Sunday, May 10, 2009

Five books about France under Nazi Occupation

For the Wall Street Journal, Frederic Spotts, author of The Shameful Peace: How French Artists and Intellectuals Survived the Occupation, named a five best list of books about Germany's occupation of France.

One title on the list:
Vichy France
by Robert O. Paxton
Knopf, 1972

Nearly four decades ago, Robert O. Paxton's "Vichy France" touched off what came to be regarded as a sort of Copernican revolution in studies of French collaboration. Paxton was the first to show that the collaborationist policy of the French government in occupied France was voluntary -- even, as with Vichy's anti-Semitism, anticipating and going further than the Germans had asked. Paxton's classic inspired young French scholars, opening the way to a flood of works that seems to widen with the passage of time. Justice done? Far from it. French television regularly broadcasts fictional stories of the Resistance but rarely one of collaboration. A year ago, President Nicolas Sarkozy said in an address to his nation: "The true France was not at Vichy [and] never collaborated." Official myth and historic fact continue to live side by side. And shame persists.
Read about another book on Spotts' list.

--Marshal Zeringue