Monday, June 16, 2008


This Day in the History of France Being France

On this day in 1940, having lost catastrophically to the invading German Armies, in the city of Vichy, the French Senate and Chamber of Deputies made 84-year-old Marshal Henri-Philippe Petain (the hero of Verdun) Prime Minister of France, the as yet unconquered by German forces part, which he would be for less than a month. On July 11, he received the title of "Chief of State," making him a virtual dictator--although one controlled by Berlin. Eventually, the Germans would take over all of France and then, just over a year and a half later, would be kicked out of the country by combined American, British, Canadian, et al., forces starting in earnest on June 6, 1944.
Recall this photo whenever you hear of the heroic French resistance. There were, before D-Day, many more collaborators than resistance fighters in France.


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