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Resistance In France Under Nazi Occupation

1287 words - 5 pages

Walters PAGE 1
Derik WaltersPhilip SlabyHISTORY 255March 1, 2010Resistance in France Under Nazi OccupationBy 1943 Nazi armies were in command of the entire country of France. Because of the occupation, many forms of resistance developed in France. Most Resistance groups consisted of small groups of armed men and women who were willing to fight against the Nazi occupiers. Although there were many types of resistance present in France during World War II, it was largely ineffective in causing damage to Nazi forces.Generally speaking, there are four factors that lead to resistance in occupied nations. The factors are brutality of the occupier, economic exploitation, the loss of collaboration power, and in the case of France communism was the last factor. The Germans brutally defeated France therefore leaving the country with no hope. The structural framework of the country collapsed. The Nazi army killed hundreds of thousands of French men, women, children, and especially Jews. People who resisted against German force were subject to extreme brutality and often death. This in turn directly heightened the efficiency of German control.Many French town workers were victims of rationing and exploitation by German troops in their own factories. On February 1943, they were threatened by a forced labor service and found it easier to join a movement that combined patriotic combat and class struggle than to be forced into essentially slave labor in Germany. The Germans were also known for abusing natural resources that France was rich in. They also exploited as much labor as possible so they didn't have to mobilize Germany.In France there was collaborationist regime in power out of the town of Vichy France run by Marshall Pétain. Vichy France collaborated with Germany, but in 1943 it became unpopular and ceased to exist because the Germans completely took over. Because the collaborationist regime lost power and popularity the people began to resort to their own devices in dealing with the German occupiers. This led to a rise in resistance activity all over France, with actions as simple as telling Germans the wrong directions on the streets or sometimes actions more severe.An aspect unique to France resistance was the effect communism had on the French resistance movement. Before the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact was rendered invalid; European communists especially French, were not able to participate in subversive activities. After the pact was disbanded, communists were able to resist Nazi occupiers. Because communism is more organized and secretive in general, this allowed resistance groups in general to be more effective. In 1941-42 was the only movement that was organized and effective in Russia and France. This allowed it to be the most effective piece of the resistance in France.In France the resistance can be categorized in three different ways: by terrorist attacks, organized action, more specifically organized guerillas, and finally non-violent...

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