Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Pg. 99: Thomas Laub's "After the Fall"

Today's feature at the Page 99 Test: After the Fall: German Policy in Occupied France, 1940-1944 by Thomas J. Laub.

About the book, from the publisher:
German policy in occupied France during the Second World War was in many ways a story of bitter internal conflict between the various German agencies in charge of the occupation. After the Fall provides a detailed analysis of the struggle between these different agencies, highlighting the significant differences in ideology, policy, and method between the army, the SS, and the diplomatic service, and the rivalries between them in their struggle for dominance.

While the military government tried to exploit French industrial resources, the SS was focused more exclusively upon pursuing Nazi racial policies (often to the detriment of the wider military effort). In turn, the SS felt frustrated in the pursuit of their racial policies by a lack of assistance from the military. Meanwhile, the diplomatic service was frustrated in its attempts to spread Nazi propaganda and promote Franco-German reconciliation by Hitler's refusal to approve the substantial economic or political concessions that were needed to make this policy effective. Outside this circle of rivalry, caught in a battle that they did not understand, the French leaders tried to demonstrate their loyalty to Hitler's New Order by cooperating with the various competing German agencies.

After the Fall
examines how these battles developed and what they implied for the direction of German policy in France, from the exploitation of the French economy and the suppression of resistance activity to the attempt to carry out Nazi racial plans. In the process, it sheds much light on both the inner workings of the Nazi regime and on the decisions made by the French government during the course of the occupation.
Learn more about After the Fall at the Oxford University Press website.

Thomas J. Laub teaches history at James Madison University and is currently working on a study of the French army during the Algerian Civil War.

The Page 99 Test: After the Fall.

--Marshal Zeringue