Marianne in Chains: Daily Life in the Heart of France During the German Occupation
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In France, the German occupation is called simply the "dark years." There were only the "good French" who resisted and the "bad French" who collaborated. Marianne in Chains, a broad and provocative history drawing on previously unseen archives, firsthand interviews, diaries, and eyewitness accounts, uncovers the complex truth of the time. Robert Gildea's groundbreaking study reveals the everyday life in the heart of occupied France; the pressing imperatives of work, food, transportation, and family obligations that led to unavoidable compromise and negotiation with the army of occupation.
reason was that military administrators who favoured a more moderate approach were gradually moved on, and the German military administration itself became displaced in the spring and summer of 1942 by the secret police. The tragedy of 16 May 1942 was not an isolated incident but followed a number of attacks on German installations and personnel. For a time, in Tours, the French and German authorities managed to limit the extent of collective reprisals, but their task was becoming harder and
vain for ‘la relève de la Relève’, and realizing that those who had not done their duty in respect of STO were doing very nicely. ‘It is a veritable army of discontented people who will return to France as soon as peace comes to swell the ranks of the communists.’61 Such was the pressure in the last months of the Occupation that no concessions were made to anyone, not to fathers of large families nor even to women. The collaborationist Marcel Déat became Minister of Labour and the rumour spread
coincided with the public memory. To a large extent, as we suggested in the introduction, private accounts are shaped by dominant narratives, but they also diverge either fully or at crucial points, and these privileged moments may allow the historian to glimpse alternative interpretations which have hitherto been marginalized or suppressed. The tension between de Gaulle’s gospel and that of the internal Resistance was in part a tension between a national perspective and local views. It also,
municipal library. The following morning they opened up on the Germans from the library with machine-guns and the Germans riposted by shelling the city. The wind whipped up a fire which burned for three days, killing about 100 people, destroying many ancient buildings and leaving 9,000 homeless.10 The librarian reported that pages of burning books were carried as far as Azay-le-Rideau and Chinon.11 On 20 June the Germans demanded the surrender of the city, and in an extraordinary scene of
representative from a ‘left-wing union’, but this never came off and the ‘clerical complexion’ of the organization was criticized even by Vichy government officials, from Interior Minister Darlan downwards, who feared an anticlerical backlash.28 The affair of the contaminated biscuits in Maine-et-Loire illustrates ways in which opponents of Vichy reaction were able to exploit hostility towards the Secours National. Rumours began to spread that the vitimin-enriched biscuits distributed to schools