By Christopher Lloyd
This ebook is set how humans behaved throughout the German profession of France throughout the moment global warfare, and extra in particular approximately how participants from varied social and political backgrounds recorded and mirrored on their studies in the course of and after those tragic occasions. The ebook specializes in the options of treason and sacrifice, and takes the shape of an introductory assessment, by means of contextualized case reviews within the parts of politics, lifestyle, civil management, paramilitary motion, literature and picture.
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On the other hand, Philippe Aziz’s (1970) biography of the two French Gestapo agents Bonny and Lafont certainly emphasises the importance of exclusion in their careers. While Lafont was a semi-literate petty criminal who graduated from prison to become head of the notorious gang of killers and extortionists based in the rue Lauriston in Paris (nominally run by two German NCOs answerable to Colonel Knochen of the SD), his associate Pierre Bonny was a disgraced former police inspector who turned his professional skills to pursuit of the resistance.
The overall history of the French resistance is indeed a success story, a hard-won battle for legitimacy and popular support which reverses the trajectory of Vichy from success to failure. 28 As has already been argued, myth itself is a historical phenomenon and therefore has its place in any enquiry, provided that every effort is made to disentangle fact from fancy. Because we view the past retrospectively, our perception of resistance and collaboration is inevitably distorted by our knowledge of the final outcome; whereas in 1940, German defeat seemed all but impossible and resistance was therefore a desperate gamble taken by a few hundred people mostly regarded as misguided or undisciplined eccentrics and trouble-makers.
30 The maquis, in fact, remains one of the most contested elements of the French resistance, as regards both its political goals and tactical efficacy. R. Kedward observes, in a thoroughly researched study, ‘the maquis were born outside the initiative of the national leaders of the resistance’ (1993: 35), and consequently viewed with hostility not merely by the occupying forces but also by allied and resistance leaders whose authority they contested. In consequence: The maquis in retrospect has been assigned to a largely inferior canon of history, transmitted by methods seen as lightweight, or even dubious, such as stories, anecdotes and polemic.
Collaboration and Resistance in Occupied France: Representing Treason and Sacrifice by Christopher Lloyd