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military history

Verdict on Vichy: Power and Prejudice in the Vichy France Regime

 
 
Author
Michael Curtis.
Publisher Arcade  
Format paperback
Product Dimensions 8.9 x 6 x 1.2 inches
ISBN 9781628724363
Pages/Publication Date 419/2014
Daedalus Item Code 71363
List Price: $16.95
Sale Price: $6.98
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Originally published in 2002, this reappraisal of how the Vichy France regime betrayed its own citizens and colluded with the Nazis makes use of key documents that only in recent decades have been made accessible to the public, largely due to former Vichy officials taking prominent roles in politics and business after the war.

"Was the wartime Vichy regime a helpless victim or an enthusiastic collaborator in Nazi crimes? That question has been the cause of much controversy in France, and according to this comprehensive indictment, 'the verdict on Vichy must be guilty.' Rutgers political science professor [Michael] Curtis argues that Vichy's anti-Semitic policies were 'a deliberate, autonomous French government policy rather than ... a response to German pressure.' Vichy passed laws to strip Jews of their civil rights, seize their assets and exclude them from most professions. Worse, the French police apparatus organized and carried out the rounding up of Jews for deportation to the death camps, a task that the small German police contingent in France would have been hard-pressed to accomplish. With more freedom of action than most of occupied Europe, Curtis argues, Vichy was far more complicit in the Final Solution, especially in comparison with occupied Denmark and even the Axis governments in Bulgaria and Fascist Italy, which took concerted action—or at the very least, were less inclined to enforce discriminatory laws—to protect Jews under their jurisdiction. Curtis sets Vichy policy in the context of pre-war right wing and anti-Semitic political tendencies, and explores the post-war consensus that sought to downplay Vichy collaboration in favor of a mythology of heroic national Resistance to the Germans. He goes beyond the Vichy officials themselves to explore the acquiescence or silence of French society—the legal establishment, Church leaders, even left intellectuals like Sartre and de Beauvoir—in the face of anti-Semitic persecution. Drawing on the latest research, Curtis provides a comprehensive, nuanced but morally uncompromising look at France's darkest hour."—Publishers Weekly

 
 
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