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Truce
11-04-2011, 12:03 PM
Hello,
My Sister is doing some research for a ww2 novel (set in Paris during the years of occupation) and has found very little about the subject online (other than basic factual information).
:idea: She was wondering if any of you could recommend some good books, or other source that specifically deals with daily life at the time.
Personal accounts or similar would be helpful, in order to get a feel for the different challenges and situations that people faced on a regular basis.
She also needs reference material with detailed maps of Paris, and any info regarding the theft and confiscation of Artwork which took place.
She would really appreciate any help she can get. :D
Thanks!
Truce

flamethrowerguy
11-04-2011, 12:37 PM
Check out the André Zucca (just google the name) collection for high quality color photos of Paris during the occupation. The German Federal Archives (Bundesarchiv) offer some good b/w pics as well.
For a German officer's perspective during that time I'd advise "Panzer Commander: The Memoirs of Colonel Hans von Luck".

Ardee
12-01-2011, 10:41 AM
_Is Paris Burning?_ deals with the end of the occupation, and is well told.

muscogeemike
12-01-2011, 02:18 PM
Suggestion - don’t over glorify the French resistance, their legend is larger then their actual accomplishments. The majority of the French were rather neutral, many even supported the Germans - (especially when it came to deporting Jews) - to the point that an entire division of Frenchmen volunteered to fight in the German Army.
Remember, also, they (the French) fought against the British in Iraq and Syria; against the Brit’s and the U.S. in N. Africa; and in Indo China activly assisted the Japanese.

Rising Sun*
12-02-2011, 05:04 AM
Remember, also, they (the French) fought against the British in Iraq and Syria; against the Brit’s and the U.S. in N. Africa; and in Indo China activly assisted the Japanese.

The French might reasonably have a different view on some of that, notably the British attacks on the French navy. At Mers-el-Kébir or Oran the British, although not at war with France but fearing the French ships might go to Germany under the Vichy regime, attacked the French navy and killed over 1,000 French sailors. The following British attack on the French, with whom they were still not at war, in Dakar went less well for the British.

As for Indo-China, the Vichy regime was virtually forced by its impotence after surrendering to Germany to allow the aggressive Japanese into French Indo-China, but the French forces there fought the Japanese. http://stonebooks.com/history/vichyvsjapan.shtml

Truce
12-02-2011, 11:48 AM
Ftg JR and others,
thanks for the suggestions and input!

We looked and found the pictures online and also in some good books, I was surprised by the wonderful quality of the photos.
Like you said they tell a lot about society during the time period so were helpful as well as fascinating!

Next we will check out the reading material…

Corinna is slowly making progress on her novel and says thank you for your assistance!

muscogeemike
12-02-2011, 02:50 PM
The French might reasonably have a different view on some of that, notably the British attacks on the French navy. At Mers-el-Kébir or Oran the British, although not at war with France but fearing the French ships might go to Germany under the Vichy regime, attacked the French navy and killed over 1,000 French sailors. The following British attack on the French, with whom they were still not at war, in Dakar went less well for the British.

As for Indo-China, the Vichy regime was virtually forced by its impotence after surrendering to Germany to allow the aggressive Japanese into French Indo-China, but the French forces there fought the Japanese. http://stonebooks.com/history/vichyvsjapan.shtml

There are always explanations for actions - good or bad. The Brits gave the French opportunities to keep their ships from German control and the French refused. I don’t think the Brits, at that point in time, had much choice and I would argue that the deaths of the French sailors can be laid on the Vichy authorities as much as the Brits.

In Indochina there are many examples of the French going out of their way to assist the Japanese, especially in turning over Allied servicemen. In fairness there are also many examples of French individuals aiding Allied servicemen and POW’s.

The French sense of “honor” caused many problems and negatively manifested itself throughout the war, De Gaulle’s monumental ego was a prime example of this.
Since Stalin and Hitler had an “agreement” French armament workers sabotaged weapons at the plants to support Stalin. French General officers were overall inadequate in countering the, often weaker and in some cases less well armed, German invaders.

No matter how it is explained the French themselves lost their country and have been trying to excuse it to this day.

Rising Sun*
12-03-2011, 07:50 AM
There are always explanations for actions - good or bad. The Brits gave the French opportunities to keep their ships from German control and the French refused. I don’t think the Brits, at that point in time, had much choice and I would argue that the deaths of the French sailors can be laid on the Vichy authorities as much as the Brits.

In Indochina there are many examples of the French going out of their way to assist the Japanese, especially in turning over Allied servicemen. In fairness there are also many examples of French individuals aiding Allied servicemen and POW’s.

The French sense of “honor” caused many problems and negatively manifested itself throughout the war, De Gaulle’s monumental ego was a prime example of this.


I wouldn't disagree with this in many respects, but I still think that the French after surrendering to the Germans were in a no-win position whether they wanted to support the Germans or the British (not the Allies as at that stage the Allies consisted entirely of the British, who fought Germany alone for a couple of years before the US came in with its massive might.).

For example, there were French naval commanders who didn't want their ships to go over to the Germans who were still shelled by the British when France wasn't at war with Britain and who naturally fought back.

The problem for the French after France surrendered was that it had a regime which gave orders which offended many French soldiers etc but it was their duty to follow those orders. Not all that different to the Nuremberg defence.

muscogeemike
12-03-2011, 10:27 AM
I readily admit to my anti French bias. Their arrogance is, perhaps, rivaled only by ours (the U.S.). But in the last two centuries they have lost their country at least twice and we have not. Yes, the Brits burned (partially) out Capitol once but, after all, that can be considered a family squabble.

Also during the same period we came to their aid in both World Wars and Viet Nam while they have done little but irritate us.

Nickdfresh
12-03-2011, 11:08 AM
I readily admit to my anti French bias. Their arrogance is, perhaps, rivaled only by ours (the U.S.). But in the last two centuries they have lost their country at least twice and we have not. Yes, the Brits burned (partially) out Capitol once but, after all, that can be considered a family squabble.

Also during the same period we came to their aid in both World Wars and Viet Nam while they have done little but irritate us.

Yes, the Brits burned our capital (and my hometown as well, although to be fair we burned what is Toronto first!). But we wouldn't exist as we do without the French aid that was both material and corporeal during the Revolution. And the French may have lost two epic battles with Germany/Prussia, but they also claimed war on Germany while we stood idly by--knowing that at best it would be a grim two year struggle to defeat Germany....

Nickdfresh
12-03-2011, 11:20 AM
Suggestion - don’t over glorify the French resistance, their legend is larger then their actual accomplishments.

I'm not sure what you mean by this. Their accomplishments include saving thousands, if not tens-of-thousands of Allied lives by acting as an efficient intelligence gathering organization turned active partisans once the invasion hit. Yes, if you mean only a minority of the population took part in active resistance, you're correct. But when one accounts for Vichy, slave labor being exported to Germany, over a million French POW's that were held in camps for the duration of the war, what else could be expected?


The majority of the French were rather neutral, many even supported the Germans - (especially when it came to deporting Jews) -

Some collaborated, some resisted actively and passively, and most just existed despite increasing deprivations brought on by German occupation. But the French can hardly be called Antisemitic as a whole. They weren't really given much of a choice regarding the Jews, although some ****s in the Vichy certainly collaborated far more actively than they could have...


...to the point that an entire division of Frenchmen volunteered to fight in the German (SS)...

It was about 7,500 men at the high-water-mark (1944 maybe?). Hardly massive numbers of men. There were Danes, Norwegians, Swedes, and Dutchmen who also volunteered to fight for the SS "against Bolshevism." Not really that many and a drop in the bucket. Probably more embarrassing for the French was the Milice (French version of the paramilitary Gestapo) who formed a somewhat effective anti-French Resistance, but still served under Vichy French control. However, many fled certain death after the Wehrmacht was being driven from France and joined (or were drafted into) the Charlemagne Division of the Waffen SS.



Remember, also, they (the French) fought against the British in Iraq and Syria; against the Brit’s and the U.S. in N. Africa; and in Indo China activly assisted the Japanese.

This has been covered by RS*...

Nickdfresh
12-03-2011, 11:44 AM
...
The French sense of “honor” caused many problems and negatively manifested itself throughout the war, De Gaulle’s monumental ego was a prime example of this.

The same thing could be said for about half of all Allied generals...


Since Stalin and Hitler had an “agreement” French armament workers sabotaged weapons at the plants to support Stalin.

A largely bogus assertion raised by Alistair Horne's To Lose a Battle that has since largely been debunked. In fact French workers were actually highly productive in the run-up to war and were working long hours for almost no overtime wages (taken away by war taxes instituted under the Pres. Reynaud). Most French communists were French nationalists first and didn't follow Stalin's edicts...



French General officers were overall inadequate in countering the, often weaker and in some cases less well armed, German invaders.

True the French officer corp was wholly unprepared to fight the Germans and war was poorly conceptualized in the "Methodical Battle" mindset almost incapable of dealing with anything like the "Sickle cut" attack fast moving from the Ardennes. However, it is an open question if things had been different and the Wehrmacht followed its original war plan and went in through Belgium. Or if the French had stuck to the original Dyle Plan and sending only ten weaker infantry divisions into Belgium rather than the 30 most mobile ones, the cream of the French Army. And the German invaders were rarely "less well armed" nor weaker in any given sector. In fact their concentration of forces in the Ardennes was vastly superior to anything French could muster (the 71st and 55th "B" divisions of the Army IIRC). In fact, when fighting on an equal plane, even with lack of air support and under duress of Luftwaffe tactical strikes, the French managed to inflict several tactical defeats on the Germans in Belgium. But they didn't matter as the "Schwerpunkt" was further south in the Ardennes sector...


No matter how it is explained the French themselves lost their country and have been trying to excuse it to this day.

No one has "excused" anything, and my understanding is that the topic is deeply controversial in France to this day...

muscogeemike
12-03-2011, 03:54 PM
Yes, the Brits burned our capital (and my hometown as well, although to be fair we burned what is Toronto first!). But we wouldn't exist as we do without the French aid that was both material and corporeal during the Revolution. And the French may have lost two epic battles with Germany/Prussia, but they also claimed war on Germany while we stood idly by--knowing that at best it would be a grim two year struggle to defeat Germany....

No argument as to French assistance in our Revolution (although that was prior to my “last two centuries”). But “two epic battles” could be three. The Franco-Prussian War was not exactly “epic” (unless, of course, you were personally involved) and I’ve read that the French were on the verge of collapse in WWI when we belatedly entered the war (some of their units had mutinied); and I don’t think they would have survived without the U.K. and Commonwealth forces.
As to the U.S. standing “…idly by”, while I’m not that knowledgeable on WWI but I don’t believe there is any way we would have entered the war in 1914-15. Even if we had got in 1916 - by the time any of our forces could have gotten to Europe the damage to the French and France would have already occurred.
The same is true for WWII - there was no way the U.S. was going to war over Poland. It may be possible (but not likely) that we could have entered in 1940 but again there is no way we could have done anything to keep the French from being over run that spring. And our “Arsenal of Democracy” did contribute to the Brit’s hanging on.

muscogeemike
12-03-2011, 04:22 PM
The same thing could be said for about half of all Allied generals...



A largely bogus assertion raised by Alistair Horne's To Lose a Battle that has since largely been debunked. In fact French workers were actually highly productive in the run-up to war and were working long hours for almost no overtime wages (taken away by war taxes instituted under the Pres. Reynaud). Most French communists were French nationalists first and didn't follow Stalin's edicts...

“Largely bogus” is not quite the same as it is not true. The French Communist
workers were sympathetic with Stalin. I’ve read of many French aircraft sitting at factories and on runways without props or guns. I’m also pretty sure that some of the French communist resistance fighters held back during and after the Normandy invasion, keeping their weapons (largely Brit supplied) and units for a later “workers revolution”.




True the French officer corp was wholly unprepared to fight the Germans and war was poorly conceptualized in the "Methodical Battle" mindset almost incapable of dealing with anything like the "Sickle cut" attack fast moving from the Ardennes. However, it is an open question if things had been different and the Wehrmacht followed its original war plan and went in through Belgium. Or if the French had stuck to the original Dyle Plan and sending only ten weaker infantry divisions into Belgium rather than the 30 most mobile ones, the cream of the French Army. And the German invaders were rarely "less well armed" nor weaker in any given sector. In fact their concentration of forces in the Ardennes was vastly superior to anything French could muster (the 71st and 55th "B" divisions of the Army IIRC). In fact, when fighting on an equal plane, even with lack of air support and under duress of Luftwaffe tactical strikes, the French managed to inflict several tactical defeats on the Germans in Belgium. But they didn't matter as the "Schwerpunkt" was further south in the Ardennes sector...

I did not disparage the French Soldier, I criticized the French high command and government. And as with “…largely bogus” - “rarely “less well armed”… is not the same as “sometime being less well armed“. I believe that French Tanks were, overall, better than German (and I think that they were also about equal in numbers), and some French Aircraft were also superior.


No one has "excused" anything, and my understanding is that the topic is deeply controversial in France to this day...

I don’t doubt the topic is “deeply controversial” - I would also believe it is deeply embarrassing.

Nickdfresh
12-03-2011, 08:23 PM
No argument as to French assistance in our Revolution (although that was prior to my “last two centuries”). But “two epic battles” could be three. The Franco-Prussian War was not exactly “epic” (unless, of course, you were personally involved) and I’ve read that the French were on the verge of collapse in WWI when we belatedly entered the war (some of their units had mutinied); and I don’t think they would have survived without the U.K. and Commonwealth forces.

The French mutiny was in 1916. And while there was a last ditch German offensive, it's hard to say the French were going to collapse as Ludendorff's Spring Offensive was largely rudderless and had no overriding strategic purpose or vision. And it was largely the Commonwealth forces that defeated the Germans in 1918, the British also could not have survived without the French, especially without the mutual bludgeoning at Verdun where the French suffered more casualties than the U.S. military did in both World Wars...


As to the U.S. standing “…idly by”, while I’m not that knowledgeable on WWI but I don’t believe there is any way we would have entered the war in 1914-15. Even if we had got in 1916 - by the time any of our forces could have gotten to Europe the damage to the French and France would have already occurred.
The same is true for WWII - there was no way the U.S. was going to war over Poland.

I was talking more about WWII. And while there was no way the U.S. was going in over Poland (our combat power was lower than that of Romania in 1939 IIRC), there was the last ditch plea by the french gov't for the U.S. to enter the war, so that they could justify continued fighting from their colonies.


It may be possible (but not likely) that we could have entered in 1940 but again there is no way we could have done anything to keep the French from being over run that spring. And our “Arsenal of Democracy” did contribute to the Brit’s hanging on.

We also exported stuff to the French (P-36 Warhawks for example), but not enough to make up for their severe comparative weaknesses in the air. And the Brits, as with America, also had the benefit of a large body of water that was "panzer-proof"--unlike the French who happened to reside in ideal tank country...

Nickdfresh
12-03-2011, 08:26 PM
I don’t doubt the topic is “deeply controversial” - I would also believe it is deeply embarrassing.

Um, it is quite controversial if you actually get into it. "Deeply embarrassing" would be a more superficial, simpleton take after one gets into the scholarship of the battle...

muscogeemike
12-03-2011, 09:50 PM
Frenchmen are no better or worse than any other group of humans.

I chose to dislike the idea of the French and France. This is irrational and illogical - but it is my choice.

But to be referred to by a “Major-Staff Member” as a “simpleton” seems to me to be, in and of itself, rather “superficial and simpleton”.

Nickdfresh
12-03-2011, 11:57 PM
I wasn't referring to you personally, just the overall view celebrated in pop-culture. Having said that, I still laugh at the old David Letterman "Top-10" list jokes about the French reaction to the reunification of Germany, which included, "installing speed bumps to slow down the panzers"... :)

The reality is that things were far more complex and included a good deal of German luck (or gluck) as much as it included French failures...

Rising Sun*
12-04-2011, 04:25 AM
I readily admit to my anti French bias. Their arrogance is, perhaps, rivaled only by ours (the U.S.).

Quite possibly, but at least Americans speak English. Sort of, anyway. ;) :D

Rising Sun*
12-04-2011, 04:40 AM
Yes, the Brits burned our capital (and my hometown as well, although to be fair we burned what is Toronto first!). But we wouldn't exist as we do without the French aid that was both material and corporeal during the Revolution.

True, but Napoleon got into Moscow which is more than Hitler managed, and Napoleon had to start further away and without motorised transport, and long before Germany had unified under any national identity or state.

Moscow also burnt while Napoleon was there. I used to think Napoleon burnt it, but apparently it was more likely a Russian scorched earth action.


And the French may have lost two epic battles with Germany/Prussia, but they also claimed war on Germany while we stood idly by--knowing that at best it would be a grim two year struggle to defeat Germany....

Maybe, but America had no compelling reason to get involved in yet another European war in WWI, which wasn't really a world war on the geographic and homicidal scale of WWII.

Germany, consistent with Hitler's unnecessary and idiotic declaration of war on America in WWII, forced strongly neutral America into war against Germany by the Zimmerman telegram and the resumption of unrestricted submarine warfare which would target US ships.

When it comes to dealing with the US in world wars, Germany really had a death wish.

Nickdfresh
12-04-2011, 08:47 AM
...

Moscow also burnt while Napoleon was there. I used to think Napoleon burnt it, but apparently it was more likely a Russian scorched earth action.

Where do you think Uncle Stalin's boys got the idea. :)


Maybe, but America had no compelling reason to get involved in yet another European war in WWI, which wasn't really a world war on the geographic and homicidal scale of WWII.

Germany, consistent with Hitler's unnecessary and idiotic declaration of war on America in WWII, forced strongly neutral America into war against Germany by the Zimmerman telegram and the resumption of unrestricted submarine warfare which would target US ships.

When it comes to dealing with the US in world wars, Germany really had a death wish.

Don't forget the large number of loans the U.S. banks were making to the Allies. And while Germany made many mistakes in regards to handling the Americans in the First World War, both sides realized early on that inevitably the United States would fear and never accept a complete domination of Western Europe under German occupation.

As for WWII, Hitler was in a bind realizing that he could never compete with America on an economic level of sheer production. His drastic action was Operation Barbarossa--hoping that taking control of the best parts of the Soviet Union--would give him all the grain, oil, factories, and (slave) labor to compete with the U.S. strategically in a long war, if Adam Tooze (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Wages_of_Destruction) is to be believed...

muscogeemike
12-04-2011, 06:53 PM
Maybe, but America had no compelling reason to get involved in yet another European war in WWI, which wasn't really a world war on the geographic and homicidal scale of WWII.

Germany, consistent with Hitler's unnecessary and idiotic declaration of war on America in WWII, forced strongly neutral America into war against Germany by the Zimmerman telegram and the resumption of unrestricted submarine warfare which would target US ships.

When it comes to dealing with the US in world wars, Germany really had a death wish.

I believe that the Zimmerman telegram was part of the reasoning for the U.S. entering WWI.

Isn’t Zimmerman a Jewish name? I don’t know if the Secretary was Jewish but it would be ironic if a Jew was a major part of the U.S. going to War with Germany.

flamethrowerguy
12-04-2011, 07:01 PM
Isn’t Zimmerman a Jewish name?

Not really. Zimmermann (= Carpenter) ranks 20th among the most common German family names.;)

Nickdfresh
12-04-2011, 07:08 PM
I believe that the Zimmerman telegram was part of the reasoning for the U.S. entering WWI.

Isn’t Zimmerman a Jewish name? I don’t know if the Secretary was Jewish but it would be ironic if a Jew was a major part of the U.S. going to War with Germany.

Numerous German-Jews were decorated WWI veterans. In fact, I recall reading somewhere that German soldiers of Jewish linage tended to have a slightly higher percentage of awards and decorations than their non-Jewish counterparts. A little fact the Nazis never could reconcile their silly "stab-in-the-back" B.S. with...

royal744
08-14-2012, 06:34 PM
Suggestion - don’t over glorify the French resistance, their legend is larger then their actual accomplishments. The majority of the French were rather neutral, many even supported the Germans - (especially when it came to deporting Jews) - to the point that an entire division of Frenchmen volunteered to fight in the German Army.
Remember, also, they (the French) fought against the British in Iraq and Syria; against the Brit’s and the U.S. in N. Africa; and in Indo China activly assisted the Japanese.

I note with sadness the contunuing propensity of many Americans to "dump on the French" whenever the opportunity presents itself. One has to wonder how many divisions the US would have supplied to the Germans had they been occupied by them. How many might have collaborated and how many would have made a pact with the devil? Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.

muscogeemike
08-14-2012, 07:15 PM
I note with sadness the contunuing propensity of many Americans to "dump on the French" whenever the opportunity presents itself. One has to wonder how many divisions the US would have supplied to the Germans had they been occupied by them. How many might have collaborated and how many would have made a pact with the devil? Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.

What I said is all historically true - not necessarily “dumping on the French”; and there is much that could be added to what I listed.

And we (the US) too often forget without French aid it is very unlikely there would be a USA (at least as it exist today).

The US has many sins in its past, as a Native American I am well aware of this. But I fail to see how our sins absolve the French of theirs.

pdf27
08-15-2012, 07:59 AM
Not all Americans forgot this. Look up Pershing's first words when he arrived in France during WW1...