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France

The Dark Years


1940-1944
Julian Jackson

OXPORD
UNIVERSITY PRESS

0nhi
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Introduction: Historians
and the Occupation

I n France, the period between 1940 and 1944 is k n o w n as the ' D a r k


Years'. T h e prosecutor at the post-war trial o f Marshal Petain, Andre M o r n e t ,
entitled his memoirs 'Four Years to Erase from our History'.' There was a l o t to
erase|Tn 1940, after a battle lasting only six weeks, France suffered a catastrophic
military defeat. A n armistice was signed w i t h Germany, and half o f France,
including Paris, was occupied by German troops. I n the other h a l f a supposedly
independent French government, headed by Marshal Petain, installed itself i n
the spa t o w n o f Vichy. ;'The V i c h y government liquidated France's democratic
institutions, persecutecf Freemasons, Jews, and Communists, and embarked o n
a policy o f collaboration w i t h Germany. Eventually 650,000 civilian French
workers were compulsorily drafted to w o r k i n German factories; 75,000 Jews
om France perished i n Auschwitz; 30,000 French civilians were shot as host-
ages or members o f the Resistance; another 60,000 were deported to German
concentration camps.
Andre Mornet's desire to erase these years from history was widely shared. D e
Gaulle tried to do the same. I n August 1944, his provisional government issued
an ordinance declaring that all Vichy's legislation was n u l l and void: history
w o u l d resume where i t had stopped i n 1940. W h e n de Gaulle was asked i n l i b -
erated Paris to announce the restoration o f the French Republic, he refused
on the grounds that i t had never ceased to exist. Th is legal fiction became the
foundation o f a heroic reinterpretation o f the D a r k Years. According to this rein-
terpretation, most o f the horrors inflicted on France had been the w o r k o f the
Germans alone; de Gaulle and the Resistance had incarnated the real France;
and the mass o f the French people, apart from a handful o f traitors, had been
solidly behind them , whether i n thought or i n deed. Even M o r n e t contradicted
^ e tide to his o w n memoirs, by stating i n the epigraph that the Resistance had
made the period between 1940 and 1944 'years to inscribe i n our history'. Th is
sistance m y t h reached its apogee i n the 1960s when de Gaulle was president

Quat,
re am h rayer de notre histoire (1949).
2 Introduction Introduction 3

o f the Fifth Repubhc. I n 1964, the remains o f Jean M o u l i n , w h o had been de differing degrees, V i c h y attracted people as varied as the architect Le Corbusier,
Gaulle's envoy to the Resistance, were transferred to the Pantheon where France's the journalist H u b e r t Beuve-Mery, the future president Francois M i t t e r r a n d , the
national heroes are buried. economist Francois Perroux, the theatre director Jean Vilar. These are n o t mar-
T h e heroic m y t h ignored too many inconvenient realities to survive for ever ginal figures i n France's twentieth-century history, and V i c h y was the beginning
d u r i n g the Occupation M o r n e t himself offered his legal services to the prosecu- o f their careers n o t the end. Mitterrand's importance hardly needs emphasis;
t i o n at the R i o m trial where V i c h y had p u t its political enemies i n the d o c k a n d Beuve-Mery, founder o f Le Monde, was the most powerful newspaper editor i n
it started t o crumble i n the 1970s. A catalyst i n this process was Marcel Ophuls's France from 1945 u n t i l 1969; Perroux was the most distinguished French
documentary film The Sorrow and the Pity. Arguably one o f the most i m p o r t a n t economist o f the twentieth century, the French Keynes as his obituaries p u t i t ;
historical documentaries ever made, Ophuls's three-hour film, released i n 1971, Vilar was the founder o f the Avignon festival, a pioneer o f the democratization
was a craftily constructed w o r k w h i c h presented the French population d u r i n g o f theatre i n post-war France. M e n t i o n i n g these names is n o t intended t o dis-
the Occupation i n an unprecedentedly unfavourable light, depicting them as credit the individuals concerned, b u t to emphasize the complexity o f Vichy.
predominantly selfish and attentiste. Ophuls delighted i n capturing o n screen Some o f the people i n this list eventually ended u p i n the Resistance, b u t this
people's attempts to rewrite their past. T h e film had been made for television, d i d not necessarily mean that they repudiated the values w h i c h had led t h e m to
but i t was so iconoclastic that the authorities refused to broadcast i t , and i t was Vichy. T h e Resistance was never m o n o l i t h i c , and the lines d i v i d i n g it from V i c h y
not televised i n France u n t i l 1981. The Sorrow and the Pity was part o f the 1968 were not always well defined. ' -t - ^ ,
m o o d o f y o u t h rebellion: de Gaulle was president, and i t was his version o f the
past that was being challenged. A second film w i t h a great impact was Louis
Malle's Lacombe Lucien (1974), the story o f an adolescent peasant boy w h o
Ambiguities
becomes a collaborator by chance not conviction. Returning o n his bicycle from T h e ambiguities o f the period can be illustrated by five short quotations.
an attempt t o j o i n the Resistance, he has a puncture, stumbles u p o n some The first is from H e n r i Frenay, one o f the earliest resisters. I t comes from the
Germans, and ends up w o r k i n g for them instead. T h e film depicts an amoral manifesto o f the Resistance movement he began t o organize i n the a u t u m n o f
w o r l d w i t h o u t heroes where destiny is arbitrary.^ 1940:
F r o m the 1970s, the French were increasingly reminded i n films, books, and
We are passionately attached to the wo r k o f Marshal Petain. We subscribe to the
newspapers that millions o f people had revered Marshal Petain; that V i c h y laws,
body o f great reforms which have been undertaken. We are animated by the desire
not German ones, had represented the 'true' France and discriminated against
that they turn out to be durable and that other reforms will complete those already
French Jews and French Freemasons; that French policemen, n o t German ones, undertaken. I t is w i t h this aim i n m i n d that we form part o f the movement o f
had arrested Jews and Communists; that the resisters had been a small m i n o r - National Liberation . . . A l l those who serve i n our ranks, like those who are
ity; and that most people had been attentistes not heroes. T h e m y t h was turned already there, will be authentic Frenchmen. The Jews will serve i n our ranks i f
o n its head. Films n o w treated the Resistance i n a debunking mode: Vichy, j i o t they have really fought i n one o f the two wars.'
de Gaulle or the Resistance, n o w seemed to represent the 'true' France,.
The second quotation comes from a letter w r i t t e n i n June 1940 by Fran9ois
Thi s vision o f the Occupation is no more satisfactory than the Gaullist one.
Valentin w h o shortly afterwards became leader o f the Legion des Combattants,
Petain was certainly popular, but his regime less so. Jews were persecuted by the
an organization created by V i c h y to d r u m up support for Petain.
French government, b u t a larger p r o p o r t i o n o f Jews survived the Holocaust i n
France than i n most other occupied countries. O p i n i o n was attentiste, but atten- I consider the attitude o f the Petain government to be mad. We are beaten. Alas,
tisme covered a m u l t i t u d e o f positions. There was a Resistance m y t h w h i c h this is true. But i t is no reason to accept as definitive what, w i t h an exercise o f
needed t o be punctured, b u t that does not mean that the Resistance was a m y t h . w i l l , need not be more than an accident. To treat w i t h the enemy is to submit!
Redressing the balance does n o t , however, involve returning to the o l d It is to reinforce Germany against England, our last hope: i t is to dishonour our-
selves in furnishing arms to our enemy against our ally. We must hope and there-
mythology. T h e history o f the Occupation should be w r i t t e n n o t i n black and
fore hold o u t . . . I f the possibility offers itself for me to leave for England, I w i l l
white, b u t i n shades o f grey. V i c h y may have been a reactionary and author-
not let i t slip through m y hands.'*
itarian regime, b u t i t enjoyed heterogeneous support, even f r o m people w h o
had backed the left-wing Popular Front i n the 1930s. A t different times, and to
' I n D . Cordier, Jean Moulin: L'Inconnu du Pantheon, i. Une ambition pour U Repuhlique (1989), 25-8.
For the post-war m e m o r y a n d representation o f the O c c u p a t i o n , see H . Rousso, The Vichy Valentin w r i t i n g to his wife o n 23 June 1940, cited i n J.-P C o i n t e t , La Legion fianfaise des
Syndrome (1991). ,,, <:ombattants 1940-1944: La Tentation du fascisme (\<)<)%), 71. ' ,~ . , - ,
4 Introduction Introduction 5

T h e t h i r d quotation comes from the jo urn a l o f the Catholic philosopher Gaulle himself was steeped i n Peguy's w r i t i n g ; he quoted h i m i n a speech on i8
10
Emmanuel M o u n i e r w h o was, when he penned these words i n October 1940,
June 1942-
a qualified supporter o f the V i c h y regime. H e is c o m m e n t i n g on Vichy's Statute
V i c h y was also eager to claim the patronage o f Peguy. There was even talk o f
discriminating against Jews:
instituting a national holiday to commemorate h i m . " Peguy was cited as an
This evening appeared the shameful Jewish Statute, much more severe than inspiration behind the regime's conservative counter-revolution, christened the
anything which had been expected . . . I feel myself aged as i f by an illness.^ National Revolution.'^ O n e o f Peguy's sons, Pierre, wrote a book to support this
T h e fourth quotation comes from Maurice Ripoche, founder o f the Resistance interpretation.'^ But Peguy was also praised by hardline 'collaborationists' w h o
organization Ceux de la Resistance: believed that Vichy's reforms were insufficiently radical and wanted a fascist
regime i n France. O n e o f this group, the novelist Robert Brasillach, saw Peguy
We need to get rid o f talkative politicians and Jews without fatherland.''
as 'the inspirer o f the new France, i n brief a French National Socialist'. H e
T h e final quotation comes from a study published i n 1942 by the Resistance regretted only that Peguy had not been a racist,'"* but i n 1941 Peguy's other son,
movement O C M : Marcel, published Le Destin de Charles Peguy w h i c h claimed: ' M y father is above
The Jewish minority, concentrated in some big centres and represented in politi- all a racist. . . His thought could be summed up as: a country, a race, a leader.'"
cal, intellectual, and financial milieux is active and very much in evidence . . . I t is not unusual for historical figures to undergo a posthumous annexation
Anti-semitism . . . remains universal even in liberal countries. This suggests that which pays little respect to the reality o f their lives^Joan o f A r c was also invoked
it is based on a reality. by all sides under the O c c u p a t i o n b u t Peguy's w r i t i n g genuinely lent itself to
contradictory interpretation. As a young Socialist at the t u r n o f the century, he
A pro-Petainist resister; a pro-British and anti-German Petainist; a pro-Jewish
was an ardent defender o f the innocence o f Alfred Dreyfus, seeing the Drey-
Petainist; two anti-Semitic resisters: these are not the categories we m i g h t expect.
fusard cause as a spiritual crusade to defend the purity o f the Republican tradi-
T h e y reveal the complexity o f reactions to the Occupation and the extent to
tion. By 1904, however, he had come to deplore the way Dreyfusism had been
w h i c h antagonists m i g h t share as many assumptions w i t h their enemies as w i t h
appropriated by careerist politicians. As he p u t i t i n a famous aphorism: 'Every-
those o n their o w n side. People w h o made different choices often d i d so i n
thing begins as mystique und ends as politique.' I n 1905, i n the shadow o f Franco-
defence o f similar values.
German rivalry, Peguy's book Notre patrie celebrated patriotism, and distanced
h i m from the internationalism o f the Socialists w i t h w h o m he had fought for
P#guys Frances Dreyfus. I n 1910, his poem Le Mystere de la charite de Jeanne d'Arc announced
O n e c o m m o n p o i n t o f reference for resisters, V i c h y conservatives, and his conversion to Catholicism. H e died at the battle o f the M a r n e i n 1914, after
Paris-based fascists alike was the writer Charles Peguy. O n the day Marshal Petain which he became the object o f a patriotic cult.""
announced he was seeking an armistice, the Christian Democrat activist E d m o n d T h e essential p o i n t about Peguy, however, is n o t that his life was a series o f
Michelet distributed i n the streets o f his t o w n a tract containing six quotations renunciations and repudiations. Rather i t was one o f accumulations and accre-
from Peguy. O n e o f these read: ' I n wartime he w h o does n o t surrender is m y tions. H e was not, as he saw i t , first Socialist, Republican, and pro-Jewish and
man, whoever he is, wherever he comes f r o m , and whatever his party . . . A n d then Catholic and patriotic: he was all these things at the same time. This made
he w h o surrenders is m y enemy whoever he is, wherever he comes f r o m , and Peguy an awkward member o f any camp he joined. H e was a Republican w h o
whatever his party." Michelet was the first o f many resisters to quote Peguy. His despised political parties; a Catholic w h o attacked the institutional C h u r c h ; a
name was often invoked by resisters opposed to Vichy's anti-Semitic laws.'"* De defender o f French rootedness w h o wrote i n passionate praise o f Judaism. Above

^ Cordier, Jean Moulin: L'Inconnu du Pantheon, i i i . De Gaulle capitale de la Resistance (1993), 214. O n de Gaulle and Peguy see the atticles i n 13/41 {1983).
'' Q u o t e d i b i d . 219. ^ S. Laurent, ' D a n i e l Haleyy 1872-1962: Face a I'histoire et a la politique' (Masters thesis, I n s t i t u t
d etudes politiques, Paris, 1993), 171.
' A . Calmette, L' "O.C.M."Organisation civile et militaire. Histoire d'un mouvement de resistance
D . Halevy, Peguy (1941); P Douceur, Peguy, la Revolution et le sacre (1943); R. Vallery-Radot, Sources
(1961). 53-
une^ doctrine nationale: De Joseph de Maistre h Charles Peguy (1942).
" H . Nogufcres, Histoire de la Resistance en France, i (1967), 455-6; H . R. Kedward, Resistance in Vichy
1^ Piguy presente aux jeunes (1941).
France (1983), 25-7.
' e.g. the second issue o f the resistance paper La France continue i n O c t . 1941, and the sixth issue ot
D , Carroll, French Literary Fascism: Nationalism, Anti-Semitism and the Ideology of Culture
(1995), 47-
the resistance jou rn al Cahiers du temoignage chretien. See also Peguy-Peri published by the u nd er g r o u nd
PP- vi> v i i i .
Resistance pub lish in g house Editions de M i n u i t i n 1944. For the uses and abuses o f Pdguy's name under
the Occupation, see J. Bastaire, Peguy contre Petain: L'Appel du 18 juin (2000). G. Leroy, Peguy entre I'ordre et la revolution (1981) is the best study o f Peguy. ' , !,
6 Introduction Introduction 7

all, Peguy was a moralist and a prophet. I f there is a thread r u n n i n g through his interviews w i t h resisters. I n 1980, i t was subsumed into the Institut d'histoire d u
w r i t i n g , i t is to be f o u n d i n his deep immersion i n French history, his suspicion temps present ( I H T P ) w h i c h is devoted to the study o f contemporary history i n
o f the 'modern', and his cult o f the traditions o f the French countryside and general, but still concentrates primarily o n the Occupation."*
artisan labour. C l a i m i n g to despise intellectuals w h o dealt only i n abstractions I n the first twenty years after 1945, historical w r i t i n g centred mainly on the
one o f his key words is charnelPeguy was as involved i n the physical produc- Resistance. W h e n M i c h e l published a critical bibliography o f the Resistance i n
t i o n o f the journal he published as he was i n w r i t i n g for i t . Peguy's fundamental 1964, he listed 1,200 items.'''' M a n y o f them were the w o r k o f former resisters
belief was that all the traditions he celebratedthe Catholic, the Socialist (his w h o wanted to tell their stories. Memoirs were also produced by members o f de
socialism was never Marxist), the Republican, the Jewishare part o f the rich Gaulle's London-based Free French,^" and by some Resistance leaders w h o had
soil o f France's history. There is no writer more French than Peguy, b u t he was remained i n France.^' Very different pictures emerged depending whether the
at the confluence o f many different Frances. writer had been based i n L o n d o n or France. Colonel Passy, head o f de Gaulle's
V i c h y conservatives admired Peguy's obsession w i t h rootedness and tradition; intelligence service, described the Resistance i n France as 'an abundant desire
de Gaulle his passionate patriotism; Catholic resisters his concern for spiritual to do well, brave thoughts and exalted imagination w h i c h translated i n t o
values; Republican resisters his defence o f the purest Republican ideal; fascists disorganised actions w i t h o u t real effectiveness'.^^ D e Gaulle's o w n memoirs
his furious intransigence. These strands cannot be easily separated out, and this w h i c h appeared between 1954 and 1959 said a l o t about his conflicts w i t h his
is what makes Peguy such a perfect emblem for France's history between 1940 Anglo-Saxon allies b u t treated the Resistance w i t h a mixture o f glacial respect
and 1944. and O l y m p i a n disdain, as a piece i n the larger Gaullist enterprise to rescue
Over the past twenty-five years, that tortured history has been the subject o f French honour.
intensive historical research. N o t h i n g could be less true than the journalistic A number o f histories began to appear, starting i n 1951 w i t h a study o f the
cliche, particularly c o m m o n among the British, that France has failed to 'con- small movement Resistance,^^ and c o n t i n u i n g i n t o the 1960s w i t h histories o f
front' her wartime past. Thus before the recent trial o f the V i c h y functionary larger movements^'' and o f Resistance institutions.^^ M o s t o f these appeared w i t h
Maurice Papon for crimes against humanity. The Times i n fo rm e d its readers that the encouragement o f Michel's C o m i t e , i n a series called 'Esprit de la Resistance',
the event 'set the stage for a painful and overdue examination o f France's wartime whose self-proclaimed objective was to be 'the edification o f our citizens and
past'.'^ T h e re-examination may be painful, but i t is not overdue. I f one goes the re-establishment o f a t r u t h w h i c h puts each person i n their just place, the
into any bookshop i n France, there is frequently a whole table displaying recent formation o f the young i n France'.^'' A l t h o u g h the authors had usually been
works o n the Occupation, and usually those concentrating on its most unsavoury involved i n the Resistance, these were scholarly works based considerably on oral
aspects. Such books can hterally be bought on station platforms. T h e flood o f evidence. As Lucien Febvre wrote i n the preface to one study, the Resistance
w r i t i n g o n the Occupation seems unstoppable: i t is n o w the most intensively generation had to provide its o w n account o f its h i s t o r y . T h e C o m i t e even set
researched period o f French history. about producing a chronology, departement by departement, o f every single act
o f resistance recorded o n over 150,000 index cards. Th is was n o t just historical

' 1945-1965: The Resistance writes its History '* H . M i c h e l , 'Le C o m i t e d'histoire de la Deuxieme Guerre mondiale', RHDGM114 (1981), 2-17.
Bibliographie critique de la Resistance (1964). I n fact, m a n y o f the items listed are more concerned
T h e w r i t i n g o f the history o f the Occupation began even while German w i t h V i c h y than the Resistance.
soldiers were still present i n France. I n October 1944, de Gaulle's government Colonel Passy (A. Dewarvin), 2^ Bureau Londres (1947); i d . , 10 Duke Street Londres (1948); i d . ,
set up a historical committee to study the occupation and liberation o f France. Missions secrhes en France (1951); J. Soustelle, Envers et contre tout, 2 vols. (1947-50).
G. de BenouviUe, Le Sacrifice du matin (1946); Y. Farge, Rehelles, soldats et citoyens (1946); A .
This became the C o m i t e d'histoire de la Deuxieme Guerre mondiale, headed H u m b e r t , Notre guerre (1946); C. Pineau, La Simple Veriti (1961).
by the historian H e n r i M i c h e l . T h e C o m i t e set about b u i l d i n g an archive o f 10 Duke Street, 105. ' ' ' ' ' ' ' '
material relating to the war, and i t founded a j o u r n a l , the Revue d'histoire de la 24 ^' ''^'""s^"' d'historique du mouvement ne autour du journal clandestin Resistance (1951).
M . Granet a n d H . M i c h e l , Combat: Histoire d'un mouvement de Resistance (1957); M .
Deuxieme Guerre mondiale, w h i c h published the first scholarly articles o n the Granet, Difense de la France (i960); A . Calmette, V "O.C.M."; M . Granet, Ceux de la Resistance
period, and has done so ever since. T h e C o m i t e had a team o f departmental cor- (1964).

respondents156 o f t h e m by 1979many o f t h e m secondary school teachers, 26 ^ ' Conseil national de la Resistance (1958).
G. Bidault i n the preface to H . M i c h e l and B. M i r k i n e - G u e t z e v i t c h , Les Ldees politiques et sociales
w h o collected local information o n the Occupation and conducted some 2,000 de la Resistance (1954), p. v i .
Avant-propos to M i c h e l and M i i k i n e - G u e t z ^ v i t c h , Les Idies, p . x; repeated by M i c h e l himself,
'r> Granet and M i c h e l , Combat, 3-4.
19 Sept. 1996.
8 Introduction Introduction 9

positivism gone mad, but also an act o f piety: the C o m i t e saw its role as trans- largely ignored. T h e Revue d'histoire de la Deuxieme Guerre mondiale d i d n o t
m i t t i n g part o f the national heritage to future generations.^^ devote an issue to the Occupation and V i c h y before 1964. M o s t w r i t i n g o n
T h e d o m i n a n t figure o f this historiography was H e n r i M i c h e l (1907-86) V i c h y t o o k the f o r m o f exculpatory memoirs w r i t t e n by the regime's former
whose prolific o u t p u t included the first short general history o f the Resistance supporters.'^ T h e start o f the C o l d War provided a more sympathetic audience
i n 1950, the first doctoral thesis devoted to i t , and the first scholarly study o f a for these accounts than they w o u l d have received i n 1945. I n 1957 Laval's daugh-
single resistance movement.^' Before 1940, M i c h e l had been a history teacher ter produced a three-volume collection o f testimonies by former collaborators
and Socialist activist i n T o u l o n . H e participated i n the Resistance o f the Var o f her father. A l t h o u g h m u c h o f the documentation was useful, the interpreta-
departement, representing the Socialists o n the Departmental Liberation C o m - tions were tendentious, and produced an angry rebuttal by historians o n the
mittee. H e was b o t h a scholar and an effective popularizer, inspired by a sense Comite.^'
o f d u t y to the m e m o r y o f the Resistance. I t was, he wrote, 'one o f the most The first history o f V i c h y came not from an academic historian, but from the
magnificent episodes i n the history o f France' despite the fact that 'moving from writer Robert A r o n i n 1954. I n the 1930s, A r o n was one o f that generation o f
mystique to politique, i t became loaded, i n spite o f itself, w i t h impurities'.'" young intellectuals disgusted by what they considered to be the impotence o f
M i c h e l , while not ignoring conflicts between France and L o n d o n , sometimes let the T h i r d Republic. A r o n himself had belonged to a group called Ordre nouveau,
piety get the better o f h i m . Thus i n his biography o f Jean M o u l i n , M i c h e l wrote whose members included Jean Jardin, later a close adviser t o Laval i n 1942.
o f the conflict between M o u l i n and another leading Gaullist resister, Pierre Thanks to his relationship w i t h Jardin, A r o n evaded anti-Semitic persecution
Brossolette: ' I t is, i n m y view, unnecessary to linger over this episode. Jean and escaped to N o r t h Africa where he supported General G i r a u d , the conserva-
M o u l i n and Pierre Brossolette both died heroically as victims o f the Gestapo and tive general w h o m the Americans sponsored as a counterweight to de Gaulle.
our m e m o r y o f t h e m cannot be dissociated f r o m the same feeling o f respect and A r o n was well connected i n the worlds o f politics and business, and his history
a d m i r a t i o n . ' " This biography appeared i n 1964, the year i n w h i c h de Gaulle's o f V i c h y was based to a considerable extent o n personal information (and also
decision to transfer Moulin's remains to the Pantheon signified that he had been on the records o f the post-war trials). W r i t i n g w i t h no nostalgia for the T h i r d
selected as the emblematic hero o f the Resistance, the man w h o had unified i t Republic, A r o n produced a subtly apologetic account o f V i c h y w h i c h argued
and rallied i t to de Gaulle. that the regime had acted as a 'shield' between the French and the Germans,
This Gaullist consensus was rejected by the Communists w h o proclaimed doing its best to resist German pressure for collaboration. W h e n this d i d not
their predominant role i n the R e s i s t a n c e . T h e Party downplayed the impact o f succeed, the fault lay w i t h Laval not P e t a i n . A r o n ' s distinction between a V i c h y
de Gaulle's B B C speech o f 18 June 1940 and claimed that its o w n Appeal o f 10 o f Petain and a V i c h y o f Laval received the i m p r i m a t u r i n 1956 o f the respected
July had been more i m p o r t a n t . N o n - C o m m u n i s t historians, however, argued political scientist A n d r e Siegfried.'^
that the Party had not started to resist u n t i l H i t l e r invaded the Soviet U n i o n i n For all its faults, Aron's book had the merit o f viewing V i c h y as more than
June 1941. O n e respect i n w h i c h Gaullist and C o m m u n i s t interpretations d i d simply a tool o f Germany. H e reinserted i t into French history as w o r t h y o f study
converge was i n emphasizing the centrality o f resistance, whether Gaullist or in itself A l t h o u g h Aron's interpretation o f V i c h y was clearly not Gaullist, i t d i d
C o m m u n i s t . Between these Gaullist and C o m m u n i s t m o n o l i t h s , there was litde not necessarily subvert the Gaullist m y t h . By suggesting that V i c h y had tried
r o o m for dissenting voices, although one or t w o squeezed t h ro ugh i n the to resist i n its o w n way, A r o n , like the GauUists and Communists, l i m i t e d
memoirs o f resisters like Emmanuel d'Astier de la Vigerie and Georges Bidault. the number o f real 'traitors' to a handful. H e too agreed that the 'real' France
But these d i d not substantially affect the overall picture. D'Astier had a reputa- was about resistance; he merely wanted t o include V i c h y i n i t .
t i o n for irreverence and Bidault was k n o w n to have personal grudges against de
Gaulle whose Algerian policy he opposed.
1970S: Enter the Vichy Regime
Thi s concentration o n the Resistance meant that the history o f V i c h y was
T h e professional historians at last turned their attention t o V i c h y i n the
^' M i c h e l , 'Le C o m i t e ' , 9; i d . , 'Pour une chronologic de la Resistance', Revue historique, 224 (i960), late 1960s. From this p o i n t one can discern three distinct phases i n the study o f
111-22.
^' I d . , Histoire de ia Resistance en France (1951); i d . , Les Courants de pensee de la Resistance (1962): H . d u M o u l i n de Labarth^te, Le Temps des Illusions: Souvenirs (juillet ip40~avril 11)42) (1946); M .
Gtanet and M i c h e l , Combat. syrouton, Du service public h la prison commune (1950); Y. Bouthillier, Le Drame de Vichy, 2 vols. (1950-1);
Histoire de la Risistance (1969 edn.), 118, 125. J- Barthelemy, Memoires, ministre de la justice: Vichy (1941-1943) (1989 edn.),
^' Jean Moulin: L'Unificateur (1964), 159. 36 '^^ Franfais sous I'occupation (1957); P A r n o u l t et al.. La France sous I'Occupation (1959).
Institut Maurice Thorez, Le Parti frangais communiste dans la Resistance (1967); J. Duclos, Memoires: Histoire de Vichy 1940-1944 (1954).
Dans la bataille clandestine (1970); C. TiUon, Les FTP (1962); F. Grenier, Cetait ainsi (1959). Siegfried, 'Le V i c h y de Petain, le V i c h y de Laval', Revue fran^aise de science politique, 614 (1956),
737-49.
E. Astier de la Vigerie, Sept fois sept jours (1961); G . Bidault, D'une Resistance h Tautre (1965).
10 Introduction Introduction 11

Vichy. T h e first concentrated primarily on the nature o f the regime; the second H o f f m a n n , w h o had passed his adolescence i n occupied France. H o f f m a n n was
on public o p i n i o n and the reactions o f different social groups; the t h i r d on the the author o f t w o brilliant articles, w h i c h remain among the most i m p o r t a n t
interactions between regime and society. pieces ever written o n the regime. I n the first, he interpreted V i c h y n o t as a
T h e first phase was inaugurated by the publication i n 1972 o f Robert Paxton's simple revenge o f the reactionary right but a 'pluralist dictatorship' where dif-
Vichy France: Old Guard and New Order, 1940-1944 (translated into French a ferent political factions competed for influence. I n the second, he analysed the
year later). Paxton, w h o taught at C o l u m b i a University, had already established different strands o f collaboration.'" A l t h o u g h H o f f m a n n argued that there were
his scholarly credentials w i t h a study o f the army under Vichy.'" But his second several Vichys and several kinds o f collaboration, the distinction was not between
book caused outrage i n some quarters i n France, not least at the presumption o f a 'good' one and a 'bad' one, between Petain and Laval. W h i l e emphasizing the
a 41-year-old American lecturing the French about their past. Flenri M i c h e l , w h o diversity o f Vichy, H o f f m a n n argued for an internal logic r u n n i n g through the
reviewed the book favourably, wondered i f the moral passion underlying Paxton's history o f the regime from the beginning to the end.
scholarship was n o t inspired by a degree o f anti-Frenchness. Answering this p o i n t A n o t h e r pioneering w o r k , appearing i n French translation i n 1968, was La
i n the preface to a 1982 edition o f his book, Paxton observed that, w r i t i n g at the France dans I'Europe de Hitler by the German historian Eberhard Jackel.''^ From
time o f the V i e t n a m war, his target was 'nationalist conformism o f any k i n d ' . ' ' ' the German archives Jackel showed that V i c h y had actively sought collaboration,
Paxton has since become the inspiration for a generation o f younger French and that this policy had been carried out even when Laval was n o t i n power.
historiansrecently his book was described i n France as the 'Copernican Vichy's domestic policies came under scrutiny i n 1970 when the august Fonda-
revolution' i n the study o f Vichy'*"and he has become the most celebrated t i o n nationale des sciences politiques organized a c o l l o q u i u m o n Vichy, assem-
V i c h y historian. Flis book, even after rwenty-five years, remains the best study bling survivors from the period and historians o f i t . ^ ' A l t h o u g h confining itself
o f the regime. i;;'. j.;; y.'' to the study o f policy and institutions, this c o l l o q u i u m provided new informa-
Paxton's interpretation had three m a i n strands. First, he showed that the tion on V i c h y policy, and addressed the issue o f continuity between V i c h y and
leaders o f the V i c h y regime had consistently sought to collaborate w i t h Germany. the years surrounding i t .
M a k i n g extensive use o f German archives, Paxton rejected,.,th..,diailicri^ These studies had nibbled away at Aron's interpretation, b u t it was Paxton's
between a collaborating and pro-German V i c h y o f Laval and a patriotic and study w h i c h made the impact.'*'* His book was w r i t t e n w i t h a moral passion
anti-German one o f Petain. For Paxton, there was no Petainist double game. which was all the more effective for being restrained i n its expression. M o r e
Secondly, Paxton argued that V i c h y had a domestic project for the political importantly, no one had offered such a trenchantly comprehensive synthesis.
regeneration o f French society. Where i t had been customary to view V i c h y as a Hoffmann's articles constructed the conceptual framework around w h i c h a
v i c t i m o f circunistance_s and blame its most unsavoury policies o n the Germans, history o f V i c h y m i g h t be w r i t t e n , but he had not himself w r i t t e n that history;
Paxton distinguished between policies w h i c h were imposed by the Germans and Jackel had not addressed domestic policy; the 1970 c o l l o q u i u m had not covered
those w h i c h were not. For example, he showed incontrovertibly that V i c h y had foreign policy, and thus it sidestepped the relationship between Vichy's internal
its o w n anti-Semitic agenda. Thirdly, Paxton demonstrated the complexity reforms and collaboration.
and incoherence o f Vichy's domestic policies. Instead o f seeing V i c h y as an
I t is not enough to write a good history book (which Paxton certainly d i d ) ;
exclusively reactionary regime, Paxton showed that i t contained modernizers as
It helps to write i t at the right time. Paxton's book appeared when the Gaullist
well as conservatives: the subtide o f his book was ' O l d Guard and N e w Order'.
m y t h was losing its credibility, and people wanted to hear what he was saying.
Thus Paxton reinserted Vichy into a longer historical context, drawing out con-
Jackel's book, although narrower i n focus than Paxton's, was hardly less i m p o r -
tinuities w i t h France's past and future. V i c h y could no longer be viewed as an
tant. Appearing i n French i n 1968, i t sold 3,000 copies i n its first ten years;
aberration or parenthesis i n French history.
Paxton's sold over 58,000 i n its first twelve years.'"
I t w o u l d be w r o n g to see Paxton's interpretation as novel i n all respects. T h e
impact o f his book has overshadowed other studies w h i c h anticipated many o f ' T h e V i c h y Circle o f French Conservatives' (1956) and 'Self-Ensnared: Collaboration w i t h Na...
'azi
his conclusions. There was, for example, the Franco-American historian Stanley *jermany' (1968), both repr, i n S. H o f f m a n n , Decline or Renewal! France since the ifjos (J^tvi York, 1974),
3-^5 and 26-44.
(1st pu b . i n Get., 1966.)
" Parades and Politics at Vichy: The French Officer Corps under Marshal Petain (Princeton, 1966). Fondation nationale des sciences politiques, Le Gouvernement de Vichy 1^40-1942 (1972).
" Rousso, Vichy Syndrome, 251-6. For the critical reception o f Paxton i n France, see J. Sweets, 'Chaque O t h e r i m p o r t a n t pioneering studies w h i c h deserve not to be forgotten were A. H y t i e t , Two Years
livre un evenement. Robert Paxton and the French, from briseur de glace to iconoclaste tranquille, "JFrench Foreign Policy: Vichy 1940-1942 (Geneva, 1958); H . Michel, Vichy annee mo (1966); G. Warner,
i n S. Fishman et al. (eds.), France at War: Vichy and the Historians ( O x f o r d , 2000), 2134. ''erre Laval and the Eclipse of France (1968); Y. D u r a n d , Vichy (1972).
*' J.-P Azema and F. Bedarida, "Vichy et ses historiens'. Esprit, r8i (1992), 43-51: 47. Rousso, Vichy Syndrome, 276.
12 Introduction Introduction 13

Subsequent w o r k on the regime has extended or refined Paxton's interpreta- Prefects are the agents o f the government i n the departements. Each departement
tions, b u t not challenged t h e m substantially.'"' I n 1982, the doyen o f French has a prefect at its head, and one o f his duties is to provide the government
diplomatic historians, Jean-Baptiste Duroselle, produced a study o f foreign w i t h regular bulletins on public o p i n i o n . Obviously this source needs to be used
policy based o n newly opened French archives. H e identified more internal carefully, not least because prefects' reports were coloured by their author's o w n
debate i n the m a k i n g o f French foreign policy, b u t d i d n o t fundamentally differ ideological assumptions, and their deformation professionnelle inclined t h e m to
from Paxton except on details.''^ Studies o f economic policy-making i n France present a picture corresponding to the desires o f their superiors. But these biases
by the American historian Richard Kuisel and the French historian M i c h e l can be detected, and under V i c h y the prefects were soon reporting what their
Margairaz have underlined even more emphatically than Paxton the continuities superiors d i d n o t wish to hear. Using such sources, Pierre Laborie for
between V i c h y and what came before and after: their account o f the modern- the departement o f the L o t i n the south-west, and John Sweets for the city o f
ization o f the French economy gives a central role to the V i c h y period.^* C l e r m o n t Ferrand, reached remarkably similar conclusions about public
There have been some rearguard actions against Paxton's interpretation. o p i n i o n . " They found almost universal hostility to the Germans from early o n ,
Michele Cointe t has tried to salvage the existence at V i c h y o f a liberal tradition and a fairly rapid disenchantment w i t h Vichy. I f the French were attentiste, i t
by studying the regime's attempt to set up a consultative body called the Conseil was not out o f sympathy w i t h the occupier. A proliferation o f regional studies
national.^' But i f the Conseil's history is w o r t h w r i t i n g , i t should n o t be given has largely confirmed these interpretations.
excessive centrality: i t had no power. I n 1989, there was a boldly apologetic M o r e importantly, such studies have challenged overly simplistic categoriza-
biography o f the V i c h y leader A d m i r a l Darlan. But despite the authors' best tions o f o p i n i o n . T h e d i c h o t o m y between 'resistance' and 'collaboration' is too
endeavours, the new documentation they unearthed only further undermined crude to accommodate the m u l t i p l i c i t y o f responses to the regime. Laborie has
the case they wished to prove.'" T h e consensus existing i n the historical profes- plotted the confusion, changeability, and complexity o f public opinion.''* These
sion today is best demonstrated by the fact that w h e n i n 1990 Francis-Georges general studies o f public o p i n i o n have been buttressed by studies o f particular
Dreyfus provided a rechauffe yeision o f the A r o n thesis, his efforts excited indif- social and political groups: c o m m i t t e d collaborators,'' workers,"" industrialists,'^
ference more than outrage." prisoners o f war,'* w o m e n , " the young.*"" T h e best indication o f the trans-
formation o f research agendas was the publication twenty years after the 1970
colloquium o n the regime o f another huge c o l l o q u i u m organized i n 1990 by the
The 1980S: From Regime to Society I H T P on the theme o f ' V i c h y and the French people'.
T h e second phase i n the historiography o f V i c h y was a move at the end T h e t h i r d phase i n the historiography o f V i c h y from the mid-1980s has
o f the 1970s, f r o m a study o f the regime to a study o f those w h o lived under i t , concerned the interaction between regime and people: the study o f social and
from politics to society.'^ Inasmuch as Paxton discussed this subject,,, his view cultural organizations, some established or encouraged by the regime, others
was that the Resistance was a t i n y minority, and that most people, whatever thair independent o f it, w h i c h mediated between State and society. Th is has opened
private views o f the Germans, were 'functional collaborators'. Just as the German
archives had allowed Paxton to challenge previous orthodoxy, i t was the opening
up o f prefects' reports, and other contemporary reports on public o p i n i o n , w h i c h " Laborie, Resistants, Vichyssois et autres: Devolution de I'opinion et des comportements dans le Lot 1939
h 1944 (1980); Sweets, Choices in Vichy France (New York, 1986).
allowed his judgement o f the attitudes o f the French population to be contested. L'Opinion publique sous Vichy (1990).
P. O r y , Les Collaborateurs I940-I94s(i<)76); B. G o r d o n , Collaborationism in France duringthe Second
World War (1980).
* Paxton's interpretation was followed by the m a i n French textbook o n the period, J.-P. Azema, 'Syndicalismes sous V i c h y ' , special issue o f MS 158 (Jan./Mar. 1993), ed. J.-L. Robert; D.
De Munich k la Liberation (i')7')). Peschanski and J.-L. Robert, Les Ouvriers en France pendant la Deuxieme Guerre mondiale (1992).
L'Abime ipjp-ip4$ {ic)Si). . 1 R. de Rochebrune and J.-C. Hazera, Les Patrons sous I'Occupation (1995); A . Beltram, R. Frank,
'^^ Margairaz, L'J^tat, les finances et I'economie: Histoire d'une conversion 193219^2 (1991); Kuisel, and H . Rousso, La Vie des entreprises sous I'Occupation (1994).
Capitalism and the State in Modern France (Cambridge, 1981). Y. D u r a n d , La Captivite: Histoire des prisonniers de guerre franfais 1939-194; (1980).
Le Conseil national de Vichy 1940-1944 (1989). S. Fishman, We will wait: Wives of French Prisoners of War, 1940-194; (1991); H . D i a m o n d , Women
^" H . Coutau-Begarie and C. H u a n , Darlan (1989); see the critique by Paxton, ' U n amiral entre deux and the Second World War in France 1939-1948: Choices and Constraints (1999), 82-6.
blocs', VSRHi6 (1992), 3-19. W . Halls, The Youth of Vichy France ( O x f o r d , 1981) (a pioneering b ook b u t more about the
'' Histoire de Vichy (1990). See H . Rousso, ' Q u a n d V i c h y est soumis a la "re v i si o n"', LHistoire, 139 policies o f the regime than the responses o f those w h o lived under i t ) ; P G i o l i t t o , Histoire de lajeunesse
(1990), 82-4, and 141 (1991), 64-5. sous Vichy (1991).
A pioneer was M . Baudot, L'Opinion publique sous I'occupation (1961), o n the Eure departement Site VEF; see slso V. V>\xinn, La France i Theure allemande {i'}i)'yi. , ,
14 Introduction ntroduction 15

up new areas o f research into cinema,''^ theatre/'' art/'' propaganda/' icono- the C D J C published pioneering works i n the 1940s and 1950s on the Jews i n
graphical representations/'^' labour organizations/'^ and so o n . These studies occupied France d u r i n g the war: on Jewish resistance,^" o n internment camps
revealed all kinds o f intermediate positions between support for the regime and for Jews i n occupied France,''' and on V i c h y institutions dealing w i t h the Jews.^^
opposition to i t : especially i n the cultural sphere, the regime was seen to permit T h e CDJC's w o r k was entirely on the margins o f official French historiogra-
a surprising degree o f latitude. Again, these new research agendas were discussed phy and went unnoticed by the wider public, another example o f h o w the recep-
at another i m p o r t a n t c o l l o q u i u m o f the I H T P i n 1987 devoted to 'cultural life t i o n o f historical w r i t i n g is as m u c h a product o f the time i t is w r i t t e n as o f its
under Vichy'. 'objective' quality. T h e neglect was b o t h a result o f the Jacobin tendency o f
I f one wanted to summarize the periodization w h i c h this historiographical French h i s t o r i o g r a p h y r e l u c t a n c e to treat specific groups apart, f r o m their
survey has suggested, i t w o u l d r u n as follows: A benevolent interpretation o f the identity as French citizens'''and also a reluctance by French Jews themselves
V i c h y regime and the conduct o f the French w h o lived under i t (Aron: the m i d - to confront the horrors o f the period. M a n y Jews after the war wanted to fj.L-back
1950s to the mid-1960s) was replaced by a more critical one (Paxton: the m i d - into French society and preferred to accept the idea that responsibility for their
1970s to the mid-1980s); and this was subsequently modified by a more nuanced persecution rested w i t h the Germans.
account o f the social and political attitudes o f the French population (Laborie: T h i s perspective changed i n the 1970s partly because the Arab-Israeli war
mid-1980s onwards). developed a clearer sense o f identity among France's Jewish population, pardy as
a result o f the challenging o f myths i n the wake o f The Sorrow and the Pity (the
film d i d not duck French persecution o f the Jews). A m o n g historians, Robert
',5 Le Grand Absent: The Jews ^ Paxton was again a pioneer, co-authoring i n 1981 a merciless account o f Vichy's
' These historiographical stages emerge particularly clearly i n the way the policy towards the Jews, w h i c h showed h o w Vichy's discriminatory laws were
historiography has treated one specific issue: Y.ifihy.,and the Jews. U n t i l the end passed independently o f German pressure and argued that u n t i l 1942 the atti-
o f the 1960s the fate o f the Jews and Vichy's policy, towards t h e m was largely tude o f the French population towards the Jews was one o f indifference verging
ignored: Michel's 1964 bibliography lists only a. handful .of books about the Jews. on hostility.'"' A t the same time the French Jewish lawyer and historian Serge
T h e 1970 c o l l o q u i u m hardly mentioned the issue at all. I t is not true that n o t h i n g BClarsfeld reached similar conclusions about V i c h y policy.^' Klarsfeld, whose
was w r i t t e n about the Jews d u r i n g this period. O n the contrary, a very i m p o r - father died i n Auschwitz, has sought to pay homage to the victims and make the
tant body o f w o r k was produced by the Centre de documentation juive con- guilty pay. O n e o f Klarsfeld's achievements has been to reconstitute painstakingly
temporaine ( C D J C ) . founded d u r i n g the war by Isaac Schneersohn. B o r n into a the names o f all the Jewish victims o f the Holocaust f r o m France.''" I t was his
Polish Hasidic family, Schneersohn had arrived i n France i n 1920 where he had efforts d u r i n g the 1980s w h i c h pressurized the French government to t r y those
become a successful businessman. His original idea for what became the C D J C surviving executants o f Vichy's Jewish policy w h o had escaped punishment at
was to gather documentation i n order to help Jews obtain restitution o f their the Liberation. T h r o u g h o u t the 1980s, huge numbers o f books appeared on the
property after the war. Thanks to an audacious initiative by Schneersohn's young Jews and Vichy, and on Vichy's wider policy o f persecution: its concentration
helper Leon Poliakov after the Liberation, the C D J C obtained the papers o f the camps, its treatment o f foreigners, gypsies. Communists, and Jews.^' Where
SS i n France. T h i s i m p o r t a n t body o f archives allowed the C D J C to become a historians once distinguished the early years o f the regime from the police state
major research centre. I n 1945, i t founded Le Monde juif, the first j o u r n a l i n the o f 1944, they now emphasized the c o n t i n u i t y o f V i c h y repression: persecution
w o r l d devoted to the exclusive study o f the Holocaust.'''^ Historians attached to was there f r o m the start and the radicalization merely a matter o f degree.^"

La C r & t i o n d u Centre de d o c u m e n t a t i o n juive contemporaine', VSRH 63 (1999), 51-64; L. Poliakov,


J.-P. Bertin-Maghit, Le Cinema sous I'Occupation (1989); F. Garden, De Blum h Petain: Cinima
L'Auherge des musiciens (1980), 164-5.
et societe franfaise 1936-1944 (1984).
^'' S. Added, Le Thedtre dans les annees Vichy 1940-1944 (1992). D . K n o u t , Contribution ct I'histoire de la Risistance juive en France (1947). i ivV
" L. Bertrand-Dorl^ac, VArt de la defaite 1940-1944 (1993); M . Cone, Artists under Vichy: A Case of J. Weill, Contribution h I'histoire des camps d'internement dans I'Anti-France (1946). .' , 1
Prejudice and Persecution (Princeton, 1992). ] . h'dWg, Le Commissariat general aux questions juives {i<)'^^-6o). ;'; .
L. Gervereati and D . Pescltanski, La Propagande sous Vichy 19401944 (1990). ''Wicvkirku, Deportation, 4ji. ;
" C. Faure, Le Projet culturel de Vichy: Folklore et Revolution nationale 1940-1944 (1989). M . M a r r u s and R. Paxton, Vichy France and the Jews ( N e w York, 1981). ,
" J.-P Le C r o m , Syndicats, nous voila! Vichy et le corporatisme (1995). Vichy-Auschwitz: Le Role de Viclry dans la solution finale en France, 2 vols. (1983-5). .1
" J.-R Rioux (ed.). La Vie culturelle sous (Brus.seis, 1990). Memorial de k deportation des Juifi de France (\<)-r%). .(
^'' See A . Wieviorka, Deportation et genocide: Entre la memoire et I'oubli (1995 edn.), 412-30; e.g. A . Grynberg, Les Camps de la honte: Les Internes juifi des camps frangais (1991).
A . Kaspi, 'Le Centre de d o c u m e n t a t i o n juive contemporaine', RHMC (1976), 305-11; R. Poznanski, D . Peschanski, Vichy 1940-1944: Controle et exclusion (Bru.ssels, 1997). r
16 Introduction Introduction 17

To the extent that professional historians d i d discuss the fate o f the Jews i n Socialist sympathies. His books, written i n c o n j u n c t i o n w i t h another former
occupied France they took the view that the V i c h y regime had done its best resister, the C o m m u n i s t Marcel Degliame-Fouche, provided a m o n t h - b y - m o n t h
to protect them from the Germans. This was the line followed by Raul Hilberg's account o f the Resistance, b u i l t out o f the tesdmonies o f leading resisters. The
pioneering study o f the Holocaust i n 1961, The Destruction of the European result is an informative chronicle, not an interpretative history. Indeed on the
JewsJ' vexed question o f C o m m u n i s t participation i n the Resistance, the first two
Recently, however, historians have begun to refine their account o f the atti- volumes appeared w i t h a dissenting appendix by a t h i r d contributor, Jean-Louis
tude o f the population towards the Jews while not questioning the culpability Vigier, w h o left the project after this point.
o f the regime. T h e y have had to confront the paradox that despite Vichy's anti- Nogueres was not a professional historian, and the most striking fact about
Semitism, a comparatively high p r o p o r t i o n o f Jews i n France survived the war. the historiography o f the Resistance from about 1970 is that i t no longer engaged
For Paxton the explanadon lies i n the vagaries o f German policy, b u t for the attention o f French historians to the same degree as V i c h y I t is not true
Klarsfeld, w h o always distinguished between the regime and the p o p u l a t i o n , that the w r i d n g o f resistance history ceased after 1970. O f the 7,000 books and
it lies i n the reactions o f the French people. H e is not the o n l y French Jewish articles devoted to the period i n the t h i r t y years since Michel's 1964 biblio-
historian (and survivor) o f the period to offer this less negative perspective w h i c h graphy, some 1,500 at least were devoted to the Resistance."'' M o r e books on
has been adopted by other recent historical w r i t i n g on the subject. But this has Resistance movements were published i n the 1970s, b u t these studies, w h i c h
not yet penetrated to the wider public w h i c h still resists the view that the O c c u - concentrated on organizations, followed the model o f the earlier works o f
pation m i g h t after all have contained heroes."" I t is interesting, however, that the 1960s w i t h o u t offering new interpretative agendas."' By 1992, the review
Esprit could comment that the Resistance had become 'a blank . . . a taboo' i n
Louis Malle's second film on the Occupadon, Au revoir les enfants (1987), the
historical research."''
story o f three Jewish boys given refuge i n a Catholic school, paints a less bleak
picture than that presented i n Lacombe Lucien, even i f the film ends w i t h the I t was symptomatic o f this neglect o f the Resistance by French historians that
boys' arrest. the most i m p o r t a n t w o r k to appear i n the 1970s was by a British historian, H .
Roderick Kedward's Resistance in Vichy France (1978), w h i c h studied the south-
ern Resistance up to the end o f 1942."^ U n l i k e previous historians o f Resistance,
1990S: The Resistance Returns he was more interested i n individuals and motivadons than i n structures and
W h a t happened to the history o f the Resistance d u r i n g these years o f obses- organizations, i n tentative beginnings as m u c h as outcomes. I n that sense his
sion w i t h Vichy?"' I t was inevitable that i n the 1970s the Gaullist orthodoxy on book is informed by the anti-institutional spirit o f 1960s radicalism. Kedward,
the Resistance w o u l d face a battering similar to that received by the orthodoxy w h o betrayed real w a r m t h for his subject, teased out continuities between past
on V i c h y T h e first challenge came from the memoirs o f two leading resisters, and present and located the Resistance i n the society around i t . But the lack o f
H e n r i Frenay and Claude Bourdet."^ Presenting a view o f the Resistance from mainstream interest i n the Resistance meant that Kedward's book had to wait
France not L o n d o n , they were acerbic about de Gaulle's historical annexation o f eleven years (1989) for a French translation. Paxton, w h o had waited only one
the Resistance. A primarily metropolitan perspective also emerged from the five- year, wrote the right book at the right time, Kedward the right one at the
volume history o f the Resistance by H e n r i Nogueres w h i c h appeared between w r o n g time.
1967 and 1981."' Nogueres had himself been a local Resistance leader o f N o less revealing o f the neglect o f the Resistance by professional French his-
torians was the fact that the major c o n t r i b u d o n to the history o f the Resistance
M . Marrus, ' V i c h y France and the Jews: After Fifteen Years', i n Fishman et al. (eds.), France at i n the 1980s came from Daniel Cordier, a former resister outside the historical
War, 35-47: 36-8. establishment. D u r i n g the war, Cordier had r u n Jean Moulin's secretariat, and
A . Rayski, Le Choix de juifi sous Vichy: Entre soumission et resistance (1992); S. Z u c c o t t i , The he possessed an archive o f telegrams and correspondence between the Resistance
Holocaust, the French and the Jews (Lincoln, Nebr., 1993); R. Poznanski, Etre Juif en France pendant la
Deuxieme Guerre mondiale (1994); A . Cohen, Persecutions et sauvetages: Juifi et Frangais sous I'occupation
and the Free French. As Cordier tells his story, at the Liberation he had p u t the
et sous Vichy (1993).
J . - M . G u i l l o n , 'La Resistance, 50 ans et 2000 titres apres', i n i d . and P Laborie, Mimoire et
" E Bedarida, ' L H i s t o i r e de la Resistance: Lectures d'hier, chantiers de demain', VSRH 11 (1986),
histoire: La Risistance (Toulouse, 1995), 27-43.
75-89; H . Rousso, 'La Resistance entre la legende et I'oubli', LHistoire, 41 (1982), 99-111; J.-P. Azema and
R. Bedarida, Les Armes de I'esprit: Timoignage chritien 1941-1944 (1977); J. Sweets, The Politics of
E Bedarida, ' L H i s t o r i s a t i o n de la Resistance', Esprit, 198 (1994). 19-35; P- Laborie, 'Historiens sous haute
Resistance in France: 1940-44: ^ History of the Mouvements Unis de la Resistance (De Kalb, 1976); D . Veillon,
surveillance', Esprit, 198 (1994), 36-50.
' Franc-Tireur, un journal clandestin un mouvement de risistance, 1940-1944 (1977).
Frenay, La Nuitfinira (1973); Bourdet, L'Aventure incertaine: De la Resistance a la restauration (1975).
E. C o n a n and D . Lindenberg, ' Q u e faire de Vichy', Esprit, 181 (1992), 5-15: 13.
" H . NoguJ;res ( w i t h M . Degliame-Fouche), Histoire de la Risistance en France de 1940 ci 194s, 5 vols.
Jiesistance in Vichy France {Onio'tA,\')-!'i). :, > !
(1967-81).
18 Introduction Introduction 19

past behind h i m , and started a thirty-year career as a dealer in modern art, avoid- t h e m ' . " B u t the new research into public o p i n i o n , viewing attentisme i n more
ing contact w i t h Resistance circles. I n 1977, however, he was invited to appear complex terms, opened the way towards less Manichaean interpretations o f the
i n a television debate o n M o u l i n , and found himself sharing a platform w i t h relationship between population and Resistance. Such re-evaluation was easier
H e n r i Frenay w h o p u t the case that M o u l i n had been a c r y p t o - C o m m u n i s t . to undertake i f one had not been personally involved i n the period, and this pro-
To disprove this allegation, Cordier returned to his archives. W h a t started as vides a t h i r d reason for the renewed interest i n Resistance i n the late 1980s: the
a desire t o refute Frenay blossomed into the a m b i t i o n to w r i t e a full biography prospect that the Resistance generation was c o m i n g to the end o f its life.
of Moulin.'" Because many resisters had been extremely young, Resistance historiography
Despite being an actor from the period he was studying, Cordier writes as a 'as, unril the 1980s, dominated by writers personally marked by the experience,
historian, confronting the fallibility o f memory and the unreliability o f anec- he doyen o f Resistance historians, H e n r i M i c h e l , had begun to develop an
dotes w i t h the authority o f archival evidence. His biography o f M o u l i n runs t o 'most propnetary approach to the subject, and was not always welcoming to
over 4,000 pages."'^ Cordier has provided the most fully documented and finely - unger scholars w h o wanted to w o r k o n i t . Younger historians i n general felt
analysed account o f the high politics o f the Resistance, especially the relation- e i n h i b i t i n g presence over their shoulder o f the vigilant Resistance generation.''^
ship between L o n d o n and the Resistance. B u t Cordier's w o r k originated as an he prickliness o f many former resisters emerged at the c o l l o q u i u m where
act o f pietyalmost an act o f loveand despite his aspiration towards scientific Cordier first presented his research. H e received a hostile reception from many
ngour, he sometimes falls into the role o f defence counsel for M o u l i n . H i s 'historic resisters, and the wartime squabbles between L o n d o n and Paris were
approach to the Resistance is insufficiently open-ended, transforming M o u l i n fought out again i n 1983. W h e n one o f the resisters present said that Cordier's
almost into a historical necessity. lecture made h i m feel as i f resisters were being judged by administrators, he
Cordier's enterprise is a very personal one, b u t since the late 1980s there has sounded exactly like H e n r i Frenay complaining i n 1942 about the bureaucrati-
been a revival o f interest i n the Resistance among historians. There are three zation o f the Resistance by Moulin.'"" A t a c o l l o q u i u m o n the Resistance held at
reasons for this. First, the gradual de-Stalinization o f the French C o m m u n i s t Toulouse i n 1986 two former resisters almost came to blows over what had really
Party paved the way for an opening u p o f the Parry's historiography. I n 1968 a happened i n Toulouse i n 1944. B u t they were united i n preferring t o rehearse
French C o m m u n i s t historian admitted for the first time the existence o f a secret these o l d feuds than to engage w i t h the questions o f a young female historian
protocol attached to the Nazi-Soviet Pact. Such early revisionism was faltering, about the attitude o f the resistance towards gender. Her observations were treated
and when the Party historian Roger Bourderon started a timid critique o f C o m - w i t h outrage, and allowed the o l d rivals o f 1944 to close ranks by repeating well-
munist historiography i n 1979, he was called to order. A t u r n i n g p o i n t came i n w o r n pieties about the noble role o f w o m e n i n the Resistance.'^''
1983 w i t h a conference on 'the C o m m u n i s t Party between 1939 and 1941' attended But this is changing. Three Resistance movements have recently had i m p o r -
by b o t h n o n - C o m m u n i s t and C o m m u n i s t histonans. T h e i r interpretations tant theses devoted to t h e m . " These studies are exemplary i n their attempt to
remained different, b u t the occasion was at least a dialogue, suggesting i t m i g h t combine a social analysis w i t h a political one; they are nuanced, archivally based,
soon be possible to move beyond the single, and sterile, question whether or not and sophisticated i n their use o f oral matetial. B u t the most significant fact is
the Communists had started to resist before June 1941.'" that the authors are part o f the first genuine post-Resistance generation o f
Secondly, the more complex account o f the relationship between V i c h y and Resistance historians. T h e history o f the Resistance, unlike that o f V i c h y is
public o p i n i o n w h i c h emerged i n the 1980s reopened the problem o f the rela- beginning (again). I t is no longer the 'taboo' noted by Esprit in 1992. W h a t new
tionship between the Resistance and the French population. H e n r i M i c h e l had approaches are emerging i n the history o f the Resistance? There is, first, a greater
once w r i t t e n : 'the Resistance always comprised a m i n o r i t y . . . and the majority eniphasis o n the diversity o f resistance, and on the experience o f n o n - d o m i n a n t
o f attentistes. . . could not pardon i t for having been right and having saved groups such as immigrants and women.'^" Secondly, there is an attempt to

Cordier, ' D e I'acteur a I'historien: U n itineraire et une methode'. Bulletin de I'lHTP, 35 (1989), ^' M i c h e l and M i r k i n e - G u e t z e v i t c h , i f j A / r a , 37.
13-36. Laborie, 'Historiens .sous haute surveillance', 41-2.
O r i g i n a l l y Cordier projected seven volumes. Thtee o f these appeared between 1989 and 1993 under See the debate at the conference at w h i c h Cotdier first presented his interpretation o f M o u l i n ,
the general title o f Jean Moulin: L'Inconnu du Pantheon. I n 1999, he produced a single book, Jean Moulin: Cordier et al., Jean Moulin et le Conseil national de la Resistance (1983), 35-58.
La Repuhlique des Catacombes, w i t h a different publisher, w h i c h summarized the contents o f the first three V5 "^'"'^'"P'^ Liberation dans le midi de la France (Toulouse, 1986), 175-82.
volumes, a n d then covered the rest o f the g r o u n d w h i c h had originally been projected for the four O . Wieviorka, Une certaine idee de la resistance: Defense de la France 1940-1949 (1995); L. Douzou,
subsequent volumes. O n e assumes that the ptoject is now complete. a Desoheissance: Histoire d'un mouvement et d' un journal clandestins: Liberation-Sud (1940-1944) (1995);
'"' J.-P. Azema, A . Prost, J.-P Rioux (eds.), Le Parti communiste franfais des annees sombres ipj8-i<i4i A . Aglan, La Resistance sacrifice: Le Mouvement Liberation-Nord (\y<)y).
(1986); eid., Les Communistes frangais de Munich a Chateauhriant (1938-/941) (1987). S. Courtois, D . Peschanski, A . Rayski, Le Sang de Tetranger: Les Immigres de la MOI dans la
20 Introduction

conceptualize resistance history i n the light o f insights from other disciplines


such as anthropology, and to offer a more comparative dimension.'^ T h i r d l y ,
more attention is being directed towards the interaction between 'the Resistance'
narrowly defined and the social context w h i c h was the c o n d i t i o n o f its survival,
between 'Resistance as organization' and 'Resistance as movement' i n the words
o f Franijois Marcot. Between 1993 and 1997, major coUoquia o n the Resistance
were organized i n six different French universities.'" T h e presiding theme o f each
occasion was the study o f the Resistance i n its social environment. T h i s is also
a major theme o f Jean-Marie Guillon's (unpublished) m o n u m e n t a l thesis o n the
Resistance i n the Var, o f Fran9ois Marcot's w o r k on the Jura, and o f Roderick
Kedward's most recent book w h i c h continues where his first one left off, and
studies the southern Maquis from 1943.'' I n short, we are m o v i n g towards a social
history o f the Resistance.
T h e future o f the history o f the Resistance needs to embrace its full diver-
sityGaullist and non-Gaullist, C o m m u n i s t and n o n - C o m m u n i s t , N o r t h and
South, men and w o m e n , French and i m m i g r a n t s b u t also to reconnect the
history o f the Resistance to the society around i t , to the French past, and to the
V i c h y regime. As our opening quotations have shown, the history o f France i n
this period cannot be understood i n separate compartments like 'the V i c h y
regime', 'the Resistance', or 'collaboration': these existed i n dynamic relation to
each other, and the history o f France i n this period must be conceived as a whole.
There are strands, but they make up one history.

Resistance (1989); M . Weitz, Sisters in the Resistance: How Women fought to free France ic)40-ic>4; (1995);
P. Schwartz, ' W o m e n , Resistance and C o m m u n i s m in France 1939-1945' (unpublished P h . D . thesis. N e w
York, 1998).
H . R. Kedward, 'Resiting French Resistance', Transactions of the Royal Historical Society (1999),
271-82: 273-4.
" G u i l l o n and Laborie, Memoire et histoire; J. Sainclivier and C. Bougeard, La Resistance et les
Frangais: Enjeux stratigiques et environnement social (Rennes, 1995); R. Frank and ] . Gotovitch, La
Resistance et les Europeens du Nord 2 vols. (1994-6); F. M a r c o t (ed.), La Resistance et les Frangais: Lutte
armee et maquis (1996); L. Douzou et al. (eds.). La Resistance et les Frangais: Villes, centres et logiques de
decision (1995); J . - M . G u i l l o n and R. M e n c h e r i n i , La Resistance et les Europeens du xaflf (1999).
G u i l l o n , 'La Resistance dans le Var: Essai d'histoire politique' (Doctorat d'fitat, A i x , 1989); M a r c o t ,
'Resistance et population 1940-1944' ( M e m o i r e pour I'habilitation a diriger des recherches, University
Franche-Comt^, 1990); Kedward, In Search of the Maquis: Rural Resistance in Southern France (Oxford,
1993)-
' See the articles collected in 'Pour une histoire sociale de la R&istance', MS i%o (1997).
Epilogue: Remembering
the Occupation

I n January 1945, the conservative newspaper Le Figaro launched a


campaign for the remains o f Charles Peguy to be transferred to the Pantheon.
This idea was a response to a C o m m u n i s t campaign for the 'pantheonization' o f
the recently deceased writer Romain Rolland w h o had been France's most famous
fellow-travelling intellectual and an opponent o f appeasement i n the 1930s.
Another proposal, from the Christian Democrat newspaper L'Aube, was that
b o t h Peguy and Rolland should be pantheonized, along w i t h the philosopher
H e n r i Bergson, w h o had been one o f the maitres a penser o f Peguy.
W h a t d i d these three figures symbolize? Peguy represented a l i n k between the
patriotism o f 1914 and that o f 1944; Rolland a l i n k between the anti-fascism o f
the 1930s and that o f the Resistance; Bergson a reminder o f the c o n t r i b u t i o n o f
Jews t o French culture. But other messages could also be read i n t o their lives:
Peguy's name had been exploited by V i c h y ; Rolland had been a pacifist d u r i n g
the First W o r l d War; Bergson had moved towards Catholicism at the end o f his
life.' I n the end, no one was transferred t o the Pantheon i n 1945, b u t these
debates were only the first skirmishes i n what was t o be a long battle to claim
the inheritance o f the Resistance, a batde w h i c h was itself only the beginning o f
a longer war o f memory over the Occupation.

Constructing Memory '


N o one was quicker off the mark t o claim the inheritance o f the Resis-
tance than the Communists. D u b b i n g themselves the Party o f the 75,000
martyrs, the Communists presented themselves as the true inheritors o f the patri-
otic tradition o f the French Revolution. I n fact, the total number o f French shot
by the Germans was nearer 35,000, and n o t all o f these were Communists. B u t
by force o f repetition, the figure o f 75,000 attained a sort o f poetic t r u r h a n d
it was undeniable that the Communists had suffered higher casualties than any

' G . Namer, La Commemoration en France de 194; a nos jours (1987), 15-45.


602 Epilogue Epilogue 603
other Resistance group. W i t h i n weeks o f the Liberation, the Communists were maquisards ar M o n t Mouchet. I t such ways d i d small towns like Saint-Flour
orchestrating ceremonies i n m e m o r y o f their martyrs. There was one at the ceme- insert themselves into the grand national narrative o f the Resistance.'
tery o f Ivry o n 6 October 1944 and another at Pere-Lachaise rwo days later. A t the national level the Resistance m y t h was orchestrated separately by de
Eighteen squares or streets i n Paris were almost immediately renamed after C o m - Gaulle and by the Communists. For all their differences, they b o t h agreed o n
munist martyrs.^ T h e Resistance has remained central to the mythology o f the one thing: the Resistance had represented the real France and incarnated the true
Party ever since. feelings o f the French people throughout the Occupadon. This reassuring m y t h
I t is no less central to the mythology o f GauUism. De Gaulle's aim i n 1944 d i d , however, cause some problems to both o f them, especially i n its early stages.
was to reunite the nation and restore its self-respect. T h i s involved the con- For the Communists i t was i m p o r t a n t to prevent the Resistance generation
struction o f the m y t h that, despite a few traitors, the French nation, united claiming superiority over those leaders w h o had been i n place before 1939not
behind de Gaulle, had liberated itself O n 14 June 1944, i n his first speech on least Maurice Thorez, w h o had spent the war i n Moscow, and played no part i n
liberated French territory, de Gaulle assured the peaceable and bemused inhab- the Resistance. A t the Party's X l l t h Congress i n 1950, fourteen major resisters
itants o f Bayeux o f his confidence that they w o u l d 'continue the struggle today were dropped from the Central C o m m i t t e e ; 1952 saw the d e m o t i o n o f the former
as you have n o t ceased to do since June 1940'.' I n this interpretation o f history, head o f the FTP, Charles T i l l o n . Tillon's long-awaited history o f the FTP, w h i c h
V i c h y was an episode best forgotten once the necessary trials had taken place. was ready i n 1952, d i d not appear u n t i l 1962 because the Party insisred o n amend-
T h is was the logic o f the C F L N Ordinance o f 9 August 1944 declaring all le- ments. I n short, the Party preferred its Resistance heroes dead to alive."
gislation enacted i n France since 16 June 1940 n u l l and void. W h a t occurred De Gaulle's problem was slightly different. I n the late 1940s and early 1950s
between 1939 and 1944 was represented not as a French civil war, b u t as an he had adopted an increasingly right-wing political stance at the head o f the
episode i n a longer struggle against Germany. O n 2 A p r i l 1945, de Gaulle talked violently a n t i - C o m m u n i s t movement the RPF. Inevitably many members o f
o f a 'thirty years' war' w h i c h had started i n 1914. A plaque unveiled i n m e m o ry this movement were Petainists and de Gaulle d i d n o t want to alienate them by
o f M a n d e l i n 1946 proclaimed that he had been 'murdered by the enemies o f harping endlessly on the past. H e even made some favourable references at this
France'without specifying that those enemies had been French.^ time to the services Petain had once rendered to France, and intimated his belief
It w o u l d be w r o n g to see this emerging resistance mythology as having been that i t was cruel for the o l d man to languish i n prison. B u t there were limits to
constructed entirely f r o m above. M a n y local communities quickly developed h o w far he was prepared to go d o w n this road. I n 1950 the Resistance hero
their o w n Resistance liturgies, celebrated their o w n heroes, and m o u r n e d their Colonel Remy, himself a f o u n d i n g member o f the RPR published an article
o w n martyrs. This was the case, for example, o f the small market t o w n o f Saint- claiming that de Gaulle had confided to h i m that i n June 1940 France had needed
Flour, i n the Cantal, w h i c h was one o f the localities where the Germans had two strings to her bow, the Petain string and the de Gaulle string. Th is was too
exacted reprisals after the failed Maquis uprising at M o n t M o uc h e t . Twenty-five m u c h for de Gaulle and he wrote to Remy expressing his outrage, but interest-
men were shot i n the back on 14 June on a bridge near the t o w n . After the L i b - ingly enough he never publicly denied Remy's allegadon.''
eration the road leading to the bridge was renamed the Avenue des Martyrs, and After de Gaulle's return to power i n 1958, there was no obstacle to the full
a memorial was built i n their m e m o r y A m o n g the victims was Pierre Mallet, development o f the m y t h o f the Resistance, officially consecrated by the trans-
son o f the local doctor, Louis Mallet, w h o was i n the Resistance. Shortly after- fer o f Moulin's remains to the Pantheon. I n the immediate post-war years,
wards Louis Mallet himself was captured by the Germans, and he and another Brossolette's memo r y had been more celebrated than Moulin's, but as represen-
o f his sons were shot along w i t h other resisters on 24 June. After the Liberation, tative i n 1942-3 o f the embryonic Gaullist State, M o u l i n ukimately turned out
Mallet became the object o f an intense local Resistance cult. T h e avenue a more suitable symbol for the Gaullist regime." T h e high priest o f the pan-
Marechal Petain was renamed avenue D r Louis M a l l e t and a local Day o f theonizadon ceremony for M o u l i n was Andre Malraux, de Gaulle's Minister o f
Remembrance was instituted on the anniversary o f his death. W h e n de Gaulle Culture. As H e n r y Rousso writes, Malraux's speech offered a simple syllogism:
visited the region on i July 1945 he spent fifteen minutes i n Saint-Flour and pre-
sented Mallet's w i d o w w i t h a posthumous Croix de Guerre for her husband. I n
' Koreman, Expectation of Justice, 200-12.
June 1946 she was chosen to unveil the M o n u m e n t to the G l o r y o f the French S. Courtois, 'Luttes politiques et elaboration d ' une histoire; Le PCF historien d u PCF dans la
Deuxieme Guerre mondiale", Communisme, 4 (1983), 5-26.
^ Earner, La Commemoration en France, iS-i'). , - . ' i > Rousso, Vichy Syndrome, 32-40.
^ Lettres, notes et carnets, juin ip4}-mai rp4; {igS}), Z4$-6. L. D o u z o u , 'La Resistance fran^aise en quete d ' u n heros eponyme (1942-1996)', i n Charle et al..
* Rousso, Vichy Syndrome, 17-22. La France dernocratique, 431-40.
604 Epilogue Epilogue 605

the Resistance equals de Gaulle; de Gaulle equals France; France equals the Resis- films o f all time. Starring France's two most famous comic actors, Bourvil and
tance. Even C o m m u n i s t resisters like Rol-Tanguy participated i n the ceremony. Louis de Funes, i t tells the story o f two 'ordinary' Frenchmenone a house
L'Humanite was not w i t h o u t criticisms o f the occasion, b u t i n the end its reac- painter, the other a c o n d u c t o r w h o only want to get on w i t h their lives b u t
t i o n was positive: ' H o n o u r to Jean M o u l i n ! H o n o u r to those w h o , following his find themselves helping an English pilot (Terry Thomas) escape to the Southern
example, died for their country! H o n o u r to the French Resistance!'' Zone. T h e moral is that, when necessary, the ordinary Frenchman w i l l do his
T h e way that the m y t h o f the Resistance squeezed out alternative readings o f duty. Nineteen sixty-seven was the year o f Rene Clement's Paris brMe-t-il? i n
the Occupation emerges particularly clearly i n the cinema.'" Films i n the i m m e - w h i c h an all-star international cast presented a Gaullist vision o f the Liberation
diate post-war period had offered no unified image o f the Occupation. A t the o f Paris. Finally, i n 1969, Jean-Pierre Melville's Armee des ombres offered an epic
Liberation, there was a flurry o f films celebrating the Resistance: La Bataille du vision o f the internal Resistance united behind de Gaulle. I n this film the real
rail (1946) depicted the heroism o f the w o r k i n g class, i n the form o f railway Colonel Passy even makes a brief appearance, playing himself; the Communists
workers, and Le Pere tranquille (1946) the heroism o f the Frangais moyen, i n the are barely mentioned.
form o f a peaceable insurance agent w h o is also secretly a resister. But the Resis-
tance passed from fashion o n the screen i n the early 1950s, and the public was
Dissenting iviemories I: The Resistance
soon offered more complex images o f the Occupation. Rene Clement's jeux
inderdits (1952) was an unsettling story about two small children traumatized by It is easy enough to describe the official m e m o r y o f the war, b u t difficult
the war. Andre Cayatte's Nous sommes tous des assassins (1951) was about a young to k n o w h o w universally i t was endorsed. T h e idea that there was ever a con-
man w h o , having started k i l l i n g for the Resistance, is unable to stop after the sensus around the m y t h is probably a m y t h itself A n y society's collective memory
war. W h a t made the film especially disturbing was that his original c o m m i t m e n t is an amalgam o f officially constructed memories, specific group memories, i n d i -
to the Resistance had no political or patriotic motives: he could just as easily vidual personal memories, and all the other sources u p o n w h i c h people draw for
have killed for the other side. N o t surprisingly, the film was disliked by the C o m - their images o f the past (films, fiction, historical w r i t i n g ) . " T h e m a i n problem
munists and by former resisters like the historian H e n r i M i c h e l . Another far from w i t h the Resistance m y t h was that i t imposed a unitary vision on what had been
heroic vision o f the Occupation was portrayed i n La Traversee de Paris (1956) highly fragmented experience. This fragmentation was vividly demonstrated i n
based on a story by Marcel Ayme. Starring two o f the most famous actors o f the 1953 when twenty-one ex-members o f the Das Reich D i v i s i o n , w h i c h had carried
period, Jean C a b i n and B o u r v i l , the film depicts the adventures o f two men out the Oradour massacre, were tried i n Bordeaux. T h e trial aroused great
transporting a black-market p i g across Paris. emotion, not only because Oradour had been elevated into an official m o n u -
Censorship intervened i f depictions o f the Occupation too dramatically con- ment to Nazi barbarism, but because thirteen o f the defendants were Alsatians
tradicted the official m y t h . T h e film La Neige etait sale (1954), based o n a novel w h o had been forcibly drafted i n t o the German army (as 'malgre nous'). South-
by Simenon, presented such a bleak view that the censors insisted i t be set i n an west France saw them as war criminals; Alsace saw them as war victims. I n the
imaginary country. Jean Dewever's Les Honneurs de la guerre (1962) had to end, the Alsatians were amnestiedto the fury o f the survivors o f Oradour.'^
undergo several changes before i t could be released: the role o f the M i l i c e had T h e Oradour trial was a case that d i d n o t fit the simple categories o f the
to be played d o w n , as d i d a suggestion that the French police had worked for official m y t h , b u t i t was far from the only one. W h a t d i d the n o n - C o m m u n i s t
the Germans. T h e most blatant example o f censorship occurred i n 1956 when Resistance feel about the role i t was assigned by the Gaullists and Communists?
an image o f a French policeman participating i n the arrest o f Jews had to be cut H o w d i d the 1.5 m i l l i o n prisoners o f war fit into the heroic vision? W h a t about
from A l a i n Resnais's documentary film about concentration camps. Night and the 650,000 workers w h o were forced to w o r k i n German factories? W h a t about
Fog. W h a t made this case particularly flagrant was the fact that i t concerned not the Jews? W h a t about the varieties o f regional m e m o r y (of w h i c h the Oradour
a fictional representation but an authentic photograph f r o m the period. trial was only one example)? W h a t about people w h o had supported V i c h y and
I n the 1960s, the Resistance came back i n t o fashion i n the cinema and most were not ashamed o f it?
films n o w faithfully echoed the Resistance m y t h . I n 1966, the Resistance was U n l i k e the Great War, the memory o f the Second W o r l d War i n France is not
treated i n the comedy La Grande Vadrouille, one o f the most successful French preserved i n single memorials at the heart o f local communities; i t is dispersed
and fragmented. F F I fighters and Free French fighters, those shot as hostages and
' Vichy Syndrome, 82-97.
' For this and the next three paragraphs, see S. Langlois, 'La Resistance dans le cinema fran9ais '' R. Frank, i n Institut d'histoire d u temps present. La Memoire des Frangais: 40 ans de commemora-
de fiction 1944-1994' (unpublished doctorate, M c G i U University, 1996); Lindeperg, Les Ecrans de tion de la Seconde Guerre mondiale (1986), 372-3.
I'ombre. S. Farmer, Oradour: Arret sur Mimoire {igc)4).
606 Epilogue Epilogue
607

those exterminated as Jews, prisoners o f war and political deportees: all have their Liberation intensified i n the following years. Jean Cassou wrote i n 1953 that
o w n m e m o r i a l s . " There was no consensus even about w h i c h day should be 'nothing remains o f the spirit o f the Resistance'.'^ I t w o u l d be w r o n g , however,
selected to commemorate France's victory and Liberation. I n 1945 the official to deduce from such remarks that the Resistance generation had been excluded
German surrender on 8 M a y was not a day o f great celebration i n France. Despite from positions o f influence i n post-war France. Former resisters like Bidault,
de Gaulle's success i n ensuring a French presence at the surrender o f Germany, Pineau, M i t t e r r a n d , Teitgen, Michelet, Claudius-Petit, Debre, Chaban-Delmas,
the victory could not efface memories o f 1940. As de Gaulle declared: 'our sat- and Defferre were major players i n the politics o f the Fourth Republic.'" W h y ,
isfaction at the outcome o f the war still leavesand w i l l always do so!a d u l l then, was there a feeling o f betrayal? Whatever the individual role o f resisters i n
pain i n the depths o f our national consciousness'. A n o t h e r date to commemo- politics after 1945, there was no official representation o f the Resistance i n French
rate m i g h t have been 18 June, b u t its associations were too specifically Gaullist. society. The U D S R , w h i c h had originally hoped to play such a role, soon ended
Instead the m a i n celebration organized i n 1945 occurred o n 11 November, as i f up as a small centrist grouping in parliament, skilled i n the arts o f compromise,
the ambiguity w h i c h hovered over the victory o f 1945 could be subsumed but as removed from the intransigent puriry o f the Resistance as i t was possible
into the victory o f 1918. T h i s underscored de Gaulle's theme o f continuity to be. I t was i n this party that Fran9ois M i t t e r r a n d honed the arts o f political
between the two conflicts: the t h i r t y years' war.''' intrigue and manoeuvre that w o u l d serve h i m so well i n the future.
Resisters, however, wanted a specific commemoration o f the Second War, and Some resisters were disillusioned by the arbitrariness o f the post-war purges
i n 1946 they obtained partial satisfaction when the Sunday following 8 M a y was and the way i n w h i c h the Communists tried to monopolize the memory o f the
declared a national holiday. I n 1953 this concession was extended further when Resistance. Jean Paulhan's repudiation o f his former Resistance comrades was
8 M a y itself became a holiday. After de Gaulle's return t o power i n 1958, this sealed i n his violent polemic Lettre aux directeurs de la Resistance (1952). There
decision was reversed and the victory was again commemorated o n the Sunday were self-conscious echoes o f Peguy's break w i t h his former Dreyfusard com-
nearest t o 8 May. T h i s annoyed former resisters w h o continued t o celebrate 8 rades. D u r i n g the war, Paulhan had worked w i t h Aragon i n the literary Resis-
May, and they got their way i n 1968 when 8 M a y once again became a holiday. tance; Aragon's wife, Elsa Triolet, denounced h i m as a Nazi.''^ Even Mauriac felt
Nonetheless 8 M a y never caught o n i n the popular imagination i n the same way that Paulhan, whose views he had shared i n 1944, had n o w gone too far: he was
as I I N o v e m b e r . " giving a m m u n i t i o n to the Rebatets and Celines w h o remained as full o f hatred
Former resisters not only resented any attempt t o downplay the significance as they had always been.^" T h e t r u t h was that the ideals o f the Resistance
o f the period 1940-4 by subsuming i t i n a 'thirty years' war', they were also d i d not provide unambiguous answers t o the problems o f the post-war w o r l d .
uneasy w i t h the idea o f associating the majority o f the population w i t h the Resis- M a n y Resistance newspapers continued after the Liberation, b u t their existence
tance. They were reluctant to sacrifice their sense o f having being an elite i n a was increasingly compromised by acrimonious quarrels over the correct
society initially indifferent, even hostile, to them. As a former resister wrote i n editorial line. Franc-Tireur folded i n 1958. T h e former editors o f Defense de la
1955: ' i t is time t o unmask a pious m y t h w h i c h has not really deceived anyone. France (which renamed itself France-Soir) were hardly o n speaking terms by 1945,
T h e great majority o f the people o f this country played only a small and fleet- and the paper, w h i c h soon suffered major financial difficulties, was taken over
ing part i n the events. T h e i r activity was passive, except at the last moments. I n by the press group Hachette i n 1950.
these circumstances h o w can one require t h e m to keep a faithful memory?"" O f N o t h i n g better illustrated the impossibility o f defining a single resisrance line
course de Gaulle was no less aware that the resisters had been a t i n y minority, i n the post-war years than the problem o f Algeria. Some resisters, like Claude
but for h i m this t r u t h was best overlooked i n the cause o f healing the divisions Bourdet, were i n the forefront o f the anti-colonialist movement; others, like
o f the nation and restoring France's reputation abroad. For the Resistance, whose Georges Bidault, were fervently c o m m i t t e d to the French Empire i n Algeria.
objectives had been as m u c h moral as political, the renewal o f France could not B o t h claimed to be defending the values o f the Resistance. Bourdet believed that
be built o n a lie; for de Gaulle, rauon d'etat required n o t h i n g less. the French army i n Algeria was perpetrating crimes similar to those c o m m i t t e d
A m o n g many resisters the sense o f betrayal w h i c h had emerged soon after the by the Germans i n France d u r i n g the war; Bidault believed that those w h o
wanted to abandon Algeria were no better than those w h o had abandoned France
S. Barcellini and A . Wieviorka, Passant, souviens-toil Les Lieux de souvenir de la Seconde Guerre
to the Germans i n 1940. H a v i n g been president o f the National C o u n c i l of the
mondiale en France (1995).
S. Barcellini, 'Les Ceremonies d u 11 novembre 1945: U n e apotheose commemorative gaulliste', i n
La Mimoire courte (1953), 66.
Franck (ed.). La France de 194$, 85-100.
R. Faligot, Les Resistants de la guerre de I'ombre aux allies depouvoir (1989).
R. Frank 'La M e m o i r e empoisonn^e', i n Az^ma and Bedarida (ed.). La France des annies noires, i i . " Verdes-Leroux, Refiis et violences, 385.
483-514: 499501; i d . . La Memoire, 379-83. Sapiro, La Guerre des icrivains, 682-3.
h.y\sK\, L'Heritage spiritucl de la Resistance (i')^^), 'ii. : '
608 Epilogue Epilogue 609

Resistance i n 1944-5, Bidault announced i n 1961 that he was setting up a new vative depute Ahhi Desgranges, was an early example o f the genre." A literary
Resistance councilthis time to fight for French A l g e r i a / ' representation o f this counter-myth was Marcel Ayme's novel Uranus (1948), a
pitiless depiction o f the Liberation i n a small t o w n . Uranus is populated by
corrupt black marketeers, w h o convert to resistance at the last m o m e n t ; san-
Dissenting iviemories II: Petainists and Collaborators guinary Communists, w h o exercise arbirrary tyranny over innocent citizens; and
' These divisions w i t h i n the Resistance assisted the rehabilitation o f former disillusioned hypocrites, w h o accommodate themselves cynically to the prevail-
Petainists or collaborators. Paulhan's denunciation o f the excesses o f the purges ing hypocrisy.^''
was a balm to the former victims o f those purges. M a n y former Petainists, w h o A second strategy o f rehabilitation was to separate Petain's reputation from
were ardently c o m m i t t e d to the defence o f French Algeria, suddenly became that o f Laval. Louis Rougier published a book on his mission to L o n d o n i n w h i c h
patriots i n the eyes o f people w h o w o u l d once have designated them as traitors, he claimed that Petain had been playing a double game. T h e tide o f Louis-
and w h o m they w o u l d have designated as terrorists. N o w b o t h agreed that the D o m i n i q u e Girard's Montoire: Verdun diplomatique (1948, M o n t o i r e : A D i p l o -
'terrorists' were to be found i n Algeria. matic Verdun) speaks for itself These authors argued that de Gaulle and Petain
T h e rehabilitation o f former Petainists had commenced several years earlier. were two sides o f the same patriotic coin: the sword and the shield. After Petain's
A n amnesty law i n January 1951 reduced the numbers i n prison from 40,000 to death i n 1951, at the age o f 95, his supporters set up the Association to Defend
1,570. After a second amnesty i n July 1953, o n l y 62 prisoners r e m a i n e d . T h e s e the M e m o r y o f Marshal Petain ( A D M P ) , o f w h i c h Remy was a f o u n d i n g
two laws had been sponsored by Catholic resisters like E d m o n d Michelet i n a member. The A D M P lobbied, and has done ever since, for a judicial review o f
spirit o f national reconciliadon. A t the same dme, however, the polidcal pen- the Perain trial, and for rhe Marshal's remains to be buried at D o u a u m o n t ,
d u l u m swung towards the right after the onset o f the C o l d War. This allowed near Verdun. A l t h o u g h never having more than a few thousand members,
V i c h y ghosts to re-emerge. Jean Jardin, w h o had headed Laval's cabinet from the A D M P ' s board o f directors has over the years included twenty-two former
A p r i l 1942 to October 1943, became an influential behind-the-scenes figure i n ministers and twelve members o f the Academic fran9aise.^''
Fourth Republic politics.^' So too d i d Georges A l b e r t i n i , w h o had been Marcel T h e Resistance myths were challenged not only by V i c h y survivors, b u t also
Dear's right-hand man at the head o f the RNR^^ I n M a r c h 1952, the conserva- by a group o f writers, k n o w n as the Hussards, w h o were mostly too y o u n g to
tive politician A n t o i n e Pinay became prime minister. Pinay had been appointed have been personally implicated i n collaboration. Reacring against what they saw
to sit on Vicky's Conseil national, and his elevation to the premiership breached as the stifling political correctness o f Resistance orthodoxy, they rejected the
an i m p o r t a n t taboo. whole idea o f political 'engagement'. I n Roger Nimier's Le Hussard bleu (1950),
Pinay, w h o cannot be described as a hard-line Petainist, was interested i n one o f the characrers is a resister w h o is sent to infiltrate the M i l i c e and dis-
p u t t i n g the past behind h i m , and playing the game o f Fourth Republic politics. covers that its members share the same values o f comradeship and courage as the
There were, however, many V i c h y survivors w h o wanted to profit from the Resistance. I n A n t o i n e Blondin's picaresque LEurope buissoniere (1949) the hero
changed political climate to challenge the prevailing Resistance orthodoxy. T h e y lives through the battle o f France, the Resistance, S T O , and the Liberation.
began to publish i n a number o f small circulation extreme-right newspapers Instead o f choices and clear moral values, he finds only absurdity and arbirrari-
w h i c h emerged to provide a platform for the defeated o f 1944 {Ecrits de Paris, ness, rather like the hero o f Celine's Voyage to the End of the Night T h e Hussards
1947, Rivarol, 1951). Those w h o set about the task o f rehabilitation adopted rwo aimed to shock by adopting a debunking stance o f frivolity and cynicism.
strategies. T h e first was to discredit the alleged excesses o f the Liberation by T h e y championed compromised writers like Cocteau, M o r a n d , Chardonne, and
depicting the purges as a bloodbatha new T e r r o r w i t h up to 100,000 victims. Dtieu.^"
Instead o f attacking the Resistance directly, these writers coined the term Writers whose reputations had once seemed irremediably tainted gradually re-
'resistentialism' to describe pseudo-resisters w h o had profited from the Libera- emerged from purgatory. Lucien Rebatet w h o left prison i n 1952 resumed w r i t i n g
t i o n to unleash class war or carry o u t personal vendettas. Les Crimes masques du
resistentialisme (1948, T h e H i d d e n Crimes o f Resistentialism), by the conser- N . H e w i t t , '1944/1793: La D r o i t e intellectuelle et le mythe de la Terreur rouge', French Cultural
Studies, 5 (1994), 281-92.
^' O n A y m e i n general, see N . H e w i t t , 'Marcel A y m e and the D a r k N i g h t o f Occupation', i n
^' Rousso, Vichy Syndrome, 75-82. I b i d . 49-54. Hirschfeld and Marsh (eds.). Collaboration France, 203-26.
" P. Assoul'me, Jean Jardin ip04-ii)76: Une eminence grise {i^S6). ^. :L. Rousso, Vichy Syndrome, 32-49.
h.hsmiK, L'Homme de I'ombre: Georges Albertini ipii-ip8} (i<}')o). . I, N . H e w i t t , Literature and the Right in Post-war France: The Story of the 'Hussards (1996).
610 Epilogue Epilogue 611

film criticism w h i c h was m u c h admired by rhe young Francois Truffaur. Georges I n the face o f this official neglect, various associations o f deportes kept alive
Soules became a successful novelisr w r i t i n g under the pseudonym o f Raymond the m e m o r y o f rheir expenences. I n 1954, rhey succeeded i n getting parliament
Abellio. Celine, returning to France from his Danish exile i n 1951, resumed his to vote for an annual National Deporration Day every A p n l . O n the firsr o f rhese
novelistic career, and adopted the persona o f an irascible and vicrimized eccen- occasions, an u r n containing the ashes o f deportes was transferred ro M o n t
tric w h o had never wished harm t o anyone. Paul M o r a n d returned to France i n Valenen t o j o i n the remains o f the fifteen people already butied rhere, and reap-
1954, and embarked o n a campaign to get i n t o the Academic fran^aise. H i s elec- propriate rhe site from rhe exclusively heroic m e m o r y asctibed ro i t by de Gaulle.
t i o n was blocked i n 1959 by the combined efforrs o f former resisters and de But this batde o f m e m o r y between heroes and victims r u m b l e d o n . O n 18 June
Gaulle himself bur he finally succeeded i n 1968.^' Robert Brasillach, w h o was i 9 6 0 , rwo years after returning ro power, de Gaulle inaugurared a grandiose M o n -
saved from this fate by his execution, became the object o f a t i n y cult orches- ument to Fighting France at M o n t Valenen. Two years later, the associations o f
trated by his brother-in-law, Maurice Bardeche. deportes obtained the construction o f a specific m o n u m e n t to the Martyrs o f
Bardeche became France's mosr ardculare defender o f fascism. This should Deportation. This m o n u m e n t , situated at the tip o f the lie de la Cite i n Paris,
remind us that the defeated o f 1944 d i d not all share the same vision o f the past. was inaugurated by de Gaulle o n National Deporration D a y i n 1962."
T h e wartime division berween V i c h y and Paris continued i n the post-war period, I n the hierarchy o f virrue i n post-war France, the deportees had come to
separating those w h o defended Petain as a French patrior, and those w h o occupy a central place o n l y jusr below the resisters. They symbolized the suffer-
defended Laval as a European and a n t i - C o m m u n i s t . Deat, w h o lived out his ing o f rhe French nation i n the war, and were depicred as having been spiritu-
days teaching French i n Iraly, still believed that his day w o u l d come.'" Pierre- ally purified by their tertible expenences i n the camps." T h e y stood i n the same
Andre Cousteau, a former member o f the Je suis partout team, remained unre- relation to post-war society as the prisoners o f war i n relarion to Vichy. B u t the
penranr u n t i l the end o f his life. I n 1958, he wrote: ' i f I adopted, i n 1941, an community deportes v^zs itself far from homogeneous. I n 1948, their status was
atdtude o f collaboration, ir was n o t to l i m i t the damage . . . or play some k i n d fixed by law. T w o categories were distinguished: the deportes resistants w h o had
o f double game. Ir was because I wanted the victory o f Germany . . . because ir been deporred as a result o f their Resistance activities and the deportes politiques
represented . . . rhe last chance o f the white m a n , while the democracies . . . w h o had been entirely innocent victims o f the Germans, such as civilian hostages
represented the end o f the white m a n . ' " ,,; >,i, = 1 j < \ ^ , ' taken i n reprisal for Resistance operations. Those w h o had been sent to Germany
as S T O workers were, however, not granred deporte status at all. They were seen
as m u c h less deserving o f either admiration or sympathy than the deportes. W h e n
Buried Memories: The Victims
i n 1956 i t was mooted that former S T O workers should be granted deportestaxus,
I t was only to be expected that the Gaullist m y t h had little comfort to a number o f leading personalitiesincluding Vercors, Lucien Febvre, Camus,
offer the defeated o f 1944, b u t i t had litde place either for those w h o had been Fernand Braudelsigned a declaration o f protest about h o n o u r i n g these 'trans-
persecuted under the Occupationespecially the thousands o f civilians w h o plantes i n such a way''' T h e former S T O workers m u c h resenred this implied
had been deporred to Germany. T h e rerurn o f deportes from German camps i n assumption that they were not victims i n the same way as the other deportes poli-
A p r i l 1945 had caused a rerrible shock. T h e sight o f these ghostly and emaciated tiques, especially since d u r i n g the war i t had been c o m m o n to refer to them as
creatures cast a pall over the victory celebrations. N o r was i t easy t o fit them into deportes de travail. B u t no amount o f lobbying has so far succeeded i n w i n n i n g
the embryonic GauUisr inrerpretadon o f the Occupation w h i c h required heroes them back this designation. Over those w h o had worked i n Nazi Germany floats
not victims. O n 11 November 1945, a solemn ceremony was held at the fort of the suspicion that they c o u l d o r shouldhave avoided S T O and j o i n e d the
M o n t Valerien outside Paris where many French hostages had been shot by the Resistance." r :
Germans: fifteen people w h o had died for France were b u n e d i n a crypt there. Another group not accorded any specific recognition among deportes were rhe
They consisred o f nine soldiers w h o had fought i n 1940 or i n 1944, one pnsoner Jews. W h e n the firsr Jewish survivors returned from the camps i n 1945 their
o f war shot while t r y i n g to escape, three resisters, and two deportes, b o t h o f w h o m plight was n o t differentiated i n public consciousness from that o f other victims
had been resisters. There was no representative o f those deportes
w h o had simply been victims o f the Germans although n o t involved i n the
S. Barcellini, 'Sur deux journees nationales c o m m e m o r a n t la deportation et la persecution des
Resistance. ''-' " ' ; annees noires', VSRH 45 (1995), 76-98.
P. Lagrou, ' V i c t i m s o f Genocide and National M e m o r y : Belgium, France, a n d the Netherlands
Rousso, Vichy Syndrome, 68-9. 1945-1965', Past and Present, 154 (1997), 181-212: 204-5.
J. Algazy, La Tentation nio-fasciste en France i()44-i96$ (1984), 59-94. I b i d . 204-5.
" Verdes-Leroux, Refiis et violences, 445. " F Cochet. Histoire des prisonniers de guerre, deportes et STO (rp4s-i</8s) (1992), 100-1.
I6t2 Epilogue Epilogue

o f Nazism. I n June 1946, the ashes o f Auschwitz victims were buried at Pere- Fragmented Memories
Lachaise i n a ceremony organized by the Communists. T h e m o n u m e n t erected
I n the 1970s, the glacier o f official memo r y began to break up as a result
on this occasion referred to 'men, w o m e n and children, deported from France,
o f t w o developments: the generarional revolt o f the 1960s and a reawakening o f
exterminated at Auschwitz, victims o f Nazi barbarism'. N o t h i n g said that almost
Jewish self-consciousness. T h e generarional revolt had its most violent expres-
all the victims had been Jewish. O n e deportation convoy to Auschwitz, that o f
sion i n the events o f 1968 when French students challenged the two political
23 January 1943, had i n fact contained 119 C o m m u n i s t w o m e n , the only n o n -
forces whose legitimacy was most closely b o u n d up w i t h the m e m o r y o f rhe war:
Jewish w o m e n to be sent to Auschwitz. T h r o u g h rhe testimony o f the survivors
GauUism and c o m m u n i s m . T h e y hurled memories o f the past against those w h o
o f that convoy, Auschwitz merged into the general m e m o ry o f all rhe concen-
portrayed themselves as custodians o f that past. T h e i r slogan comparing the
tration camps w i t h no recognition o f its specific characrer as a centre o f exter-
French riot police to the Nazis'CRS = SS'shocked defenders o f the Gaullist
m i n a t i o n . I t was appropriated as a C o m m u n i s t m e m o r y n o t a Jewish one.'" T h e
regime. W h e n the C o m m u n i s t leader Georges Marchais dismissed one student
Jews w h o returned to France were subsumed i n t o the category o f deportes poli-
activist as a 'German Jewish anarchist', the students responded w i r h the slogan
tiques and not viewed w i t h particular sympathy. W h e n after her return from
'We are all German Jews'.
Auschwitz the 17-year-old Jewish girl Simone Jacobnow the politician Simone
T h i s climate o f protest explains the impact o f the film The Sorrow and the
Veilpresented herself for a medical examination at the National Federarion o f
Pity (1971) w h i c h subverted every aspect o f the m y t h o f the Occupation. N o t
Resisrance Deportees, she was sent away as ineligible.'^
least o f its provocations was the almost total absence o f de Gaulle. Constructed
Jewish survivors w h o tried to speak about their experiences often found that
around interviews w i t h survivors from the period, the film was as m u c h an
others, including Jews w h o had survived the war i n France, d i d not wish to
exploration o f the m e m o r y o f the Occupation as a history o f i t . I n refusing to
l i s t e n . " As one returning deportee remarked: ' N o sooner d i d we begin to tell
allow The Sorrow and the Pity to be televised, the head o f France's State broad-
our story than we were interrupted, like overexcited or overly talkative children
casring organization remarked rhat 'certain myths are necessary for a people's
by parenrs w h o are themselves burdened d o w n w i t h real problems.'''^ Jewish
well-being and tranquillity'. Bur the ban only fuelled suspicions that there was
organizarions readily subscribed to this collective amnesia. To admit a special
something ro hide. T h e film was shown i n a Paris cinema, and seen by abour
category o f 'racial deporrees' contradicted the assimilationist tradition o f the
600,000 people. After i t , n o t h i n g was ever the same again.''^
Republic to w h i c h the Jews owed their freedom i n France. Mosr Jews wanted to
T h e awakening o f Jewish memo r y was part o f rhe same generarional phe-
put the nightmare behind rhem and fit back i n t o French society.
nomenon w h i c h produced The Sorrow and the Pity, but i t had other causes as
A memorial to the dead was unveiled i n Paris at the synagogue o f the rue de
well. T h e trial o f A d o l f Eichmann i n 1961 revived interest i n the Holocaust while
la Victoire i n 1949 i n the presence o f the President o f the Republic. T h e cer-
the Six-Day War between Israel and the Arab States increased the sense o f self-
emony, ending w i t h the Marseillaise, was as m u c h a Republican as a Jewish one
consciousness among Jews i n France, especially after the French government dis-
reflecting the Jews' desire to avoid difficult questions about France's role i n their
tanced itself from the Israeli cause. I n 1977, the m a i n organization o f French
wartime fate. A t a meeting o f the Consistory o f Paris i n 1946, one speaker paid
Jewry, the CRIF, modified its charter to embrace the objectives o f unconditional
homage to the people o f France 'to w h o m we owe our s u r v i v a l . . . France w h o
support for Israel and the demand that French schools offer insrruction on the
liberated us i n 1789 liberared us again i n 1944'.'"' Speaking o n 14 July 1945, the
Holocaust. Claude Lanzmann's eight-hour documentary film on the Holocaust,
C h i e f Rabbi Joseph Kaplan declared: 'the governmenr o f V i c h y w h i c h abandoned
Shoah (1985), played the same role for Jewish memo r y d u r i n g the 1980s as The
the Jews and delivered t h e m to their fate d i d n o t represent the true France'. As
Sorrow and the Pity had for the general memo r y o f the Occupation d u r i n g the
for those non-French Jews w h o had participated i n the Resistance, mainly
1970s.'"
through the C o m m u n i s t M O I , they were remembered as members o f the FTP
N o one d i d more to raise public self-consciousness about war-rime anri-
who died for France. T h e M O I , w h i c h was w o u n d up i n 1945, faded from
Semitism than the lawyer Serge Klarsfeld w h o was 8 years o l d when his father
memory.^'
was deported to Auschwitz i n 1943. W i t h his younger German wife Beate,
Klarsfeld devoted himself to h u n t i n g d o w n war criminals. I n 1968, Beate p u b -
^ W i e w o r k a , Deportation et genocide, 138-40; P. Lagrou, The Legacy of Nazi Occupation: Patriotic licly slapped the German chancellor K u r t Kiesinger to draw attention to his Nazi
Memory and National Recovery in Western Europe ip4$-ip6s (Cambridge, 2000), 237-40.
" I b i d . 131-2, 141-57. I b i d . 163, 169-82.
past. Klarsfeld also became a considerable historian. H i s Vichy-Auschwitz traced
A . Finkielkraut, Remembering in Vain: The Klaus Barbie trial and Crimes against Humanity (New the mechanisms o f the Final Solution i n France; his Memorial de la deportation
York, 1992), 18.
W i e v i o r k a , Deportation et genocide, 347-53. I b i d . 354-8. ''^ Rousso, Vichy Syndrome, 98-114. I b i d . 132-8, 239.
614 Epilogue Epilogue 615

des juifs de France published the name o f every Jew deporred from France. I n or a volunteer, neither alternative conformed to the image o f C o m m u n i s t
1979, he created the Association o f Sons and Daughters o f Jewish Deporrees from Resistance heroism. T h e memory o f the Occupation haunted the presidential
France. elections o f 1981: the Gaullist Colonel Passy urged people t o vote for M i t t e r r a n d
As the Resistance was challenged d u r i n g the 1970s, incidents that m i g h t once and was supporred by a bevy o f former resisters w h o claimed that M i t t e r r a n d
have passed unnoticed exploded into scandal. This was discovered, to his cost, was rhe only candidate 'interested i n pursuing rhe broad programme o f the
by de Gaulle's successor President Georges Pompidou. I n November 1971, Pom- C N R ' ; de Gaulle's son-in-law reminded electors that M i t t e r r a n d had a V i c h y
p i d o u quierly (as he had hoped) granted a pardon to the former M i l i c e leader past; rhe Socialisr Gaston Defferre responded b y alleging that Giscard's family
in Lyons, Paul Touvier. After rhe war, Touvier had been sentenced to death in had been 'full o f collaborators'.'"'
absentia, b u t successfully evaded arrest. For rwenty years, he was hidden by These polemics rook place againsr a background o f increasing aesthetic fasci-
Catholic clergymen, acting o u t o f a mixture o f charity and r i g h t - w i n g convic- nation w i t h the period, a sort o f Forties Revival, dubbed the mode retro. I t is
t i o n . I n 1967, the death sentence lapsed when the Statute o f Limitations took strikingly illustrated by the novelist Patrick M o d i a n o whose enrire o u t p u t , since
effect. Pompidou's pardon affected various secondary penalries that still carried his first book La Place de I'etoile (1968), has explored rhe murkiest aspects o f the
force. O c c u p a t i o n t h e points at w h i c h collaboration overiapped w i t h the worlds o f
T h e pardon caused uproar. After four months o f polemics, Pompidou criminality and marginality. But the Occupation is n o t just a background for his
defended his action: 'are we going to keep the wounds o f our national discord novels. Born i n 1945, the son o f a Jewish father w h o survived the war rhanks ro
bleeding eternally? Hasn't the time come to draw a veil over the past, to forget ruse and compromise, and a mother w h o w o r k e d i n occupied Paris for a German
a time when Frenchmen disliked one another, and even killed one another?' Since film company, Modiano's obsession w i t h the Occupation is a personal quest for
Pompidou himself had survived the Occupation by keeping o u t o f trouble and origins and identity. His novels, impressionistic and fragmented, are meditations
devoting himself ro producing a crirical edition o f Racine's play Britannicus on the interplay between memory and history and o n the possibility o f ascrib-
'cleady I lacked an adventurous spirit', he once observedhis desire ro forgive ing coherence t o the past. To the general public, M o d i a n o is best k n o w n as the
and forget appealed to h i m personally. B u t drawing a veil over collaboration i n author o f the screenplay o f Lacombe Lucien, the film w h i c h , after The Sorrow
a spirit o f national reconciliation also conformed to the spirit o f the Gaullist and the Pity, mosr contributed to u n d e r m i n i n g heroic representations o f the
m y t h . Unfortunately for Pompidou, times had changed, and his pardon only Occupation.'*^
conttibuted further to the unravelling o f the myth.'*''
Another scandal erupted i n October 1978 when the magazine L'Express p u b - Memory on Trial -^/"'^v?;;^#:v^;..
lished an interview w i t h the former head o f Vichy's Commissariat for Jewish
Affairs, Darquier de Pellepoix, w h o had raken refuge i n Spain after his con- I n the 1970s then, the o l d mythology shattered, b u t i t proved impossible
demnation to death i n 1947. I n the interview Darquier poured o u t his anti- to pur the pieces together and creare a new consensus. I n the 1980s i t fell to the
Semitic bile and alleged that the gas chambers were a Jewish hoax. This was not courts, more rhan to historians, to offer interpretations o f the V i c h y past. This
the first time Darquier had made statements to the press or the firsr article that was a consequence o f the French parliament's vote i n 1964 t o end the Statute o f
had been w r i t t e n about h i m . B u t once again t i m i n g was all, and the ranting o f Limitations o n crimes against humanity. T h a t decision had been taken to allow
this crazed octogenarian created a furore i n France.'*' the possibility o f pursuing Nazi war criminals still at large, but i n the 1970s the
By the late 1970s, V i c h y was becoming, as H e n r y Rousso suggests, an obses- weapon was turned against French perperrators o f war crimes. Even people w h o
sion. T h e slightest incident was seized u p o n and interprered i n rhe light of had been rried at the Liberation became vulnerable to rerrial o n new grounds.
Occupation. There was an outcry i n 1975 when Presidenr Valery Giscard After rhe war no one had been specifically tried for their role i n rhe deporrarion
d'Estaing decided i n a spirit o f European u n i t y that 8 M a y w o u l d no longer be o f the Jews. N o w this came t o be seen as the central crime o f the Occupation,
celebrated as a national holiday. Veiled references were made ro the Vichyite and one w h i c h could be pursued as a crime against humanity.
past o f his parents. Another polemic broke o u t over rhe C o m m u n i s t leader T h e firsr Frenchman ro be successfully indicted for crimes against h u m a n i t y
Georges Marchais w h o rurned o u t to have worked i n a German factory
I b i d . 168-90.
d u r i n g rhe war. Whether he had been there as an involuntary v i c r i m o f S T O "'' C. Netdebeck, ' G e t t i n g the Story Right: Narratives o f the Second W o r l d War i n Post-1968 Ftance',
i n Hirschfeld and Marsh (eds.). Collaboration in France, 252-93: 282-5; A . M o r r i s , Collaboration and Resis-
Rousso, Vichy Syndrome, 11416. I b i d . 139-44 tance Reviewed: Writers and the Mode Retro in Post-Gaullist France (1992).
616 Epilogue Epilogue 617

was Jean Leguay i n M a r c h 1979. As Rene Bousquet's representative i n the Occu- the trial meanr rhe French State had something to hide: i t was terrified that
pied Zone u n t i l the end o f 1943, Leguay had been profoundly implicated i n the Barbie w o u l d reveal who had betrayed M o u l i n . Verges knew n o t h i n g that had
round-ups o f Jews. I n January 1983 followed the indictment o f Maurice Papon not been c o m m o n knowledge for years, bur his insinuations sowed doubts.
w h o had organized deporrarions o f Jews i n his capacity as an official i n the pre- I n November 1985, rhe Cour de Cassarion, France's highesr appeal court,
fecture o f the Gironde. Finally, Bousquer himself was indicted i n M a r c h 1991. issued a ruling w h i c h allowed some crimes againsr rhe Resistance to be included
Leguay and Bousquer had b o t h been tried ar the Liberation but suffered o n l y in the indictment against Barbie. This was done by redefining crimes against
m i n o r penalties because they were able ro show that they had abetted the Resis- h u m a n i t y to include acts carried our i n 'the name o f a state practising a policy
tance. Papon had not been tried at all. T h e i r role i n the Jewish deporrarions had o f ideological hegemony . . . n o t only against people by reason o f their belong-
barely been an issue at the Liberation. A l l o f them had gone on to glittering ing to a racial or religious group b u t also against the opponents o f this political
careers i n business and politics. Papon had served as Prefect o f Police under de system'. T h e definition o f crimes againsr h u m a n i t y was shifted from the iden-
Gaulle i n from 1958 to 1967, and Budget Minister under Giscard d'Estaing, u n t i l t i t y o f the victims to the motives o f the perperrators. Barbie's trial w h i c h lasted
the revelations about his past forced h i m to resign i n 1981. Even after rhe indict- from I I M a y to 4 July 1987 was not the cathartic event w h i c h had been expected.
ments had been issued, preparing the evidence against these highly placed figures H e was tried on forry-one separare counts. T h i r r y - n i n e lawyers representing
was laborious. Leguay died i n July 1989 just as the case against h i m was ready Jewish groups. Resistance groups, and individuals appeared i n court to file sepa-
ro come before the courts. Bousquet was assassinated by a publicity seeker i n rate suits against h i m . H e was found guilty and sentenced to life imprisonment.
1993 before his case could be tried. Papon's indicrmenr was quashed for proce- But although Verges's claim to have revelations about the Resistance proved to
dural reasons i n 1987, and he was indicred again i n 1988. T h e preparation o f his be a bluff, the trial uncovered rensions berween Resisrance memories and Jewish
case dragged o n for years. Meanwhile i n 1989 Touvier was finally discovered memories. T h e inclusion o f crimes againsr the Resistance blurred the focus o f
h i d i n g i n a priory i n Nice. H e was arrested and indicted, but i t took time to what some had wished to be a ringing condemnation o f the Final Solution.'"* As
prepare the case against h i m . Simone Veil p u t i t : 'we the victims have never asked ro be considered as heroes;
These delays meant that the first trial turned o u t not to be o f a Frenchmen so w h y do rhe heroes n o w w a n t . . . at the risk o f m i x i n g everyrhing up, ro be
but o f the German Klaus Barbie w h o had been the Gestapo chief i n Lyons. rreared as vicrims?""
Found guilty in absentia o f war crimes i n the 1950s, Barbie escaped to Bolivia T h e trial o f Paul Touvier, seven years larer, was no more successful i n pro-
where Beate Klarsfeld located h i m i n 1971. After several abortive attempts to v i d i n g simple answers about the past. T h e m a i n crime alleged againsr Touvier
secure his extradition, Barbie was eventually brought back to France i n Febru- was the round-up and shooting o f seven Jews on 29 June 1944 i n reraliation for
ary 1983 and indicted for crimes againsr humanity. T h e French government the assassinarion o f Philippe Henrior. There was no doubr about Touvier's
intended his trial to serve as a national history lesson and chance for the French responsibility for this crime, bur i n A p r i l 1992 ir looked as i f the trial w o u l d not
to confront the pastbut complications soon arose. go ahead after the Paris C o u r t o f Appeals decided, to universal amazement, that
T h e crimes w i t h w h i c h Barbie was associated i n the popular imagination, i n there was no case against Touvier under rhe srrict definition o f crimes against
particular the death o f Jean M o u l i n , could not be included i n the indictment humanity. T h e court's view was that the V i c h y regime, i n whose name Touvier
because they were categorized as 'war crimes', carried out against combatants. acted, could not be said to have been inspired by a policy o f 'ideological hege-
'Crimes against h u m a n i t y ' were those perperrated against innocent civilians. m o n y ' since irs ideology was confused, and rhe Jews were not defined as an
Thus the central charge against Barbie became the round-up o n 6 A p r i l 1944 o f enemy o f the State as i n Nazi Germany. T h e specracle o f judges, rhree o f them
forty-three Jewish children from the refuge at Izieu. Some former resisters felt k n o w n for their r i g h t - w i n g sympathies, setting themselves up as historians o f
aggrieved that the indictment against Barbie had n o t h i n g to say about them, but V i c h y caused outrage. Seven months later the judgement was parrially over-
including t h e m w o u l d have subverted the claim o f the Resistance that its turned by another appeal court. W h i l e declaring itself incompetent to contest
members had been voluntary combatants, a status denied to them by Germany the assessment o f Vichy, this court decided that Touvier had acted on German
d u r i n g the Occupation. Before Barbie came to trial these tensions were skilfully orders, and therefore on behalf o f a State inspired by a policy o f ideological hege-
exploited by his defence lawyer Jacques Verges. Verges was a leftist radical w i r h mony. T h i s judgement made i t possible to judge Touvier, but meant that his trial
contempt for bourgeois democracy. H e argued that the French had no right to could nor consider crimes commirred by Vichy. Ir led to the absurd result that,
try Barbie when they were u n w i l l i n g to assume responsibility for their o w n
N . W o o d , 'Crimes or Misdemeanours? M e m o r y o n Trial in Conremporary France', French
crimes against h u m a n i t y i n their colonies, especially d u r i n g the Algerian war.
Cultural Studies, 3 (1994), 1-21: 7-12; Rousso, Vichy Syndrome, 199-216.
But Verges's m a i n counrer-attack was to claim that the exclusion o f resisters from '* Finkielkraut, Remembering in Vain, 20. ' v...
618 Epilogue Epilogue

i n the words o f Tzvetan Todorov, 'the same acts are crimes i f they are c o m m i r - centrism'neglects other victims o f the regime: Communisrs, Freemasons, resisrers.
red by rhe Germans or anyone i n their service, but cease to be so i f their authors There are n o w national days ro commemorare the end o f the war (8 M a y ) , the
are French, acting for the French State or French institutions'. Law was being deportees (April), and the Jews (16 July), but there is none ro commemorate rhe
manipulated 'to meet the political objective o f the m o m e n t , instead o f allowing Resistance. T h e conremporary focus on the Jews redresses the previous neglect
it to judge individual cases according to unchanging crireria'."' o f their plight, but since, as Rousso reminds us, many Jewish survivors i n 1944-5
T h e rrial opened on 17 M a r c h 1994 and closed on 20 A p r i l 1994. Four histor- wanred ro be considered as French citizens not as Jews, i t w o u l d be anachronis-
ians, including Robert Paxton, testified. Touvier was found guilty and sentenced tic to attribure rhat neglect only to the existence o f anti-Semitic prejudice.
to life imprisonment. T h r o u g h o u t the proceedings, there was a sense o f frustra- Rousso also idenrifies problems i n selecting 16 July to commemorate France's
t i o n ar the banality o f the 79-year-old defendanr w h o seemed half absenr from guilt towards the Jews. French complicity i n the Vel d'Hiver round-ups is unde-
the proceedings. T h e m a i n problem was rhat evidence w h i c h had been painstak- niable, but ir was primarily a resulr o f Vichy's policy o f collaboration rarher than
ingly assembled to prove that Touvier had acred for V i c h y n o w had to be mar- Vichy's anti-Semitism. Certainly the t w o policies cannot, i n this instance, be
shalled ro prove rhe opposirerhat he had acred at the instigation o f the entirely separated, but Vichy's anti-Semitism was one o f persecution not exter-
Germans. W h a t had once been used by Touvier i n his defencethat i t was m i n a t i o n . Exterminarion was a German policy. I f France genuinely wished to
the local Gestapo head w h o had forced h i m ro k i l l the hostagesnow became confront her o w n anri-Semitic demons, i t w o u l d , Rousso argues, be more appro-
the basis o f the case against h i m . Witnesses w h o had previously claimed that priare ro commemorare the Jewish Statute o f October 1940. Finally, Rousso ques-
Touvier was n o t acting on German orders n o w alleged the opposite. These con- tions whether i t is healthy for a sociery ro become too fixated o n the past. There
tradictions caused a certain embarrassment. To rhe irrirarion o f his colleagues, may be a 'duty to remember', b u t there is also sometimes a need to p u t the past
one o f the prosecurion lawyers, A r n o Klarsfeld, the son o f Serge, refused ro accept behind one i n order ro confront the problems o f the present and the f u t u r e . "
the theory rhat Touvier had acred at the behest o f the Germansalthough he However salutary Rousso's call for a sense o f p r o p o r t i o n i n discussing anti-
claimed that this d i d not affect the issue o f crimes against humanity. But the Semitism d u r i n g the Occupation, there is a danger that he could give a m m u n i -
t r u t h was that Touvier's convicrion could only be secured by distorring rhe his- t i o n to revisionisrs w i r h their o w n political agendas. Rousso himself has no such
torical record.
ulterior motives. O n the contrary, b o r n i n 1954, he is one o f rhe leading hisror-
ians o f the period, too young to have any personal scores to settle, and he was
quick to denounce the pro-Vichy revisionism o f a recent book. Indeed one o f
Obsessive iviemory his points is that i f a distorted picture o f the Occupation were allowed to gain
T h e rrials o f Barbie and Touvier, while failing to clarify understanding o f credence i t w o u l d be vulnerable to attack from people wishing to rehabilitate
the Occupation, had intensified the preoccuparion w i t h the persecurion o f rhe Vichy. H a v i n g refuted those distortions, they w o u l d be able to cast doubt even
Jews. T h e fiftieth anniversary o f the Vel d'Hiver r o u n d - u p on 16 July 1942 was o n the existence o f the regime's genuine crimes. Thus Rousso's war n in g against
a m o m e n t o f high e m o tion. A commemorative ceremony was held o n the site an obsession w i t h V i c h y deserves to be listened to. But i n other hands this
o f the former Vel d'Hiver i n the presence o f numerous dignitaries, including the warning could become apologetic. I n this context, one should note that the title
President o f the Republic, Francois M i t t e r r a n d . A perition appeared i n Le Monde, o f Rousso's book echoes a w e l l - k n o w n article by the German historian Ernst
signed by over rwo hundred personalities calling themselves the 'Vel d'Hiver 42 Nolte, 'Vergangenheit, die nicht vergehen w i l l ' . I t is notorious that Nolte's o w n
Committee'. T h e y demanded that M i t t e r r a n d formally acknowledge France's call for relativization o f the Holocaust was serving a contemporary conservative
complicity i n the Final Solution. A l t h o u g h M i t t e r r a n d was u n w i l l i n g to do this, agenda, and leading h i m i n t o increasingly troubled waters. I n this context i t is
i n February 1993 his governmenr decided ro designate 16 July as a national day not insignificant that Rousso's book has been commented u p o n favourably by
o f commemoration o f the persecution o f the Jews. Jean-Marc Varaut, the defence lawyer o f Maurice Papon, the V i c h y functionary
This has recently led the historian H e n r y Rousso, director o f rhe Institut d u accused o f crimes against humanity, and author o f a recenr revisionisr account
temps present, to w ar n againsr the danger o f creating a new m y t h about the o f Petain's trial. Varaut applauds Rousso's rejecrion o f Manichaean explanarions
Occupation. Rousso argues that concentraring on rhe persecution o f the Jews to and praises his stress on the complexity o f events. I n shorr, the dilemma is: h o w
the exclusion o f almost every orher aspecr o f V i c h y w h a t he calls 'Judaeo- to historicize w i t h o u t becoming N o l t e ? "

" E. C o n a n and H . Rousso, Un passi qui ne passe pas (1994), 9-30, 267-86.
Todorov, ' T h e Touvier Trial', i n R. Golsan (ed.). Memory, the Holocaust and French Justice: The C. Flood and H . Frey, ' T h e V i c h y Syndrome Revisited', Modern and Contemporary France (1995),
Bousquet and Touvier Affairs (Hanover, N H , 1996), 169-78: 175. 244-5.
620 Epilogue Epilogue 621

This dilemma is all the more acute given the strength o f the extreme right Mitterrand's Memories
i n contemporary France. Jean-Marie Le Pen's Front national has provided a home
In shorr, the line berween nuance and apologedcs is delicate. W h e n does
to former Petainists and coUaboradonisrs. For example, Paul M a l g u t i , w h o
forgetting become whitewashing, when does reconciliarion become rehabilita-
stood for the F N at elections i n 1992, was a former member o f Doriot's PPF,
don? H o w difficult i t has become to construcr a consensual inrerpreration o f the
involved i n a massacre o f resisrers by the Gestapo at Cannes i n August 1944,
French past was demonstrated i n the controversy aroused by rhe publicarion
and condemned to death in absentia i n 1945.'' T h e o l d Petainist sage Gustave
i n 1994 o f a book by rhe journalisr Pierre Pean on rhe Vichyire past o f Francois
T h i b o n emerged from the shadows to give the F N his support. Le Pen himself
M i r t e r r a n d . T h e book's cover showed M i t t e r r a n d participating i n a r i g h r - w i n g
makes litde secrer o f his loathing for de Gaulle, his indulgence for Petain, and
demonstradon d u r i n g rhe 1930s. T h e story o f Mitrerrand's past had been t o l d
his dislike o f Jews. Asked i n 1987 what he thought about negationismthe
before, b u t Pean provided an unprecedenred wealrh o f documenrarion thanks to
attempt to deny the existence o f the Holocausthe said that he was n o t
the co-operarion o f Mirrerrand himself M i t t e r r a n d then allowed himself to be
competent to comment on this historical issue, but that i n any case the
interviewed on television for ninery minures i n September 1994 to appease the
Holocaust was merely a 'detail' i n the history o f the Second War. I n 1988, he
uproar excited by Pean's book. This willingness to come clean on his past rep-
attacked a government minister by m a k i n g a tasteless p u n about crematorium
resented a change o f atdtude by M i t t e r r a n d . I n 1969, he had w r i t t e n o f his
ovens.
wartime experience: 'Back i n France [from the prisoner o f war camp] I became
Negarionism has enjoyed remarkable success i n France. Indeed i t was invenred
a resisrer after no great agonising.' To say the least, this missed out a l o t i n
i n France by the former Socialist resisrer Paul Rassinier w h o had been i n Buchen-
between. I t was not, however, a direct lie, unlike Mitterrand's claim i n the 1970s
wald. H e became convinced after the war that the gas chambers, o f w h i c h there
rhat he had been an ardenr supporrer o f the Popular Front.'''
were indeed none ar Buchenwald, had never existed.''' I n 1978 Robert Faurisson,
Mitterrand's motive i n speaking about his past was possibly a pre-emprive
a lecturer ar the Universiry o f Lyons, announced his supporr o f Darquier de Pelle-
srrike against future historians as he approached the end o f his life. But he also
poix's allegations that the gas chambers had not existed. Faurisson's case acquired
seems to have seen himself as engaged i n a wider pedagogic enterprise o f recon-
notoriety i n 1980 when N o a m Chomsky foolishly prefaced one o f his books i n
ciling the French people w i t h their past.'" I n a series o f inrerviews w i t h the his-
a spirit o f defending free speech. Faurisson was i n the end required ro pay sym-
torian Olivier Wieviorka i n the early 1990s, M i r t e r r a n d expressed his disraste for
bolic damages to those whose memory he had insulted. I n 1985 another acade-
c o n t i n u i n g the trials o f former servants o f Vichy: 'one cannot live the whole time
mic, H e n r i Roques, was awarded a doctorate w h i c h contained negationist claims.
on rancour and memories'.''' I t emerged that M i t t e r r a n d had intervened to slow
T h e degree was revoked a year later."
d o w n the preparation o f the case against Papon. Pean's most shocking revelation
Negationism is beyond the boundaries o f respecrabiliry even to most sup-
was that M i t t e r r a n d had enjoyed friendly relations w i t h Rene Bousquet into the
porrers o f the Fronr narional, but there are orher subtly apologetic accounts o f
1980s. A l l this came on top o f the reveladon i n 1992 rhat since 1987 M i r r e r r a n d
the Occupation on offer. O n e o f the best-selling authors o n the period is H e n r i
had had a wreath placed on rhe romb o f Marshal Petain on each anniversary o f
A m o u r o u x , a journalist whose nine-volume history o f the life o f the French
the Armisdce o f 1918. A l t h o u g h the Elys^e made clear that this was a homage to
under Occupation provides a m i n u t e chronicle w h i c h submerges judgement and
the victor o f Verdun nor rhe V i c h y leader, the news caused outrage.
analysis i n detail. Amouroux's accounr offers neither heroes nor villains, only an
immensely complicated tragedy i n w h i c h everyone has their reasons. T h e moral Mitterrand's response to his crirics was ro argue implicirly rhat rhe pasr should
seems to be that to undersrand everyrhing is to forgive everyrhing. There is no be embraced i n all its complexity H e seemed to be t r y i n g to reclaim a place for
explicitly political agenda, b u t A m o u r o u x has made i t clear that he dislikes what ambiguous trajecrories like his o w n w h i c h had been squeezed our by rhe vasr
he see as the denigrarion o f France by American historians (that is to say, Robert condescension o f Gaullisr hisrory"" N o w that the Gaullist m y t h was shattered,
Paxton).'" M i r t e r r a n d was suggesdng that the alternarive was not to assert that the French
had all been rrairors, bur thar rhey had srruggled for solutions i n a difficult
^' B. G o r d o n , 'Afterword: W h o were the G u i l t y and should they be tried?', i n GoLsan, Memory, the period. For any hisrorian, the most striking feature o f Mitterrand's journey from
Holocaust and French Justice, 179--98: 183.
D . Lipstadt, Denying the Holocaust (i<)')-i); F. Bayard, Comment I'idk vint It M. Rassinier: Naissance " F. Mitterrand, Ma part de viriti {ici6'}), 20, 23-4.
du rivisionisme (1996). C. A n d r i e u , ' M a n a g i n g M e m o r y : N a t i o n a l and Personal Identity at Stake in the M i t t e r r a n d Affair',
" Rousso, Vichy Syndrome, 151-8; P. Vidal-Naquet and L. Yagil, Holocaust Denial in France (Tel Aviv, French Cultural Studies, 142 (1996), 17-31.
" O . Wieviorka, Nous entrerons en carriere: De la Resistance a Texercice de pouvoir (1994), 349-50.
1995)-
As he said i n an interview o n French radio (Europe i ) o n 23 Sept. 1997. . ,? ^ M i t t e r r a n d , Mimoires interrompues (1996),
622 Epilogue Epilogue 623

Petainism to Resistance is its very ordinariness. I n his television interview, the French role i n the Holocaust, M i t t e r r a n d was h i d i n g behind rhe Gaullist
Mirrerrand made a revealing mistake when asked about the Jewish Statute. H e ficdon, officially adumbrared i n the ordinance o f Augusr 1944, that true legid-
claimed that i t was a piece o f legislation against foreign Jews about w h i c h he had macy berween 1940 and 1944 lay w i t h a French Republic w h i c h had never ceased
k n o w n nothing. T h a t he had k n o w n n o t h i n g about i t seems implausible; that i t to exist. H o w d i d this square w i t h his arrempr, i n 1994, to rescue V i c h y from
was direcred only againsr foreign Jews was w r o n g ; and even i f i t had been, this rotal obloquy.' Perhaps the grearesr paradox o f all was that the gesture M i t t e r -
hardly made i t more defensible. T h e error, o d d for someone as sreeped i n history rand, a lifelong and-Gaullisr, refused to make i n 1992 out o f fidelity to the
as M i t t e r r a n d , seemed to confirm that he still unconsciously held certain preju- Gaullist reading o f history was made on 16 July 1995, by Jacques Chirac, the
dices o f the period, disdnguishing berween French and foreign Jews, and new Gaullist president. Chirac became rhe firsr French leader formally ro accept
somehow h o p i n g rhat this distincdon w o u l d cast V i c h y i n a more favourable responsibiliry for France's part i n the Holocaust: 'the criminal madness o f rhe
lighr. As Tony Judr observes, 'he cannot condemn the past root and branch, occupier was supporred by the French people and by rhe French State . . . France
because he w o u l d be condemning himself'.''' on rhar day c o m m i t t e d an irreparable a c t . . . I t is undeniable that this was a col-
Even Mitterrand's o w n supporters found these revelarions difficult to accept. lective fault.' Aparr from expressions o f ourrage by a few die-hard Gaullisrs
T h e Socialist Lionel Jospin commented that 'one w o u l d have liked a clearer and rwo o f them wrore an arricle i n Le Monde tniitltd ' N o , V i c h y was n o t France' ir
simpler itinerary'. A n d yet Jospin need only have remembered his o w n family was striking rhar Chirac's words seemed to meet w i t h general approval."'* D i d
hisrory to see that simple itineraries were nor so c o m m o n . Jospin's farher had this mean rhat the French had at last reached a consensus abour the Occupa-
been a Socialist supporter o f Paul Faure. H e accepted municipal responsibiliries tion.' Two years after Chirac's speech o f c o n t r i t i o n , i t became clear rhar rhis was
under rhe Occupation and was temporarily excluded from rhe Socialisr Party far from rhe case. T h e trial o f Maurice Papon for crimes against h u m a n i t y i n
i n 1945. October 1997 caused France's obsession w i t h V i c h y to reach a new paroxysm o f
Twice i n his television interview M i t t e r r a n d said he wished to end France's inrensiry. , ,<.. ,,, , , i
'erernal civil wars'. I n the end, his attempts to reconcile rhe French w i r h rheir
past backfired badly, bur rhis was due parrly to the contradictions o f his o w n
The Papon Trial
position. W h e n i n 1992 the Vel d'Hiver 1942 C o m m i t t e e had tried to obtain an
official apology for the role played by V i c h y i n the extermination o f the Jews, Maurice Papon had been the secretary-general o f the Gironde prefecrure
M i t t e r r a n d refused o n the grounds that i t was not for rhe French Republic to from M a y 1942 u n t i l the Liberadon. D u r i n g this d m e over 1,500 Jews had been
apologize for rhe crimes o f V i c h y : 'the Resistance, then the government o f de deporred from the Bordeaux region, i n ren convoys, the last o f them i n M a y
Gaulle, then the I V t h Republic and the others have been founded on the denial 1944. Papon was allegedly implicated i n eight o f these operarions, and the civil
o f this "French Srate"'."^ A t t e n d i n g the ceremony o f remembrance for the Vel plaintiffs i n the trial represented seventy-rwo o f the victims. W h a t made this trial
d'Hiver on 16 July 1992the first time a French Presidenr had done s o M i t - more conrroversial than Touvier's was that, unlike Touvier, Papon was no right-
terrand was booed by many o f rhose present. Defending his position subse- w i n g fanatic. H e had been an ambitious young functionary w h o had owed his
quently, M i t t e r r a n d again refused to l i n k what had happened i n the Occupation rapid p r o m o t i o n before rhe war to the patronage o f Radical-Socialisr politicians.
w i t h the resr o f French history. H e m i g h t , he said, have made an official gesture I n this respect he was similar to Rene Bousquet, except that despite being only
o f repentance, like W i l l y Brandt i n Germany, ' i f the French nation had been one year younger, he held a m u c h more j u n i o r position. I n fact, Papon w o u l d
implicated [engage] i n this sad business', b u t this had not been the case. Even possibly never have been rried ar all i f eirher Bousquer or Leguay had still been
when M i t t e r r a n d conceded some g r o u n d i n the next year w i t h the decision that alive: his trial acted as a k i n d o f proxy for theirs. I n some respecrs rhis made the
16 July was to become a national day o f m o u r n i n g for the Jews, the announce- Papon trial unsatisfactoryBousquet had given the orders, Papon had only
ment o f this decision was accompanied by the reminder rhar rhe anri-Semitic obeyed r h e m b u r ir also gave i t grearer symbolic resonance: Bousquet's trial
persecutions had been carried our 'under rhe de facto authoriry called rhe w o u l d have been that o f the V i c h y regime while Papon's was that o f V i c h y France.
"government o f rhe French Srate"'.''' T h e trial sparked o f f an orgy o f collective repenrance for France's guilt i n the
T h e paradox was rhar i n refusing i n 1992 to accept official responsibility for Holocaust. For rhe firsr time, the Catholic C h u r c h performed a public mea culpa;
so too d i d the official spokesmen o f the French medical profession. M o r e than
" New York Review of Books, 3 Nov. 1994. For other reactions to Mitterrand's declarations at this
time, see articles i n Le Monde by T. Judt and Z . Sternhell ( z i Sept. 1994), R. R e m o n d ( j O c t . 1994), P.
B i r n b a u m (21 O c t . 1994). See the debate on Chirac's speech between Nathalie H e i n i c h and H e n r y Rousso i n Le Dehat, 89
(1996), 191-207.
C o n a n and Rousso, Un passe qui ne passe pas, 42. " I b i d . 44-6.
624 Epilogue Epilogue 625

ever, V i c h y also seemed ro haunt rhe imagination o f contemporary French T h e case againsr Papon was further m u d d i e d by the fact that he had used his
novelists.'' position i n the V i c h y administradon to help the Resistance, although i t was n o t
Before the trial commenced, the general public had few doubts about Papon's clear h o w eady this help had started or what the m o t i v a t i o n behind i t had been.
guilt. T h e trial lasred six months, longer than any other i n French legal hisrory W h e n Papon had first been accused o f crimes against h u m a n i t y i n 1981, a special
I n rhe end, on 2 A p r i l 1998, Papon was convicted o f complicity i n crimes againsr panel o f resisters considered his case and decided that his Resistance credenrials
humaniry and senrenced to ten years' imprisonment. But by the time this verdicr were valid, although i t also concluded that he should have resigned his post i n
was delivered, the certainties w i t h w h i c h the trial opened had dissipated. T h i s June 1942. Papon's alleged services ro the Resistance had led de Gaulle to appoint
was partly the result o f the many incidents that punctuated the proceedings. h i m prefect o f the Gironde immediarely after rhe Liberation. Papon's glittering
Early on there was outrage when rhe judge agreed that on account o f his i l l career owed as m u c h to de Gaulle as to V i c h y
health Papon need not remain i n derenrion d u r i n g his trial. T h e civil plainriffs A number o f distinguished former resisrers, including Claude Serreulles, n o w
pointed our that Papon's victims had n o t enjoyed such privileged trearment. 85 years o l d , testified at the trial i n Papon's favour. But when i t came to estab-
M u c h time was spent discussing Papon's responsibility for rhe death o f possibly lishing what Papon m i g h t have k n o w n about the fate o f the Jewish deporrees,
several hundred Algerians i n 1961 w h e n as Prefecr o f Police he banned a demon- these former resisters were t h r o w n on to the defensive, finding themselves almost
stration about the Algerian war i n Paris. This was clearly a distracrion from required to apologize for rheir o w n belated discovery o f the Holocaust. I t
rhe real purpose o f rhe rrial. Furrher confusion was caused when the historian emerged i m p l i c i t l y from such testimonies that the fate o f the Jews had not been
M i c h e l Berges, w h o had first discovered the documents w h i c h led to Papon's an issue o f paramounr importance for rhe Resistance. T h e problem w h i c h no
prosecurion, n o w made i t clear that he was no longer convinced o f Papon's one seemed ready to recognize was that whether or nor Papon had been, i n part
guilt. There was also m u c h disagreement among the civil parties as ro rhe ar least, a resister was irrelevanr ro the question whether or nor he was guilry o f
degree o f Papon's guilr, and rhe mosr suitable punishment for i t . A r n o Klarsfeld crimes againsr humanity. I n theory, at least, the two facts were not incompati-
annoyed many o f his colleagues by demanding a relatively light sentence against ble."^ A l t h o u g h no-one formulated the issue quite so starkly, many o f the resisrers
Papon on the grounds that, although clearly guilry, he was no Touvier or w h o testified were angry that the value o f their testimony was not i n itself enough
Barbie. to resolve the case. T h e 88-year-old Jean Jaudel, himself Jewish, and one o f the
These incidents and complications added to the daily drama o f the proceed- few members o f the Musee de I'homme Resistance group to have survived the
ings, bur the fundamental problem w i r h the trial was fitting Papon's case to a war, denounced the way i n w h i c h Papon's trial was r u r n i n g i n t o a 'trial o f
definition o f crimes against h u m a n i t y w h i c h had originally been designed, i n rhe Resistance and o f GauUism'."" T h e writer Maurice D r u o n , former member
Nancy Wood's words, 'to catch other and bigger fish'."" Papon had been a rela- o f rhe Free French, denounced the 'insult to the memory' o f rhose resisters w h o
tively j u n i o r V i c h y official obeying orders. To establish that he was c o m pl i c i t i n had testified to Papon's Resistance credentials. H e worried abour rhe implica-
the b i d for ideological hegemony by an Axis poweras was required by rhe 1994 dons o f the trial: 'at the Liberadon, we made sure that the same aura o f heroism
definirion o f crimes against h u m a n i t y i t had to be demonstrated rhat he had surrounded all rhose w h o had suffered i n rhe war: rhe hosrages, the deported
had knowledge o f the fate awaiting the deporrees, and that the constraints on a resisrers, the Jewish resisters. N o w today we seem to want to create a separate
functionary o f his rank d i d nor preclude some freedom o f action. B o t h issues category [ie. the Jews].'"' , 'n n
were matters o f fine judgement, and difficult to prove. A number o f historians,
including Roberr Paxton and Marc-Olivier Baruchauthor o f a book o n the
V i c h y administrationtestified for rhe prosecution. O n e historian, H e n r i
The Resistance Syndrome
A m o u r o u x , restified for the defence. H e n r y Rousso refused to testify at all on To say that the trial o f Papon had become the trial o f the Resistance was
the grounds that the kinds o f trurh w h i c h historians sought to establish were dif- an exaggerarion, b u t the fact that former resisrers could interprer i t like this
ferent from the kinds o f t r u t h required by courts o f law. Establishing what Papon revealed h o w defensive they had become i n the years since the m y t h o f the Resist-
or anyone else 'knew' about the Holocaust, and what exactly was meant by ance had lost its h o l d on the French imaginarion. W h a t place was there for rhe
' k n o w i n g ' i n such a case, proved almosr impossible. Resistance i n an account o f France's past w h i c h seemed only to dwell on the
blackest moments? H a d France forgorren her debr o f gratitude to the Resistance?
''^ A p a r t from the latest offering from the inevitable Patrick M o d i a n o , Dora Bruder (1996), there is
Philippe Dagen, La Guerre (1996), Lydie Salvayre, La Compagnie des spectres (1997), Marc L a m b r o n , 194^
(1997)- " E . Co na n, 'Proces Papon Resistance', L'Express, 5 Mar. 1998.
* 'Trial o f Maurice Papon', 13. , ,, . > ' A f f W f , 27 Feb. 1998. "^^
' I b i d . 24 O c t . 1997. -,!ii,i,:;!>' 1 .'.^'
626 Epilogue Epilogue 627

T h e relationship between the Resistance and the mass o f the population had be the moral custodians o f m e m o r y and rheir o w n h istory.^* N o less iconoclas-
never been an untroubled one, eirher d u r i n g rhe war or after ir. T h e m y t h o f a ric was rhe cynical Un heros tres discret (1996) describing how a young m a n
nation o f resisters flattered rhe narional psyche, bur implicirly downgraded rhe invenrs for himself an entirely fictitious Resistance p a s t after 1945.
special srarus o f the Resistance. Once that m y t h had vanished, the Resistance I n rhe face o f such attitudes, resisters held o n t o t h e idea o f themselves as a
could reclaim its place as an elite standing above the ambient mediocrity, but at moral elite. As one o f t h e m p u t i t : 'when one meets someone who was a resister,
the same time, instead o f being a source o f collective pride, i t risked being viewed whatever he is d o i n g roday, one has rhe feeling o f b e i n g parr o f rhe same family'.^'
as irritatingly judgemental and censorious. T h e Resistance's claim ro moral ascen- A t rhe Barbie rrial one resister declared: 'no schism i n rhe French Resisrance w i l l
dancy sometimes verged o n complacenr self-satisfaction or even a k i n d o f moral take place here; i t is an indissoluble m o n o l i t h w h i c h n o t h i n g can destroy'. " Such
ryranny. W h e n Jean-Melville made his film o f Silence de la mer i n 1949 he had a straregy ro defend the memory o f rhe Resistance w a s undermined during the
agreed ro show the finished product ro a j u r y o f resisrers, chosen by Vercors, and 1970s as more evidence emerged, m u c h o f ir from w i r h i n rhe Resisrance com-
burn rhe negative i f their verdict was unfavourable.""' M a n y ordinary French m u n i r y itself o f the conflicts w h i c h had r u n t h r o u g h rhe hisrory o f rhe Resisr-
people probably had sneaking sympathy for Georges Pompidou's remarks to an ance. T h e memoirs o f Frenay and Bourdet recalled the tensions between de
American journalist abour rhe culr o f resistance heroes: ' " I hare all rhar busi- Gaulle and the Resistance. This r u n n i n g sore i n rhe m e m o r y o f the Resistance
ness", he said w i t h a quick wave o f his hand and sharp displeasure i n his bright was also exploited by Francois M i t t e r r a n d , d u r i n g t h e period o f his polirical
eyes, " I hate medals, I hate decorarions o f all kinds".'"'' This was rhe k i n d o f i r r i - career when he was saying more abour his Resisrance past than his Vichy one.
tation that veterans o f rhe Grear War had often aroused i n the younger genera- I n 1969, M i t t e r r a n d wrote rhat de Gaulle had 'confiscated the Resistance's capital
tions after 1918. B u t at least the veterans had represented most o f the popu- o f sacrifice, suffering and digniry'.^^
lation. U n l i k e the monuments to the fallen o f the Grear War, many monuments T h e many foreigners w h o had parricipared i n t h e Resistance through rhe
to the Resistance are nor i n rhe centre o f communities, but outside them. This F T P - M O I m i g h t have felt, o n the other hand, that t h e entire French Resistance
is a striking spatial representation o f the relarionship berween the Resistance and had confiscated their 'capital o f sacrifice'. This was anorher buried memory t o
the population. resurface i n the 1980s. I n 1965-6, w h e n the film-maker A r m a n d Gatti produced
I t was n o t surprising, Therefore, that the dissipation o f the Gaullist m y t h led a scenario o n the M a n o u c h i a n group, his ren successive versions were rejected
not to a positive re-evaluation o f the Resistance, but t o an erosion o f irs place i n by producrion companies because, he was t o l d , 'a film i n w h i c h there are only
rhe popular imaginarion. There seemed no place for heroes any longer. T h e foreigners cannor give us an image o f the French R e s i s r a n c e ' . W h e n i n 1970
Resistance disappeared from the cinema. As M i c h e l Foucault wrore i n 1974: 'is rhe PCF produced a new edition o f Lettres des fusilles, its collection o f letters by
it possible ar rhe m o m e n t to make a positive film o n the struggles o f rhe Resist- Communists w h o had been shot d u r i n g the war, the n a m e o f Manouchian reap-
ance? O n e suspects not. One has the impression that people w o u l d laugh or that, peared, b u t his Christian name was Gallicized f r o m M i s a k to Michel. A film was
quite simply, the film w o u l d n o t be seen.'^' Absent from rhe cinema i n rhe 1970s, eventually made o n Manouchian i n 1976the l o w - b u d g e t production Affche
rhe Resistance became a subject o f mockery i n i t d u r i n g the 1980s. One o f the rougebut the role o f foreigners i n the Resistance r e m a i n e d a largely u n k n o w n
cinematic successes o f the decade was Papy fait de la resistance (1983), the story story u n t i l the screening o n television i n 1985 o f r h e film Des terroristes a la
o f a family o f musicians w h o refuse ro play while rhe Germans are i n France. retraite. T h e film, w h i c h suggested that M a n o u c h i a n had been betrayed by the
T h e film satirized every cliche o f Resistance mythology, reworking scenes from C o m m u n i s t Party, gave rise to violent polemics i n t h e press. I n the long r u n rhis
classic resistance films like The Silence of the Sea or The Army of Shadows. But its had rhe beneficial effect o f b r i n g i n g the role o f forei gners our o f rhe obscurity
most subversive m o m e n t was the end where the film that has just been seen turns into w h i c h i t had fallenthe next edition o f the Lettres des fusilles restored all
our to have been screened for Les Dossiers de I'Ecran, a famous French relevi- the names w h i c h had been there i n 1946 and rhere is n o w a square i n Paris named
sion series i n w h i c h a film is used t o f o r m the basis o f studio debate. I n this case after Marcel Rayman, one o f rhe members o f rhe M a n o u c h i a n group b u r
the debate is between the resisters w h o had been depicted i n the film and are its immediate effect was to cause a feeling that the Resistance, especially the
n o w shown, t h i r t y years afterwards, as fainrly ridiculous figures still quarrelling C o m m u n i s t Resistance, had skeletons to hide.
birrerly abour their pasr, bur indignanr that anyone else should question it. Thus I b i d . 523-7; H . Rousso,'Papy c'est fini', VST?//2 (1984), 77-82..
the film mocks n o t only the alleged exploits o f the resisters, b u t their claim to D o u z o u , 'L'Entree en Resistance", 15.
Rousso, Vichy Syndrome, 214.
' Langlois, 'La Resistance tlans le cinema', 227-39. " I b i d . 458. " M i t t e r r a n d , Ma part de verite, 23-4; see also M i t t e r r a n d q u o t e d i n "Wieviorka, Nous entrerons, 343-5.
Namer, La Memoire, 377. Langlois, 'La Resistance dans le cinema", 379-80.
"""' L a n g l o i s , ' L a Resistance dans le cinema', 537. " See the C. M u e l documentary, L'Affiche rouge, 1992.
628 Epilogue Epilogue 629

D u r i n g riie lare 1980s, rhe harries over rhe m e m o r y o f the Resistance came minisrer i n de Gaulle's posr-war Liberation governmenr, was violenrly attacked
to centre o n the figure o f Jean M o u l i n . Since 1964, M o u l i n had become rhe by the Communists for his early indulgence rowards Vichy. T h e y dubbed h i m
emblemaric hero o f the Gaullist Resistance. I t was to reclaim M o u l i n for rhe 'Frenay-the-protege-of-Pucheu'. Frenay expressed his o w n bitterness at this treat-
Resistance as a whole, as well as situate himself under the symbolic patronage o f ment by creating a conspiracy rheory conflaring what he saw as his two main
such a revered figure, that Fran9ois M i t t e r r a n d decided to inaugurate his presi- enemies: M o u l i n and the Communists.
dency, on 21 M a y 1981, by paying a solemn visit to the Pantheon to place a rose Frenay himself had never gone as far as to accuse M o u l i n o f being a Soviet
o n Moulin's t o m b . Eight years larer, under rhe general title o f ' T h e U n k n o w n agent. T h i s step was taken most dramarically i n 1993 i n a book by the
M a n o f the Pantheon', Daniel Cordier published the firsr volume o f his m o n u - journalist T h i e r r y W o l r o n about the recruitment o f Soviet agents by the C o m -
mental biography o f M o u l i n . Given Cordier's o w n background, and his reasons intern i n rhe 1930s. A l t h o u g h W o l t o n claimed to have read newly released
for embarking u p o n a study o f M o u l i n , " " i t is not surprising rhat he produced Russian archives, he was coy i n revealing his sources, and i n rhe end his argu-
a w o r k w h i c h , for all irs massive scholarship, sees rhe Resistance t h ro ugh rhe eyes ment turned largely on guilr by associarion. T h e most disconcerting aspect o f
o f M o u l i n (and de Gaulle). T h is alone w o u l d explain the irritation w h i c h the whole affair was rhar some distinguished historians, like Fran9ois Furet and
Cordier's w o r k caused among surviving resisrers, bur they were also offended by Annie Kriegel, lenr W o l t o n an aura o f respectability by suggesting his interpre-
his decision ro rely exclusively o n w r i t t e n archival evidence and exclude memor- tations were w o r t h y o f serious considerarion."'
ies or oral testimony. Cordier was challenging rhe posirion o f rhe Resisrance gen- T h e role o f professional hisrorians was also imporranr i n what came to be
erarion as the privileged witnesses to their o w n history, u n d e r m i n i n g rheir dubbed the 'Aubrac Affair'. I n 1997, Gerard Chauvy, aurhor o f a solid history o f
aspiration to transmit their m e m o r y ro future generarions. Lyons under the Occupadon, published a book on Raymond Aubrac."'' W i r h his
N o t h i n g , however, caused greater offence to surviving resisrers rhan Cordier's wife Lucie, Aubrac had been one o f rhe founders o f Liberation-Sud, and subse-
publicarion o f whar he claimed to be the Manifesto wrirten by H e n r i Frenay i n quently its m a i n m i l i t a r y organizer. Arresred i n M a r c h 1943, he had been released
rhe a u t u m n o f 1940. T h e tone o f this document, i n w h i c h Frenay appears as an i n M a y because rhe police had failed ro realize w h o he was. O n 21 June, he was
ardent supporrer o f rhe National Revolution and no particular friend o f Jews, arrested again, w i t h M o u l i n himself, at the fated Caluire meering. H e escaped
was nor a revelation for any historian o f rhe Resistance, and its authenticity has i n Ocrober thanks to an audacious rescue operarion organized by his wife.
since been established almost beyond doubt. Nonetheless, numerous surviving A l t h o u g h nor particularly p r o m i n e n t after the war, over rhe years rhe Aubrac
resisters wrote to denounce this slur on the reputation o f a grear Resistance hero. couple had increasingly raken on the stature o f emblematic heroes o f rhe Resist-
Surviving members o f Combat, including Claude Bourdet, met i n November ance, thanks to the lively memoir rhat Lucie wrore on rheir advenrures i n 1984.
1989 formally ro condemn Cordier. As H e n r y Rousso remarks, surviving resisrers I n February 1997, these adventures were romanrically depicted i n Claude Berri's
reacted ro Cordier as i f from a bunker under siege."' film Lucie Aubrac w h i c h received massive publicity. Four monrhs larer, Chauvy's
N o one reacred w i t h more violence rhan Frenay's former lawyer, Charles Ben- book appeared.
fredj, whose book L'Ajfaire Jean Moulin, la contre-enquete (1990) moved from a Based on genuine new discoveries i n rhe archives, but also on the question-
defence o f Frenay (and vitriolic denunciarion o f Cordier) to an attack on M o u l i n able 'Testament' o f Klaus Barbiea document cobbled together by Barbie and
for having been a Soviet agent. H e suggested that M o u l i n had never even been his lawyer Jaques Verges i n order to sow confusion among Barbie's accusers
killed b u t had escaped to Moscow. Allegations about Moulin's alleged C o m m u - Chauvy's book cast doubt on the accuracy o f rhe Aubracs' accounts o f their
nist sympathies had originated w i t h Frenay as early as 1950 and were repeated i n Resistance acriviries. H e was at the least able to show implausibilities and con-
his memoirs and then i n a book w i t h the l u r i d title L'Enigme Jean Moulin (1977). tradicrions i n their writings. A l t h o u g h not going as far as to asserr, like Barbie,
D r a w i n g attention to Moulin's pre-war C o m i n t e r n and C o m m u n i s t contacts, that after his firsr arrest Aubrac had become a Gesrapo informer and was respon-
Frenay argued that M o u l i n had created the C N R to allow the Communists to sible for the arresr o f M o u l i n , Chauvy insinuared that this was possible. Chauvy's
gain control over the Resistance. Even Frenay's o l d comrade Claude Bourdet, book caused outrage among former resisters o f all stripes. Twenry o f rhem,
himself no friend o f rhe Communists, dismissed these allegations as absurd."^ including rhe C o m m u n i s r Rol-Tanguy, the Gaullist Claude Serreulles, and rhe
Frenay's curious rhesis was born our o f his o w n personal grievances. H a v i n g lost conservarive de BenouviUe, signed a manifesro o f protest."'
his battle w i t h M o u l i n over rhe future direcrion o f the Resistance, Frenay, as a
See R Vidal-Naquet, Le Trait empoisonne: Reflexions sur TAjfaire Moulin (1993).
See above, I n t r o d u c t i o n . G. Chauvy, Aubrac: Lyon 1943 (1997).
T h e controversy over the Manifesto is detailed in Cordier, Jean Moulin, i i i . 945-1067, 12861335. L'^venement du jeudi, 3 Apr. 1997. O n the Aubrac affair i n general, see R Delpla, Aubrac: Les Faits
Bourdet, L'Aventure incertaine, 219-20. et la calomnie {ii)<)7). . . .
650 Epilogue Epilogue 631

T h e left-wing newspaper Liberation organized a ' r o u n d rable' ar w h i c h rhe historians ready ro offer W o l r o n rheir supporr were mostly repentant Stalinists
Aubracs could pur their case to a group o f respected historians o f rhe period, still struggling ro overcome their o w n guilt about their pasr. I n the attack on the
including H e n r y Rousso and Daniel Cordier. W h a r rhe Aubracs had expected Aubracs, latent anti-communism was also present since they had b o t h been close
to be a vindication o f their position turned inro something quite different. to the C o m m u n i s t Parry i n the 1950s. But a n t i - c o m m u n i s m has a decreasing
A l t h o u g h all the historians on the panel made i t clear that they entirely rejected h o l d on contemporary France, and rhe problem o f remembering rhe Resistance
allegations that Raymond Aubrac had worked for rhe Gesrapo, they launched a has deeper causes. For the cultural commenraror Paul T h i b a u d , ir lies i n France's
merciless dissection o f the undoubted discrepancies w h i c h existed i n the Aubracs' incapaciry ro acknowledge its debt to the Resistance generarion. Ir is rhe reverse
accounrs o f their past: the r o u n d rable rook on rhe appearance o f a rrial. I n the side o f rhe ' V i c h y syndrome'. I f the Occupation was such a dark period i n
face o f this assault, the Aubracs defended rhemselves by arguing rhat w i t h events France's pasr, ir is more comforting to believe that all were guilry rhan that the
occurring so long ago, i t was inevitable that inaccuracies should occur. Lucie honour o f the nation was saved by a t i n y minoriry."^
pointed out that she had wrirten her memoir, enrirely from memory, ar rhe age Certainly, rhe m e m o r y o f rhe Resisrance seems ro oscillare unconrrollably
o f 73: ir was inrended to be her history, not a w o r k o f history. T h e historians berween denigration and celebrarion w i t h n o t h i n g i n between. Just as crirics o f
riposted by claiming that a history o f rhe Resisrance based on approximations H e n r y Rousso's arrempr to introduce more nuance into the history o f V i c h y ask
w o u l d not i n the long r u n serve the interests o f the Resistance, but only those whether 'hisrorizarion' mighr nor become rhe Trojan Horse o f revisionisr apolo-
w h o wished to denigrare i t . Cordier said he was reminded o f Zola's remark on gerics, so some Resistance historians have protested against the tone o f the inter-
Dreyfus's performance ar his trial: 'Ir is enough ro make you despair o f rhe inno- rogation o f the Aubracs, asking whether rhe 'desire ro de-myrhify is nor playing
cenr.' Anorher o f the historians ended by q u o t i n g the inevitable Peguy on the rhe game o f rhose w h o have nor given up their desire to demolish or undermine'
need to tell the t r u t h , however unsettling i t m i g h t be."" what is valid and i m p o r t a n t i n the legacy o f the Resistance.""
O n one hand, i t was somewhat unedifying to see these t w o o l d and coura- T h e c o n t i n u i n g political resonance o f rhese debates emerged d u r i n g rhe
geous individuals subjecred to an examination o f this k i n d . T h e most distaste- Papon trial. Two years previously Presidenr Chirac had acknowledged that
ful m o m e n t came w i t h the suggestion that the Aubracs' imprudence had 'France' had d u r i n g rhe war c o m m i t t e d an 'irreparable' acr rowards rhe Jews.
contribured ro rhe arresr o f Raymond's parenrs, neirher o f w h o m was to return M a n y members o f Chirac's o w n parry now wondered i f he had nor gone too far.
from deporrarion. O n rhe other hand, unless there was ro be a crime o f lese- I n an arricle headed 'Enough, Enough, Enough', rhe Gaullisr leader Philippe
risistance, i t was not illegitimate for historians to ask searching quesrions o f rwo Seguin sounded a nore o f alarm at the ambient m o o d o f self-flagellation, the
people w h o had, possibly i n spite o f themselves, become l i v i n g legends. 'obsession w i t h collective expiation'. De Gaulle had been right to declare V i c h y
'null and v o i d ' . I f V i c h y was France, what d i d that make de Gaulle or the Repub-
lic?"' T h e former Gaullist p r i m e minisrer Edouard Bahadur asked rherorically:
In Search Of the True France ' D u r i n g the Occupation, was France i n L o n d o n or Vichy?''" T h e former presi-
W h a t is the reason for the recent seemingly endless stream o f pseudo- dent Giscard d'Estaing tried confusingly ro distinguish between the V i c h y State,
revelations about M o u l i n and the Resistance? A t one level, they are sympromatic France, and the French. He too warned against an obsession w i t h French guilt
o f n o t h i n g more profound than a predilection for conspiracy rheories and a w h i c h w o u l d only delight the 'Anglo-Saxon m e d i a ' . " T h e Socialist Prime M i n -
media-generared obsession w i r h hisrorical scoops. T h e larest theory o n M o u l i n ister Lionel Jospin felt moved to make a statement i n parliamenr:
claims that he was killed as he was about to transfer his allegiance f r o m de Gaulle
Is France guilry? I don't think so. Yes, policemen, administrators . . . a French
to rhe Americans. This k i n d o f hisrory w i l l always be wrirren, and, like all con-
State perperrated . . . terrifying acts, coUaboraring w i t h the enemy and w i t h the
spiracy theories, i t remains impervious ro reason. Thus for Frenay the fact that
M o u l i n i n L o n d o n avoided contact w i t h the possible Soviet agent Andre T h i b a u d , 'La Culpabilite fran^aise', Esprit, i68 (Jan. 1991); i d . , 'La Republique et ses heros: Le
Labarrhe, w h o m he had once k n o w n well, was evidence rhat he had something GauUisme pendant et apres la guerre', Esprit, 198 (1994), 64-83; i d . , ' U n temps de memoire', Le Dehat,
to hide and was covering his tracks. O f course, i f he had had contact w i t h 96 (1996), 166-83.
I n W o l w i k o w , 'Les Images, 23-4; see also J . - M . G u i l l o n , 'LAffaire Aubrac o u la derive d'une cer-
Labarrhe, i t w o u l d have been evidence that he was i n contact w i t h the Soviets. taine fa9on de faire I'histoire', Modern and Contemporary France, jli (1999), 89-92. A l o n g w i t h a number
I n the w o r l d o f conspiracy rheory, one can never w i n . o f other Resistance historians, i n c l u d i n g Laborie and M a r c o t , he signed a letter o f protest about the way
i n w h i c h the Aubracs had been treated by certain o f his colleagues.
There is also an anri-Communisr agenda i n the attacks on M o u l i n . The
"'"' Le Figaro, 21 Oct. 1997.
'"' Q u o t e d from La Croix i n Le Monde, 8 Oct. 1997.
Lihiration, 9 July 1997. See also the comments o f H . Rousso, La Hantise du passe (1998), 122-38. '" Le Monde, 28 Oct. 1997. ;
630 Epilogue Epilogue 631

T h e left-wing newspaper Liberation organized a ' r o u n d rable' at w h i c h the historians ready to offer W o l r o n rheir supporr were mostly repentant Stalinists
Aubracs could p u t their case ro a group o f respected historians o f the period, still struggling to overcome rheir o w n guilr about their past. I n the attack on the
including H e n r y Rousso and Daniel Cordier. W h a t the Aubracs had expecred Aubracs, latent a n t i - c o m m u n i s m was also present since they had b o t h been close
to be a vindication o f their posirion turned into something quite differenr. to the C o m m u n i s t Party i n the 1950s. But a n t i - c o m m u n i s m has a decreasing
A l t h o u g h all rhe historians on the panel made i t clear that they entirely rejected hold on conremporary France, and the problem o f remembering rhe Resisrance
allegations that Raymond Aubrac had worked for rhe Gesrapo, rhey launched a has deeper causes. For the cultural commentator Paul T h i b a u d , ir lies i n France's
merciless dissection o f the undoubted discrepancies w h i c h existed i n the Aubracs' incapacity to acknowledge its debt to the Resistance generation. I t is the reverse
accounrs o f rheir past: the r o u n d rable rook on rhe appearance o f a trial. I n the side o f rhe ' V i c h y syndrome'. I f the Occupation was such a dark period i n
face o f this assault, the Aubracs defended themselves by arguing rhat w i t h events France's past, i t is more comforring to believe that all were guilry rhan that the
occurring so long ago, i t was inevitable that inaccuracies should occur. Lucie honour o f the nation was saved by a t i n y minority."^
pointed our rhar she had wrirren her memoir, enrirely from memory, ar rhe age Cerrainly, the memory o f rhe Resisrance seems ro oscillare unconrrollably
o f 73: ir was inrended to be her hisrory, not a w o r k o f history. T h e historians between denigration and celebrarion w i r h n o t h i n g i n between. Just as crirics o f
riposred by claiming rhar a hisrory o f rhe Resisrance based on approximations H e n r y Rousso's artempt to introduce more nuance into the history o f V i c h y ask
w o u l d not i n the long r u n serve the interests o f the Resistance, but only those whether 'hisrorizarion' m i g h t not become the Trojan Horse o f revisionist apolo-
w h o wished to denigrare i t . Cordier said he was reminded o f Zola's remark on getics, so some Resistance historians have protested against the tone o f the inter-
Dreyfus's performance ar his rrial: 'Ir is enough ro make you despair o f rhe inno- rogarion o f rhe Aubracs, asking wherher rhe 'desire ro de-myrhify is nor playing
cenr.' Anorher o f rhe hisrorians ended by q u o t i n g the inevitable Peguy on the the game o f rhose w h o have not given up their desire to demolish or undermine'
need to tell the t r u t h , however unserrling ir m i g h t be."" whar is valid and i m p o r t a n t i n the legacy o f the Resistance.""
O n one hand, i t was somewhat unedifying to see these two o l d and coura- T h e c o n t i n u i n g political resonance o f rhese debares emerged d u r i n g rhe
geous individuals subjected to an examination o f this k i n d . T h e most distaste- Papon rrial. Two years previously Presidenr Chirac had acknowledged rhat
ful m o m e n t came w i t h the suggestion that the Aubracs' imprudence had 'France' had d u r i n g rhe war commirred an 'irreparable' act towards the Jews.
contribured to the arresr o f Raymond's parenrs, neirher o f w h o m was to rerurn M a n y members o f Chirac's o w n party n o w wondered i f he had nor gone too far.
from deporrarion. O n rhe orher hand, unless there was ro be a crime o f lese- I n an article headed 'Enough, Enough, Enough', the Gaullist leader Philippe
resistance, i t was not illegitimate for historians to ask searching quesrions o f rwo Seguin sounded a note o f alarm at the ambient m o o d o f self-flagellation, the
people w h o had, possibly i n spite o f themselves, become l i v i n g legends. 'obsession w i t h collective expiation'. De Gaulle had been righr ro declare V i c h y
'null and v o i d ' . I f V i c h y was France, whar d i d rhat make de Gaulle or the Repub-
lic?"' T h e former Gaullist prime minisrer Edouard Balladur asked rherorically:
In Search Of the True France ' D u r i n g rhe Occuparion, was France i n L o n d o n or Vichy?''" T h e former presi-
W h a t is the reason for the recent seemingly endless stream o f pseudo- dent Giscard d'Estaing tried confusingly ro distinguish berween the V i c h y State,
revelations about M o u l i n and the Resistance? A t one level, they are sympromatic France, and the French. H e roo warned againsr an obsession w i t h French guilr
o f n o t h i n g more profound than a predilection for conspiracy rheories and a w h i c h w o u l d only delight the 'Anglo-Saxon m e d i a ' . " T h e Socialist Prime M i n -
media-generared obsession w i r h hisrorical scoops. T h e latest theory on M o u l i n isrer Lionel Jospin felr moved to make a statement i n parliamenr:
claims that he was killed as he was about to transfer his allegiance f r o m de Gaulle
Is France guilty? I don't think so. Yes, policemen, administrators . . . a French
ro rhe Americans. This k i n d o f hisrory w i l l always be w r i t t e n , and, like all con-
State perpetrared . . . rerrifying acrs, coUaboraring wirh the enemy and w i t h the
spiracy theories, ir remains impervious ro reason. Thus for Frenay the fact that
M o u l i n i n L o n d o n avoided contact w i t h the possible Soviet agent Andre T h i b a u d , 'La Culpabilite fran^aise'. Esprit, 168 (Jan. 1991); i d . , 'La Republique et ses heros: Le
Labarrhe, w h o m he had once k n o w n well, was evidence that he had something GauUisme pendant et apres la guerre'. Esprit, 198 (1994), 64-83; i d . , ' U n temps de memoire', Le Debat,
to hide and was covering his tracks. O f course, i f he had had contact w i t h 96 (1996), 166-83.
I n W o l w i k o w , 'Les Images, 23-4; see also J . - M . G u i l l o n , 'LAffaire Aubrac o u la derive d'une cer-
Labarrhe, i t w o u l d have been evidence that he was i n contact w i t h the Soviets. taine fa9on de faire I'histoire', Modern and Contemporary France, (1999), 89-92. A l o n g w i t h a number
I n the w o r l d o f conspiracy rheory, one can never w i n . o f other Resistance histoiians, i n c l u d i n g Laborie and M a r c o t , he signed a letter o f protest about the way
i n w h i c h the Aubracs had been treated by certain o f his colleagues.
There is also an anri-Communisr agenda i n the attacks on M o u l i n . The
Le Figaro, 21 Oct. 1997.
Q u o t e d from La Croix in Le Monde, 8 Oct. 1997.
' Liberation, 9 July 1997. See also the comments o f H . Rousso, La Hantise du passe (1998), 122-38. '" i,? M o W f , 28 O c t . 1997.
652 Epilogue

final solution . . . I t is in such terms, it seems to me, that the President o f the
Republic approached the question in July 1995, even i f I myself did not use the
same terms, and I myself did not personally use the word France . . . There is no
guilt o f France because for me France was at London or in the Vercors . . . because
Vichy was the negation o f France, i n any case the negation o f the Republic.'^

Historians alone w i l l never be able ro resolve rhese quarrels o f memory w h i c h


are, ar rheir most fundamental level, debates about national identity. Clearly any
arrempr to b u i l d an identity around the idea that V i c h y was not France w i l l be
doomed to failure: de Gaulle's asserrion rhar V i c h y was n u l l and v o i d no longer
serves any purpose i n conremporary France. O n rhe orher hand, ir is no less mis-
leading to repudiate the existence o f a Resistance w h i c h also represented Trance'.
I n rhe end, however, rhe polariry berween rhese t w o Trances' is irself mislead-
ing and sterile. T h e solution to the problem cannor be ro b u i l d idenrity around
the urrer repudiarion o f rhe one or the uncritical embrace o f rhe other. I f rhere
is one lesson ro be learnr from Peguy, ir is rhat the French past must be faced i n
all its contradicrions and complexiry. O n l y rhen can i t be critically evaluated,
and instead o f serving to salve the conscience o f the presenr, ir can become a
usable memory for rhe furure.

i f 23 Oct. 1997. , ,,,, ,..,.-,:..',..,;/'..;,.. -A.,J :