Monday, May 19, 2008

"Vichy Forecasts Nazi Pact in Week... Form to Stress Economic and Moral Factors... Continental Solidarity Is the Keynote..."

A headline today.

The article recounts the opinion of the Temps, the French newspaper read by "financiers, manufacturers and the liberal professions":

"None among us has forgotten the apostolate of Chancellor Hitler, who, even before becoming the master of Germany, quickened the strength of his country by awakening in the minds of his compatriots the ancient and noble — and also grim — notion of national honor. It seems impossible that this ardent apostle should not admit that a foreign people, even vanquished — especially if vanquished — may also feel itself bound by honor. In point of fact we know that he admits it. Since her defeat France has received his salute both as soldier and as political leader. And we were even told that in order to rebuild a well-balanced Europe France would naturally be called upon for her share of intelligence and effort."
Vanquishment is rough. It makes you say the most godawful stupid things.


1 comment:

LutherM said...

By May 19, 1941, France had been defeated and partially occupied by the Germans for almost 11 months.
Germany and the USSR were still at peace, and the Soviets had finished their Baltic and other occupations.
The British had attacked and sunk part of the French fleet.
Rommel was in Africa, winning battles against the British. Germany had invaded and conquered Yugoslavia and mainland Greece, defeating the British forces sent there - and were about to rout a numerically superior British force in Crete.
The Communist Party says "cooperate' with the Germans - (that didn't change until the USSR was invaded). Pierre Laval and Action Francaise had almost an affection for the authoritarian government of Germany.
So, suppose you live in Vichy France. If you oppose cooperation with Germany, you are in a distinct, non-rational minority that believes in the Free French, Churchill, and the ideals of the French Revolution.

Ann - you wrote " Vanquishment is rough. It makes you say the most godawful stupid things."

Everything is marvelously clear in hindsight.