The French Navy, informally "La Royale", is the maritime arm of the French Armed Forces. Dating back to 1624, the French Navy is one of the world's oldest naval forces, it has participated in conflicts around the globe and played a key part in establishing the French colonial empire. The French Navy consists of six main branches and various services: the Force d'Action Navale, the Forces Sous-marines, the Maritime Force of Naval Aeronautics, the Fusiliers Marins, the Marins Pompiers, the Maritime Gendarmerie; as of June 2014, the French Navy employed a total of 36,776 personnel along with 2,800 civilians. Its reserve element consisted of 4,827 personnel of the Operational Reserve; as a blue-water navy, it operates a wide range of fighting vessels, which include the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle, various aeronaval forces, attack submarines and ballistic missile submarines, patrol boats and support ships. The history of French naval power dates back to the Middle Ages, had three loci of evolution: The Mediterranean Sea, where the Ordre de Saint-Jean de Jérusalem had its own navy, the Levant Fleet, whose principal ports were Fréjus and Toulon.
The Ordre, both a religious and military order, recruited knights from the families of French nobility. Members who had fulfilled their service at sea were granted the rank of Knights Hospitaller, elites who served as the officer corps; the Ordre was one of the ancestors of modern French naval schools including the French Naval Academy. The Manche along Normandy which, since William the Conqueror, always tendered capable marines and sailors from its numerous active seaports; the first true French Royal Navy was established in 1624 by Cardinal Richelieu, chief minister to King Louis XIII. During the French Revolution, la Marine Royale was formally renamed la Marine Nationale. Under the First French Empire and the Second French Empire, the navy was designated as the Imperial French Navy. Institutionally, the navy has never lost its short familiar nickname, la Royale; the symbol of the French Navy was since its origin a golden anchor, beginning in 1830, was interlaced by a sailing rope. This symbol was featured on all naval vessels and uniforms.
Although anchor symbols are still used on uniforms, a new naval logo was introduced in 1990. Authorized by Naval Chief of Staff Bernard Louzeau, the modern design incorporates the tricolour by flanking the bow section of a white warship with two ascending red and blue spray foams, the inscription "Marine nationale". Cardinal Richelieu supervised the Navy until his death in 1643, he was succeeded by his protégé, Jean Baptiste Colbert, who introduced the first code of regulations of the French Navy, established the original naval dockyards in Brest and Toulon. Colbert and his son, the Marquis de Seignelay, between them administered the Navy for twenty-nine years. During this century, the Navy cut its teeth in the Anglo-French War, the Franco-Spanish War, the Second Anglo-Dutch War, the Franco-Dutch War, the Nine Years' War. Major battles in these years include the Battle of Beachy Head, the Battles of Barfleur and La Hougue, the Battle of Lagos, the Battle of Texel; the 1700s opened with the War of the Spanish Succession, over a decade long, followed by the War of the Austrian Succession in the 1740s.
Principal engagements of these wars include the Battle of Vigo Bay and two separate Battles of Cape Finisterre in 1747. The most grueling conflict for the Navy, was the Seven Years' War, in which it was destroyed. Significant actions include the Battle of Cap-Français, the Battle of Quiberon Bay, another Battle of Cape Finisterre; the Navy regrouped and rebuilt, within 15 years it was eager to join the fray when France intervened in the American Revolutionary War. Though outnumbered everywhere, the French fleets held the British at bay for years until victory. After this conflict and the concomitant Anglo-French War, the Navy emerged at a new height in its history. Major battles in these years include the Battle of the Chesapeake, the Battle of Cape Henry, the Battle of Grenada, the invasion of Dominica, three separate Battles of Ushant. Within less than a decade, the Navy was decimated by the French Revolution when large numbers of veteran officers were dismissed or executed for their noble lineage.
Nonetheless, the Navy fought vigorously through the French Revolutionary Wars as well as the Quasi-War. Significant actions include a fourth Battle of Ushant, the Battle of Groix, the Atlantic campaign of May 1794, the French expedition to Ireland, the Battle of Tory Island, the Battle of the Nile. Other engagements of the Revolutionary Wars ensued in the early 1800s, including the Battle of the Malta Convoy and the Algeciras Campaign; the Quasi-War wound down with single-ship actions including USS Constellation vs La Vengeance and USS Enterprise vs Flambeau. When Napoleon was crowned Emperor in 1804, he attempted to restore the Navy to a position that would enable his plan for an invasion of England, his dreams were dashed by the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805, where the British all but annihilated a combined Franco-Spanish fleet, a disaster that guaranteed British naval superiority throughout the Napoleonic Wars. Still, the Navy did not shrink from action: among the engagements of this time were the Battle of the Basque Roads, the Battle of Grand Port, the Mauritius campaign of 1809–11, the Battle of Lissa, After Nap
Free France and its Free French Forces were the government-in-exile led by Charles de Gaulle during the Second World War and its military forces, that continued to fight against the Axis powers as one of the Allies after the fall of France. Set up in London in June 1940, it supported the Resistance in occupied France. Charles de Gaulle, a French government minister who rejected the armistice concluded by Marshal Philippe Pétain and who had escaped to Britain, exhorted the French to resist in his BBC broadcast "Appeal of 18 June", which had a stirring effect on morale throughout France and its colonies, although relatively few French forces responded to de Gaulle's call for resistance. On 27 October 1940, the Empire Defense Council was constituted to organise the rule of the territories in central Africa and Oceania that had heeded the 18 June call, it was replaced on 24 September 1941 by the French National Committee. On 13 July 1942, "Free France" was renamed France combattante, to mark that the struggle against the Axis was conducted both externally by the FFF and internally by the French Forces of the Interior.
After the reconquest of North Africa, this was in turn formally merged with de Gaulle's rival general Henri Giraud's command in Algiers to form the French Committee of National Liberation. Exile ended with the liberation of Paris by the 2nd Armoured Free French Division and Resistance forces on 25 August 1944, ushering in the Provisional Government of the French Republic, it ruled France until the end of the war and afterwards to 1946, when the Fourth Republic was established, thus ending the series of interim regimes that had succeeded the Third Republic after its fall in 1940. The Free French fought Axis and Vichy regime troops and served on battlefronts everywhere from the Middle East to Indochina and North Africa; the Free French Navy operated as an auxiliary force to the Royal Navy and, in the North Atlantic, to the Royal Canadian Navy. Free French units served in the Royal Air Force, Soviet Air Force, British SAS, before larger commands were established directly under the control of the government-in-exile.
From colonial outposts in Africa and the Pacific, Free France took over more and more Vichy possessions, until after the Allied landings in North Africa in November 1942 Vichy only ruled over the zone libre in southern France and a few possessions in the West Indies. The French Army of Africa switched allegiance to Free France, this caused the Axis to occupy Vichy in reaction. On August 1, 1943, L'Armée d'Afrique was formally united with the Free French Forces to form L'Armée française de la Liberation. By mid-1944, the forces of this army numbered more than 400,000, they participated in the Normandy landings and the invasion of southern France leading the drive on Paris. Soon they were fighting in Alsace, the Alps and Brittany, by the end of the war in Europe, they were 1,300,000 strong—the fourth-largest Allied army in Europe—and took part in the Allied advance through France and invasion of Germany; the Free French government re-established a provisional republic after the liberation, preparing the ground for the Fourth Republic in 1946.
An individual became "Free French" by enlisting in the military units organised by the CFN or by employment by the civilian arm of the Committee. On 1 August 1943 after the merger of CFN and representatives of the former Vichy regime in North Africa to form the CFLN earlier in June, the FFF and the Armée d'Afrique were merged to form the French Liberation Army, Armée française de la Libération, all subsequent enlistments were in this combined force. In many sources, Free French describes any French individual or unit that fought against Axis forces after the June 1940 armistice. Postwar, to settle disputes over the Free French heritage, the French government issued an official definition of the term. Under this "ministerial instruction of July 1953", only those who served with the Allies after the Franco-German armistice in 1940 and before 1 August 1943 may be called "Free French". On 10 May 1940, Nazi Germany invaded France and the Low Countries defeating the Dutch and Belgians, while armoured units attacking through the Ardennes cut off the Franco-British strike force in Belgium.
By the end of May, the British and French northern armies were trapped in a series of pockets, including Dunkirk, Boulogne, Saint-Valery-en-Caux and Lille. The Dunkirk evacuation was only made possible by the resistance of these troops the French army divisions at Lille. From 27 May to 4 June, over 200,000 members of the British Expeditionary Force and 140,000 French troops were evacuated from Dunkirk. Neither side viewed this as the end of the battle. After being evacuated from Dunkirk, Alanbrooke landed in Cherbourg on 2 June to reform the BEF, along with the 1st Canadian Division, the only remaining armoured unit in Britain. Contrary to what is assumed, French morale was higher in June than May and they repulsed an attack in the south by Fascist Italy. A defensive line was re-established along the Somme but much of the armour was lost in Northern France.
Case Anton was the military occupation of Vichy France carried out by Germany and Italy in November 1942. It marked the end of the Vichy regime as a nominally-independent state and the disbandment of its army, but it continued its existence as a puppet government in Occupied France. One of the last actions of its armed forces before their dissolution was the scuttling of the French fleet in Toulon to prevent it from falling into Axis hands. A German plan to occupy Vichy France had been drawn up in December 1940 under the codename of Operation Attila and soon came to be considered as an operation with Operation Camellia, the plan to occupy Corsica. Operation Anton updated the original Operation Attila, including different German units and adding Italian involvement. For Adolf Hitler, the main rationale for permitting a nominally independent French state to exist was that it was, in the absence of naval superiority, the only practical means to deny the use of the French colonies to the Allies.
Following the Allied landings in French North Africa on 8 November 1942 and the lack of determined French resistance to the Allied landings, that rationale disappeared. Moreover, Hitler could not risk an exposed flank on the French Mediterranean. Following a final conversation with French Premier Pierre Laval, Hitler gave orders for Corsica to be occupied on 11 November, Vichy France the following day. By the evening of 10 November 1942, Axis forces had completed their preparations for Case Anton; the 1st Army advanced from the Atlantic coast, parallel to the Spanish border, while the 7th Army advanced from central France towards Vichy and Toulon, under the command of General Johannes Blaskowitz. The Italian 4th Army occupied an Italian division landed on Corsica. By the evening of 11 November, German tanks had reached the Mediterranean coast; the Germans had planned Operation Lila to capture intact the demobilised French fleet at Toulon. French naval commanders managed to delay the Germans by negotiation and subterfuge long enough to scuttle their ships on 27 November, before the Germans could seize them, preventing three battleships, seven cruisers, 28 destroyers and 20 submarines from falling into the hands of the Axis powers.
While the German Naval War Staff were disappointed, Adolf Hitler considered that the elimination of the French fleet sealed the success of Operation Anton. The destruction of the fleet denied it to Charles de Gaulle and the Free French Navy. Vichy France limited its resistance to radio broadcasts objecting to the violation of the armistice of 1940; the German government countered that it was the French who violated the armistice first by not offering determined resistance to the Allied landings in North Africa. The 50,000-strong Vichy French Army took defensive positions around Toulon, but when confronted by German demands to disband, it did so, lacking the military capability to resist the Axis forces. German occupation of France during World War II Italian occupation of France during World War II
World War II
World War II known as the Second World War, was a global war that lasted from 1939 to 1945. The vast majority of the world's countries—including all the great powers—eventually formed two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis. A state of total war emerged, directly involving more than 100 million people from over 30 countries; the major participants threw their entire economic and scientific capabilities behind the war effort, blurring the distinction between civilian and military resources. World War II was the deadliest conflict in human history, marked by 50 to 85 million fatalities, most of whom were civilians in the Soviet Union and China, it included massacres, the genocide of the Holocaust, strategic bombing, premeditated death from starvation and disease, the only use of nuclear weapons in war. Japan, which aimed to dominate Asia and the Pacific, was at war with China by 1937, though neither side had declared war on the other. World War II is said to have begun on 1 September 1939, with the invasion of Poland by Germany and subsequent declarations of war on Germany by France and the United Kingdom.
From late 1939 to early 1941, in a series of campaigns and treaties, Germany conquered or controlled much of continental Europe, formed the Axis alliance with Italy and Japan. Under the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact of August 1939, Germany and the Soviet Union partitioned and annexed territories of their European neighbours, Finland and the Baltic states. Following the onset of campaigns in North Africa and East Africa, the fall of France in mid 1940, the war continued between the European Axis powers and the British Empire. War in the Balkans, the aerial Battle of Britain, the Blitz, the long Battle of the Atlantic followed. On 22 June 1941, the European Axis powers launched an invasion of the Soviet Union, opening the largest land theatre of war in history; this Eastern Front trapped most crucially the German Wehrmacht, into a war of attrition. In December 1941, Japan launched a surprise attack on the United States as well as European colonies in the Pacific. Following an immediate U. S. declaration of war against Japan, supported by one from Great Britain, the European Axis powers declared war on the U.
S. in solidarity with their Japanese ally. Rapid Japanese conquests over much of the Western Pacific ensued, perceived by many in Asia as liberation from Western dominance and resulting in the support of several armies from defeated territories; the Axis advance in the Pacific halted in 1942. Key setbacks in 1943, which included a series of German defeats on the Eastern Front, the Allied invasions of Sicily and Italy, Allied victories in the Pacific, cost the Axis its initiative and forced it into strategic retreat on all fronts. In 1944, the Western Allies invaded German-occupied France, while the Soviet Union regained its territorial losses and turned toward Germany and its allies. During 1944 and 1945 the Japanese suffered major reverses in mainland Asia in Central China, South China and Burma, while the Allies crippled the Japanese Navy and captured key Western Pacific islands; the war in Europe concluded with an invasion of Germany by the Western Allies and the Soviet Union, culminating in the capture of Berlin by Soviet troops, the suicide of Adolf Hitler and the German unconditional surrender on 8 May 1945.
Following the Potsdam Declaration by the Allies on 26 July 1945 and the refusal of Japan to surrender under its terms, the United States dropped atomic bombs on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki on 6 and 9 August respectively. With an invasion of the Japanese archipelago imminent, the possibility of additional atomic bombings, the Soviet entry into the war against Japan and its invasion of Manchuria, Japan announced its intention to surrender on 15 August 1945, cementing total victory in Asia for the Allies. Tribunals were set up by fiat by the Allies and war crimes trials were conducted in the wake of the war both against the Germans and the Japanese. World War II changed the political social structure of the globe; the United Nations was established to foster international co-operation and prevent future conflicts. The Soviet Union and United States emerged as rival superpowers, setting the stage for the nearly half-century long Cold War. In the wake of European devastation, the influence of its great powers waned, triggering the decolonisation of Africa and Asia.
Most countries whose industries had been damaged moved towards economic expansion. Political integration in Europe, emerged as an effort to end pre-war enmities and create a common identity; the start of the war in Europe is held to be 1 September 1939, beginning with the German invasion of Poland. The dates for the beginning of war in the Pacific include the start of the Second Sino-Japanese War on 7 July 1937, or the Japanese invasion of Manchuria on 19 September 1931. Others follow the British historian A. J. P. Taylor, who held that the Sino-Japanese War and war in Europe and its colonies occurred and the two wars merged in 1941; this article uses the conventional dating. Other starting dates sometimes used for World War II include the Italian invasion of Abyssinia on 3 October 1935; the British historian Antony Beevor views the beginning of World War II as the Battles of Khalkhin Gol fought between Japan and the fo
Military history of France
The military history of France encompasses an immense panorama of conflicts and struggles extending for more than 2,000 years across areas including modern France, a variety of regions throughout the world. According to historian Niall Ferguson: "of the 125 major European wars fought since 1495, the French have participated in 50 – more than Austria and England. Out of 168 battles fought since 387 BC, they have won 109, lost 49 and drawn 10", making France the most successful military power in European history; the first major recorded wars in the territory of modern-day France itself revolved around the Gallo-Roman conflict that predominated from 60 BC to 50 BC. The Romans emerged victorious through the campaigns of Julius Caesar. After the decline of the Roman Empire, a Germanic tribe known as the Franks took control of Gaul by defeating competing tribes; the "land of Francia", from which France gets its name, had high points of expansion under kings Clovis I and Charlemagne, who established the nucleus of the future French state.
In the Middle Ages, rivalries with England prompted major conflicts such as the Norman Conquest and the Hundred Years' War. With an centralized monarchy, the first standing army since Roman times, the use of artillery, France expelled the English from its territory and came out of the Middle Ages as the most powerful nation in Europe, only to lose that status to the Holy Roman Empire and Spain following defeat in the Italian Wars; the Wars of Religion crippled France in the late 16th century, but a major victory over Spain in the Thirty Years' War made France the most powerful nation on the continent once more. In parallel, France developed its first colonial empire in Asia, in the Americas. Under Louis XIV France achieved military supremacy over its rivals, but escalating conflicts against powerful enemy coalitions checked French ambitions and left the kingdom bankrupt at the opening of the 18th century. Resurgent French armies secured victories in dynastic conflicts against the Spanish and Austrian crowns.
At the same time, France was fending off attacks on its colonies. As the 18th century advanced, global competition with Great Britain led to the Seven Years' War, where France lost its North American holdings. Consolation came in the form of dominance in Europe and the American Revolutionary War, where extensive French aid in the form of money and arms, the direct participation of its army and navy led to America's independence. Internal political upheaval led to 23 years of nearly continuous conflict in the French Revolutionary Wars and the Napoleonic Wars. France reached the zenith of its power during this period, dominating the European continent in an unprecedented fashion under Napoleon Bonaparte. By 1815, however, it had been restored to the same borders; the rest of the 19th century witnessed the growth of the Second French colonial empire as well as French interventions in Belgium and Mexico. Other major wars were fought against Russia in the Crimea, Austria in Italy, Prussia within France itself.
Following defeat in the Franco-Prussian War, Franco–German rivalry erupted again in the First World War. France and its allies were victorious this time. Social and economic upheaval in the wake of the conflict led to the Second World War, in which the Allies were defeated in the Battle of France and the French government signed an armistice with Germany; the Allies, including the Free French Forces led by a government in exile emerged victorious over the Axis Powers. As a result, France secured an occupation zone in Germany and a permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council; the imperative of avoiding a third Franco-German conflict on the scale of the first two world wars paved the way for European integration starting in the 1950s. France became a nuclear power and, since the late 20th century, has cooperated with NATO and its European partners. In the last few centuries, French strategic thinking has sometimes been driven by the need to attain or preserve the so-called "natural frontiers," which are the Pyrenees to the southwest, the Alps to the southeast, the Rhine River to the east.
Starting with Clovis, 1,500 years of warfare and diplomacy has witnessed the accomplishment of most of these objectives. Warfare with other European powers was not always determined by these considerations, rulers of France extended their continental authority far beyond these barriers, most notably under Charlemagne, Louis XIV, Napoleon; these periods of incessant conflict were characterized by their own standards and conventions, but all required strong central leadership in order to permit the extension of French rule. Important military rivalries in human history have come about as a result of conflict between French peoples and other European powers. Anglo-French rivalry, for prestige in Europe and around the world, continued for centuries, while the more recent Franco-German rivalry required two world wars to stabilize. Starting in the early 16th century, much of France's military efforts were dedicated to securing its overseas possessions and putting down dissent among both French colonists and native populations.
French troops were spread all across its empire to deal with the local population. The French colonial empire disintegrated after the failed attempt to subdue Algerian nationalists in the late 1950s, a failure that led to the collapse of the Fourth Republic. Since World War II, France's efforts have been directed at maintaining its status as a great power and its influence on the UN Security Council. France has been instrumental in attempting to unite the armed forces of Europe for their own defense in ord
Jean de Laborde
Jean de Laborde was a French naval officer who had a long and illustrious career starting at the end of the 19th century and extending to World War II where he served as admiral. A pioneer of naval aviation in France, he captained the first French aircraft carrier, earned many awards, held many top posts, he is most well known for his final military act, the scuttling of the French fleet in Toulon during the German occupation of Vichy France in World War II, which left his prestige in ruins and led to his arrest and conviction for treason. Jean de Laborde entered Naval school in 1895 with the title of "Count", which remained his nickname during his career. After graduating, de Laborde was posted to the Far East in 1897 where he served first as Ensign in 1900 and took part in the Chinese campaign following the Boxer Rebellion. Upon returning to France, he was commissioned a Lieutenant in 1908. After a couple of years in Moroccan waters, he was sent back to the Far East on board the armored cruiser Dupleix.
While there, he learned to fly and overflew Saigon, earning his pilot's license in 1914. As a pilot during World War I he led a flight unit and directed the maritime aviation center at Dunkirk. A pioneer of naval aviation in France, he was named head of naval aviation in 1925 and took command of the Béarn, the first French aircraft carrier. In 1928 at the age of 50, he earned the rank of contre-amiral, became commander of the maritime sector of Toulon, in 1930, commander-in-chief of the 2nd Squadron, he was elevated to Vice-Amiral in 1932 and commander-in-chief and Maritime Prefect of the 4th maritime region covering the Mediterranean. In 1936 de Laborde again took charge of the 2nd Squadron and that year became commander-in-chief of the Atlantic Squadron. From 1937-1940 he was a member of the Supreme Naval Council. In 1938 he earned his five star. From 1938-39 he served as inspector general of naval forces, was involved in various naval consultative commissions under the French Third Republic.
In 1939 and 1940 he served as commander-in-chief of naval forces of the West, was known as "Admiral West". By this time, he had earned numerous medals, including the prestigious Legion of Honor. Nazi Germany invaded France in May 1940, an armistice was signed in June dividing France into two sectors, an occupied zone in the north and west, a free zone in the southeast, with a French government administered by Marshal Philippe Pétain based in Vichy. De Laborde had reached retirement age by September 1940, but after the armistice was reactivated and named leader of the Forces de Haute mer a newly created unit, for two years. Pétain counted on the rivalry between de Laborde and Admiral of the fleet François Darlan to keep control. Darlan had been Admiral of the Fleet; as a vice-admiral, Laborde was chief of the First Squadron, organised around the battleship Strasbourg. After the Fall of France and the rise of Vichy France, Laborde supported the regime, was made chief of the High sea fleet by Philippe Pétain, who counted on using Laborde's dislike of Darlan to make the Fleet easier to manage.
The High Seas Fleet was composed of 38 modern units and amounting to a quarter of the total French fleet. Antagonistic to the British and to Charles de Gaulle, Laborde promoted a project to re-take Chad; when the Allies invaded the French colonies of North Africa in Operation Torch, he suggested that the French fleet should sail and attack the Allies in retaliation. Amidst intrigue, attempted deals and changing loyalties, following invasion of North Africa by the Allies on 7 November 1942, Darlan made a deal with the Allies, ordering French troops to join the allies, which they did. Pétain ordered resistance in North Africa, but was ignored. In response, Nazi troops occupied the free zone, but paused outside Toulon, the base where most of the remaining French ships were moored. On 11 November Darlan responded by ordering Laborde join him with the fleet in North Africa. Auphan, who had succeeded Darlan as head of the navy privately urged him to join the Allies. Laborde rejected the appeals. On 27 November 1942 Laborde ordered the scuttling of the French fleet in Toulon to prevent his ships from falling in German, Italian or British hands.
By the time the Germans tried to seize the ships, they had escaped. After Liberation, during the Épuration légale, Laborde was sentenced to death by the Haute Cour de Justice for treason and for failing to save the fleet by allowing it to defect to the Allies, his sentence was commuted to life imprisonment and he was pardoned on 9 June 1947
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