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Choices in Vichy France: The French Under Nazi Occupation

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Choices in Vichy France: The French Under Nazi Occupation Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Films like The Sorrow and the Pity and Lacombe Lucien, as well as recent scholarship, have replaced the old Gaullist myth of Nazi-occupied France and "a nation of resisters" with a new myth of "a nation of collaborators." John Sweets's provocative assessment challenges both stereotypes.

From evidence gathered at Clermont-Ferrand, the largest town near Vichy, the Occupation capitol, Sweets found the French far less devoted to Petain than some have argued, and far more supportive of de Gaulle than has been suspected. The New Order was emphatically rejected by most of the French, he concludes, and the numbers involved in the Resistance were larger than has been recognized by previous accounts.

Choices in Vichy France is a compelling work of social history. Drawing on extensive archival research, interviews, and private correspondence, Sweets reconstructs the experiences of the individual men and women in Clermont-Ferrand to understand the dilemmas that Occupation set before them. Sweets found that everything was made difficult and complex by the Occupation; few decisions were simple and many had potentially serious consequences. He concludes that our stereotyped notions of "resistance" and "collaboration" are inadequate to describe the reality of people's behavior under the extreme circumstances of war and occupation.

About the Author -

John F. Sweets is Professor of History at the University of Kansas at Lawrence and the author of The Politics of Resistance in France.

An important revisionist study of the German occupation of France


Overturns stereotypes about "collaboration" and "resistance"


"His research is exemplary...clearly and forcefully written."--Robert O. Paxton

Synopsis:

Post-World War II scholarship and films like The Sorrow and the Pity have frequently replaced the old Gaullist notion of widespread resistance, and cultivated the impression that the French may well have been a "nation of collaborators," embracing the dream of a new authoritarian order in France as embodied by the puppet Vichy regime of Marshall Petain, and hindering the network of the French Underground.

From evidence gathered in France, Germany, and England, John F. Sweets has produced an insightful reappraisal of French life during the war at Clermont-Ferrand, the largest town near the occupational capital of Vichy, and the very setting of The Sorrow and the Pity. Having thoroughly examined town archives, records, and manuscripts, the author reconstructs occupational commerce, education, media, and attitudes, maintaining that, contrary to popular opinion, the vast majority of French were far from collaborationist. Choices in Vichy France details the effects upon society of war, oppression, internment, rationing, aryanization, and propaganda, painting a portrait of the wartime French that lies somewhere between the extremes of outright resistance and enthusiastic collaborationism. With illustrative examples of what day-to-day life was like in the region for the German, the Jew, the Communist, and the fascist, as well as the French masses, this provocative book opens a remarkably clear window onto an era of history often fraught with misunderstanding and suspicion.

Product Details

ISBN:
9780195090529
Subtitle:
The French Under Nazi Occupation
Author:
Sweets, John
Author:
Sweets, John
Author:
null, John
Publisher:
Oxford University Press
Subject:
Military - World War II
Subject:
France
Subject:
German occupation, 1940-1945
Subject:
History, World | European | France
Subject:
Military-World War II General
Copyright:
Publication Date:
19940407
Binding:
Paperback
Grade Level:
College/higher education:
Language:
English
Illustrations:
14 illus.
Pages:
320
Dimensions:
9.38x6.22x.72 in. 1.21 lbs.

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Related Subjects

History and Social Science » Europe » France » World War II
History and Social Science » Geography » General
History and Social Science » Military » World War II » General
History and Social Science » World History » European History General
History and Social Science » World History » France » General
History and Social Science » World History » General
History and Social Science » World History » Germany » General
Languages » ESL » General

Choices in Vichy France: The French Under Nazi Occupation Used Trade Paper
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Product details 320 pages Oxford University Press - English 9780195090529 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by , Post-World War II scholarship and films like The Sorrow and the Pity have frequently replaced the old Gaullist notion of widespread resistance, and cultivated the impression that the French may well have been a "nation of collaborators," embracing the dream of a new authoritarian order in France as embodied by the puppet Vichy regime of Marshall Petain, and hindering the network of the French Underground.

From evidence gathered in France, Germany, and England, John F. Sweets has produced an insightful reappraisal of French life during the war at Clermont-Ferrand, the largest town near the occupational capital of Vichy, and the very setting of The Sorrow and the Pity. Having thoroughly examined town archives, records, and manuscripts, the author reconstructs occupational commerce, education, media, and attitudes, maintaining that, contrary to popular opinion, the vast majority of French were far from collaborationist. Choices in Vichy France details the effects upon society of war, oppression, internment, rationing, aryanization, and propaganda, painting a portrait of the wartime French that lies somewhere between the extremes of outright resistance and enthusiastic collaborationism. With illustrative examples of what day-to-day life was like in the region for the German, the Jew, the Communist, and the fascist, as well as the French masses, this provocative book opens a remarkably clear window onto an era of history often fraught with misunderstanding and suspicion.

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