The history of Vichy has been subjected to heated controversies since 1945. In the years that followed the liberation, most historians and politicians alleged that France had resisted to the German, and developed a myth, the Resistantialisme. This term implies that the majority of the French population considered the Germans as enemies, and that they were in favour of the victory of the Allied. For instance, Vercors became a prominent writer with his novel, Le silence de la Mer, which tells the history of a French girl who refuses to talk to a German officer. Nevertheless, in the seventies, the myth of Resistantialisme foundered with the Publication of Paxton's book, Vichy France, which demonstrates that the French government had collaborated with the Germans. The majority of historians who has studied Vichy's regim focus on the most obvious aspects of collaboration: an administrative school to provide the administration with high civil servants, the propaganda made by Vichy and his will to create a society based on traditional values (with the famous slogan: Travail, Famille, Patrie).
[...] Fro instance, he tried to develop an economic collaboration with Berlin tons of copper were ceded to Germany by the minister of industrial production. Jacques Barnaud came to an agreement in May 1941 for a mutual production of aluminium. And the Communication minister came to Paris with plans for joint European construction of roads and railroads. But the most ambitious plan of Darlan was to help the Germans in fighting the British in Iraq, backing the insurrection of Rashid Ali-al-Gailani. [...]
[...] Needless to say that the issue of relations with France has been a point of contention between the British and the Americans. Roosevelt was clearly unwilling to see Vichy as a collaborationist state. Even after the events in Syria and the Protocols of Paris, The United States followed its conciliatory policy with France. R.T Thomas condemns the “blindness” of Roosevelt, stating that main outcome of the episode was to demonstate to Vichy that it could collaborate with Germany without sacrificing American support, and indeed that such support might even be redoubled if Washington became sufficiently anxious”. [...]
[...] To begin with, I'll focus on the policy” implemented by Laval in 1940 until the 13th of June. Then, I'll put larger emphasis on the diplomatic policies of Darlan, and his grand design. But in each part, I'll try to draw a parallel between Vichy's relations with the British cabinet and the Franco-German relations. After the defeat of France in June, the government was forced to sign an armistice with the Germans. The conditions of Hitler were very tough; needless to say that the armistice was the dreamed occasion for Hitler to take a revenge on France after the Treaty of Versailles. [...]
[...] The “entrevue de Montoire” has been subjected to controversies in France, even if most of Frenchmen saw in this meeting a positive sign, which could lead France to wangle concessions. Therefore, Pétain pronounces a famous speech on October 30th, with this famous phrase: “J'entre dans la voie de la collaboration”. The men of Vichy tried to convince Berlin that they were deeply in favour of collaboration and that their links with Great Britain were very modest. As a way of example, Laval promised to Abetz on the 16 of November that he will inform the Germans of every Anglo-French negotiation. [...]
[...] And in November and December, he produced a memorandum, establishing the principles of the future French collaboration; each minister had been asked to produce a note describing the possibilities of Franco-German collaboration in their respective domain. He submitted the memorandum to Goering on the 4th of December, during an interview. But it did not satisfied the Germans, who were willing to obtain military aid from France in North Africa. They stressed that the use of Bizerte to supply Rommel's army was necessary to re-open the Franco-German negotiations. [...]
Online readingwith our online reader
Content validatedby our reading committee