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During WW2, why did the French cooperate with the Germans?

Were they motivated by anti-Semitism or were they simply bullied by the Nazis? Today, are the French ashamed by their actions?

by Anonymousreply 3501/27/2013

Many didn't cooperate and many had little choice but to cooperate to some extent. Some French people cooperated willingly with the German forces. Your title is far too much of a generalisation.

by Anonymousreply 101/27/2013

[quote]he French power structure saw the German roundups and harassment of their Jews as a silver lining of Nazi occupation -- something they would not have overtly encouraged or involved themselves in, but something they did not see worth protesting.

This is not true. The French refused to deport Jews who were French citizens. The only Jews they allowed to be deported were foreign nationals.

France was divided into occupied and unoccupied areas. The rationalization for establishing the Vichy government was that the alternative was complete occupation by the Germans. Vichy didn't so much co-operate with the Germans as it did try to protect France and French interests during a really bad time.

Frankly, without Vichy it's possible there would have been no operating room for the spies and resistance members who played an important part in defeating the Nazis.

by Anonymousreply 301/27/2013

[quote]If you look at who was in the camps and when, the initial inmates were those who opposed the Nazis politically in any way -- Commies, Labor types, radical priests and leftist Lutherans. Jews as Jews were targeted for boycotts, but it was many years before Kristalnacht, and many years after that before enforced ghettos grew into Auschwitz and Dachau. And even those were more about forced labor in the beginning rather than the Final Solution.

There are so many fallacious in this it's hard to know where to begin. Here are few corrections.

Catholics and Lutherans were never a subject of systematic persecution by the Nazis. Ever! The Catholic Church collaborated with the Nazis from the beginning of its rise to power. Reichskonkordat of July 20, 1933 was a treaty between the Holy See and Nazi Germany. It was signed by Cardinal Pacelli who later became Pope Pius. With it the Catholic Center party withdrew all opposition to the Nazi Party. Generally, German Protestants also supported the Nazi party.

Gay men were among the first arrested and sent to labor camps, where they were worked to death.

While efficient large scale death camps like Auschwitz and Dachau came later in the war, systematic arrests and execution of Jews began much earlier. Beginning in 1933, the German government enacted a series of anti-Jewish laws restricting the rights of German Jews to earn a living, to enjoy full citizenship and to educate themselves, including the Law for the Restoration of the Professional Civil Service, which forbade Jews to work in the civil service.[12] The subsequent 1935 Nuremberg Laws stripped German Jews of their citizenship and forbade Jews to marry non-Jewish Germans.

by Anonymousreply 401/27/2013

R4, any political opposition to Nazi power ended up in the camps, regardless of religious orientation, Catholics and Lutherans included. Not everything was about the Jews - 45% of those who died in the camps were NOT Jewish.

The first internees were political dissidents and Soviet POWs. The anti-gay rhetoric served as an excuse to knock off SA Chief Ernst Röhm, the greatest threat to Hitler's consolidation of power.

by Anonymousreply 601/27/2013

There was a crisis in leadership in France at the time that the Germans came in. That, plus the fact that the French had been traumatized over the impact of World War 1 on their soil made it easy for the Germans to come in and take over.

There was always the French Resistance - but really what could they do?

by Anonymousreply 701/27/2013

Essentially they are cheese-eating surrender monkeys.

by Anonymousreply 801/27/2013

[quote]any political opposition to Nazi power ended up in the camps, regardless of religious orientation, Catholics and Lutherans included. Not everything was about the Jews - 45% of those who died in the camps were NOT Jewish.

While some of the people who opposed the Nazis and were persecuted by them were Catholic and Protestants, it is important to note that there is no evidence anywhere that these opponents were systematically persecuted because of their religion. It is not even possible to determine how many of these political opponents were Catholic or Protestant. Except for Jews and Jehovah's Witnesses, the religions of prisoners were not even recorded.

Of course lots of other people were killed by Nazis. An estimated 5 to 10 million Russians may have been killed. Political Prisoners, Gypsies, Jews, Jehovah's Witnesses, Gay men, Asocial people, and Emigrants were systematically arrested and killed. My point was that the systematic persecution of various groups by the Nazis did not include persecution of anyone because they were Catholic and Protestant.

by Anonymousreply 901/27/2013

It's telling that Hitler forced the Italian to withdrew from the small part of France that they occupied because they were relatively tolerance of Jewish people, far more so than the Vichy government.

by Anonymousreply 1001/27/2013

The French were under German military occupation. They were in a similar situation to the people in Afghanistan currently under U.S. occupation: either obey the orders of the people who had them under the point of a gun and risk being marked by their own people as collaborators, or disobey them and risk being tortured, imprisoned and killed. Some of them cooperated for their own reasons, some of them mounted armed resistance, some of them engaged in covert resistance. Do you think the Afghans who cooperated with our troops are motivated by religious prejudices? Should they be ashamed? Plenty of people see them as traitors and consider the fact that we have killed a fuck of a lot of people there.

by Anonymousreply 1101/27/2013

[quote]"If you study the mindset of the time, Antisemitism wasn't a driving force behind anything" - R2 R5

Holocaust denial and revisionism is another form antisemitism.

R2's post at R5 gives his antisemitic self away.

No, I'm not from Tel Aviv. I'm not Israeli, I'm not even Jewish. I am concerned when someone adds insult to injury by denying underlying antisemitism of the Third Reich. That and the fact antisemitism is just plain stupid.

by Anonymousreply 1201/27/2013

It's hilarious how r2 tries to dress up his trivialization Nazi anti-Semitism all rationally and objectively, but then immediately exposes his shit-stained anti-Semitic underpants as soon as he's challenged with real historical facts.

It's like David Irving's retarded little brother.

by Anonymousreply 1401/27/2013

if there has been any revisionist history going on, it has been from the Jews who keep acting "like it was all about them, and only about them."

Do you have any more stupid generalizations to make about Jews?

Thanks for proving my point, R13 R5 R2 .

by Anonymousreply 1501/27/2013

[quote] "...if there has been any revisionist history going on, it has been from the Jews who keep acting like it was all about them, and only about them." R14

That was supposed to be in quotes.

by Anonymousreply 1601/27/2013

And then r11 comes along and almost joins him in the vileness stakes by likening Afghans who worked with the Nato forces to Vichy collaborators.

by Anonymousreply 1701/27/2013

To get back to your original questions, OP -- Germany marched into France and occupied it, with the Vichy government in exile governing only the south of France. Anti-semitism was rampant not only in most of Europe, including France, but also in the United States.

The French today are still fairly anti-semitic. They also like to highlight their resistance movement when they talk about WWII -- they don't like to talk about Americans and British coming in to rescue them and save Europe. Talk to some French people, and you'd think no one cooperated with the Germans and everyone was working with the resistance.

by Anonymousreply 1901/27/2013

Because of WWI, which was fought mainly on French soil or to be more exact, in French soil. They had a very vivid memory of that war and the destruction that came with it. It was only twenty year before. They saw what happened to anyone who resisted the Germans and wisely put down their arms. It was smarter to work against the Germans while living with them than watch their country get bombed to smithereens again.

by Anonymousreply 2001/27/2013


It's not about comparing us to Nazis. It's the fact that when somebody marches into your neighborhood and occupies it by force, you're presented with a set of moral choices that aren't that easy to sort out. Ask the Southerners how they feel about the army of Northern occupation during the Civil War. There are still plenty of mixed feelings about that.

by Anonymousreply 2101/27/2013

The point, r21, is that - as you would know if you had read anything on the topic - the majority of Afghans SUPPORTED the presence of Western troops. Not because they were threatened with "being tortured, imprisoned and killed" - but because most of them didn't actually like being subjugated by the Taliban, whatever your orientalist-dressed-as-anti-imperialist fantasies.

There was no "resistance" opposing the Western forces, just Islamist terrorists - unless you also count the "Werwölfe" as "resistance".

by Anonymousreply 2201/27/2013

The French are pussies.

by Anonymousreply 2401/27/2013

France was also kind of hamstrung by some really poor decisions that the leaders of the French and British government made between the invasion of Poland and the Nazis' march into France. They wanted to fortify the Maginot Line into Belgium, but the King of Belgium wouldn't let them do that. They had intelligence that the German advance would actually flank the Maginot and go through the Ardennes instead, and they ignored that.

by Anonymousreply 2601/27/2013

You misread, r25 - I was still talking about Afghanistan (admittedly off-topic).

by Anonymousreply 2701/27/2013

A little off topic but my favorite part of the war is how not one single goddam German claimed to know what was going on during the war.

by Anonymousreply 2801/27/2013

Speaking of the French, does anyone have news as to how well the pro marriage equality demonstrations went in Paris today? I hope the turnout was good. According to polls support in general has risen in France over the last few weeks.

by Anonymousreply 2901/27/2013

R28 -- there is a great film called "The Dirty Girl" that talks about that very subject.

by Anonymousreply 3001/27/2013

It was for love of Paris! Those animales threatened to bomb Paris, to set it on fire, to destroy it! Quel domage! This we could not allow.

by Anonymousreply 3101/27/2013

The Action Francaise had a long and loud history of antisemitism. Furthermore, antisemitism had been inculcated in the officer corps through the polarizing Dreyfus Affair in 1906. Probably a majority of French officers, and certainly their commanders, were Nazi collaborators. The Nazis hinted that they had several on their payroll. What is not in dispute is that Marshal Petain had been living in retirement in Spain where he was a great fan of Generalissimo Franco and his fascist regime. Did he understand when he set up Vichy that the Germans intended to run it in an extreme ideological fashion under their puppet Laval? Probably not. These were a mostly idiot class (not unlike America's generals today).

The French upper class and media had been denigrating the politicians of the Third Republic nonstop for twenty years. During the 1920s they went on a capital strike to sink the economy so they could overturn leftist politicians like Leon Blum (not unlike what is happening in the U.S. today). So when the invasion came, they believed the Nazis would overturn what they viewed as the leftist excesses of national politics, and the gridlock in Parliament. Instead, the Nazis plundered them. It was what they deserved for getting so wrapped up in a world of propaganda and unreality out of hate for the poor and middle class.

by Anonymousreply 3201/27/2013

You see the same thing with the rich in America today. The Arabs, and wealthy Asians wouldn't think twice about stealing everything they own. But they will gladly make common cause with the Arabs against the American poor and middle class.

by Anonymousreply 3301/27/2013

"Better Hitler than Blum!"

by Anonymousreply 3401/27/2013

R28, not every German was like that but it should be noted that the worst behavior occurred outside of Germany, particularly in Poland and Russia.

R19, if you want to really acknowledge who saved the French, British, and other western Europeans from Hitler, you need to tip your hat to the Russians. Americans are very guilty of not acknowledging roles other nations play - past or present.

by Anonymousreply 3501/27/2013
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