The French Resistance was the collection of French movements that fought against the Nazi German occupation of France and the collaborationist Vichy régime during the Second World War. Resistance cells were small groups of armed men and women, who, in addition to their guerrilla warfare activities, were publishers of underground newspapers, providers of first-hand intelligence information, maintainers of escape networks that helped Allied soldiers and airmen trapped behind enemy lines; the men and women of the Resistance came from all economic levels and political leanings of French society, including émigrés, students, conservative Roman Catholics, citizens from the ranks of liberals and communists. The French Resistance played a significant role in facilitating the Allies' rapid advance through France following the invasion of Normandy on 6 June 1944, the lesser-known invasion of Provence on 15 August, by providing military intelligence on the German defences known as the Atlantic Wall and on Wehrmacht deployments and orders of battle.
The Resistance planned and executed acts of sabotage on the electrical power grid, transport facilities, telecommunications networks. It was politically and morally important to France, both during the German occupation and for decades afterward, because it provided the country with an inspiring example of the patriotic fulfillment of a national imperative, countering an existential threat to French nationhood; the actions of the Resistance stood in marked contrast to the collaboration of the French regime based at Vichy, the French people who joined the pro-Nazi Milice française and the French men who joined the Waffen SS. After the landings in Normandy and Provence, the paramilitary components of the Resistance were organised more formally, into a hierarchy of operational units known, collectively, as the French Forces of the Interior. Estimated to have a strength of 100,000 in June 1944, the FFI grew and reached 400,000 by October of that year. Although the amalgamation of the FFI was, in some cases, fraught with political difficulties, it was successful, it allowed France to rebuild the fourth-largest army in the European theatre by VE Day in May 1945.
Following the Battle of France and the second French-German armistice, signed near Compiègne on 22 June 1940, life for many in France continued more or less at first, but soon the German occupation authorities and the collaborationist Vichy régime began to employ brutal and intimidating tactics to ensure the submission of the French population. Although the majority of civilians neither collaborated nor overtly resisted, the occupation of French territory and the Germans' draconian policies inspired a discontented minority to form paramilitary groups dedicated to both active and passive resistance. One of the conditions of the armistice was; this burden amounted to about 20 million German Reichsmarks per day, a sum that, in May 1940, was equivalent to four hundred million French francs. Because of this overvaluation of German currency, the occupiers were able to make fair and honest requisitions and purchases while, in effect, operating a system of organized plunder. Prices soared, leading to widespread food shortages and malnutrition among children, the elderly, members of the working class engaged in physical labour.
Labour shortages plagued the French economy because hundreds of thousands of French workers were requisitioned and transferred to Germany for compulsory labour under the Service du Travail Obligatoire. The labour shortage was worsened by the fact that a large number of the French were held as prisoners of war in Germany. Beyond these hardships and dislocations, the occupation became unbearable. Onerous regulations, strict censorship, incessant propaganda and nightly curfews all played a role in establishing an atmosphere of fear and repression; the sight of French women consorting with German soldiers infuriated many French men, but sometimes it was the only way they could get adequate food for their families. As reprisals for Resistance activities, the authorities established harsh forms of collective punishment. For example, the increasing militancy of communist resistance in August 1941 led to the taking of thousands of hostages from the general population. A typical policy statement read, "After each further incident, a number, reflecting the seriousness of the crime, shall be shot."
During the occupation, an estimated 30,000 French civilian hostages were shot to intimidate others who were involved in acts of resistance. German troops engaged in massacres such as the Oradour-sur-Glane massacre, in which an entire village was razed and every resident murdered because of persistent resistance in the vicinity. In early 1943, the Vichy authorities created a paramilitary group, the Milice, to combat the Resistance, they worked alongside German forces. The group collaborated with the Nazis, was the Vichy equivalent of the Gestapo security forces in Germany, their actions were brutal and included torture and execution of Resistance suspects. After the liberation of France in the summer of 1944, the French executed many of the estimated 25,000 to 35,000 miliciens for their collaboration. Many of
Joseph Vissarionovich Stalin was a Georgian revolutionary and Soviet politician who led the Soviet Union from the mid–1920s until 1953 as General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union and Premier. While presiding over a collective leadership as first among equals, he consolidated enough power to become the country's de facto dictator by the 1930s. A communist ideologically committed to the Leninist interpretation of Marxism, Stalin helped to formalise these ideas as Marxism–Leninism, while his own policies became known as Stalinism. Born to a poor family in Gori, Russian Empire, Stalin joined the Marxist Russian Social Democratic Labour Party as a youth, he edited the party's newspaper and raised funds for Vladimir Lenin's Bolshevik faction via robberies and protection rackets. Arrested, he underwent several internal exiles. After the Bolsheviks seized power during the 1917 October Revolution and created a one-party state under Lenin's newly renamed Communist Party, Stalin joined its governing Politburo.
Serving in the Russian Civil War before overseeing the Soviet Union's establishment in 1922, Stalin assumed leadership over the country following Lenin's 1924 death. During Stalin's rule, "Socialism in One Country" became a central tenet of the party's dogma. Under the Five-Year Plans, the country underwent agricultural collectivisation and rapid industrialization, creating a centralized command economy; this led to significant disruptions in food production that contributed to the famine of 1932–33. To eradicate accused "enemies of the working class", Stalin instituted the "Great Purge", in which over a million were imprisoned and at least 700,000 executed between 1934 and 1939. By 1937, he had complete personal control over the state. Stalin's government promoted Marxism–Leninism abroad through the Communist International and supported anti-fascist movements throughout Europe during the 1930s in the Spanish Civil War. In 1939, it signed a non-aggression pact with Nazi Germany, resulting in the Soviet invasion of Poland.
Germany ended the pact by invading the Soviet Union in 1941. Despite initial setbacks, the Soviet Red Army repelled the German incursion and captured Berlin in 1945, ending World War II in Europe; the Soviets annexed the Baltic states and helped establish Soviet-aligned governments throughout Central and Eastern Europe and North Korea. The Soviet Union and the United States emerged from the war as the two world superpowers. Tensions arose between the Soviet-backed Eastern Bloc and U. S.-backed Western Bloc which became known as the Cold War. Stalin led his country through its post-war reconstruction, during which it developed a nuclear weapon in 1949. In these years, the country experienced another major famine and an anti-semitic campaign peaking in the Doctors' plot. Stalin died in 1953. Considered one of the 20th century's most significant figures, Stalin was the subject of a pervasive personality cult within the international Marxist–Leninist movement which revered him as a champion of the working class and socialism.
Since the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991, Stalin has retained popularity in Russia and Georgia as a victorious wartime leader who established the Soviet Union as a major world power. Conversely, his totalitarian government has been condemned for overseeing mass repressions, ethnic cleansing, hundreds of thousands of executions, famines which killed millions. Stalin was born in the Georgian town of Gori on 18 December 1878, he was the son of Besarion "Beso" Jughashvili and Ekaterine "Keke" Geladze, who had married in May 1872, had lost two sons in infancy prior to Stalin's birth. They were ethnically Georgian, Stalin grew up speaking the Georgian language. Gori was part of the Russian Empire, was home to a population of 20,000, the majority of whom were Georgian but with Armenian and Jewish minorities. Stalin was baptised on 29 December, he was nicknamed "Soso", a diminutive of "Ioseb". Besarion owned his own workshop; the family found themselves living in poverty, moving through nine different rented rooms in ten years.
Besarion became an alcoholic, drunkenly beat his wife and son. To escape the abusive relationship, Keke took Stalin and moved into the house of a family friend, Fr. Christopher Charkviani, she worked as launderer for local families sympathetic to her plight. Keke was determined to send her son to school, something that none of the family had achieved. In late 1888, aged 10 Stalin enrolled at the Gori Church School; this was reserved for the children of clergy, although Charkviani ensured that the boy received a place. Stalin excelled academically, displaying talent in painting and drama classes, writing his own poetry, singing as a choirboy, he got into many fights, a childhood friend noted that Stalin "was the best but the naughtiest pupil" in the class. Stalin faced several severe health problems. Aged 12, he was injured after being hit by a phaeton, the cause of a lifelong disability to his left arm. At his teachers' recommendation, Stalin proceeded to the Spiritual Seminary in Tiflis, he enrolled at the school in August 1894, enabled by a scholarship that allowed him to study at a reduced rate.
Here he joined 600 trainee priests who boarded at the semina
In political and social sciences, communism is the philosophical, social and economic ideology and movement whose ultimate goal is the establishment of the communist society, a socioeconomic order structured upon the common ownership of the means of production and the absence of social classes and the state. Communism includes a variety of schools of thought, which broadly include Marxism and anarchism, as well as the political ideologies grouped around both. All of these share the analysis that the current order of society stems from its economic system, capitalism; the two classes are the working class—who must work to survive and who make up the majority within society—and the capitalist class—a minority who derives profit from employing the working class through private ownership of the means of production. The revolution will put the working class in power and in turn establish social ownership of the means of production, which according to this analysis is the primary element in the transformation of society towards communism.
Critics of communism can be divided into those concerning themselves with the practical aspects of 20th century communist states and those concerning themselves with communist principles and theory. Marxism-Leninism and democratic socialism were the two dominant forms of socialism in the 20th century; the term "communism" was first coined and defined in its modern definition by the French philosopher and writer Victor d'Hupay. In his 1777 book Projet de communauté philosophe, d'Hupay pushes the philosophy of the Enlightenment to principles which he lived up to during most of his life in his bastide of Fuveau; this book can be seen as the cornerstone of communist philosophy as d'Hupay defines this lifestyle as a "commune" and advises to "share all economic and material products between inhabitants of the commune, so that all may benefit from everybody's work". According to Richard Pipes, the idea of a classless, egalitarian society first emerged in Ancient Greece; the 5th-century Mazdak movement in Persia has been described as "communistic" for challenging the enormous privileges of the noble classes and the clergy, for criticizing the institution of private property and for striving to create an egalitarian society.
At one time or another, various small communist communities existed under the inspiration of Scripture. For example, in the medieval Christian Church some monastic communities and religious orders shared their land and their other property. Communist thought has been traced back to the works of the 16th-century English writer Thomas More. In his treatise Utopia, More portrayed a society based on common ownership of property, whose rulers administered it through the application of reason. In the 17th century, communist thought surfaced again in England, where a Puritan religious group known as the "Diggers" advocated the abolition of private ownership of land. In his 1895 Cromwell and Communism, Eduard Bernstein argued that several groups during the English Civil War espoused clear communistic, agrarian ideals and that Oliver Cromwell's attitude towards these groups was at best ambivalent and hostile. Criticism of the idea of private property continued into the Age of Enlightenment of the 18th century through such thinkers as Jean Jacques Rousseau in France.
Following the upheaval of the French Revolution communism emerged as a political doctrine. In the early 19th century, various social reformers founded communities based on common ownership. However, unlike many previous communist communities they replaced the religious emphasis with a rational and philanthropic basis. Notable among them were Robert Owen, who founded New Harmony in Indiana, as well as Charles Fourier, whose followers organized other settlements in the United States such as Brook Farm. In its modern form, communism grew out of the socialist movement in 19th-century Europe; as the Industrial Revolution advanced, socialist critics blamed capitalism for the misery of the proletariat—a new class of urban factory workers who labored under often-hazardous conditions. Foremost among these critics were his associate Friedrich Engels. In 1848, Marx and Engels offered a new definition of communism and popularized the term in their famous pamphlet The Communist Manifesto; the 1917 October Revolution in Russia set the conditions for the rise to state power of Vladimir Lenin's Bolsheviks, the first time any avowedly communist party reached that position.
The revolution transferred power to the All-Russian Congress of Soviets, in which the Bolsheviks had a majority. The event generated a great deal of theoretical debate within the Marxist movement. Marx predicted that socialism and communism would be built upon foundations laid by the most advanced capitalist development. However, Russia was one of the poorest countries in Europe with an enormous illiterate peasantry and a minority of industrial workers. Marx had explicitly stated; the moderate Mensheviks opposed Lenin's Bolshevik plan for socialist revolution before capitalism was more developed. The Bolsheviks' successful rise to power was based upon the slogans such as "Peace and land" which tapp
Strasbourg is the capital and largest city of the Grand Est region of France and is the official seat of the European Parliament. Located at the border with Germany in the historic region of Alsace, it is the capital of the Bas-Rhin department. In 2016, the city proper had 279,284 inhabitants and both the Eurométropole de Strasbourg and the Arrondissement of Strasbourg had 491,409 inhabitants. Strasbourg's metropolitan area had a population of 785,839 in 2015, making it the ninth largest metro area in France and home to 13% of the Grand Est region's inhabitants; the transnational Eurodistrict Strasbourg-Ortenau had a population of 915,000 inhabitants in 2014. Strasbourg is one of the de facto capitals of the European Union, as it is the seat of several European institutions, such as the Council of Europe and the Eurocorps, as well as the European Parliament and the European Ombudsman of the European Union; the city is the seat of the Central Commission for Navigation on the Rhine and the International Institute of Human Rights.
Strasbourg's historic city centre, the Grande Île, was classified a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1988, the first time such an honour was placed on an entire city centre. Strasbourg is immersed in Franco-German culture and although violently disputed throughout history, has been a cultural bridge between France and Germany for centuries through the University of Strasbourg the second largest in France, the coexistence of Catholic and Protestant culture, it is home to the largest Islamic place of worship in France, the Strasbourg Grand Mosque. Economically, Strasbourg is an important centre of manufacturing and engineering, as well as a hub of road and river transportation; the port of Strasbourg is the second largest on the Rhine after Germany. Before the 5th century, the city was known as Argantorati, a Celtic Gaulish name Latinized first as Argentorate, as Argentoratum; that Gaulish name is a compound of -rati, the Gaulish word for fortified enclosures, cognate to the Old Irish ráth, arganto-, the Gaulish word for silver, but any precious metal gold, suggesting either a fortified enclosure located by a river gold mining site, or hoarding gold mined in the nearby rivers.
After the 5th century, the city became known by a different name Gallicized as Strasbourg. That name is of Germanic origin and means "Town of roads"; the modern Stras- is cognate to the German Straße and English street, all of which are derived from Latin strata, while -bourg is cognate to the German Burg and English borough, all of which are derived from Proto-Germanic *burgz. Gregory of Tours was the first to mention the name change: in the tenth book of his History of the Franks written shortly after 590 he said that Egidius, Bishop of Reims, accused of plotting against King Childebert II of Austrasia in favor of his uncle King Chilperic I of Neustria, was tried by a synod of Austrasian bishops in Metz in November 590, found guilty and removed from the priesthood taken "ad Argentoratensem urbem, quam nunc Strateburgum vocant", where he was exiled. Strasbourg is situated at the eastern border of France with Germany; this border is formed by the Rhine, which forms the eastern border of the modern city, facing across the river to the German town Kehl.
The historic core of Strasbourg however lies on the Grande Île in the river Ill, which here flows parallel to, 4 kilometres from, the Rhine. The natural courses of the two rivers join some distance downstream of Strasbourg, although several artificial waterways now connect them within the city; the city lies in the Upper Rhine Plain, at between 132 metres and 151 metres above sea level, with the upland areas of the Vosges Mountains some 20 km to the west and the Black Forest 25 km to the east. This section of the Rhine valley is a major axis of north–south travel, with river traffic on the Rhine itself, major roads and railways paralleling it on both banks; the city is some 397 kilometres east of Paris. The mouth of the Rhine lies 450 kilometres to the north, or 650 kilometres as the river flows, whilst the head of navigation in Basel is some 100 kilometres to the south, or 150 kilometres by river. In spite of its position far inland, Strasbourg's climate is classified as oceanic, but a "semicontinental" climate with some degree of maritime influence in relation to the mild patterns of Western and Southern France.
The city has warm sunny summers and cool, overcast winters. Precipitation is elevated from mid-spring to the end of summer, but remains constant throughout the year, totaling 631.4 mm annually. On average, snow falls 30 days per year; the highest temperature recorded was 38.5 °C in August 2003, during the 2003 European heat wave. The lowest temperature eve
Dietrich von Choltitz
Dietrich von Choltitz was a German General who served in the Royal Saxon Army during World War I and the German Army during World War II. He is chiefly remembered for his role as the last commander of Nazi-occupied Paris in 1944, when he disobeyed Adolf Hitler's orders to level the city, but instead surrendered it to Free French forces, he has been called the "Saviour of Paris" for preventing its destruction. Choltitz asserted that his defiance of Hitler's direct order stemmed from its obvious military futility, his affection for the French capital's history and culture, his belief that Hitler had by become insane. Choltitz was born in the castle in Gräflich Wiese, near Neustadt in Oberschlesien, in the province of Silesia as a son of Hans von Choltitz, a major of the Prussian Army, his wife Gertrud von Rosenberg, his uncle Hermann von Choltitz was a governor of Landkreis Neustadt O. S. from 1907 to 1920. His family was large and athletic – good on horseback. In 1907 Dietrich von Choltitz enrolled in the Dresden Cadet School.
He joined 8. Infanterie-Regiment Prinz Johann Georg Nr. 107 of the Royal Saxon Army as a Fähnrich just months before the First World War broke out. His unit served on the Western Front, where he fought in the First Battle of the Marne, the First Battle of Ypres the Battle of the Somme and the Battle of St. Quentin, he was promoted to Leutnant and became Adjutant of the regiment's third Battalion within a year of joining. He remained in the Reichswehr during the Weimar Republic, becoming a cavalry captain in 1929. Promoted to Major in 1937, he was made commander of third battalion, Infanterie-Regiment 16 "Oldenburg", a part of 22. Luftlande-Division. In 1938 he was promoted again, this time to Oberstleutnant, he participated in the occupation of Sudetenland in 1938 and in the invasion of Poland in 1939, where he fought under Łódź and the river Bzura. In May of 1940, Choltitz participated in the Battle of Rotterdam, making an air landing and seizing some of the city's key bridges. After the bombardment of Rotterdam, during a meeting with the Dutch discussing the terms of surrender of all Dutch forces in Rotterdam, the German Generalleutnant Kurt Student was shot in the head.
Student was popular with his troops and when the German forces moved to execute surrendering Dutch officers in reprisal Choltitz intervened and was able to prevent the massacre. His actions during the assault on Rotterdam earned him the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross. In September of the same year, he was given command of the regiment, the following spring was made Oberst. At the start of Operation Barbarossa, Choltitz's regiment was based in Romania, advancing as part of Army Group South into Ukraine; as part of Erich von Manstein's 11th Army, the regiment fought in the siege of Sevastopol. The siege was bloody for his regiment, reduced from 4,800 men to just 349. Promoted to Generalmajor soon after, he was made acting commander of 260th Infantry division in 1942, he was promoted to Generalleutnant the following year and given command of 11th Panzer Division, which he led during Battle of Kursk. In March 1944, Choltitz was transferred to the Italian theatre of operations, where he was made deputy commander of LXXVI Panzer Corps and participated in the Battle of Anzio.
Transferred to the Western Front in June 1944, he took command of LXXXIV Army Corps, which he commanded against the Allied breakout from Normandy. On 1 August 1944, Choltitz was promoted to General der Infanterie, on 7 August was appointed as the military governor of Paris. At a meeting in Germany the following day, Hitler instructed him to be prepared to leave no Parisian religious building or historical monument standing. After Choltitz's arrival in Paris on 9 August, Hitler confirmed the order by cable: "The city must not fall into the enemy's hand except lying in complete rubble." A week Hitler, in a rage, screamed, "Brennt Paris?" On 15 August 1944, the Paris police went on strike, followed on 19 August by a general insurrection led by the French Communist Party. The German garrison under Choltitz was far too small to quell the uprising. Choltitz brokered a ceasefire with the insurgents on 20 August, but many Resistance groups did not accept it and a series of skirmishes continued on the next day.
On 25 August, Choltitz surrendered the German garrison of 17,000 men to the Free French, leaving the city intact. Because Hitler's directive was not carried out, Choltitz has been described by some as the "Saviour of Paris". General von Choltitz claimed in his memoir of 1951 that he defied Hitler's order to destroy Paris because he loved the city and had decided that Hitler was by insane, it is known that the Swedish consul-general in Paris, Raoul Nordling and president of the municipal council Pierre Taittinger, held several meetings with Choltitz, during which he negotiated the release of political prisoners. The all-night confrontation between the two men on the eve of the surrender, as depicted in the 1965 book, 1966 film, Is Paris Burning?, again in the 2014 film Diplomacy—in which Nordling persuades Choltitz to spare the city in return for a pledge to protect his family—was reported as factual in some newspaper stories, but lacks a definitive historical basis. Choltitz was held for the remainder of the war at Trent Park, in North London, with other senior German officers.
Choltitz was transferred to Camp Clinton in Mississippi. No specific charges were filed against him, he was released from captivity in 1947. In 1956 he visited his wartime headquarters at the Hôtel Meurice in Paris; the l
The Normandy landings were the landing operations on Tuesday, 6 June 1944 of the Allied invasion of Normandy in Operation Overlord during World War II. Codenamed Operation Neptune and referred to as D-Day, it was the largest seaborne invasion in history; the operation began the liberation of German-occupied France from Nazi control, laid the foundations of the Allied victory on the Western Front. Planning for the operation began in 1943. In the months leading up to the invasion, the Allies conducted a substantial military deception, codenamed Operation Bodyguard, to mislead the Germans as to the date and location of the main Allied landings; the weather on D-Day was far from the operation had to be delayed 24 hours. Adolf Hitler placed German Field Marshal Erwin Rommel in command of German forces and of developing fortifications along the Atlantic Wall in anticipation of an Allied invasion; the amphibious landings were preceded by extensive aerial and naval bombardment and an airborne assault—the landing of 24,000 US, Canadian airborne troops shortly after midnight.
Allied infantry and armoured divisions began landing on the coast of France at 06:30. The target 50-mile stretch of the Normandy coast was divided into five sectors: Utah, Gold and Sword. Strong winds blew the landing craft east of their intended positions at Utah and Omaha; the men landed under heavy fire from gun emplacements overlooking the beaches, the shore was mined and covered with obstacles such as wooden stakes, metal tripods, barbed wire, making the work of the beach-clearing teams difficult and dangerous. Casualties were heaviest at Omaha, with its high cliffs. At Gold and Sword, several fortified towns were cleared in house-to-house fighting, two major gun emplacements at Gold were disabled, using specialised tanks; the Allies failed to achieve any of their goals on the first day. Carentan, St. Lô, Bayeux remained in German hands, Caen, a major objective, was not captured until 21 July. Only two of the beaches were linked on the first day, all five beachheads were not connected until 12 June.
German casualties on D-Day have been estimated at 4,000 to 9,000 men. Allied casualties were at least 10,000, with 4,414 confirmed dead. Museums and war cemeteries in the area now host many visitors each year. After the German Army invaded the Soviet Union in June 1941, the Soviet leader Joseph Stalin began pressing his new allies for the creation of a second front in western Europe. In late May 1942 the Soviet Union and the United States made a joint announcement that a "... full understanding was reached with regard to the urgent tasks of creating a second front in Europe in 1942." However, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill persuaded US President Franklin D. Roosevelt to postpone the promised invasion as with US help, the Allies did not have adequate forces for such an activity. Instead of an immediate return to France, the western Allies staged offensives in the Mediterranean Theatre of Operations, where British troops were stationed. By mid-1943 the campaign in North Africa had been won.
The Allies launched the invasion of Sicily in July 1943, subsequently invaded the Italian mainland in September the same year. By Soviet forces were on the offensive and had won a major victory at the Battle of Stalingrad; the decision to undertake a cross-channel invasion within the next year was taken at the Trident Conference in Washington in May 1943. Initial planning was constrained by the number of available landing craft, most of which were committed in the Mediterranean and Pacific. At the Tehran Conference in November 1943, Roosevelt and Churchill promised Stalin that they would open the long-delayed second front in May 1944. Four sites were considered for the landings: Brittany, the Cotentin Peninsula and the Pas-de-Calais; as Brittany and Cotentin are peninsulas, it would have been possible for the Germans to cut off the Allied advance at a narrow isthmus, so these sites were rejected. With the Pas-de-Calais being the closest point in continental Europe to Britain, the Germans considered it to be the most initial landing zone, so it was the most fortified region.
But it offered few opportunities for expansion, as the area is bounded by numerous rivers and canals, whereas landings on a broad front in Normandy would permit simultaneous threats against the port of Cherbourg, coastal ports further west in Brittany, an overland attack towards Paris and into Germany. Normandy was hence chosen as the landing site; the most serious drawback of the Normandy coast—the lack of port facilities—would be overcome through the development of artificial Mulberry harbours. A series of specialised tanks, nicknamed Hobart's Funnies, were created to deal with conditions expected during the Normandy Campaign, such as scaling sea walls and providing close support on the beach; the Allies planned to launch the invasion on 1 May 1944. The initial draft of the plan was accepted at the Quebec Conference in August 1943. General Dwight D. Eisenhower was appointed commander of Supreme Headquarters Allied Expeditionary Force. General Bernard Montgomery was named as commander of the 21st Army Group, which comprised all of the land forces involved in the invasion.
On 31 December 1943 Eisenhower and Montgomery first saw the plan, which proposed amphibious landings by three divisions with two m
Vichy France is the common name of the French State headed by Marshal Philippe Pétain during World War II. Evacuated from Paris to Vichy in the unoccupied "Free Zone" in the southern part of metropolitan France which included French Algeria, it remained responsible for the civil administration of France as well as the French colonial empire. From 1940 to 1942, while the Vichy regime was the nominal government of all of France except for Alsace-Lorraine, the German and Italian militarily occupied northern and south-eastern France. While Paris remained the de jure capital of France, the government chose to relocate to the town of Vichy, 360 km to the south in the zone libre, which thus became the de facto capital of the French State. Following the Allied landings in French North Africa in November 1942, southern France was militarily occupied by Germany and Italy to protect the Mediterranean coastline. Petain's government remained in Vichy as the nominal government of France, albeit one, obliged by circumstances to collaborate with Germany from November 1942 onwards.
The government at Vichy remained there until late 1944, when it lost its de facto authority due to the Allied invasion of France and the government was compelled to relocate to the Sigmaringen enclave in Germany, where it continued to exist on paper until the end of hostilities in Europe. After being appointed Premier by President Albert Lebrun, Marshal Pétain's cabinet agreed to end the war and signed an Armistice with Germany on 22 June 1940. On 10 July, the French Third Republic was dissolved, Pétain established an authoritarian regime when the National Assembly granted him full powers; the Vichy government reversed many liberal policies and began tight supervision of the economy, calling for "National Regeneration", with central planning a key feature. Labour unions came under tight government control. Conservative Catholics became clerical input in schools resumed. Paris lost its avant-garde status in European culture; the media were controlled and stressed virulent anti-Semitism, after June 1941, anti-Bolshevism.
The French State maintained nominal sovereignty over the whole of French territory, but had effective full sovereignty only in the unoccupied southern zone libre. It had only civil authority in the northern zones under military occupation; the occupation was to be a provisional state of affairs, pending the conclusion of the war, which at the time appeared imminent. The occupation presented certain advantages, such as keeping the French Navy and French colonial empire under French control, avoiding full occupation of the country by Germany, thus maintaining a degree of French independence and neutrality. Despite heavy pressure, the French government at Vichy never joined the Axis alliance, remained formally at war with Germany. Germany kept two million French soldiers prisoner, carrying out forced labour, they were hostages to ensure that Vichy would reduce its military forces and pay a heavy tribute in gold and supplies to Germany. French police were ordered to round up Jews and other "undesirables" such as communists and political refugees.
Much of the French public supported the government, despite its undemocratic nature and its difficult position vis-à-vis the Germans seeing it as necessary to maintain a degree of French autonomy and territorial integrity. In November 1942, the zone libre was occupied by Axis forces, leading to the disbandment of the remaining army and the sinking of France's remaining fleet and ending any semblance of independence, with Germany now supervising all French officials. Most of the overseas French colonies were under Vichy control, but with the Allied invasion of North Africa it lost one colony after another to Charles de Gaulle's Allied-oriented Free France. Public opinion in some quarters turned against the French government and the occupying German forces over time, when it became clear that Germany was losing the war, resistance to them increased. Following the Allied invasion of France in June 1944 and the liberation of France that year, the Free French Provisional government of the French Republic was installed by the Allies as France's government, led by de Gaulle.
Under a "national unanimity" cabinet uniting the many factions of the French Resistance, the GPRF re-established a provisional French Republic, thus restoring continuity with the Third Republic. Most of the legal French government's leaders at Vichy fled or were subject to show trials by the GPRF, a number were executed for "treason" in a series of purges. Thousands of collaborators were summarily executed by local communists and the Resistance in so-called "savage purges"; the last of the French state exiles were captured in the Sigmaringen enclave by de Gaulle's French 1st Armoured Division in April 1945. Pétain, who had voluntarily made his way back to France via Switzerland, was put on trial for treason by the new Provisional government, received a death sentence, but this was commuted to life imprisonment by de Gaulle. Only four senior Vichy officials were tried for crimes against humanity, although many more had participated in the deportation of Jews for internment in Nazi concentration camps, abuses of prisoners, severe acts against members of the Resistance.
In 1940, Marshal Pétain was known as the victor of the battle of Verdun. As the last premier of the Third Republic, being a reactionary by inclination, he blamed the Third Republic's democracy for France's sudden defeat by Germany, he set up a paternalistic, authoritarian regime that collaborated with Ger