The committee represented the state interests of the French Republic in the international arena and led the French in their fight against the Nazis and collaborators. 26 August 1943, the French Committee recognized the USSR, the United States and the United Kingdom. The FCNO expressed its readiness to fight the fascist regimes until complete victory, and then restore the former republican system, the legislative, executive and judicial system in France. In November 1943 of the year, the committee included representatives of some organizations of the internal Resistance Movement. The power of the FKNO was recognized by almost all the French colonies and a significant part of the armed forces. 2 June 1944, FCLO was transformed into the Provisional Government of the French Republic.
Of stories France during the Second World War
France declared war on Germany 3 September 1939 of the year after Germany 1 September attacked Poland. However, France and England, believing that Berlin would start a war with Moscow, did not conduct real hostilities on the Western Front - the so-called Strange War was going on. The German military-political leadership initially met the hopes of the Allies - all their main forces were occupied by the occupation of Poland, and German forces on the Western Front did not take any decisive action. However, Hitler did not intend to fight with the USSR, leaving behind him the Anglo-French group mobilized and ready to strike.
Responsibility for the defeat of France in World War II lies with the French ruling elite, including the government of Edouard Daladier (French Prime Minister in 1933, 1934, 1938 — 1940). France had considerable military, economic, economic resources (including the colonial empire) to prevent or suppress the war in the bud. France had many allies in Europe - Czechoslovakia, Poland, Romania, Yugoslavia, Greece and other states, based on which it was possible to prevent the aggression of Germany. However, France, along with England, consistently "pacified" (contributed) to the aggressor, giving up one position after another, giving whole countries to the sphere of influence of Germany. Even when World War II began, England and France had the power to defeat Germany while it was connected with the war with Poland. Yes, and the rapid defeat of the Allies in the French campaign 10 in May - 22 in June 1940, raises a number of questions. With more competent and decisive resistance, France, England, Belgium and the Netherlands had all the resources to at least prolong the war, to make it for the Germans not a walk, but a heavy and bloody conflict. Therefore, it is quite possible that part of the French elite simply “merged” the country, which was more in it - stupidity, or betrayal of national interests, for the sake of interests of international (cosmopolitan) elite groups, is another matter.
The offices of Daladier and Paul Reynaud (headed by the government of March 21 - June 16 of 1940), referring to the situation of wartime, gradually eliminated democratic freedoms. In September, 1939 martial law was introduced on the territory of the French state. Demonstrations, meetings, rallies and strikes were banned. The media has been severely censored. Leave and 40-hour work week were canceled. Wages "froze" at the pre-war level.
It must be said that Paul Reynaud was one of the rational politicians in the pre-war history of France who called for rearmament and warned of the threat of strengthening Nazi Germany. He supported the theory of the mechanized war of Charles de Gaulle, as opposed to the doctrine of passive defense, which was supported by most politicians and the military, under the influence of the successes of the army in the First World War. He offered to improve relations with the USSR as opposed to Germany. Raynaud also opposed the policy of appeasing Germany. As Minister of Finance in 1938-1940. he conducted successful transformations that led to significant industrial growth and an increase in the country's cash reserves. The battle for France began less than two months after Raynaud took office as head of government, so he was no longer able to change the situation. Everything that could be done to ensure that France was defeated and ceased to be a threat to Nazi Germany, has already been done.
10 May 1940, the German troops crossed the border of the Netherlands and Belgium. Then the main forces of the Wehrmacht struck in the Sedan area, where the main fortifications of the Maginot Line were completed. The front was broken and the German troops went to the rear of the Anglo-French group and surrounded it near Dunkirk. But Hitler did not destroy the British troops, allowing them to evacuate, leaving heavy weapons. The German military-political leadership was hoping for a political agreement with England; there was a powerful English party in the German elite. In general, Great Britain, with its colonial empire, was an example, a model of the “New World Order,” which the Nazis planned to build. And England was supposed to be part of the "Eternal Reich."
The French troops, deprived of the support of the British Expeditionary Corps, hurriedly retreated. On May 25, the commander-in-chief of the French armed forces, General Maxim Weigan, told the government that he needed to capitulate. June 10 German troops occupied Paris without a battle, and the French government moved to Bordeaux.
Prime Minister Paul Reynaud and Minister of the Interior Georges Mandel proposed to fight to the end - to take the government and parliament to Algeria, to fight with the Germans in Brittany, southern France and the colonies. But neither the president of the French Republic, nor the absolute majority of deputies did not want to go to North Africa. Weighan and Marshal Peten were opposed to the struggle. Thus, France, not having exhausted all possibilities for resistance, agreed to a separate agreement with Germany. Raynaud refused to participate in the betrayal of the country and 16 June resigned. Until the end of the war, he sat in a concentration camp, Mendel also went to a concentration camp and was killed by collaborators.
The new government was headed by Henri Philippe Pétain. He graduated from the First World War in the rank of Marshal, was considered one of the heroes of this war. In 1930, it was proposed by the right as the leader of France. 17 June a new French government appealed to Germany for a truce. 22 June 1940, the Second Compiegne Truce was concluded, France capitulated to Germany. June 25 hostilities ended officially. Approximately 60% of the territory of France, including the north and west of the country, Paris and the entire Atlantic coast, was occupied by German troops. French Amia was disarmed by transferring heavy weapons to the Wehrmacht, minimal connections were maintained to maintain order, the numbers of which were determined by Germany and Italy. French prisoners of war (about 1,5 million people) were to remain in camps until the end of hostilities in Western Europe. France paid a large indemnity. In the south, a puppet state was created - the Vichy Regime (the official name is the French State). In the resort town of Vichy, in July 1940, the National Assembly was assembled, which handed dictatorial power to Marshal Henri Philippe Petenet. This led to the official end of the Third Republic. The posts of the president of the republic and the chairman of the council of ministers were abolished. Parliament meetings are terminated.
The government of Pétain in domestic policy was guided by traditionally conservative values, and in foreign policy by an alliance with Germany. The “National Revolution” was announced, the motto “Freedom, Equality, Brotherhood” was replaced by “Work, Family, Fatherland”. Against Jews, Gypsies, Communists, Masons were repressed. In the Free Zone, both the German punitive structures, the SS and the Gestapo, and their own, the Militia, acted. There was a supply of labor to Germany (only about 1 million people), in exchange, Berlin freed some prisoners. Virtually the entire economy served the interests of the Third Reich. Up to 80% of all French enterprises carried out military orders in Germany. Up to three-quarters of French raw materials and 50-100% of finished products of enterprises of major industries were exported to Reich. All political parties and major trade unions were dissolved. All meetings, demonstrations, rallies and strikes were strictly forbidden. All the fullness of the executive and legislative power was transferred to the head of state - Petain. The top management included Admiral Francois Darlan, Pierre Laval, Pierre-Etienne Flandin and Charles-Leon-Clement Hyuntziger.
Initially, the Vichy regime was able to save most of the overseas possessions. True, some of them later seized Britain, others came under the control of the pro-British Free (Fighting) France, General de Gaulle. The insignificant French military units, as well as volunteers, fought on the side of Germany on the Eastern Front against the USSR.
Formally, the Peten government received the entire fleet. Part of it was destroyed and captured by the British (Operation Catapult). In England itself, two old battleships, two destroyers, several torpedo boats and submarines were captured. On July 3, 1940, the British attacked the French squadron at Mers-el-Kebir, but could not destroy it. Most of the ships broke into France. The main forces of the French naval fleet were flooded in Toulon on November 27, 1942 with the sanction of the Vichy government, so that they would not go to Germany.
Simultaneously with the existence of Vichy collaborators, the history of her Resistance Movement began. She was associated with the name of an outstanding French military, political and statesman, "the last great Frenchman" - General Charles de Gaulle. Charles de Gaulle was born on November 22, 1890 into a noble family. He was brought up in the spirit of faith and patriotism. He participated in the First World War, in the rank of captain he was seriously wounded and taken prisoner, where he remained until the end of the war. After captivity, he taught the theory of tactics in Poland, even took part in the Soviet-Polish war a little. In the 1930s, Lieutenant Colonel, and then Colonel de Gaulle became famous as a military theorist, the author of a number of works, where he pointed out the need for the comprehensive development of mechanized troops as the main tool in a future war. He was a resolute opponent of the defensive tactics developed by the General Staff of the French army, which was based on the idea of the inaccessibility of the "Maginot Line" and warned of the destructiveness of such views. According to his ideas, P. Reynaud prepared a plan for military reform, but it was rejected. By the beginning of World War II, he was a commander tank troops. On May 14, 1940, de Gaulle was entrusted with the command of the emerging 4th Panzer Division, and from June 1, he temporarily acted as a brigadier general. On June 6, Prime Minister Paul Reynaud appointed de Gaulle Deputy Minister of War. The general was an active supporter of the idea of continuing the war, relying on the colonies, and evacuating the government to Africa. However, Reynaud and de Gaulle lost to the defeatists.
At the time of the resignation of Reynaud de Gaulle was in England. He did not admit defeat. 18 June was conveyed to his speech, in which the general called for resistance. He accused the regime of Pétain in betrayal and declared that "with a full sense of duty he is speaking on behalf of France." I asked all the French to unite around him "in the name of action, sacrifice and hope." This is how “Free France” appeared - an organization that was supposed to resist the invaders and the Vichy collaborationist regime, to recreate the republic. The collaborationist regime sentenced the general in absentia to death for "desertion" and "treason".
At first, de Gaulle had to face enormous difficulties. In fact, he was alone and had neither financial capacity, nor name, nor legitimacy. The crucial role was played by the support of Churchill. This determined the pro-British nature of the organization. De Gaulle was forced to take this step, since there was no choice. The British sought to create an alternative to the Vichy government. This center was a military instrument - it attracted French officers, soldiers, and specialists who were ready to continue the fight. And it also became a political solution to the problem - de Gaulle’s 28 June 1940 was recognized as “the head of all free French”. It should be noted that de Gaulle did not become an obedient tool in the hands of London, it was a real patriot who tried to defend the interests of France.
If at the end of 1940 there were only 7 thousand people in motion, in less than two years this number increased tenfold. 7 August 1940 de Gaulle and Churchill signed an agreement concerning the organization and use of French volunteer forces in England. Their supreme commander was a French general, and they had to act in accordance with the general directives of the British government. The British provided de Gaulle with regular financial support, allowed the creation of a civilian and military organization, as well as broadcast propaganda to France through the BBC radio station.
Initially, the main efforts of de Gaulle sent to establish control over the French colonies, primarily in Africa. The general began an active campaign in favor of continuing the struggle and joining the Free French. But the civil administration in North Africa categorically refused to join the Free French, supporting the Vichy regime. The colonies of French Equatorial Africa were set up differently. Already in 1940, Chad, Congo, Ubangi-Shari, Gabon, Cameroon switched to the side of Free France. Also supported several small possessions in the Pacific. This was de Gaulle's first great success. True, in September, the 1940 occurred and a big failure - the expedition to capture Dakar failed. Nevertheless, General de Gaulle received his own territorial base in Africa and was able to begin building a state apparatus.
27 October 1940 de Gaulle issued a Manifesto concerning the leadership of the French during the war, where he criticized the booth, where he criticized the cabinet of Petain. At the end of 1940, the Political Affairs Department was created. It consisted of the General Staff and the information service. Three bureaus submitted to them: the first defined the current tasks; the second was the executive body (Central Bureau of Awareness and Action); the third was establishing contacts with foreign countries. In September 1941, the general established the body temporarily performing the functions of state power - the National Committee. He became a provisional government. The committee included: René Pleven - coordinated the activities of the committee, Maurice Dejean - was responsible for relations with other states, Paul Lejantius - military affairs, etc.
In the summer of 1941, the British occupied Syria and Lebanon, previously controlled by France. In the spring of the 1942 Ode England captured Madagascar. London planned to establish its power in these French domains. But de Gaulle showed great perseverance and, at the cost of tremendous efforts, joined Syria, Lebanon and Madagascar to the Free France movement. Gradually, de Gaulle recognized as the leader and many organizations and groups of internal resistance. The general went to cooperate with the Communists of France.
Germany’s attack on the USSR and the break in diplomatic relations between the Vichy regime and the Soviet Union led to another victory for de Gaulle. September 26 Moscow 1941 recognized de Gaulle as the head of all free French. AE Bogomolov, who was the plenipotentiary representative of the USSR to Vichy, in early November 1941 received the status of the extraordinary plenipotentiary ambassador of the Soviet Union to the allied governments in London. He began to maintain ties with Free France. Roger Garros, Raymond Schmittlen and General Ernest Petit, a military representative, began to represent de Gaulle in Moscow. The United States recognized the authority of the National Committee on the Pacific Islands only in March 1942. And in July, 1942, the US government issued a communiqué on the recognition of the organization headed by General de Gaulle.
French National Liberation Committee
Britain and the United States promised the USSR to land troops in Western Europe, but instead they decided to land the landing forces in Algeria and Morocco, which controlled the Vichy troops. The Americans did not want to get involved in the conflict and were looking for a person who could solve the problem peacefully. For this role, they had two candidates - Admiral Francois Darlan and Henri Giraud. The Americans were ready to put one or another military man in the place of de Gaulle, who was too intractable and ambitious.
8 November, 1942 launched Operation Torch - Anglo-American forces landed in Algeria and Morocco. Vichy troops had minimal resistance. Darlan ordered French troops to cease hostilities and received the post of High Representative of France in North and West Africa. However, on December 24 he was killed by a monarchist. His post was taken by Giraud. Thus, part of the high-ranking Vichists went over to the side of the Allies. Most of the French forces in Africa supported Darlan (Giraud), but some joined the German forces in Tunisia. The Germans, in response to this operation, occupied the southern part of France and the military presence in Africa (occupied Tunisia).
Giraud was a protege of the United States and was supported by Roosevelt. Giraud was not opposed to uniting with Fighting France, but with the support of the Americans, a large military group in Africa and surpassing Brigadier General de Gaulle in rank, he believed that he should lead the provisional government. In January 1943, a conference of great powers was held in Casablanca, and the “French issue” was raised at it. The United States and Great Britain decided to unite the groups led by de Gaulle and Giraud. But faced with difficulties. De Gaulle refused to have the National Committee headed by him in a subordinate position.
De Gaulle began a new struggle for recognition. De Gaulle wanted to visit Moscow, enlist the support of his most important ally in the anti-Hitler coalition. However, Moscow did not accept it, although it made it clear that it preferred de Gaulle rather than the Giraud. In May, 1943 of the year he managed to unite in the National Resistance Council representatives of 16-ti main organizations that fought for the liberation of France. It includes the Communist and Socialist parties, the General Confederation of Labor, Christian trade unions and major right-wing patriotic movements. The first chairman of the council was Jean Moulin, and after his death, Georges Bideau. Internal Resistance had a negative attitude towards Giraud and refused to submit to it.
Having taught the support of domestic resistance, de Gaulle was able to continue negotiations on unification with Giraud. The Americans and the British offered Giraud to agree to de Gaulle's proposal. De Gaulle and his supporters announced a compromise solution - to create a government institution, which will be headed by two chairmen. The leaders of the United States and Great Britain, as well as General Giraud, agreed to such a proposal. 3 June 1943 in Algiers de Gaulle and Giraud signed a document that created the French National Liberation Committee (FCNO). It included de Gaulle and Giraud as chairmen, as well as 5 people - generals Katru and Georges, Andre Philip, Rene Massigli and Jean Monnet. The French Committee set the task of the complete liberation of the French lands, the war before the victory over all the hostile powers and the re-establishment of the republic. In 1943, a Parliamentary Assembly was created, like the Parliament. At the end of August, the FCNO recognized the 1943 of the year, at the same time, the USSR, England, and the United States, and over the following weeks, about 20 states.