OCCUPIED FRANCE AND WHAT PALACE HISTORIANS DON’T TELL US

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Following the so-called liberation of France John Eisenhower, the American General’s son, reported: “I saw absolutely no evidence of German abuse of the population… The attitude of the French was sobering indeed. Instead of bursting with enthusiasm they seemed not only indifferent but sullen. There was considerable cause for wondering whether they wished to be ‘liberated.”

General Eisenhower’s British aide conceded that “The people looked well-fed and the children healthy and well-dressed.”

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Pictured: U.S. World War II General Dwight D. Eisenhower, center, as Commander of the invasion of Europe. At center right is British Air Chief Marshal Sir Arthur W. Tedder and left is British Field Marshal Bernard Montgomery

Sir Alan Brooke, the British Army Chief of Staff, observed: “The French population did not seem in any way pleased to see us arrive as a victorious army to liberate France. They had been quite content as they were and we were bringing war and desolation to their country.”

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Commander of the Allied Forces, General Dwight D. Eisenhower (left) gestures as he and Britain’s Field Marshal Bernard Montgomery (right), his deputy commander, confer on the invasion plans of Normandy at an unknown location after Allied forces stormed the Normandy beaches in north-western France on D-Day

Referring to the French town of Carentan, Montgomery wrote: “I see SHAEF communique said yesterday that the town had been liberated. Actually, it has been completely flattened and there is hardly a house intact; all the civilians have fled. It is a queer sort of liberation.”

As Irving inform his readers: “An ordeal began for the French who stayed behind in Normandy to welcome their liberators. They were liable to be vandalized, robbed, raped, and murdered. Indeed, the behaviour of GIs throughout liberated Europe was causing apprehension in Washington. The Joint Chiefs reviewed a report from Rome too that conditions now were worse than when the Germans had been there.”

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A woman walks from the Paris Métro station in the early 1940s.

Americans and British saw liberated Paris not just as a symbol of Europe’s freedom from Nazi oppression, but as a playground for their amusement. In Paris, American military authorities had taken over the Petit Palais and erected a large sign announcing the distribution of free condoms to US troops.

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In Pigalle, rapidly dubbed “Pig Alley” by GIs, French prostitutes were coping with more than 10,000 men a day. The French were also deeply shocked to see US soldiers lying drunk on the pavements of the Place Vendôme. The contrast with off-duty German troops, who had been forbidden even to smoke in the street, could hardly have been greater.

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Following a visit to Caen, B. H. Liddell Hart, the famous British military strategist and historian, pointed out that “Most Frenchmen speak of the correctness of the German Army’s behaviour. They seem particularly impressed that German soldiers were shot for incivility to women and compare this with the American troops’ bad behaviour toward women.”

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On 5 November 1944, Eisenhower’s driver and girl friend, Kay Summersby, recorded: “General Betts reports that disciplinary conditions in the army are becoming bad. Many cases of rape, murder, and pillage are causing complaints by the French-Dutch, etc.”

A month later (Dec 1944), General Leroy Lutes remarked: “The French now grumble that the Americans are a more drunken and disorderly lot than the Germans and hope to see the day when they are liberated from the Americans.”

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Vintage Paris children playing

Lutes discovered that the Allied propaganda which portrayed the Germans as brutes was untrue: “I am informed the Germans did not loot residences, stores, or museums. In fact, the people claimed that they were meticulously treated by the Army of Occupation.”

By the end of the war, over 450 GIs were sentenced to death by courts-martial, nearly all for having committed non-military offences like rape and murder in France alone.

It is also a little-known fact that allied air attacks on France alone resulted in far more deaths and injuries than from German attacks. “It is a grim fact that British soldiers, occupying France after the Germans had been driven out, unlike the German troops, were confined to barracks for their own safety.”

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French Armistice Day Parade, Paris 1944 This photograph shows Winston Churchill and Charles de Gaulle walking along the Champs-Elysee in the Armistice Day Parade during “Liberation Paris” (August 1944)

Between the time of the German victory in the Battle of France and the liberation of the country, the Western Allies bombed many locations in France. In all 1,570 French cities and towns were bombed by Anglo-American forces between June 1940 and May 1945.

According to Wikipedia, the total number of civilians killed was 68,778 men, women and children. The total of injured exceeds 100,000. The total number of houses completely destroyed by the bombings was 432,000, and those partly destroyed was 890,000.

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Take the historic walled city of Saint-Malo: the brightest jewel of the Emerald Coast of Brittany, France, which was almost totally destroyed by the Allies in August 1944. Of the 865 buildings within the walls, only 182 remained standing and all were damaged to some degree. Thirty thousand valuable books and manuscripts were lost in the burning of the library.

In contrast, Germany’s mercy had been substantial. Hitler had left a large part of France and the French colonies unoccupied and secure from the war under a semi-independent government led by Field Marshal Petain.

Great Europeans Philippe Petain

Following their overwhelming victory, they (German Forces) exhibited scrupulous correctness as noted by one of America’s most prominent foreign correspondents, Sidney Huddleston, policies that continued throughout the early years of the Occupation.

Yet the 1944 Normandy landings and subsequent German withdrawal opened the doors of power to Communist forces, who “engaged in an orgy of bloodletting probably without precedent in French history, surpassing even the Reign of Terror of the French Revolution” with perhaps 100,000 or more civilians being summarily butchered on the basis of little or no evidence.

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All in all, what appears to have been an unprecedented orgy of terror, killings, rapes and looting has been soothingly re-christened “the Liberation” and almost entirely removed from our historical memory, except for the famously shaved heads of a few disgraced women. CONTRIBUTOR to Russian Insider.

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12 comments

  • Sturmgewehr stg 44

    The footage of Paris in 1940 gives credibility to the fact that the Germans were very civilized occupiers who bought order and calm wherever they went. German soldiers were also very disciplined. They only used ruthless force against the population when attacks occurred on their soldiers from French partisans, who were mostly communists anyway. By and large, you have to say that the French people did not suffer under occupation by Germany.

    Contrast the behavior of the Germans in France with that of the Allies occupying Germany towards the end of the war. Firstly, they bombed the country into oblivion to kill and terrorize as many civilians as possible. They encouraged mass rape of German women, particularly on the part of the incoming Soviet soldiers. They allowed at least 700,000 German prisoners to starve to death in the Rhine meadow camps, and the Allies stole everything of value they could get their hands on. So how come Germany is always cast as the villain of WW2?

    .

    Liked by 4 people

  • Pingback: La France occupée et ce que les historiens de palais ne nous disent pas | GrandFacho.com

  • One must bear in mind that the first violent acts of « résistance » / “terrorism”, depending from the vantage point, were committed by the communist FTPs (« Francs-Tireurs Partisans ») a predominantly international well organised, disciplined, guerrilla group which went into action as soon as Germany had launched its preventive war against its former ally Stalinian USSR (operation „BARBAROSSA“). These violent acts were deliberately launched to provoke the Germans into retaliation, thus making them less acceptable by a part of the French population which steadily increased as the violent attacks went on. This strategy is very similar to the one pursued by the British when they organised and triggered the assassination of „Reichsprotektor“ Reinhard Heydrich (operation “ANTRHOPOID”) in 1942 in Prague with the intent to generate unavoidable violent reaction from the German occupying forces against the Czechs in a Protectorate which was the most important asset to the Germans in sustaining their war effort (heavy industry, weapons). (Weeks before his assassination, Heydrich had accepted from the Czechs a state-of-the-art ambulance train.) Characteristically the Czech resistance against Germany was mostly noteworthy during the last… two weeks of WWII…

    Liked by 2 people

    • Ian Souter Clarence associated with the British Movement during my leadership. No one can be certain of anyone’s intent or loyalties. But, the ex-Commando (and SAS) officer acquitted himself well during Leader Guard training sessions.
      A mine of clandestine information, he conceded that British commandos were regularly parachuted into France during the occupation. German infantrymen, such as a guard or two would be murdered in cold blood. Evidence would be left to suggest the assassinations were carried out by locals. The Germans would carry out reprisals against the ‘perpetrators’ and these would inflame the local population against the occupiers.

      Liked by 2 people

      • There we are… Typical SOE strategy. Stirling had a different vision of it all… but he was above all a man of terrain.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Yes, revelations of such British actions can be found (rarely) in some more “mainstream” books such as Target Patton (Robert Wilcox, 2008). In the propaganda television series, World at War, Laurence Olivier narrates that the Germans totally annihilated French towns (purportedly with no justification but only out of psychotic cruelty).

        Liked by 3 people

  • This world of lies that we live in is so utterly depressing!

    Liked by 4 people

  • It’s very late but I wish to thank you, Mike for your article and also for showing the picture of Marshall Philippe Pétain. Such a great man! My parents had so much respect for him and I’m proud to say they NEVER ‘sided’ with the conceited De Gaulle !  God bless!

    Liked by 3 people

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