion was initiated via a parachute drop by the 1st Airborne Task Force, followed by an amphibious assault by elements of the U.S. Seventh Army, followed a day later by a force made up...

 on 15 August, by providing military intelligence
Military intelligence
Military intelligence is a military discipline that exploits a number of information collection and analysis approaches to provide guidance and direction to commanders in support of their decisions....

 on the German defenses known as the Atlantic Wall
Atlantic Wall
The Atlantic Wall was an extensive system of coastal fortifications built by Nazi Germany between 1942 and 1944 along the western coast of Europe as a defense against an anticipated Allied invasion of the mainland continent from Great Britain.-History:On March 23, 1942 Führer Directive Number 40...

and on Wehrmacht
Wehrmacht
The Wehrmacht – from , to defend and , the might/power) were the unified armed forces of Nazi Germany from 1935 to 1945. It consisted of the Heer , the Kriegsmarine and the Luftwaffe .-Origin and use of the term:...

 deployments and orders of battle
Order of battle
In modern use, the order of battle is the identification, command structure, strength, and disposition of personnel, equipment, and units of an armed force participating in field operations. Various abbreviations are in use, including OOB, O/B, or OB, while ORBAT remains the most common in the...

. The Résistance also planned, coordinated, and executed acts of sabotage on the electrical power grid, transportation facilities, and telecommunications networks. It was also politically and morally important to France, both during the German occupation and for decades afterward, because it provided the country with an inspiring example of the patriotic fulfillment of a national imperative, countering an existential threat to French nationhood. The actions of the Résistance stood in marked contrast to the collaboration
Collaborationism
Collaborationism is cooperation with enemy forces against one's country. Legally, it may be considered as a form of treason. Collaborationism may be associated with criminal deeds in the service of the occupying power, which may include complicity with the occupying power in murder, persecutions,...

 of the regime
Regime
The word regime refers to a set of conditions, most often of a political nature.-Politics:...

 installed at Vichy
Vichy
Vichy is a commune in the department of Allier in Auvergne in central France. It belongs to the historic province of Bourbonnais.It is known as a spa and resort town and was the de facto capital of Vichy France during the World War II Nazi German occupation from 1940 to 1944.The town's inhabitants...

.

After the landings in Normandy and Provence, the paramilitary components of the Résistance were organized more formally, into a hierarchy of operational units known, collectively, as the French Forces of the Interior
French Forces of the Interior
The French Forces of the Interior refers to French resistance fighters in the later stages of World War II. Charles de Gaulle used it as a formal name for the resistance fighters. The change in designation of these groups to FFI occurred as France's status changed from that of an occupied nation...

 (FFI). Estimated to have a strength of 100,000 in June 1944, the FFI grew rapidly, doubling by the following month, and reaching approximately 400,000 by October of that year. Although the amalgamation of the FFI was, in some cases, fraught with political difficulties, it was ultimately successful, and it allowed France to rebuild a reasonably large army (1.2 million men) by VE Day in May 1945.

Motivations




Following the fall of France and the second French-German armistice, signed near Compiègne on 22 June 1940, life for many in France continued more-or-less normally. However, the German occupation authorities and the collaborationist Vichy régime
Vichy France
Vichy France, Vichy Regime, or Vichy Government, are common terms used to describe the government of France that collaborated with the Axis powers from July 1940 to August 1944. This government succeeded the Third Republic and preceded the Provisional Government of the French Republic...

 soon began employing increasingly brutal and intimidating tactics to ensure the submission of the French population. Although the majority of civilians neither collaborated nor overtly resisted, the occupation of French territory and the German authorities' draconian policies inspired a discontented minority to form paramilitary groups dedicated to both active and passive resistance.

One of the conditions of the armistice was that the French pay for their own occupation; that is, the French were required to cover the expenses associated with the upkeep of a 300,000-strong army of occupation. This burden amounted to approximately 20 million German reichsmarks
German reichsmark
The Reichsmark was the currency in Germany from 1924 until June 20, 1948. The Reichsmark was subdivided into 100 Reichspfennig.-History:...

 per day, a sum that, in May 1940, was approximately equivalent to one million French francs
French franc
The franc was a currency of France. Along with the Spanish peseta, it was also a de facto currency used in Andorra . Between 1360 and 1641, it was the name of coins worth 1 livre tournois and it remained in common parlance as a term for this amount of money...

. (The artificial exchange rate of the reichsmark versus the franc had been established as one franc to twenty marks.) Because of this overvaluation of German currency, the occupiers were able to make seemingly fair and honest requisitions and purchases while, in effect, operating a system of organized plunder. Inflation soared, leading to widespread food shortages and malnutrition, particularly among children, the elderly, and members of the working class engaged in physical labor. Labor shortages also plagued the French economy because hundreds of thousands of French workers were requisitioned and transferred to Germany for compulsory labor under the German program known as the Service du Travail Obligatoire (STO). The shortage of labor was worsened by the fact that a large number of the French were also held as prisoners-of-war
Prisoner of war
A prisoner of war or enemy prisoner of war is a person, whether civilian or combatant, who is held in custody by an enemy power during or immediately after an armed conflict...

 in Germany. Beyond these hardships and dislocations, the occupation became increasingly unbearable. Onerous regulations, strict censorship, incessant propaganda, and nightly curfews all played a role in establishing an atmosphere of fear and repression. The sight of French women consorting with German soldiers infuriated many French men, but sometimes it was the only way they could get adequate food for their families.


As reprisals for Résistance activities, the authorities established harsh forms of collective punishment
Collective punishment
Collective punishment is the punishment of a group of people as a result of the behavior of one or more other individuals or groups. The punished group may often have no direct association with the other individuals or groups, or direct control over their actions...

. For example, the increasing militancy of communist resistance in August 1941 led to thousands of hostages being extracted from the general population. A typical statement of policy read: "at each further incident, a number, reflecting the seriousness of the crime, shall be shot." During the occupation, an estimated 30,000 French civilian hostages were shot in order to intimidate others who were involved in acts of resistance. Occasionally, German troops engaged in massacres, such as the destruction of Oradour-sur-Glane
Oradour-sur-Glane
Oradour-sur-Glane is a commune in the Haute-Vienne department in the Limousin region in west-central France.The original village was destroyed on 10 June 1944, when 642 of its inhabitants, including women and children, were massacred by a German Waffen-SS company...

, where an entire village was razed and the population murdered because of persistent resistance in the vicinity.

In early 1943, the Vichy authorities established a paramilitary group, the Milice
Milice
The Milice française , generally called simply Milice, was a paramilitary force created on January 30, 1943 by the Vichy Regime, with German aid, to help fight the French Resistance. The Milice's formal leader was Prime Minister Pierre Laval, though its chief of operations, and actual leader, was...

(militia), to combat the Résistance. They worked alongside German forces that, by the end of 1942, were stationed throughout France. The group collaborated closely with the Nazis; it was the Vichy equivalent to the Gestapo
Gestapo
The Gestapo was the official secret police of Nazi Germany. Beginning on 20 April 1934, it was under the administration of the SS leader Heinrich Himmler in his position as Chief of German Police...

 security forces in Germany. Their actions were often brutal and included torture
Torture
Torture is the act of inflicting severe pain as a means of punishment, revenge, forcing information or a confession, or simply as an act of cruelty. Throughout history, torture has often been used as a method of political re-education, interrogation, punishment, and coercion...

 and execution of Résistance suspects. After the liberation of France in the summer of 1944, the French executed many of the estimated 25,000 to 35,000 miliciens for their collaboration. Many of those who escaped arrest fled to Germany, where they were incorporated into the Charlemagne Division of the Waffen SS.

Elements of the French Résistance




The French Résistance involved men and women representing a broad range of ages, social classes, occupations, religions, and political affiliations. In 1942 one resistance leader claimed that the movement received support from four groups: The "lower middle" and "middle middle" classes, university professors and students, all of the working class, and a large majority of the peasants.

Journalist Emmanuel d'Astier de la Vigerie observed, in retrospect, that the Résistance had been composed of social outcasts or those on the fringes of society, saying "one could only be a resister if one was maladjusted." Although many, including d'Astier himself, did fit this description, most members of the Résistance came from traditional backgrounds and were "individuals of exceptional strong-mindedness, ready to break with family and friends" in order to serve a higher purpose.

Inevitably, there is the question of how many were active in the Résistance. While stressing that the issue was sensitive and approximate, François Marcot, a professor of history at the Sorbonne
Sorbonne
The Sorbonne is an edifice of the Latin Quarter, in Paris, France, which has been the historical house of the former University of Paris...

, ventured an estimate of 200,000 activists and a further 300,000 who had substantial involvement in Résistance operations. The historian, Robert Paxton
Robert Paxton
Robert O. Paxton is an American political scientist and historian specializing in Vichy France, fascism and Europe during the World War II era...

, estimated the number of active resisters to be "about 2% of the adult French population (or about 400,000)", and he also noted that "there were, no doubt, wider complicities, but even if one adds those willing to read underground newspapers, only some two million persons, or around 10% of the adult population," had been willing to risk any involvement at all. The postwar government of France officially recognized 220,000 men and women.

The Gaullist resistance


The doctrine of Gaullism
Gaullism
Gaullism is a French political ideology based on the thought and action of Resistance leader then president Charles de Gaulle.-Foreign policy:...

 was born during the Second World War as a French movement of patriotic resistance to the German invasion of 1940. Men of all political stripes who wanted to continue the fight against Adolf Hitler
Adolf Hitler
Adolf Hitler was an Austrian-born German politician and the leader of the National Socialist German Workers Party , commonly referred to as the Nazi Party). He was Chancellor of Germany from 1933 to 1945, and head of state from 1934 to 1945...

 and who rejected the armistice concluded by Maréchal Philippe Pétain
Philippe Pétain
Henri Philippe Benoni Omer Joseph Pétain , generally known as Philippe Pétain or Marshal Pétain , was a French general who reached the distinction of Marshal of France, and was later Chief of State of Vichy France , from 1940 to 1944...

 rallied to general Charles de Gaulle
Charles de Gaulle
Charles André Joseph Marie de Gaulle was a French general and statesman who led the Free French Forces during World War II. He later founded the French Fifth Republic in 1958 and served as its first President from 1959 to 1969....

's position. As a consequence, on 2 August 1940, de Gaulle was condemned to death, in absentia, by the Vichy régime
Vichy France
Vichy France, Vichy Regime, or Vichy Government, are common terms used to describe the government of France that collaborated with the Axis powers from July 1940 to August 1944. This government succeeded the Third Republic and preceded the Provisional Government of the French Republic...

.

Between July and October 1940, De Gaulle rejected the unconstitutional, repressive, and racist laws instituted by Pétain, and he established his own bona fides as the principal defender of republican values. De Gaulle asked, in his Appeal of 18 June 1940, that every patriot who could reach British territory should do so and join the Free French Army
Free French Forces
The Free French Forces were French partisans in World War II who decided to continue fighting against the forces of the Axis powers after the surrender of France and subsequent German occupation and, in the case of Vichy France, collaboration with the Germans.-Definition:In many sources, Free...

 to fight in company with the Allies
Allies of World War II
The Allies of World War II were the countries that opposed the Axis powers during the Second World War . Former Axis states contributing to the Allied victory are not considered Allied states...

. The Free French Forces also rallied the various French overseas colonies to fight back against the Vichy régime. His approval of this link between the Résistance and the colonials legitimized it.

Other gaullists, those who could not join Britain (that is, the overwhelming majority of them), remained in the territories ruled by Vichy, and built networks of propagandists, spies
Espionage
Espionage or spying involves an individual obtaining information that is considered secret or confidential without the permission of the holder of the information. Espionage is inherently clandestine, lest the legitimate holder of the information change plans or take other countermeasures once it...

, and saboteurs
Sabotage
Sabotage is a deliberate action aimed at weakening another entity through subversion, obstruction, disruption, or destruction. In a workplace setting, sabotage is the conscious withdrawal of efficiency generally directed at causing some change in workplace conditions. One who engages in sabotage is...

 to harass and discomfit the occupiers. Eventually, leaders of all of these separate and fragmented Résistance organizations were gathered and coordinated by Jean Moulin
Jean Moulin
Jean Moulin was a high-profile member of the French Resistance during World War II. He is remembered today as an emblem of the Resistance primarily due to his role in unifying the French resistance under de Gaulle and his courage and death at the hands of the Germans.-Before the war:Moulin was...

, under the auspices of the National Council of Resistance
Conseil National de la Résistance
The Conseil National de la Résistance or the National Council of the Resistance is the body that directed and coordinated the different movements of the French Resistance - the press, trade unions, and members of political parties hostile to the Vichy regime, starting from...

 (CNR), De Gaulle's formal link to the irregulars throughout occupied France. De Gaulle's influence grew in France, and by 1942 one resistance leader called him "the only possible leader for the France that fights".

During the Italian campaign
Italian Campaign (World War II)
The Italian Campaign of World War II was the name of Allied operations in and around Italy, from 1943 to the end of the war in Europe. Joint Allied Forces Headquarters AFHQ was operationally responsible for all Allied land forces in the Mediterranean theatre, and it planned and commanded the...

 of 1943, 130,000 Free French soldiers fought on the Allied side, and, by the time of the Normandy invasion, Free French forces numbered approximately a half-million regulars and more than 100,000 French Forces of the Interior
French Forces of the Interior
The French Forces of the Interior refers to French resistance fighters in the later stages of World War II. Charles de Gaulle used it as a formal name for the resistance fighters. The change in designation of these groups to FFI occurred as France's status changed from that of an occupied nation...

 (FFI). The Free French 2nd Armored Division, under General Philippe Leclerc, landed in Normandy
Normandy
Normandy is a geographical region corresponding to the former Duchy of Normandy. It is in France.The continental territory covers 30,627 km² and forms the preponderant part of Normandy and roughly 5% of the territory of France. It is divided for administrative purposes into two régions:...

, and, in the waning days of summer 1944, they led the drive towards Paris. The FFI in Normandy and the Île-de-France
Île-de-France (province)
The province of Île-de-France or Isle de France is an historical province of France, and the one at the centre of power during most of French history...

 region surrounding Paris began to harass German forces intensely, cutting roads and railways, setting ambushes, as well as fighting conventional battles alongside their allies.

The Free French 2nd Armored Division rolled ashore in Normandy on 1 August 1944, and served under General Patton's Third Army. The division played a critical role in Operation Cobra
Operation Cobra
Operation Cobra was the codename for an offensive launched by the First United States Army seven weeks after the D-Day landings, during the Normandy Campaign of World War II...

, the Allies' "break-out" from its Normandy beachhead, where it served as a link between American and Canadian armies and made rapid progress against German forces. The 2nd Armored all but destroyed the 9th Panzer Division
German 9th Panzer Division
The 9th Panzer Division was a panzer division of the Wehrmacht Heer. The division was only active during World War II, and came into existence after 4th Light Division was reorganized in January 1940...

, and it mauled several other German units as well. During the battle for Normandy, the division lost 133 men killed, 648 wounded, and 85 others went missing. The division's matériel
Materiel
Materiel is a term used in English to refer to the equipment and supplies in military and commercial supply chain management....

 losses included 76 armored vehicles, seven cannons, 27 halftracks, and 133 other vehicles.


The most celebrated moment in the unit's history involved the liberation of Paris
Liberation of Paris
The Liberation of Paris took place during World War II from 19 August 1944 until the surrender of the occupying German garrison on August 25th. It could be regarded by some as the last battle in the Battle for Normandy, though that really ended with the crushing of the Wehrmacht forces between the...

. Allied strategy emphasized destroying German forces retreating towards the Rhine, but, when the French Résistance under Colonel Rol
Henri Rol-Tanguy
Henri Rol-Tanguy was a French communist and a leader in the French Resistance during World War II.-Biography:...

 staged an uprising in the city, Charles de Gaulle pleaded with General Eisenhower
Dwight D. Eisenhower
Dwight David "Ike" Eisenhower was the 34th President of the United States, from 1953 until 1961. He was a five-star general in the United States Army...

 to send help. Eisenhower agreed, and Leclerc's forces headed toward Paris. After hard fighting that cost the 2nd Division 35 tanks, 6 self-propelled guns, and 111 vehicles, Dietrich von Choltitz
Dietrich von Choltitz
General der Infanterie Dietrich von Choltitz was the German military governor of Paris during the closing days of the German occupation of that city during World War II...

, the military governor of Paris, surrendered the city in a ceremony at the Hotel Meurice. Jubilant crowds greeted the French force, and De Gaulle conducted a famous victory parade through the city.

De Gaulle not only kept the patriotic resistance alive; he also did everything possible to re-establish the French claim to independence and sovereignty. As a leader, the American and British governments preferred the less popular, but less abrasively vindictive, General Giraud to Charles de Gaulle
Charles de Gaulle
Charles André Joseph Marie de Gaulle was a French general and statesman who led the Free French Forces during World War II. He later founded the French Fifth Republic in 1958 and served as its first President from 1959 to 1969....

, but, for the French population, de Gaulle was, almost universally, recognized as the true leader in their victory. These events forced Roosevelt to recognize, finally and fully, the provisional government installed in France by De Gaulle.

Communists



After the signing of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact
Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact
The Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact, named after the Soviet foreign minister Vyacheslav Molotov and the German foreign minister Joachim von Ribbentrop, was an agreement officially titled the Treaty of Non-Aggression between Germany and the Soviet Union and signed in Moscow in the late hours of 23 August 1939...

 and the outbreak of World War II in 1939, the French Communist Party
French Communist Party
The French Communist Party is a political party in France which advocates the principles of communism.Although its electoral support has declined in recent decades, the PCF retains a large membership, behind only that of the Union for a Popular Movement , and considerable influence in French...

 (PCF) was declared a proscribed organisation by Édouard Daladier
Édouard Daladier
Édouard Daladier was a French Radical politician and the Prime Minister of France at the start of the Second World War.-Career:Daladier was born in Carpentras, Vaucluse. Later, he would become known to many as "the bull of Vaucluse" because of his thick neck and large shoulders and determined...

's government. Many of its leaders were arrested and imprisoned or forced to go underground. The PCF adopted an anti-war position under orders from the Comintern
Comintern
The Communist International, abbreviated as Comintern, also known as the Third International, was an international communist organization initiated in Moscow during March 1919...

 in Moscow, which remained in place for the first year of the German occupation, mirroring the relationship between Germany and the USSR. Conflicts erupted within the party, as many of its members opposed collaboration with the Germans while others toed the party line of neutrality as directed by Stalin in Moscow. On Armistice Day in November 1940, communists were among the university students demonstrating against German repression by marching along the Champs-Élysées
Champs-Élysées
The Avenue des Champs-Élysées is a prestigious avenue in Paris, France. With its cinemas, cafés, luxury specialty shops and clipped horse-chestnut trees, the Avenue des Champs-Élysées is one of the most famous streets and one of the most expensive strip of real estate in the world. The name is...

. It was only when Germany invaded the Soviet Union in 1941 that French communists began to actively organize a resistance effort. They benefited from their experience in clandestine operation
Clandestine operation
A clandestine operation is an intelligence or military operation carried out in such a way that the operation goes unnoticed.The United States Department of Defense Dictionary of Military and Associated Terms defines "clandestine operation" as "An operation sponsored or conducted by governmental...

s during the Spanish Civil War
Spanish Civil War
The Spanish Civil WarAlso known as The Crusade among Nationalists, the Fourth Carlist War among Carlists, and The Rebellion or Uprising among Republicans. was a major conflict fought in Spain from 17 July 1936 to 1 April 1939...

.

On 21 August 1941, Colonel Pierre-Georges Fabien committed the first overt violent act of communist resistance by assassinating a German officer at the Barbès-Rochechouart
Barbès - Rochechouart (Paris Metro)
Barbès-Rochechouart is a station on Paris Métro Line 2 and Line 4 at the point where the 9th, 10th, and 18th arrondissements all share a single point...

 station of the Paris Métro
Paris Métro
The Paris Métro or Métropolitain is the rapid transit metro system in Paris, France. It has become a symbol of the city, noted for its density within the city limits and its uniform architecture influenced by Art Nouveau. The network's sixteen lines are mostly underground and run to 214 km ...

. The attack, and others perpetrated in the following weeks, provoked fierce reprisals, culminating in the execution of 98 hostages after the Feldkommandant of Nantes
Nantes
Nantes is a city in western France, located on the Loire River, from the Atlantic coast. The city is the 6th largest in France, while its metropolitan area ranks 8th with over 800,000 inhabitants....

 was shot on 20 October.

The military strength of the communists was still relatively feeble at the end of 1941, but the rapid growth of the Francs-Tireurs et Partisans
Francs-tireurs
Francs-tireurs – literally "free shooters" – was used to describe irregular military formations deployed by France during the early stages of the Franco-Prussian War...

 (FTP), a radical armed movement, ensured that French communists regained their reputation as an effective anti-fascist force. The FTP was open to non-communists, but it operated under communist control, with its members predominantly engaged in acts of sabotage and guerrilla warfare. By 1944, the FTP had an estimated strength of 100,000 men.

Towards the end of the occupation, the PCF had reached the height of its influence, controlling large areas of France through the Résistance units under its command. Some in the PCF wanted to launch a revolution as the Germans withdrew from the country, but the leadership, acting on Stalin's instructions, opposed this and adopted a policy of co-operating with the Allied powers and advocating a new Popular-Front government.

Many well-known intellectual and artistic figures were attracted to the Communist party during the war, including the artist Pablo Picasso
Pablo Picasso
Pablo Diego José Francisco de Paula Juan Nepomuceno María de los Remedios Cipriano de la Santísima Trinidad Ruiz y Picasso known as Pablo Ruiz Picasso was a Spanish expatriate painter, sculptor, printmaker, ceramicist, and stage designer, one of the greatest and most influential artists of the...

 and the writer and philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre
Jean-Paul Sartre
Jean-Paul Charles Aymard Sartre was a French existentialist philosopher, playwright, novelist, screenwriter, political activist, biographer, and literary critic. He was one of the leading figures in 20th century French philosophy, particularly Marxism, and was one of the key figures in literary...

. After the German invasion of the USSR, many Russian white émigré
White Emigre
A white émigré was a Russian who emigrated from Russia in the wake of the Russian Revolution and Russian Civil War, and who was in opposition to the contemporary Russian political climate....

s, guided by Russian patriotic sentiment, would support the Soviet war effort. A number of them formed the Union of Russian Patriots
Union of Russian Patriots
The Union of Russian Patriots was an organization of Russian emigres living in France. The organization was pro-Soviet and was active from 1943 to 1948....

, which adopted pro-Soviet positions and collaborated closely with the French Communist Party.

Socialists


At the end of the summer of 1940, Daniel Mayer
Daniel Mayer
Daniel William Mayer was a member of the French Section of the Workers' International , a socialist party in France, president of the Ligue des droits de l'homme from 1958 to 1975. He founded the Comité d'Action Socialiste in 1941 and was a member of the Brutus Network, a Resistant Socialist group...

 was asked by Leon Blum
Léon Blum
André Léon Blum was a French politician, usually identified with the moderate left, and three times the Prime Minister of France.-First political experiences:...

 to reconstitute the SFIO (in ruins because of Paul Faure's defection to the Vichy regime). In March 1941 Daniel Mayer created, with other socialists like Suzanne Buisson and Félix Gouin
Félix Gouin
Félix Gouin was a French Socialist politician, member of the French Section of the Workers' International .-Personal life:Félix Gouin was born in Peypin, Bouches-du-Rhône, the son of school teachers...

, the Comité d'action socialiste (CAS), in Nîmes
Nîmes
Nîmes is the capital of the Gard department in the Languedoc-Roussillon region in southern France. Nîmes has a rich history, dating back to the Roman Empire, and is a popular tourist destination.-History:...

. The same thing was created by Jean-Baptiste Lebas in the Nord-Pas-de-Calais (administratively joined with Belgium
Belgium
Belgium , officially the Kingdom of Belgium, is a federal state in Western Europe. It is a founding member of the European Union and hosts the EU's headquarters, and those of several other major international organisations such as NATO.Belgium is also a member of, or affiliated to, many...

) in January 1941 following a previous network created in September 1940.

In 1942, Le Populaire
Le Populaire (1920)
Le Populaire was a socialist daily newspaper in France. It was the main organ of the French Section of the Workers' International . Le Populaire was founded in 1918....

, newspaper of the SFIO from 1921 to 1940, was publishing again, clandestinely. The same year, André Philip
André Philip
André Philip was an SFIO who served as an Interior Minister for the Free French during the war. He also served as a finance minister in 1946 and part of 1947....

 became commissaire national à l'Intérieur of the Free French(France libre)
Free French Forces
The Free French Forces were French partisans in World War II who decided to continue fighting against the forces of the Axis powers after the surrender of France and subsequent German occupation and, in the case of Vichy France, collaboration with the Germans.-Definition:In many sources, Free...

, and Félix Gouin
Félix Gouin
Félix Gouin was a French Socialist politician, member of the French Section of the Workers' International .-Personal life:Félix Gouin was born in Peypin, Bouches-du-Rhône, the son of school teachers...

 joined Charles de Gaulle
Charles de Gaulle
Charles André Joseph Marie de Gaulle was a French general and statesman who led the Free French Forces during World War II. He later founded the French Fifth Republic in 1958 and served as its first President from 1959 to 1969....

 in London
London
London is the capital city of :England and the :United Kingdom, the largest metropolitan area in the United Kingdom, and the largest urban zone in the European Union by most measures. Located on the River Thames, London has been a major settlement for two millennia, its history going back to its...

 to represent the socialists. In Algeria, left-wing networks of resistance were already formed. As a result of the beginning of the Riom Trial
Riom Trial
The Riom Trial was an attempt by the Vichy France regime, headed by Marshal Philippe Pétain, to prove that the leaders of the French Third Republic had been responsible for France's defeat by Germany in 1940...

 in 1942, the fervor and the number of socialists in the Resistance grew. The CAS-sud became the secret SFIO in March 1943.

There was a majority from the SFIO in Libération-Nord
Libération-Nord
Libération-Nord was one of the principal resistance movements in the northern occupied zone of France during the Second World War.It was one of the eight great networks to make up the National Council of the Resistance.- History :...

, one of the eight great networks to make up the National Council of the Resistance, and in the Brutus Network
Brutus Network
The Brutus Network was a French Resistant movement during World War II. It was founded in 1941 by Pierre Fourcaud, parachuted in France with instructions from Charles de Gaulle to set up an intelligence network , and other socialist members of the French Section of the Workers' International ,...

. Socialists were also important in the Organisation civile et militaire
Organisation civile et militaire
The Organisation civile et militaire was one of the great movements of the French Resistance in the zone occupée, the northern German-occupied region of France, during the Second World War....

 and in Libération-Sud
Libération-sud
The Libération-sud resistance group was established by a group of French people, including Emmanuel d'Astier, Lucie Aubrac and Raymond Aubrac. The first important Resistant group to emerge after the German occupation, it began publishing Libération in July 1941...

.

Other socialist leaders in the Resistance included Pierre Brossolette
Pierre Brossolette
Pierre Brossolette was a French journalist, left-wing politician, a top leader and major hero of French Resistance.-Education and journalism:...

, Gaston Defferre
Gaston Defferre
Gaston Defferre was a French socialist politician.-Biography:Lawyer and member of the French Section of the Workers' International political party, he was a member of the Brutus Network, a Resistance Socialist group during World War II...

, Jean Biondi
Jean Biondi
Jean Dominique Biondi was French politician.Jean Biondi was born on the island of Corsica in the village of Sari-d'Orcino...

, Jules Moch
Jules Moch
Jules Salvador Moch was a French politician.-Biography:...

, Jean Pierre-Bloch
Jean Pierre-Bloch
Jean Pierre-Bloch was a French Resistant of the Second World War as an activist, being a former president of the International League against Racism and Anti-Semitism....

, Tanguy-Prigent
François Tanguy-Prigent
François Tanguy-Prigent was a French politician and resistance fighter. ....

, Guy Mollet
Guy Mollet
Guy Mollet was a French Socialist politician. He led the French Section of the Workers' International party from 1946 to 1969 and was Prime Minister in 1956–1957.-Early life and World War II:...

, and Christian Pineau
Christian Pineau
Christian Pineau was a noted French Resistance fighter.He was born in Chaumont-en-Bassigny, Haute-Marne, France and died in Paris.His father-in-law was the writer Jean Giraudoux, who was married to Pineau's mother...

. François Camel and Marx Dormoy
Marx Dormoy
Marx Dormoy was a French socialist politician, noted for his opposition to the far right.-Early career:Born in Montluçon, he was elected mayor of his native town in 1926, and representative of the Section française de l'Internationale ouvrière to the French National Assembly in 1931 for the Allier...

 were assassinated; Jean-Baptiste Lebas, Isidore Thivrier, Amédée Dunois, Claude Jordery and Augustin Malroux
Augustin Malroux
Augustin Malroux was a French socialist politician and member of the French Resistance, a teacher by profession.-Political ascent:...

 died during their deportation.

Vichy collaborators


Before the war, there were several organizations in France, such as the monarchist, anti-semitic, and xenophobic Action Française
Action Française
The Action Française , founded in 1898, is a French Monarchist counter-revolutionary movement and periodical founded by Maurice Pujo and Henri Vaugeois and whose principal ideologist was Charles Maurras...

. Another among the most influential factions of the right was Croix-de-Feu
Croix-de-Feu
Croix-de-Feu was a French far right league of the Interwar period, led by Colonel François de la Rocque . After it was dissolved, as were all other far right leagues during the Popular Front period , de la Rocque replaced it with the Parti social français .- Beginnings :The Croix-de-Feu were...

 (Cross of Fire). Croix-de-Feu gradually moderated its positions during the early years of the war, and it grew increasingly popular among the aging veterans of World War I
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

.

Despite some differences in their positions on certain issues, these organizations were united in their opposition to parliamentarism, a stance that had led them to participate in demonstrations, most notably the so-called riots of 6 February 1934
6 February 1934 crisis
The 6 February 1934 crisis refers to an anti-parliamentarist street demonstration in Paris organized by far-right leagues that culminated in a riot on the Place de la Concorde, near the seat of the French National Assembly...

. At about the same time, La Cagoule
La Cagoule
La Cagoule , officially called Comité secret d'action révolutionnaire , was a violent French fascist-leaning and anti-communist group, active in the 1930s, and designed to attempt the overthrow of the French Third Republic...

, a fascist paramilitary organization, launched various actions aimed at destabilizing the Third Republic
French Third Republic
The French Third Republic was the republican government of France from 1870, when the Second French Empire collapsed due to the French defeat in the Franco-Prussian War, to 1940, when France was overrun by Nazi Germany during World War II, resulting in the German and Italian occupations of France...

; these efforts continued until La Cagoule could be infiltrated and dismantled in 1937.

Like the founder of Action Française, Charles Maurras
Charles Maurras
Charles-Marie-Photius Maurras was a French author, poet, and critic. He was a leader and principal thinker of Action Française, a political movement that was monarchist, anti-parliamentarist, and counter-revolutionary. Maurras' ideas greatly influenced National Catholicism and "nationalisme...

, for whom the collapse of the Republic was famously acclaimed as a "divine surprise", thousands welcomed the Vichy régime and collaborated also, to one degree or another. However, the powerful appeal of French nationalism drove others to engage in resistance against the occupying German forces.

In 1942, after an ambiguous period of collaboration, the former leader of Croix de Feu, François de La Rocque
François de la Rocque
François de La Rocque was leader of the French right-wing league named the Croix de Feu from 1930–1936, before forming the more moderate Parti Social Français , seen as a precursor of Gaullism.- Early life :François de La Rocque was born on 6 October 1885 in Lorient, Brittany, the third son to a...

, founded the Klan Network, which provided information to the British intelligence services. Georges Loustaunau-Lacau
Georges Loustaunau-Lacau
Georges Loustaunau-Lacau was a French army officer, anti-communist conspirator, resistant, and politician.Loustaunau-Lacau was born in Pau, Pyrénées-Atlantiques and in 1912 began his studies at the French Army's officer school, the École Spéciale Militaire de Saint-Cyr...

 and Marie-Madeleine Fourcade
Marie-Madeleine Fourcade
Marie-Madeleine Fourcade was the leader of the French Resistance network "Alliance," after the arrest of its former leader Georges Loustaunau-Lacau, during the occupation of France in the Second World War,...

, who had both supported La Cagoule, founded the Alliance Network, and Colonel Groussard, of the Vichy secret services, founded the Gilbert Network. Some members of Action Française engaged in the Résistance with similar nationalistic motives. Some prominent examples are Daniel Cordier, who became Jean Moulin
Jean Moulin
Jean Moulin was a high-profile member of the French Resistance during World War II. He is remembered today as an emblem of the Resistance primarily due to his role in unifying the French resistance under de Gaulle and his courage and death at the hands of the Germans.-Before the war:Moulin was...

's secretary, and Colonel Rémy, who founded the Confrérie Notre-Dame. These groups also included Pierre de Bénouville, who, together with Henri Frenay
Henri Frenay
Henri Frenay was a French military officer and French resistance member.Henri Frenay was born in Lyon, France on 11 November 1905, into a Catholic family with a military tradition. He studied the Germanic languages at the University of Strasbourg...

, led the Combat
Combat (French Resistance)
Combat was a large movement in the French Resistance created in the non-occupied zone of France during the Second World War .Combat was one of the eight great resistance movements which constituted the Conseil national de la Résistance....

group, and Jacques Renouvin
Jacques Renouvin
Jacques Renouvin was a royalist militant in France during the Second World War and hero of the French resistance....

, who founded the group of resisters known as Liberté.

Sometimes contact with others in the Résistance led some operatives to adopt new political philosophies. Many gradually moved away from their anti-semitic prejudices and their hatred of 'démocrassouille', 'dirty democracy' (which many equated with mob rule
Ochlocracy
Ochlocracy or mob rule is government by mob or a mass of people, or the intimidation of legitimate authorities.As a pejorative for majoritarianism, it is akin to the Latin phrase mobile vulgus meaning "the fickle crowd", from which the English term "mob" was originally derived in the...

), or simply away from their traditional roots-based conservatism. Bénouville and Marie-Madeleine Fourcade
Marie-Madeleine Fourcade
Marie-Madeleine Fourcade was the leader of the French Resistance network "Alliance," after the arrest of its former leader Georges Loustaunau-Lacau, during the occupation of France in the Second World War,...

 became députés
Member of Parliament
A Member of Parliament is a representative of the voters to a :parliament. In many countries with bicameral parliaments, the term applies specifically to members of the lower house, as upper houses often have a different title, such as senate, and thus also have different titles for its members,...

 in the French parliament after the war; François Mitterrand
François Mitterrand
François Maurice Adrien Marie Mitterrand was the 21st President of the French Republic and ex officio Co-Prince of Andorra, serving from 1981 until 1995. He is the longest-serving President of France and, as leader of the Socialist Party, the only figure from the left so far elected President...

 moved towards the left and joined the Résistance, Henri Frenay
Henri Frenay
Henri Frenay was a French military officer and French resistance member.Henri Frenay was born in Lyon, France on 11 November 1905, into a Catholic family with a military tradition. He studied the Germanic languages at the University of Strasbourg...

 evolved towards European socialism
Socialism
Socialism is an economic system characterized by social ownership of the means of production and cooperative management of the economy; or a political philosophy advocating such a system. "Social ownership" may refer to any one of, or a combination of, the following: cooperative enterprises,...

, and Daniel Cordier, whose family had supported Maurras for three generations, abandoned his views in favor of the ideology of the republican, Jean Moulin
Jean Moulin
Jean Moulin was a high-profile member of the French Resistance during World War II. He is remembered today as an emblem of the Resistance primarily due to his role in unifying the French resistance under de Gaulle and his courage and death at the hands of the Germans.-Before the war:Moulin was...

.

The historian, Jean-Pierre Azéma
Jean-Pierre Azéma
-Early life:Azéma is the son of the Réunionese poet Jean-Henri Azéma. Jean-Henri was a collaborator with the black-shirted Milice during the occupation of France, and lived in exile in South America after the war.-Career:...

, coined the term vichysto-résistant to describe those who at first supported the Vichy Regime (mostly based on the patriotic image of Pétain rather than the Révolution Nationale
Révolution nationale
The Révolution nationale was the official ideological name under which the Vichy regime established by Marshal Philippe Pétain in July 1940 presented its program...

) but later joined the Résistance. The founder of Ceux de la Libération
Ceux de la Libération
"Ceux de la Libération" was a French resistance movement during the German occupation of France in World War II.CDLL was one of the eight major resistance groups of the Conseil National de la Résistance .-History:...

 ("Those of the Liberation"), Maurice Ripoche, initially defended Vichy, but he soon placed the liberation of France above all other goals, and, in 1941, he opened his movement to leftists. In contrast, many extremist members of the Résistance, such as Gabriel Jeantet
Gabriel Jeantet
Gabriel Jeantet was a French far right activist, journalist and polemicist. Active before, during and after the Second World War, Jeantet's links to Francois Mitterrand became a source of controversy during the latter's Presidency...

 and Jacques Le Roy Ladurie, never renounced their tolerant attitudes towards Vichy.

Jews


The Vichy régime had legal authority in both the north of France, which was occupied by the German Wehrmacht
Wehrmacht
The Wehrmacht – from , to defend and , the might/power) were the unified armed forces of Nazi Germany from 1935 to 1945. It consisted of the Heer , the Kriegsmarine and the Luftwaffe .-Origin and use of the term:...

, and the southern "free zone", where the régime's administrative center, Vichy, was located. Vichy voluntarily and willfully collaborated
Collaborationism
Collaborationism is cooperation with enemy forces against one's country. Legally, it may be considered as a form of treason. Collaborationism may be associated with criminal deeds in the service of the occupying power, which may include complicity with the occupying power in murder, persecutions,...

 with Nazi Germany and adopted a policy of persecution towards the Jews, demonstrated by the passage of antisemitic legislation as early as October 1940. The Statute on Jews
Statute on Jews
The Statute on Jews was discriminatory legislation against French Jews passed on October 3, 1940 by the Vichy Regime, grouping them as a lower class and depriving them of citizenship before rounding them up at Drancy internment camp then taking them to be exterminated in concentration camps...

, which legally redefined French Jews as a non-French lower class, deprived them of citizenship. According to Philippe Pétain
Philippe Pétain
Henri Philippe Benoni Omer Joseph Pétain , generally known as Philippe Pétain or Marshal Pétain , was a French general who reached the distinction of Marshal of France, and was later Chief of State of Vichy France , from 1940 to 1944...

's chief of staff, "Germany was not at the origin of the anti-Jewish legislation of Vichy. That legislation was spontaneous and autonomous." The laws led to confiscations of property, arrests, and deportations to the concentration camps. As a result of the fate they were promised by Vichy and the Germans, Jews were over-represented at all levels of the French Résistance. Studies show that although Jews in France only amounted to one percent of the French population, they comprised about fifteen to twenty percent of the Résistance. Among these were many Jewish émigrés, such as Hungarian artists and writers.

The Jewish youth movement, Eclaireuses et Eclaireurs israélites de France
Eclaireuses et Eclaireurs israélites de France
The Eclaireuses et Eclaireurs israélites de France is a Jewish Scouting and Guiding organization in France. It was founded in 1923 and serves about 4,000 members...

(EEIF), equivalent to Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts in other countries, had, during the early years of the occupation, shown support for the Vichy regime's traditional values, but it was banned in 1943. Its older members soon formed armed resistance units. A militant Jewish Zionist resistance organisation, the Jewish Army (Armée Juive
Armee Juive
Armée Juive or Jewish Army, was a Zionist resistance movement in Nazi occupied World War II France which was created during January 1942 in Toulouse...

), was founded in 1942 by Abraham Polonski
Abraham Polonski
For the American film director by the same name, see: Abraham PolonskyAbraham Polonski was born in Russia in 1913. He was one of the founders of the French Jewish Resistance movement, having previously worked as an electrical engineer in Toulouse.By June 1940, the French army had surrendered to...

, Lucien Lublin
Lucien Lublin
Lucien Lublin, born 1909 in Brest-Litovsk and employed as electrical engineer. A socialist Zionist who became a leader of the French Jewish Resistance during World War II with Abraham Polonski and David Knout...

, David Knout
David Knout
Dovid Knout , born in Orhei, Moldova is a Russian Jewish poet, who, with his wife Régine-Ariane and others, established a secret organization called La Main Forte which became the Armee Juive , a World War II resistance movement...

, and their wives. They continued armed resistance under a Zionist flag until liberation finally arrived. The Armée juive organised escape routes across the Pyrenées to Spain, and they smuggled about 300 Jews out of the country during 1943 and 1944. They distributed millions of dollars from the American Joint Distribution Committee to relief organizations and fighting units within France. In 1944, the EIF and the Jewish Army combined to form the Organisation Juive de Combat (OJC). The OJC had four hundred members by the summer of 1944, and they also participated in the liberations of Paris, Lyon
Lyon
Lyon , is a city in east-central France in the Rhône-Alpes region, situated between Paris and Marseille. Lyon is located at from Paris, from Marseille, from Geneva, from Turin, and from Barcelona. The residents of the city are called Lyonnais....

, Toulouse
Toulouse
Toulouse is a city in the Haute-Garonne department in southwestern FranceIt lies on the banks of the River Garonne, 590 km away from Paris and half-way between the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea...

, Grenoble
Grenoble
Grenoble is a city in southeastern France, at the foot of the French Alps where the river Drac joins the Isère. Located in the Rhône-Alpes region, Grenoble is the capital of the department of Isère...

, and Nice
Nice
Nice is the fifth most populous city in France, after Paris, Marseille, Lyon and Toulouse, with a population of 348,721 within its administrative limits on a land area of . The urban area of Nice extends beyond the administrative city limits with a population of more than 955,000 on an area of...

.

In the southern occupation zone, the Œuvre de secours aux enfants
Œuvre de secours aux enfants
Œuvre de secours aux enfants, commonly abbreviated as OSE, is a French Jewish humanitarian organization that saved hundreds of Jewish refugee children in Vichy France during World War II....

 (roughly, Children's Relief Effort), a French-Jewish humanitarian organization commonly called OSE, saved the lives of between seven and nine thousand Jewish children by forging papers, smuggling them to neutral countries, and sheltering them in orphanages, schools, and convents.


Women



Although inequalities persisted under the Third Republic
French Third Republic
The French Third Republic was the republican government of France from 1870, when the Second French Empire collapsed due to the French defeat in the Franco-Prussian War, to 1940, when France was overrun by Nazi Germany during World War II, resulting in the German and Italian occupations of France...

, the cultural changes that followed World War I allowed the differences in the treatment of men and women in France to gradually narrow, with some women assuming political responsibilities as early as the 1930s. The defeat of France in 1940 and the appointment of the Vichy régime's conservative leader, Philippe Pétain
Philippe Pétain
Henri Philippe Benoni Omer Joseph Pétain , generally known as Philippe Pétain or Marshal Pétain , was a French general who reached the distinction of Marshal of France, and was later Chief of State of Vichy France , from 1940 to 1944...

, undermined feminism, and France began a restructuring of society based on the "femme au foyer" or "women at home" imperative. On at least one occasion, Pétain spoke out to French mothers about their patriotic duty:
Despite opposing the collaborating regime, the French Résistance generally sympathised with its antifeminism
Antifeminism
Antifeminism is opposition to feminism in some or all of its forms. Modern antifeminists say that the feminist movement has achieved its aims and now seeks higher status for women than for men.-History:...

 and did not encourage the participation of women in war and politics, following, in the words of the historian, Henri Noguères, "a notion of inequality between the sexes as old as our civilisation and as firmly implanted in the Résistance as it was elsewhere in France." Consequently, women in the Résistance were less numerous than men and represented an average of 11% of the members in the formal networks and movements. Those who were involved in the Résistance were usually confined to subordinate roles. Lucie Aubrac
Lucie Aubrac
Lucie Samuel born Lucie Bernard , and better known as Lucie Aubrac, was a French history teacher and member of the French Resistance during World War II....

, the iconic resister and co-founder of Libération-Sud
Libération-sud
The Libération-sud resistance group was established by a group of French people, including Emmanuel d'Astier, Lucie Aubrac and Raymond Aubrac. The first important Resistant group to emerge after the German occupation, it began publishing Libération in July 1941...

, was never assigned a specific role in the hierarchy of the movement. Hélène Viannay, one of the founders of Défense de la France
Défense de la France
Défense de la France is the name given to a group of the French Resistance during the Second World War.Essentially developed in the Northern Zone, Défense de la France distinguishes itself by an activity centred on the distribution of a clandestine newspaper created in August 1941 by a group of...

, who was married to a man who shared her political views, was never permitted to express her opinions in the underground newspaper, and her husband took two years to arrive at political conclusions she had held for many years.

Marie-Madeleine Fourcade
Marie-Madeleine Fourcade
Marie-Madeleine Fourcade was the leader of the French Resistance network "Alliance," after the arrest of its former leader Georges Loustaunau-Lacau, during the occupation of France in the Second World War,...

 was the only female leader in the Résistance, head of the Alliance network. The Organisation Civile et Militaire had a female wing headed by Marie-Hélène Lefaucheux, who took part in setting up the Œuvre de Sainte-Foy to assist prisoners in French prisons and German concentration camps. No women, however, were chosen to lead any of the eight major Résistance movements, and, after the liberation of France, the provisional government
Provisional Government of the French Republic
The Provisional Government of the French Republic was an interim government which governed France from 1944 to 1946, following the fall of Vichy France and prior to the Fourth French Republic....

 appointed no women as ministers or commissaires de la République
Commissioner of the Republic (Provisional Government)
The Commissioners of the Republic or Regional Commissioners of the Republic were government officials appointed as representatives of Charles de Gaulle by the Provisional Government of the French Republic between 1944 and 1946...

.

Networks and movements



In this context, it is customary to distinguish the various organizations of the French Résistance as movements or networks.

A Résistance network was an organization created for a specific military purpose, usually intelligence-gathering, sabotage, or aiding Allied air crews who had been shot down behind enemy lines. A Résistance movement, on the other hand, was focused on educating and organizing the population, "to raise awareness, and to organize the people as broadly as possible."

BCRA networks





In July 1940, after the defeat of the French armies and the consequent armistice with Germany
Armistice with France (Second Compiègne)
The Second Armistice at Compiègne was signed at 18:50 on 22 June 1940 near Compiègne, in the department of Oise, between Nazi Germany and France...

, the British prime minister, Winston Churchill
Winston Churchill
Sir Winston Leonard Spencer-Churchill, was a predominantly Conservative British politician and statesman known for his leadership of the United Kingdom during the Second World War. He is widely regarded as one of the greatest wartime leaders of the century and served as Prime Minister twice...

, asked the Free French government-in-exile
Free French Forces
The Free French Forces were French partisans in World War II who decided to continue fighting against the forces of the Axis powers after the surrender of France and subsequent German occupation and, in the case of Vichy France, collaboration with the Germans.-Definition:In many sources, Free...

 (headed by General Charles de Gaulle
Charles de Gaulle
Charles André Joseph Marie de Gaulle was a French general and statesman who led the Free French Forces during World War II. He later founded the French Fifth Republic in 1958 and served as its first President from 1959 to 1969....

) to set up a secret service agency in occupied France to counter the threat of a German operation code-named Operation Sea Lion, the expected cross-channel invasion of Britain. Colonel André Dewavrin
André Dewavrin
Andre Dewavrin was a French officer who served with Free French Forces intelligence services during World War II.He was born in Paris, the son of a businessman...

 (also known as Colonel Passy), who had previously worked for France's military intelligence service, the Deuxième Bureau
Deuxième Bureau
The Deuxième Bureau de l'État-major général was France's external military intelligence agency from 1871 to 1940. It was dissolved together with the Third Republic upon the armistice with Germany...

, took on the responsibility for creating such a network. Its principal goal was to inform London of German military operations on the Atlantic coast and in the English Channel. The spy network was called the Bureau Central de Renseignements et d'Action
Bureau Central de Renseignements et d'Action
The Bureau Central de Renseignements et d'Action , commonly referred as the BCRA was the World War II-era forerunner of the SDECE, the French intelligence service...

(BCRA), and its actions were carried out by volunteers who were parachuted into France to create and nourish local Résistance cells.

Of the nearly two thousand volunteers who were active by the end of the war, one of the most effective and well-known was the agent, Gilbert Renault
Gilbert Renault
Gilbert Renault was known during the French Resistance under the name Colonel Rémy. He is one of the most famous secret agents of occupied France during the Second World war, and was known under various pseudonyms such as Raymond, Jean-Luc, Morin, Watteau, Roulier, Beauce and...

, who was awarded the Ordre de la Libération
Ordre de la Libération
The Ordre de la Libération is a French Order awarded to heroes of the Liberation of France during World War II. It is an exceptional honor, the second highest after the Légion d’Honneur and only a small number of people and military units have received it, exclusively for deeds accomplished...

 and later the Légion d'honneur
Légion d'honneur
The Legion of Honour, or in full the National Order of the Legion of Honour is a French order established by Napoleon Bonaparte, First Consul of the Consulat which succeeded to the First Republic, on 19 May 1802...

 for his deeds. Known mainly by the pseudonym, Colonel Rémy, he returned to France in August 1940, not long after the surrender of France. There, in November 1940, he organized one of the most active and important Résistance networks of the BCRA, the Confrérie de Notre Dame
Confrérie de Notre Dame
The Confrérie Notre-Dame , later called the CND-Castille, was a French resistance group founded by Colonel Rémy. It was joined by other anti-Nazi Catholics from France.-History:...

(Brotherhood of Our Lady), which provided the Allies with photographs, maps, and important information on the German defenses known as the Atlantic Wall
Atlantic Wall
The Atlantic Wall was an extensive system of coastal fortifications built by Nazi Germany between 1942 and 1944 along the western coast of Europe as a defense against an anticipated Allied invasion of the mainland continent from Great Britain.-History:On March 23, 1942 Führer Directive Number 40...

. From 1941 on, networks such as these allowed the BCRA to send armed parachutists, weapons, and radio equipment into France to carry out missions.

Another important BCRA operative, Henri Honoré d'Estienne d'Orves
Henri Honoré d'Estienne d'Orves
Henri Honoré d'Estienne d'Orves was a French Navy officer, reputed "first martyr of Free France" and one of the major heroes of the French Resistance.-Early life:...

, a naval officer, developed a network of twenty-six people in France. He was betrayed, arrested in May 1941, and shot on 29 August 1941.

Christian Pineau
Christian Pineau
Christian Pineau was a noted French Resistance fighter.He was born in Chaumont-en-Bassigny, Haute-Marne, France and died in Paris.His father-in-law was the writer Jean Giraudoux, who was married to Pineau's mother...

, one of the founders of the Libération Nord movement also had BCRA roots. During his trip to London in April 1942, Pineau was assigned by BCRA the task of creating two new intelligence systems, one called Phalanx, and the other called Cohors-Asturies. These networks proved vital later in the war.

Mouvements Unis de la Résistance
Mouvements Unis de la Résistance
Mouvements Unis de la Résistance was a French Resistance organisation, resulting from the regrouping of three major Resistance movements in January 1943 and also the merger of the military arms of these movements within the Armée secrète . Its committee was headed by Jean Moulin...

(Unified Movements of the Resistance, MUR) was a French Résistance organization, resulting from the regrouping of three major Résistance movements ("Combat", "Franc-Tireur", and "Libération-Sud") in January 1943.
Later in 1943, the BCRA and the United Movements of Résistance merged their intelligence networks.

Another BCRA appendage was called Gallia, an intelligence network specializing in military intelligence and police activities. Its importance increased throughout the second half of 1943 and into the spring of 1944, until it became the largest BCRA network in the Vichy zone, employing about 2500 sources, contacts, couriers, and analysts. Gallia's work did not stop after the 1944 landings in Normandy and Provence; it provided information to the Allies that allowed for the bombing of military targets in the wake of the retreat of the German armies.

Spanish maquis



Following their defeat in the Spanish Civil War
Spanish Civil War
The Spanish Civil WarAlso known as The Crusade among Nationalists, the Fourth Carlist War among Carlists, and The Rebellion or Uprising among Republicans. was a major conflict fought in Spain from 17 July 1936 to 1 April 1939...

 in early 1939, about a half-million Spanish Republicans fled to France to escape imprisonment and execution. On the north side of the Pyrenees
Pyrenees
The Pyrenees is a range of mountains in southwest Europe that forms a natural border between France and Spain...

, refugees were confined in internment camps
Concentration camps in France
There were internment camps and concentration camps in France before, during and after World War II. Beside the camps created during World War I to intern German, Austrian and Ottoman civilian prisoners, the Third Republic opened various internment camps for the Spanish refugees fleeing the...

 such as Camp Gurs
Camp Gurs
Camp Gurs was an internment and refugee camp constructed by the French government in 1939. The camp was originally set up in southwestern France after the fall of Catalonia at the end of the Spanish Civil War to control those who fled Spain out of fear of retaliation from Francisco Franco's regime...

 and Camp Vernet
Camp Vernet
Le Vernet Internment Camp, or Camp Vernet, was a concentration camp in Le Vernet, Ariège, near Pamiers, in the French Pyrenees. It was originally built in June 1918 to house French colonial troops serving in World War I but when hostilities ceased it was used to hold German and Austrian prisoners...

. Although over half of the refugees had been repatriated to Spain (or elsewhere) by the time Pétain proclaimed the Vichy Regime in 1940, the 120,000 to 150,000 who remained became political prisoners, and the foreign equivalent to the Service du Travail Obligatoire, the Compagnies de Travailleurs Etrangers (Companies of Foreign Workers) or CTE, began to pursue them as slave laborers. The CTE permitted prisoners to leave the internment camps if they agreed to go work in factories in Germany, but as many as sixty thousand Republicans who were recruited to the labor service managed to escape, and, instead, they joined the French Résistance. Thousands of suspected anti-fascist Republicans were, nonetheless, deported to concentration camps in Germany. Most were sent to Mauthausen, where, of the ten thousand Spaniards registered, only two thousand survived the war.

Many Spanish escapees joined French Résistance groups; others formed their own autonomous groups, which became known as the Spanish maquis. In April 1942, Spanish communists formed an organization called the XIV Corps, an armed guerrilla movement, which had a force of about 3400 combatants by June 1944. Although the group at first worked closely with the Franc Tireurs et Partisans (FTP), it re-formed as the Agrupación de Guerrilleros Españoles (Spanish Guerrilla Group, AGE) in May 1944. The name change was intended to convey the group's composition: Spanish soldiers, who were ultimately advocating the fall of General Francisco Franco
Francisco Franco
Francisco Franco y Bahamonde was a Spanish general, dictator and head of state of Spain from October 1936 , and de facto regent of the nominally restored Kingdom of Spain from 1947 until his death in November, 1975...

. After the German army was driven from France, the Spanish maquis refocused on Spain.

German anti-fascists


From spring 1943, German and Austrian anti-fascists, who had fought in the International Brigades
International Brigades
The International Brigades were military units made up of volunteers from different countries, who traveled to Spain to defend the Second Spanish Republic in the Spanish Civil War between 1936 and 1939....

 during the Spanish Civil War
Spanish Civil War
The Spanish Civil WarAlso known as The Crusade among Nationalists, the Fourth Carlist War among Carlists, and The Rebellion or Uprising among Republicans. was a major conflict fought in Spain from 17 July 1936 to 1 April 1939...

, fought in Lozère
Lozère
Lozère , is a department in southeast France near the Massif Central, named after Mont Lozère.- History :Lozère is one of the original 83 departments created during the French Revolution on March 4, 1790...

 and in the Cévennes
Cévennes
The Cévennes are a range of mountains in south-central France, covering parts of the départements of Gard, Lozère, Ardèche, and Haute-Loire.The word Cévennes comes from the Gaulish Cebenna, which was Latinized by Julius Caesar to Cevenna...

 alongside the French Résistance in the Francs-tireurs et Partisans. During the first years of the occupation they had been employed in the CTE, but following the German invasion of the southern zone in 1942 the threat increased and many joined the maquis
Maquis (World War II)
The Maquis were the predominantly rural guerrilla bands of the French Resistance. Initially they were composed of men who had escaped into the mountains to avoid conscription into Vichy France's Service du travail obligatoire to provide forced labour for Germany...

. They were led by the militant German communist Otto Kühne
Otto Kühne
Otto Kühne was a German communist militant, who led a maquis group of German antifascist fighters in the French region of Lozère in 1943 and 1944 during World War II....

, a former member of the Reichstag
Reichstag (Weimar Republic)
The Reichstag was the parliament of Weimar Republic .German constitution commentators consider only the Reichstag and now the Bundestag the German parliament. Another organ deals with legislation too: in 1867-1918 the Bundesrat, in 1919–1933 the Reichsrat and from 1949 on the Bundesrat...

, who had over 2000 Germans in the FTP under his command by July 1944. He directly fought the Nazis, as in the battles of April 1944 in Saint-Étienne-Vallée-Française
Saint-Étienne-Vallée-Française
Saint-Étienne-Vallée-Française is a commune in the Lozère department in southern France.-References:* *...

, where they destroyed a Feldgendarmerie
Feldgendarmerie
The Feldgendarmerie were the uniformed military police units of the armies of the German Empire from the mid 19th Century until the conclusion of World War II.- Early history :...

 unit, or in an ambush of the Waffen-SS
Waffen-SS
The Waffen-SS was a multi-ethnic and multi-national military force of the Third Reich. It constituted the armed wing of the Schutzstaffel or SS, an organ of the Nazi Party. The Waffen-SS saw action throughout World War II and grew from three regiments to over 38 divisions, and served alongside...

 on June 5, 1944.

Luxembourgers


400 Luxembourgish men, often men who refused to serve, or who deserted the German Wehrmacht left Luxembourg
Luxembourg
Luxembourg , officially the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg , is a landlocked country in western Europe, bordered by Belgium, France, and Germany. It has two principal regions: the Oesling in the North as part of the Ardennes massif, and the Gutland in the south...

, in order to continue their resistance in the French maquis, where they were particularly active in the regions of Lyon
Lyon
Lyon , is a city in east-central France in the Rhône-Alpes region, situated between Paris and Marseille. Lyon is located at from Paris, from Marseille, from Geneva, from Turin, and from Barcelona. The residents of the city are called Lyonnais....

, Grenoble
Grenoble
Grenoble is a city in southeastern France, at the foot of the French Alps where the river Drac joins the Isère. Located in the Rhône-Alpes region, Grenoble is the capital of the department of Isère...

, and the French Ardennes
Ardennes
The Ardennes is a region of extensive forests, rolling hills and ridges formed within the Givetian Ardennes mountain range, primarily in Belgium and Luxembourg, but stretching into France , and geologically into the Eifel...

. A considerable amount of Luxembourgish members of the French maquis were killed during the war. Others, like Antoine Diederich, became high ranked resistance fighters. Antoine Diederich (who was only known as "Capitaine Baptiste") had 77 members of the maquis under his command and is best known for attacking the prison of Riom
Riom
Riom is a commune in the Puy-de-Dôme department in Auvergne in central France. It is a sub-prefecture of the department.-History:Until the French Revolution, Riom was the capital of the province of Auvergne, and the seat of the dukes of Auvergne. The city was of Gaulish origin, the Roman Ricomagus...

 where he and his fighters freed all of the 114 death-sentenced inmates.

Hungarians


Many Hungarian émigrés, including those were Jewish, were artists and writers working in Paris at the time of the occupation. They had gone to Paris in the 1920s and 1930s to escape repression. Many joined the Resistance, where they were particularly active in the regions of Lyon
Lyon
Lyon , is a city in east-central France in the Rhône-Alpes region, situated between Paris and Marseille. Lyon is located at from Paris, from Marseille, from Geneva, from Turin, and from Barcelona. The residents of the city are called Lyonnais....

, Grenoble
Grenoble
Grenoble is a city in southeastern France, at the foot of the French Alps where the river Drac joins the Isère. Located in the Rhône-Alpes region, Grenoble is the capital of the department of Isère...

, Marseille
Marseille
Marseille , known in antiquity as Massalia , is the second largest city in France, after Paris, with a population of 852,395 within its administrative limits on a land area of . The urban area of Marseille extends beyond the city limits with a population of over 1,420,000 on an area of...

 and Toulouse
Toulouse
Toulouse is a city in the Haute-Garonne department in southwestern FranceIt lies on the banks of the River Garonne, 590 km away from Paris and half-way between the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea...

. Jewish resisters included Imre Epstein in the Hungarian group at Toulouse; György Vadnai, the future rabbi of Lausanne
Lausanne
Lausanne is a city in Romandy, the French-speaking part of Switzerland, and is the capital of the canton of Vaud. The seat of the district of Lausanne, the city is situated on the shores of Lake Geneva . It faces the French town of Évian-les-Bains, with the Jura mountains to its north-west...

, at Lyon; the writer Emil Szittya at Limoges. Also participating were the painter Sándor Józsa, the sculptor István Hajdú (Etienne Hajdu
Étienne Hajdú
Étienne Hajdú, also known as István Hajdú , was a Transylvania-born French sculptor of Jewish descent. After emigration to Paris in the 1930s, he became part of the Hungarian circle of artists and writers...

), the journalists László Kőrös and Imre Gyomrai; the photographers Andor (Andre) Steiner, Lucien Hervé
Lucien Hervé
Lucien Hervé was a Jewish Hungarian-French photographer well known for his black-and-white photos of architecture, especially that of Le Corbusier, with whom he had a nearly 20-year collaboration....

 and Ervin Marton. Tamás Elek (1924–1944), Imre Glasz (1902–1944) and József Boczor (1905–1944) were among 23 persons executed for their work with the legendary Manouchian Group. The Germans executed nearly 1,100 Jewish resisters of different nationalities during the occupation. Others were killed in action.

Italian anti-fascists


On March 3, 1943, representatives of the Italian Communist Party
Italian Communist Party
The Italian Communist Party was a communist political party in Italy.The PCI was founded as Communist Party of Italy on 21 January 1921 in Livorno, by seceding from the Italian Socialist Party . Amadeo Bordiga and Antonio Gramsci led the split. Outlawed during the Fascist regime, the party played...

 and the Italian Socialist Party
Italian Socialist Party
The Italian Socialist Party was a socialist and later social-democratic political party in Italy founded in Genoa in 1892.Once the dominant leftist party in Italy, it was eclipsed in status by the Italian Communist Party following World War II...

, who had taken refuge in France, signed the "Pact of Lyon", which began their participation in the Résistance. The Italians were particularly numerous in the Moselle
Moselle
Moselle is a department in the east of France named after the river Moselle.- History :Moselle is one of the original 83 departments created during the French Revolution on March 4, 1790...

 industrial area, which had been annexed by Adolf Hitler, where they played a determining role in the creation of the département's main resistance organisation, Groupe Mario. Vittorio Culpo
Vittorio Culpo
Vittorio Culpo was an Italo-French resistance soldier.-Personal life:He was born in Trissino in provincia di Vicenza, Italy, in 1904, in a poor farmer's family. In 1923, after a violent brawl with a fascist squadron, he fled to the mountains. He was actively pursued by Benito Mussolini's military...

 is an example of Italians in the French Resistance.

Polish resistance in France during World War II



The majority of the Polish soldiers and some Polish civilians who failed to evacuate from France after the German victory in 1940 as well as one Polish pilot shot down over France, one of many Polish pilots flying for RAF, did join the French Résistance. Examples: Tony Halik
Tony Halik
Tony Halik, real name: Mieczysław Antoni Sędzimir Halik was a Polish traveller and explorer.Halik was born in Toruń, Poland....

 and Aleksander Kawałkowski.

Cajun Americans


While not formally part of the French Résistance, French-speaking Cajun
Cajun
Cajuns are an ethnic group mainly living in the U.S. state of Louisiana, consisting of the descendants of Acadian exiles...

 soldiers in the United States military posed as local civilians in France in order to channel American assistance to the Résistance. Cajun
Cajun
Cajuns are an ethnic group mainly living in the U.S. state of Louisiana, consisting of the descendants of Acadian exiles...

 soldiers also served as French translators for American officers, and were able to procure intelligence from local authorities and civilians in France
France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

, Belgium
Belgium
Belgium , officially the Kingdom of Belgium, is a federal state in Western Europe. It is a founding member of the European Union and hosts the EU's headquarters, and those of several other major international organisations such as NATO.Belgium is also a member of, or affiliated to, many...

 and North Africa
North Africa
North Africa or Northern Africa is the northernmost region of the African continent, linked by the Sahara to Sub-Saharan Africa. Geopolitically, the United Nations definition of Northern Africa includes eight countries or territories; Algeria, Egypt, Libya, Morocco, South Sudan, Sudan, Tunisia, and...

.

Beginnings of a coordinated resistance



From 1940 to 1942, the first years of the German occupation of France, there was no thoroughly-organized Résistance capable of fighting in a coordinated fashion throughout France. Active opposition to the German and Vichy authorities was sporadic and carried out only by a tiny and fragmented set of operatives. Most French men and women had faith in the Vichy government and its figurehead, Marshal Pétain, who continued to be widely-regarded as the "savior" of France, and this generous opinion of Vichy continued until its unpopular policies and collaboration with the foreign occupiers became broadly apparent.

The earliest Résistance organizations had no contact with the western Allies and received no material aid from London or anywhere else. Consequently, most focused on generating nationalist propaganda through the distribution of underground newspapers. Many of the major movements, such as Défense de la France
Défense de la France
Défense de la France is the name given to a group of the French Resistance during the Second World War.Essentially developed in the Northern Zone, Défense de la France distinguishes itself by an activity centred on the distribution of a clandestine newspaper created in August 1941 by a group of...

, were centered on their newspapers, and, although their activities intensified, propaganda and the cultivation of positive morale remained, until the very end of the war, their most important concerns.

Early acts of violent resistance were often more motivated by instinct, a fighting spirit, than by any formal ideology, but, later, several distinct political alignments and visions of post-liberation France developed among the Résistance organizations. These differences sometimes resulted in conflicts, but the differences among Résistance factions were usually papered-over by a shared opposition to Vichy and the Germans. Over time, the various elements of the Résistance began to coalesce.

Many of the networks recruited and controlled by the British and Americans were not perceived by the French as being especially interested in establishing a united or integrated Résistance operation, and the guerrilla groups controlled by the communists were only slightly more engaged by the idea of a Résistance "umbrella" organization. Nonetheless, a contact between envoys of De Gaulle and the communists was established at the end of 1942. The liberation of Corsica in September 1943, a clear demonstration of the strength of a communist insurgency, was accomplished by the FTP, an effective force not yet integrated into the Secret Army and not involved with General Henri Giraud
Henri Giraud
Henri Honoré Giraud was a French general who fought in World War I and World War II. Captured in both wars, he escaped each time....

, the Free French, or the political unification of the Résistance.

In 1941, the French Résistance began to gel. This was evidenced by the formation of movements in the Vichy zone centered on such figures as Henri Frenay
Henri Frenay
Henri Frenay was a French military officer and French resistance member.Henri Frenay was born in Lyon, France on 11 November 1905, into a Catholic family with a military tradition. He studied the Germanic languages at the University of Strasbourg...

 (Combat
Combat
Combat, or fighting, is a purposeful violent conflict meant to establish dominance over the opposition, or to terminate the opposition forever, or drive the opposition away from a location where it is not wanted or needed....

), Emmanuel d'Astier de la Vigerie (Libération-sud
Libération-sud
The Libération-sud resistance group was established by a group of French people, including Emmanuel d'Astier, Lucie Aubrac and Raymond Aubrac. The first important Resistant group to emerge after the German occupation, it began publishing Libération in July 1941...

), and François de Menthon
François de Menthon
François de Menthon was a French politician and professor of law.-Early and private life:Menthon was born in Montmirey-la-Ville in Jura. He was a son of an old noble family from Menthon-Saint-Bernard. He studied law in Dijon, where he joined Action catholique de la Jeunesse française . He also...

, (Liberté), each of whom was, independently, an agent of the Free French. Formal consolidation was accomplished through the intervention of Jean Moulin
Jean Moulin
Jean Moulin was a high-profile member of the French Resistance during World War II. He is remembered today as an emblem of the Resistance primarily due to his role in unifying the French resistance under de Gaulle and his courage and death at the hands of the Germans.-Before the war:Moulin was...

.

Prefect
Prefect
Prefect is a magisterial title of varying definition....

 of Eure-et-Loir
Eure-et-Loir
Eure-et-Loir is a French department, named after the Eure and Loir rivers.-History:Eure-et-Loir is one of the original 83 departments created during the French Revolution on March 4, 1790 pursuant to the Act of December 22, 1789...

 in 1939, Jean Moulin was subsequently a part of the Air Ministry of Pierre Cot
Pierre Cot
.Pierre Cot , French politician, was a leading figure in the Popular Front government of the 1930s...

. In this context, he had forged a strong network of relationships in antifascist circles. After November 1940, he had the idea of teaming up with his former colleague, Gaston Cusin, to identify and contact a number of potential Résistance "centers of influence", but only during the summer of 1941 was he able to make the most critical contacts, including contact with Henry Frenay, leader of the movement not yet called Combat, but the National Liberation Movement. He also established contact with De Menthon and Emmanuel d'Astier.

In the report he wrote for De Gaulle, he spoke of these three movements and the possibility of bringing them together under the acronym, "LLL".

Jean Moulin's intercession


The majority of resistance movements in France were unified after Jean Moulin
Jean Moulin
Jean Moulin was a high-profile member of the French Resistance during World War II. He is remembered today as an emblem of the Resistance primarily due to his role in unifying the French resistance under de Gaulle and his courage and death at the hands of the Germans.-Before the war:Moulin was...

's formation of the Conseil National de la Résistance
Conseil National de la Résistance
The Conseil National de la Résistance or the National Council of the Resistance is the body that directed and coordinated the different movements of the French Resistance - the press, trade unions, and members of political parties hostile to the Vichy regime, starting from...

(CNR) in May 1943. CNR was coordinated with the Free French Forces
Free French Forces
The Free French Forces were French partisans in World War II who decided to continue fighting against the forces of the Axis powers after the surrender of France and subsequent German occupation and, in the case of Vichy France, collaboration with the Germans.-Definition:In many sources, Free...

 under the authority of the French Generals Henri Giraud
Henri Giraud
Henri Honoré Giraud was a French general who fought in World War I and World War II. Captured in both wars, he escaped each time....

 and Charles de Gaulle
Charles de Gaulle
Charles André Joseph Marie de Gaulle was a French general and statesman who led the Free French Forces during World War II. He later founded the French Fifth Republic in 1958 and served as its first President from 1959 to 1969....

 and their body, the Comité Français de Libération Nationale
French Committee of National Liberation
The French Committee of National Liberation was a body formed by the French leaders Gens. Henri Giraud and Charles de Gaulle to provide united leadership, organize and coordinate the campaign to liberate France from Nazi Germany during World War II. The committee was formed on June 3, 1943 and...

(CFLN).

Activities



Economic resistance


By June 1941, 81% of the miners of the national coalmining company, Charbonnages de France, were on strike, slowing deliveries of coal for the German war industry.

Clandestine press


The first action of many Résistance movements was the publication and distribution of the clandestine press. This was not the case with all movements, as some refused civil action and preferred armed resistance, such as CDLR
Ceux de la Résistance
Ceux de la Résistance" was a French resistance movement during the German occupation of France in World War II.At first the members of CDLR distributed copies of the underground newspaper Combat in the north zone of France which was directly occupied by the Germans...

 and CDLL
Ceux de la Libération
"Ceux de la Libération" was a French resistance movement during the German occupation of France in World War II.CDLL was one of the eight major resistance groups of the Conseil National de la Résistance .-History:...

. Most clandestine newspapers were not consistent in their issues and were often just a single sheet, because the sale of all raw materials – paper, ink, stencils – was prohibited.

In the northern zone, Pantagruel, the newspaper of Franc-Tireur, had a circulation of 10,000 by June 1941, and was quickly replaced by Libération-Nord which reached a circulation of 50,000. By January 1944, Défense de la France
Défense de la France
Défense de la France is the name given to a group of the French Resistance during the Second World War.Essentially developed in the Northern Zone, Défense de la France distinguishes itself by an activity centred on the distribution of a clandestine newspaper created in August 1941 by a group of...

was distributing 450,000 copies.

In the southern zone, François de Menthon
François de Menthon
François de Menthon was a French politician and professor of law.-Early and private life:Menthon was born in Montmirey-la-Ville in Jura. He was a son of an old noble family from Menthon-Saint-Bernard. He studied law in Dijon, where he joined Action catholique de la Jeunesse française . He also...

's newspaper Liberté merged with Henri Frenay
Henri Frenay
Henri Frenay was a French military officer and French resistance member.Henri Frenay was born in Lyon, France on 11 November 1905, into a Catholic family with a military tradition. He studied the Germanic languages at the University of Strasbourg...

's Vérité to form Combat
Combat (newspaper)
Combat was a French newspaper created during the Second World War. Originally a clandestine newspaper of the Resistance, it was headed by Albert Ollivier, Jean Bloch-Michel, Georges Altschuler and, most of all, Albert Camus, Jean-Paul Sartre, André Malraux, Emmanuel Mounier, and then Raymond Aron...

, in December 1941, which grew to a circulation of 200,000 by 1944. During the same period, Pantagruel published 37 issues, Libération-Sud published fifty-four issues and Témoignage chrétien published fifteen.

The underground press of France published books as well as newspapers through publishing houses such as Les Éditions de Minuit
Les Éditions de Minuit
Les Éditions de Minuit is a French publishing house which has its origins in the French Resistance of World War II and still publishes books today.-History:...

 (the Midnight Press) which had been begun in order to circumvent Vichy and German censorship. The novel Le Silence de la Mer
Le Silence de la mer
Le Silence de la mer is a novel written in early 1942 by Jean Bruller under the pseudonym Vercors. It was published secretly in Nazi-occupied Paris...

was written in 1942 by Jean Bruller
Jean Bruller
Jean Marcel Bruller was a French writer and illustrator who co-founded Les Éditions de Minuit with Pierre de Lescure and Yvonne Paraf. During the World War II occupation of northern France he joined the Resistance and his texts were published under the pseudonym Vercors.Several of his novels have...

, and quickly became a symbol of mental resistance through its story of how an old man and his niece do not speak to the German officer occupying their house.


Intelligence


The intelligence networks were by far the most numerous and substantial of Résistance activities. They collected information of military value, such as coastal fortifications
Coastal artillery
Coastal artillery is the branch of armed forces concerned with operating anti-ship artillery or fixed gun batteries in coastal fortifications....

 of the Atlantic Wall
Atlantic Wall
The Atlantic Wall was an extensive system of coastal fortifications built by Nazi Germany between 1942 and 1944 along the western coast of Europe as a defense against an anticipated Allied invasion of the mainland continent from Great Britain.-History:On March 23, 1942 Führer Directive Number 40...

 or Wehrmacht
Wehrmacht
The Wehrmacht – from , to defend and , the might/power) were the unified armed forces of Nazi Germany from 1935 to 1945. It consisted of the Heer , the Kriegsmarine and the Luftwaffe .-Origin and use of the term:...

 deployments. There was often competition between the BCRA
Bureau Central de Renseignements et d'Action
The Bureau Central de Renseignements et d'Action , commonly referred as the BCRA was the World War II-era forerunner of the SDECE, the French intelligence service...

 and the different British intelligence services to produce the most valuable information from their Résistance networks in France.

The first agents of the Free French
Free French Forces
The Free French Forces were French partisans in World War II who decided to continue fighting against the forces of the Axis powers after the surrender of France and subsequent German occupation and, in the case of Vichy France, collaboration with the Germans.-Definition:In many sources, Free...

 to arrive from Britain landed on the Brittany
Brittany
Brittany is a cultural and administrative region in the north-west of France. Previously a kingdom and then a duchy, Brittany was united to the Kingdom of France in 1532 as a province. Brittany has also been referred to as Less, Lesser or Little Britain...

 coast as early as July 1940. They were Lieutenant Mansion, Saint-Jacques, Corvisart and Colonel Rémy, and did not hesitate to get in touch with the anti-Germans within the Vichy military, such as Georges Loustaunau-Lacau
Georges Loustaunau-Lacau
Georges Loustaunau-Lacau was a French army officer, anti-communist conspirator, resistant, and politician.Loustaunau-Lacau was born in Pau, Pyrénées-Atlantiques and in 1912 began his studies at the French Army's officer school, the École Spéciale Militaire de Saint-Cyr...

 and Georges Groussard.

The various Résistance movements in France had to understand the value of intelligence networks in order to be recognised or receive subsidies from the BCRA or the British. The intelligence service of the Francs-Tireurs et Partisans was known by the code letters FANA and headed by Georges Beyer, the brother-in-law of Charles Tillon
Charles Tillon
Charles Tillon was a French politician.- Biography :Tillon was born in Rennes in the Ille-et-Vilaine département....

. Information from services such as it was often used as a bargaining chip to qualify for airdrops of weapons.

The transmission of information was first done by radio transmitter. Later, when air links by the Westland Lysander
Westland Lysander
The Westland Lysander was a British army co-operation and liaison aircraft produced by Westland Aircraft used immediately before and during the Second World War...

 became more frequent, some information was also channeled through these couriers. By 1944, the BCRA was receiving 1,000 telegrams by radio every day and 2,000 plans every week. Many radio operators, called pianistes, were located by German goniometer
Goniometer
A goniometer is an instrument that either measures an angle or allows an object to be rotated to a precise angular position. The term goniometry is derived from two Greek words, gōnia, meaning angle, and metron, meaning measure....

s. Their dangerous work resulted in them having an average life expectancy of around six months. According to the historian Jean-François Muracciole, "Throughout the war, it was communications which constituted the principal difficulty of intelligence networks. Not only were the operators few and inept, but their information was dangerous."

Sabotage




Sabotage is a form of resistance that was taken by groups who wanted to go further than the distribution of the clandestine press. Many laboratories were set up to produce explosives. In August 1941, the Parisian chemist France Bloch-Serazin
France Bloch-Serazin
France Bloch-Sérazin, born on February 21, 1913 in Paris and executed on February 12, 1943 in Hamburg, Germany, was a militant communist who fought in the French resistance during World War II.- Biography :...

 assembled a small laboratory in her apartment to provide explosives to communist Résistance fighters. The lab also produced cyanide capsules to allow the fighters to evade torture if they were arrested. France Bloch was arrested in February 1942, tortured, and deported to Hamburg
Hamburg
-History:The first historic name for the city was, according to Claudius Ptolemy's reports, Treva.But the city takes its modern name, Hamburg, from the first permanent building on the site, a castle whose construction was ordered by the Emperor Charlemagne in AD 808...

 where she was decapitated with an axe in February 1943. In the southern occupation zone, Jacques Renouvin engaged in the same activities on behalf of groups of francs-tireurs
Francs-tireurs
Francs-tireurs – literally "free shooters" – was used to describe irregular military formations deployed by France during the early stages of the Franco-Prussian War...

.

Eventually, stealing dynamite from the Germans became preferred to handcrafting explosives. The British Special Operations Executive
Special Operations Executive
The Special Operations Executive was a World War II organisation of the United Kingdom. It was officially formed by Prime Minister Winston Churchill and Minister of Economic Warfare Hugh Dalton on 22 July 1940, to conduct guerrilla warfare against the Axis powers and to instruct and aid local...

 also parachuted tons of explosives to its agents in France for their essential sabotage missions. The railways were a favourite target of saboteurs, who soon understood that removing the bolts from the tracks was far more efficient than using explosives.

Train derailment strategies varied considerably in their effectiveness. In level farming regions, the Germans managed to repair the tracks quickly, with the salvage of some matériel a relatively easy proposition. However, unbolting a connector plate on the outside rail in a mountainous area (a higher speed, downhill grade section) could result in the derailment of an entire train with considerable amounts of front-ready matériel strewn far down the mountainside. Among the SNCF
SNCF
The SNCF , is France's national state-owned railway company. SNCF operates the country's national rail services, including the TGV, France's high-speed rail network...

 employees who joined the resistance, a subset were in Résistance-Fer
Résistance-Fer
Résistance-Fer was a French Resistance group against the German occupation of France during the Second World War.This specific movement was essentially composed of French railway workers from the SNCF and played an active role in the French Resistance....

 which focused on reporting the movement of German troops to the Allied forces and sabotaging the railways rolling stock as well as infrastructure. Following the invasions of Normandy
Operation Overlord
Operation Overlord was the code name for the Battle of Normandy, the operation that launched the invasion of German-occupied western Europe during World War II by Allied forces. The operation commenced on 6 June 1944 with the Normandy landings...

 and Provence
Operation Dragoon
Operation Dragoon was the Allied invasion of southern France on August 15, 1944, during World War II. The invasion was initiated via a parachute drop by the 1st Airborne Task Force, followed by an amphibious assault by elements of the U.S. Seventh Army, followed a day later by a force made up...

 in 1944, the sabotage of rail transportation became much more frequent and was effective in preventing German troop deployments to the front and in hindering their retreat later.

Generally, the sabotage of equipment leaving armaments factories and derailment in areas where equipment could not readily be salvaged was a more discreet form of resistance and probably at least as effective as the bombings. Available Allied military aircraft was far less vulnerable, as well, remaining available for combat support. It was also preferred as it caused less collateral damage
Collateral damage
Collateral damage is damage to people or property that is unintended or incidental to the intended outcome. The phrase is prevalently used as an euphemism for civilian casualties of a military action.-Etymology:...

 and civilian casualties than Allied bombing.

Guerrilla warfare


After the invasion of the Soviet Union, guerrilla warfare was undertaken by communists, who attacked German forces at the hearts of French cities. In July 1942, the Allies' failure to open up a second front resulted in a wave of guerrilla attacks being carried out by communists, with the intention of maximising the number of Germans deployed in the West in order to relieve the USSR.

The assassinations that took place during summer and autumn 1941, beginning with Colonel Pierre-Georges Fabien's shooting of a German officer in the Paris Métro
Paris Métro
The Paris Métro or Métropolitain is the rapid transit metro system in Paris, France. It has become a symbol of the city, noted for its density within the city limits and its uniform architecture influenced by Art Nouveau. The network's sixteen lines are mostly underground and run to 214 km ...

, caused fierce reprisals and the executions of hundreds of French hostages. As a result the clandestine press was very discreet about the events and the communists soon chose to end the assassinations.

From July to October 1943, groups in Paris engaging in attacks against occupying soldiers were better organised. Joseph Epstein was assigned responsibility for training Résistance fighters across the city, and his new commandos of fifteen men allowed a number of attacks that would not have previously been possible to be carried out. The commandos were composed of the foreign branch of the Franc Tireurs et Partisans, and the most famous of them was the Manouchian Group
Missak Manouchian
Missak Manouchian was a French poet of Armenian birth, a militant communist in the MOI , and military commissioner of the FTP-MOI in the Paris region...

.

Role in the liberation of France and casualties



In determining the role of the French Résistance during the German Occupation, or addressing its military importance alongside the Allied Forces during the liberation of France, it is difficult to give a direct answer. The two forms of resistance, active and passive, and the north-south occupational divide, allow for many different interpretations, but what can broadly be agreed on is a synopsis of the events which took place.

Following the Italian surrender in September 1943, a significant example of Résistance strength was displayed, when the Corsica
Corsica
Corsica is an island in the Mediterranean Sea. It is located west of Italy, southeast of the French mainland, and north of the island of Sardinia....

n Résistance, with the assistance of the Free French
Free French Forces
The Free French Forces were French partisans in World War II who decided to continue fighting against the forces of the Axis powers after the surrender of France and subsequent German occupation and, in the case of Vichy France, collaboration with the Germans.-Definition:In many sources, Free...

, began a movement which liberated the island from General Albert Kesselring
Albert Kesselring
Albert Kesselring was a German Luftwaffe Generalfeldmarschall during World War II. In a military career that spanned both World Wars, Kesselring became one of Nazi Germany's most skilful commanders, being one of 27 soldiers awarded the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves, Swords...

's remaining German forces.

On mainland France itself, from the onset of the D-Day
D-Day
D-Day is a term often used in military parlance to denote the day on which a combat attack or operation is to be initiated. "D-Day" often represents a variable, designating the day upon which some significant event will occur or has occurred; see Military designation of days and hours for similar...

 landings in Normandy in June 1944, the FFI
French Forces of the Interior
The French Forces of the Interior refers to French resistance fighters in the later stages of World War II. Charles de Gaulle used it as a formal name for the resistance fighters. The change in designation of these groups to FFI occurred as France's status changed from that of an occupied nation...

 and the communist FTP
Francs-tireurs
Francs-tireurs – literally "free shooters" – was used to describe irregular military formations deployed by France during the early stages of the Franco-Prussian War...

 movements, theoretically unified under the command of General Pierre Kœnig
Marie Pierre Koenig
Marie Pierre Kœnig was a French army officer and politician. He commanded a Free French Brigade at the Battle of Bir Hakeim in North Africa in 1942....

, fought alongside the Allies to free the rest of France. Several colour-coded plans were co-ordinated for sabotage, with the most important being Plan Vert (Green) for railways, Plan Bleu (Blue) for power installations and Plan Violet (Purple) for telecommunications. To complement these missions, smaller plans were prepared: Plan Rouge (Red) for German ammunition depots, Plan Jaune (Yellow) for German command posts, Plan Noir (Black) for German fuel depots and Plan Tortue (Tortoise) for road traffic. The paralysing of German infrastructure is widely thought to have been very effective. British Prime Minister Winston Churchill
Winston Churchill
Sir Winston Leonard Spencer-Churchill, was a predominantly Conservative British politician and statesman known for his leadership of the United Kingdom during the Second World War. He is widely regarded as one of the greatest wartime leaders of the century and served as Prime Minister twice...

 later wrote in his memoirs of the role the Résistance played in the liberation of Brittany, "The French Resistance Movement, which here numbered 30,000 men, played a notable part, and the peninsula was quickly overrun."

The Liberation of Paris
Liberation of Paris
The Liberation of Paris took place during World War II from 19 August 1944 until the surrender of the occupying German garrison on August 25th. It could be regarded by some as the last battle in the Battle for Normandy, though that really ended with the crushing of the Wehrmacht forces between the...

 on August 25, 1944, with the support of Leclerc
Philippe Leclerc de Hauteclocque
Philippe François Marie, comte de Hauteclocque, then Leclerc de Hauteclocque, by a 1945 decree that incorporated his French Resistance alias Jacques-Philippe Leclerc to his name, , was a French general during World War II...

's French 2nd Armored Division, was one of the most famous and glorious moments of the French Résistance. Although it is again difficult to determine their effectiveness, popular anti-German demonstrations, such as general strikes by the Paris Métro
Paris Métro
The Paris Métro or Métropolitain is the rapid transit metro system in Paris, France. It has become a symbol of the city, noted for its density within the city limits and its uniform architecture influenced by Art Nouveau. The network's sixteen lines are mostly underground and run to 214 km ...

, the Gendarmerie and the Police, took place, and fighting between the opposing forces ensued.

The liberation of most of the southwest, central France, and the southeast was finally completed with the progression of the 1st French Army
French First Army
The First Army was a field army of France that fought during World War I and World War II. It was also active during the Cold War.-First World War:...

 of General de Lattre de Tassigny
Jean de Lattre de Tassigny
Jean Joseph Marie Gabriel de Lattre de Tassigny, GCB, MC was a French military hero of World War II and commander in the First Indochina War.-Early life:...

, which landed in Provence in August 1944 and was assisted by over 25,000 maquis.

One source often referred to is General Dwight D. Eisenhower
Dwight D. Eisenhower
Dwight David "Ike" Eisenhower was the 34th President of the United States, from 1953 until 1961. He was a five-star general in the United States Army...

's comment in his military memoir, Crusade in Europe
Crusade in Europe
Crusade in Europe is a book by General Dwight D. Eisenhower published by Doubleday in 1948. Maps were provided by Rafael Palacios.Crusade in Europe is a personal account by one of the senior military figures of World War II...

:
General Eisenhower also estimated the value of the Résistance to have been equal to ten to fifteen divisions at the time of the landings. (One infantry division represented about ten thousand soldiers.) Eisenhower's statements are all the more credible as he attributed them to his GHQ's formal analyses, and published them only after the War when propaganda intent no longer loomed. Historians still debate how effective the French Résistance was militarily, but for instance the neutralization of the Maquis du Vercors
Maquis du Vercors
-In fiction:The maquis du Vercors is depicted and veterans act in Pierre Schoendoerffer's Above the Clouds 2002 feature film, and in the third season of the British TV programme Wish Me Luck, which first aired in 1990.-See also:...

 alone involved the commitment of over 10,000 German troops within the theater, with several more thousands held in reserve, in a period when the Allied invasion was breaking out of Normandy and French Operation Jedburgh commandos were being dropped nearby to the south to prepare for the Allied landing in Provence.

It is estimated that FFI killed some 2,000 Germans, a low estimate where FFI would refer to the period from June 1944 only. Estimates of the casualties among the Resistance are made harder by the dispersion of movements at least until D-Day
D-Day
D-Day is a term often used in military parlance to denote the day on which a combat attack or operation is to be initiated. "D-Day" often represents a variable, designating the day upon which some significant event will occur or has occurred; see Military designation of days and hours for similar...

, but credible estimates start from 8,000 dead in action; 25,000 shot to death; and several tens of thousands deported, of which 27,000 died in death camps. For perspective, the best estimate is that 86,000 people were deported from France without racial motive, overwhelmingly resistants, a number that exceeds that of Gypsies and Jews deported from France.

Legacy


In coming to terms with the events of the occupation, several different attitudes have emerged in France, in an evolution the historian Henry Rousso
Henry Rousso
Henry Rousso is a contemporary French historian specializing in World War II France.He studied at the École normale supérieure de Saint-Cloud, the Sorbonne, and the Institut d'Etudes Politiques de Paris....

 has called the "Vichy Syndrome".

Immediately following the liberation, France was swept by a wave of executions, public humiliations, assaults and detentions of suspected collaborators, known as the épuration sauvage (wild purge). This period succeeded the German occupational administration but preceded the authority of the French Provisional Government
Provisional Government of the French Republic
The Provisional Government of the French Republic was an interim government which governed France from 1944 to 1946, following the fall of Vichy France and prior to the Fourth French Republic....

, and therefore lacked a form of institutional justice. Approximately 9,000 were executed, mostly without trial. Head shaving was a common feature of the purges, and between 10,000 and 30,000 women accused of having collaborated with the Germans were subjected to the practice, becoming known as les tondues (the shorn).

The official épuration légale
Épuration légale
The Épuration légale was the wave of official trials that followed the Liberation of France and the fall of the Vichy Regime...

began following a June 1944 decree that established a three-tier system of judicial courts; a High Court of Justice, which dealt with Vichy ministers and officials; Courts of Justice for other serious cases of collaboration; and regular Civic Courts for lesser cases of collaboration. The phase of the purge trials ended with a series of amnesty laws passed between 1951 and 1953 which reduced the number of imprisoned collaborators from 40,000 to 62, and was ensued by a period of official "repression" that lasted between 1954 and 1971. During this period, and particularly after de Gaulle's return to power in 1958, the collective memory of "résistancialisme" tended to propose a very much resistant France opposed to the collaboration of the Vichy Regime. This period ended when the aftermath of the events of May 1968, which had divided France between the conservative war generation and the younger, more liberal students and workers, led many to question the Résistance ideals of the official history.

The questioning of France's past had become a national obsession by the 1980s, fuelled by the highly-publicised trials of war criminals such as Klaus Barbie
Klaus Barbie
Nikolaus 'Klaus' Barbie was an SS-Hauptsturmführer , Gestapo member and war criminal. He was known as the Butcher of Lyon.- Early life :...

 and Maurice Papon
Maurice Papon
Maurice Papon was a French civil servant, industrial leader and Gaullist politician, who was convicted for crimes against humanity for his participation in the deportation of over 1600 Jews during World War II when he was secretary general for police of the Prefecture of Bordeaux.Papon also...

. Although the occupation often remains a sensitive subject in the twenty-first century, contrary to some interpretations the French as a whole have acknowledged their past and no longer deny their conduct during the war.

After the war, the influential French Communist Party
French Communist Party
The French Communist Party is a political party in France which advocates the principles of communism.Although its electoral support has declined in recent decades, the PCF retains a large membership, behind only that of the Union for a Popular Movement , and considerable influence in French...

 (PCF) projected itself as "Le Parti des Fusillés" (The Party of those shot), in recognition of the thousands of Communists executed for their Résistance activities. The number of communists killed was in reality considerably less than the Party's figure of 75,000, and it is now estimated that nearer to 30,000 Frenchmen of all political movements combined were shot, of whom only a few thousand were communists.

The Vichy Regime's prejudicial policies had discredited traditional conservatism in France by the end of the war, but following the liberation many former Pétainistes became critical of the official résistancialisme, using expressions such as "la mythe de la Résistance" (the myth of the Résistance), with one concluding, "The 'Gaullist' régime is therefore built on a fundamental lie."

The French Résistance has had a great influence on literature, particularly in France. A famous example is the poem "Strophes pour se souvenir", which was written by the communist academic Louis Aragon
Louis Aragon
Louis Aragon , was a French poet, novelist and editor, a long-time member of the Communist Party and a member of the Académie Goncourt.- Early life :...

 in 1955 to commemorate the heroism of the Manouchian Group
Missak Manouchian
Missak Manouchian was a French poet of Armenian birth, a militant communist in the MOI , and military commissioner of the FTP-MOI in the Paris region...

, whose 23 members were shot by the Nazis.

The Résistance is also portrayed in Jean Renoir
Jean Renoir
Jean Renoir was a French film director, screenwriter, actor, producer and author. As a film director and actor, he made more than forty films from the silent era to the end of the 1960s...

's wartime This Land is Mine (1943), which was produced in the USA.

In the immediate post-war years, French cinema produced a number of films that portrayed a France broadly present in the Résistance. The 1946 La Bataille du rail
La Bataille du rail
La Bataille du rail is a 1946 war movie which tells the courageous efforts by French railway workers to sabotage Nazi reinforcement-troop trains....

depicted the courageous efforts of French railway workers to sabotage German reinforcement trains, and in the same year Le Père tranquille told the story of a quiet insurance agent secretly involved in the bombing of a factory. Collaborators were hatefully presented as a rare minority, as played by Pierre Brewer in Jéricho (1946) or Serge Reggiani
Serge Reggiani
Serge Reggiani was an Italian-born French singer and actor. He was born in Reggio Emilia, Italy and moved to France with his parents at the age of eight...

 in Les Portes de la nuit (1946), and movements such as the Milice
Milice
The Milice française , generally called simply Milice, was a paramilitary force created on January 30, 1943 by the Vichy Regime, with German aid, to help fight the French Resistance. The Milice's formal leader was Prime Minister Pierre Laval, though its chief of operations, and actual leader, was...

 were rarely evoked.

In the 1950s, a less heroic interpretation of the Résistance to the occupation gradually began to emerge. In Claude Autant-Lara
Claude Autant-Lara
Claude Autant-Lara , was a French film director and later Member of the European Parliament .-Biography:...

's La Traversée de Paris (1956), the portrayal of the city's black market and general mediocrity revealed the reality of war-profiteering during the occupation. In the same year, Robert Bresson
Robert Bresson
-Life and career:Bresson was born at Bromont-Lamothe, Puy-de-Dôme, the son of Marie-Élisabeth and Léon Bresson. Little is known of his early life and the year of his birth, 1901 or 1907, varies depending on the source. He was educated at Lycée Lakanal in Sceaux, Hauts-de-Seine, close to Paris, and...

 presented A Man Escaped
A Man Escaped
A Man Escaped or: The Wind Bloweth Where It Listeth is a 1956 French film directed by Robert Bresson. It is based on the memoirs of André Devigny, a prisoner of war held at Fort Montluc during World War II. The protagonist of the film is called Fontaine...

, in which an imprisoned Résistance activist works with a reformed collaborator inmate to escape. A cautious reappearance of the image of Vichy emerged in Le Passage du Rhin
Le Passage du Rhin
Le Passage du Rhin is a 1960 French film directed by André Cayatte. It was released in the USA as Tomorrow is My Turn. It tells the story of two French soldiers in the aftermath of the German invasion of France who become forced labourers on a German farm under the STO, but become involved in the...

(1960), in which a crowd successively acclaim both Pétain and de Gaulle.

After General de Gaulle's return to power in 1958, the portrayal of the Résistance returned to its earlier résistancialisme. In this manner, in Is Paris Burning?
Is Paris Burning?
Is Paris Burning? is a 1966 film dealing with the 1944 liberation of Paris by rival branches of the French Resistance and the Free French Forces.-Plot:...

(1966), "the role of the resistant was revalued according to [de Gaulle's] political trajectory". The comic form of films such as La Grande Vadrouille
La Grande Vadrouille
La Grande Vadrouille is a 1966 Franco-British comedy film about how the crew of a Royal Air Force B-17 shot down over Paris must then make their way through German-occupied France with the main help of two French citizens with very different mindsets.For over forty...

(1966) widened the image of Résistance heroes to average Frenchmen. The most famous and critically acclaimed of all the résistancialisme movies is Army of Shadows (L'Armee des ombres), which was made by the French film-maker Jean-Pierre Melville in 1969. The film was inspired by Joseph Kessel
Joseph Kessel
Joseph Kessel was a French journalist and novelist.He was born in Villa Clara, Entre Ríos, Argentina, because of the constant journeys of his father, a Lithuanian doctor of Jewish origin. Joseph Kessel lived the first years of his childhood in Orenburg, Russia, before the family moved to France...

's 1943 book, as well as Melville's own experiences, as he had fought in the Résistance and participated in Operation Dragoon
Operation Dragoon
Operation Dragoon was the Allied invasion of southern France on August 15, 1944, during World War II. The invasion was initiated via a parachute drop by the 1st Airborne Task Force, followed by an amphibious assault by elements of the U.S. Seventh Army, followed a day later by a force made up...

. A 1995 television screening of L'Armee des ombres described it as "the best film made about the fighters of the shadows, those anti-heroes."

The shattering of France's résistancialisme following the events of May 1968 emerged particularly clearly in French cinema. The candid approach of the 1971 documentary The Sorrow and the Pity
The Sorrow and the Pity
The Sorrow and the Pity is a two-part 1969 documentary film by Marcel Ophüls about the French Resistance and collaboration between the Vichy government and Nazi Germany during World War II. The film uses interviews with a German officer, collaborators, and resistance fighters from...

pointed the finger on anti-Semitism in France and disputed the official Résistance ideals. Time
Time (magazine)
Time is an American news magazine. A European edition is published from London. Time Europe covers the Middle East, Africa and, since 2003, Latin America. An Asian edition is based in Hong Kong...

magazine's positive review of the film wrote that director Marcel Ophüls
Marcel Ophuls
Marcel Ophüls is a documentary film maker and former actor.He was born in Frankfurt, Germany, the son of the director Max Ophüls...

 "tries to puncture the bourgeois myth—or protectively askew memory—that allows France generally to act as if hardly any Frenchmen collaborated with the Germans."

Franck Cassenti, with L'Affiche Rouge (1976); Gilson, with La Brigade (1975); and Mosco with the documentary Des terroristes à la retraite addressed foreign resisters of the EGO, who were then relatively unknown. In 1974, Louis Malle
Louis Malle
Louis Malle was a French film director, screenwriter, and producer. He worked in both French cinema and Hollywood. His films include Ascenseur pour l'échafaud , Atlantic City , and Au revoir, les enfants .- Early years in France :Malle was born into a wealthy industrialist family in Thumeries,...

's Lacombe, Lucien caused scandal and polemic because of his absence of moral judgment with regard to the behavior of a collaborator. Malle later portrayed the resistance of Catholic priests who protected Jewish children in his 1987 film Au revoir, les enfants
Au revoir, les enfants
Au revoir les enfants is a 1987 film written, produced and directed by Louis Malle. The screenplay was published by Gallimard in the same year...

. François Truffaut
François Truffaut
François Roland Truffaut was an influential film critic and filmmaker and one of the founders of the French New Wave. In a film career lasting over a quarter of a century, he remains an icon of the French film industry. He was also a screenwriter, producer, and actor working on over twenty-five...

's 1980 film Le Dernier Métro was set during the German occupation of Paris and won ten Césars
César Award
The César Award is the national film award of France, first given out in 1975. The nominations are selected by the members of the Académie des arts et techniques du cinéma....

 for its story of a theatre production taking place while its Jewish director is concealed by his wife in the theatre's basement. The 1980s began to portray the resistance of working women, as in Blanche et Marie (1984). Later, Jacques Audiard
Jacques Audiard
Jacques Audiard is a French film director, the son of Michel Audiard, also a notable screenwriter and film director.He won twice both the César Award for Best Film and the BAFTA Award for Best Film not in the English Language, in 2005 for The Beat That My Heart Skipped and in 2010 for A Prophet...

's Un héros très discret (1996) told the story of a young man's traveling to Paris and manufacturing a Résistance past for himself, suggesting that many heroes of the Résistance were imposters. In 1997, Claude Berri
Claude Berri
Claude Berri , born Claude Berel Langmann, was one of the great all-rounders of French cinema: an actor, writer, producer, director and distributor. "Out of my failure as an actor was born my desire to direct. Then my relative failure as a director forced me to become a producer. In order to get my...

 produced the biopic Lucie Aubrac
Lucie Aubrac (film)
Lucie Aubrac is a 1997 French biopic of the World War II French Resistance member Lucie Aubrac. The film starred Carole Bouquet in the title role...

based on the life of the Résistance heroine of the same name, which was criticized for its Gaullist portrayal of the Résistance and over-emphasis on the relationship between Aubrac and her husband.

Cultural personalities


The well-known personalities of France —— intellectuals, artists, and entertainers —— faced a serious dilemma in choosing to emigrate or to remain in France during the country's occupation. They understood that their post-war reputations would depend, in large part, on their conduct during the war years. Indeed, many were later ostracised by the French following accusations that they had collaborated.

After the war, many Frenchmen falsely claimed to have been involved in the Résistance. Some, such as Maurice Papon
Maurice Papon
Maurice Papon was a French civil servant, industrial leader and Gaullist politician, who was convicted for crimes against humanity for his participation in the deportation of over 1600 Jews during World War II when he was secretary general for police of the Prefecture of Bordeaux.Papon also...

, created false Résistance pasts.

Among prominent foreign figures who participated in the French Résistance was the later Iran
Iran
Iran , officially the Islamic Republic of Iran , is a country in Southern and Western Asia. The name "Iran" has been in use natively since the Sassanian era and came into use internationally in 1935, before which the country was known to the Western world as Persia...

ian Prime Minister Shapour Bakhtiar
Shapour Bakhtiar
Shapour Bakhtiar was an Iranian political scientist, writer and the last Prime Minister of Iran under Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi...

. His antitotalitarian efforts took him to Paris in 1980 as head of Iranian opposition groups against the then-established Islamic government. He was assassinated in 1991.

See also



  • Breton nationalism and World War II
    Breton nationalism and World War II
    Before and during World War II, the Breton nationalist movements were associated, as a whole, with anti-French and even pro-Nazi positions. The extent of and motivation for these affiliations has been a matter of historical controversy....

  • Chant des Partisans
    Chant des Partisans
    The Chant des Partisans was the most popular song of the Free French during World War II.The piece was written and put to melody in London in 1943 after Anna Marly heard a Russian song that provided her with inspiration. Joseph Kessel and Maurice Druon wrote the French lyrics. It was performed by...

  • Free French Forces
    Free French Forces
    The Free French Forces were French partisans in World War II who decided to continue fighting against the forces of the Axis powers after the surrender of France and subsequent German occupation and, in the case of Vichy France, collaboration with the Germans.-Definition:In many sources, Free...

  • History of women in the military

  • Mâcon
    Mâcon
    Mâcon is a small city in central France. It is prefecture of the Saône-et-Loire department, in the region of Bourgogne, and the capital of the Mâconnais district. Mâcon is home to over 35,000 residents, called Mâconnais.-Geography:...

  • Military history of France during World War II
    Military history of France during World War II
    The military history of France during World War II covers the period from 1939 until 1940, which witnessed French military participation under the French Third Republic , and the period from 1940 until 1945, which was marked by mainland and overseas military administration and influence struggles...

  • Armée secrète
    Armée secrète
    The Armée secrète, created in 1943, was an organisation of French resistance fighters during World War II set up by Jean Moulin. It resulted from an amalgamation of three smaller resistance groups:*Combat*Libération-Sud*Franc-Tireur...

  • Polish Underground State
  • Anti-French Resistance War


Further reading

  • Cobb, Matthew (2009). The Resistance: The French Fight against the Nazis. Simon and Schuster. ISBN 978-1-84737-123-2
  • Rousso, Henry (1991). The Vichy Syndrome: History and Memory in France Since 1944. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press. ISBN 978-0-674-93539-6
  • Knight, Frida (1975). The French Resistance, 1940–44. London: Lawrence and Wishart. ISBN 978-0-85315-331-3
  • Ousby, Ian (1999). Occupation: The Ordeal of France, 1940–44. London: Pimlico. ISBN 978-0-7126-6513-1
  • Schoenbrun, David (1980). Soldiers of the Night, The Story of the French Resistance. New American Library. ISBN 978-0-452-00612-6

External links