Occupation: The Ordeal of France, 1940-1944

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Pimlico, 1999 - France - 348 pages
"Defeat in 1940 left the French so chastened and demoralized that they readily supported the Vichy regime, committed not just to pragmatic collaberation but to finding scapegoats for the nation's disgrace. Jews, Communists, pre-war politicians from the Third Republic, school teachers and Freemasons all fell victim to a witch-hunt which left plenty of scope for private grudges as well. Resistance came late- de Gaulle's appeal in 1940 for France to continue to fight went largely unheard, and the Occupation was fourteen months old before the first German soldier was killed by resistants. The public mood changed only as the Reicht's original correctness gave way to brutality and as events outside France prefigured possible German defeat. Even as Liberation approached, resistance was still local, small-scale and divided, never the mass army of later myth. Different visions of who should inherit France complicated the persuit of collaberators and foreshadowed the chaos of post-war politics."

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OCCUPATION: The Ordeal of France 1940-1944

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A history of how the French people dealt with the humiliating defeat administered by the Germans in 1940, the occupation that followed, and the end of the Third Republic. Ousby, who has taught history ... Read full review

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About the author (1999)

Ian Ousby wrote widely on subjects both English and French. His recent books include The Cambridge Guide to Literature in English and Occupation- The Ordeal of France 1940-1944, which won the 1997 Edith McLeod Literary Prize, given annually to the British book which 'has contributed most to Franco-British understanding', and the 1997 Stern Silver PEN Award for Non-fiction. He died in August 2001.

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