Saturday, October 8, 2016

Secret Mission

The Cross of Lorraine, chosen by General Charles de Gaulle as the symbol of the Résistance[1] Pharand (2001), p. 169
  • Pharand, Michel W (2001). Bernard Shaw and the French. USA: University Press of Florida. ISBN 978-0-8130-1828-7.
  • Cultural personalities[edit]

    The well-known personalities of France – intellectuals, artists, and entertainers – faced a serious dilemma in choosing to emigrate or to remain in France during the country's occupation. They understood that their post-war reputations would depend, in large part, on their conduct during the war years.[220] Most who remained in France aimed to defend and further French culture and thereby weaken the German hold on occupied France.[221] Some were later ostracized following accusations that they had collaborated. Among those who actively fought in the Resistance, a number died for it – for instance the writer Jean Prévost, the philosopher and mathematician Jean Cavaillès, the historian Marc Bloch, and the philosopher Jean Gosset;[221] among those who survived and went on to reflect on their experience, a particularly visible one was André Malraux.
    Among prominent foreign figures who participated in the French Résistance was the political scientist and later Iranian Prime Minister Shapour Bakhtiar. After serving as the prime minister and strong man of the authoritarian Shah regime in Iran, he was forced back into Paris in the aftermath of the Islamic Revolution. He was assassinated on order of the Iranian Islamic Republic in 1991.[222]

After the landings in Normandy and Provence, the paramilitary components of the Résistance were organised more formally, into a hierarchy of operational units known, collectively, as the French Forces of the Interior (FFI). Estimated to have a strength of 100,000 in June 1944, the FFI grew rapidly and reached approximately 400,000 by October of that year.[8] Although the amalgamation of the FFI was, in some cases, fraught with political difficulties, it was ultimately successful, and it allowed France to rebuild the fourth-largest army in the European theatre (1.2 million men) by VE Day in May 1945.[9]

Federini, Fabienne (2006). Ecrire ou combattre : Des intellectuels prennent les armes (1942–1944). Paris: Editions La Découverte. ISBN 2-7071-4825-

The French Résistance has had a great influence on literature, particularly in France. A famous example is the poem"Strophes pour se souvenir", which was written by the communist academic Louis Aragon in 1955 to commemorate the heroism of the Manouchian Group, whose 23 members were shot by the Nazis. The Résistance is also portrayed in Jean Renoir's wartime This Land is Mine (1943), which was produced in the USA. In the immediate postwar years, French cinema produced a number of films that portrayed a France broadly present in the Résistance.[202][203] La Bataille du rail (1946) depicted the courageous efforts of French railway workers to sabotage German reinforcement trains,[204] and in the same year Le Père tranquille told the story of a quiet insurance agent secretly involved in the bombing of a factory.[204]Collaborators were unflatteringly portrayed as a rare unpopular minority, as played by Pierre Brewer in Jéricho (also 1946) or Serge Reggiani in Les Portes de la nuit (1946 as well), and movements such as the Milice were rarely evoked.

n the 1950s, a less heroic interpretation of the Résistance to the occupation gradually began to emerge.[204] In Claude Autant-Lara's La Traversée de Paris (1956), the portrayal of the city's black market and the prevailing general mediocrity disclosed the reality of war-profiteering during the occupation.[205] In the same year, Robert Bresson presented A Man Escaped, in which an imprisoned Résistance activist works with a reformed collaborator inmate to help him escape.[206 Lanzone (2002), p. 286A cautious reappearance of the image of Vichy emerged in Le Passage du Rhin (The Crossing of the Rhine)(1960), in which a crowd successively acclaims both Pétain and de Gaulle.[207]
  • Lanzoni, Rémi (2002). French Cinema: From Its Beginnings to the Present. London & New York: Continuum International Publishing Group. ISBN 978-0-8264-1399-4.
After General de Gaulle's return to power in 1958, the portrayal of the Résistance returned to its earlier résistancialisme. In this manner, in Is Paris Burning? (1966), "the role of the resistant was revalued according to [de Gaulle's] political trajectory".[208] The comic form of films such as La Grande Vadrouille (also 1966) broadened the image of Résistance heroes in the minds of average Frenchmen.[209] The most famous and critically acclaimed of all the résistancialisme movies is L'armée des ombres (Army of Shadows) by French filmmaker Jean-Pierre Melville in 1969, a film inspired by Joseph Kessel's 1943 book as well as Melville's own experience as a Résistance fighter who participated in Operation Dragoon. A 1995 television screening of L'armée des ombres described it as "the best film made about the fighters of the shadows, those anti-heroes."[210]
The shattering of France's résistancialisme following the civil unrest of May 1968 was made particularly clear in French cinema. The candid approach of the 1971 documentary The Sorrow and the Pity shone a spotlight on antisemitism in France and disputed the official Résistance ideals.[211][212] Time magazine's positive review of the film wrote that directorMarcel Ophüls "tries to puncture the bourgeois myth —- or protectively skew memory -— that allows France generally to act as if hardly any Frenchmen collaborated with the Germans."[213]
Franck Cassenti, with L'Affiche Rouge (1976); Gilson, with La Brigade (1975); and Mosco with the documentary Des terroristes à la retraite addressed foreign resisters of the EGO, who were then relatively unknown. In 1974, Louis Malle'sLacombe, Lucien caused scandal and polemic for his lack of moral judgment regarding the behavior of a collaborator.[214] Greene (1999), p. 73
  • Greene, Naomi (1999). Landscapes of Loss: The National Past in Postwar French Cinema. New Jersey: Princeton University Press. ISBN 978-0-691-00475-4.Malle later portrayed the resistance of Catholic priests who protected Jewish children in his 1987 film Au revoir, les enfants.François Truffaut's 1980 film Le Dernier Métro was set during the German occupation of Paris and won ten Césars for its story of a theatrical production staged while its Jewish director is concealed by his wife in the theater's basement.[215]

Historical analysis[edit]

During this period, and particularly after de Gaulle's return to power in 1958,[185] thecollective memory of "Résistancialisme" tended toward a highly resistant France opposed to the collaboration of the Vichy regime.[186] This period ended when the aftermath of the events of May 1968, which had divided French society between the conservative "war generation" and the younger, more liberal students and workers,[187] led many to question the Résistance ideals promulgated by the official history.[188]
__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________In coming to terms with the events of the occupation, several different attitudes have emerged in France, in an evolution the historian Henry Rousso has called the "Vichy Syndrome".[189] The questioning of France's past had become a national obsession by the 1980s,[190] fuelled by the highly publicized trials of war criminals such as Klaus Barbie and Maurice Papon.[191]Although the occupation is often still a sensitive subject in the early 21st century,[192] contrary to some interpretations the French as a whole have acknowledged their past and no longer deny their conduct during the war.[193]

Because so many resistance members were shot at Fort Mont-Valérien, in Suresnes, the France Combattante memorial was installed there.
After the war, the influential French Communist Party (PCF) projected itself as "Le Parti des Fusillés" (The Party of Those Shot), in recognition of the thousands of communists executed for their Résistance activities.[194][195][196] The number of communists killed was in reality considerably less than the Party's figure of 75,000, and it is now estimated that close to 30,000 Frenchmen of all political movements combined were shot,[197][198] of whom only a few thousand were communists.[197]

The Vichy Regime's prejudicial policies had discredited traditional conservatism in France by the end of the war,[199] but following the liberation many formerPétainistes became critical of the official résistancialisme, using expressions such as "la mythe de la Résistance" (the myth of the Résistance),[200] one of them even concluding, "The 'Gaullist' régime is therefore built on a fundamental lie."[201]


Veterans of the resistance raise flags at the annual commemoration ceremony of Canjuers military camp.

Tribute to SNCF personnel killed during the Second World War in Metz railway station.

Épurations ("purges")[edit]

Immediately following the liberation, France was swept by a wave of executions, public humiliations, assaults and detentions of suspected collaborators, known as the épuration sauvage (savage purge).[176] This period succeeded the German occupational administration but preceded the authority of the French Provisional Government, and consequently lacked any form of institutional justice.[176]Approximately 9,000 were executed, mostly without trial as summary executions,[176]notably including members and leaders of the pro-Nazi milices. In one case, as many as 77 milices members were summarily executed at once.[177] An inquest into the issue of summary executions launched by Jules Moch, the Minister of the Interior, came to the conclusion that there were 9,673 summary executions. A second inquest in 1952 separated out 8,867 executions of suspected collaborators and 1,955 summary executions for which the motive of killing was not known, giving a total of 10,822 executions. Head-shaving as a form of humiliation and shaming was a common feature of the purges,[178] and between 10,000 and 30,000 women accused of having collaborated with the Germans or having had relationships with German soldiers or officers were subjected to the practice,[179] becoming known as les tondues (the shorn).[180]

The official épuration légale ("legal purge") began following a June 1944 decree that established a three-tier system of judicial courts:[181] a High Court of Justice which dealt with Vichy ministers and officials; Courts of Justice for other serious cases of alleged collaboration; and regular Civic Courts for lesser cases of alleged collaboration.[176][182]Over 700 collaborators were executed following proper legal trials. This initial phase of the purge trials ended with a series of amnesty laws passed between 1951 & 1953[183] which reduced the number of imprisoned collaborators from 40,000 to 62,[184] and was followed by a period of official "repression" that lasted between 1954 & 1971.[183]

Role in the liberation of France and casualties[edit]

A group of resistants at the time of their joining forces with the Canadian army at Boulogne, in September 1944.
Defining the precise role of the French Résistance during the German occupation, or assessing its military importance alongside the Allied Forces during the liberation of France, is difficult. The two forms of resistance, active and passive,[159]and the north-south occupational divide,[160]allow for many different interpretations, but what can broadly be agreed on is a synopsis of the events which took place.
Following the surrender of Fascist Italy in September 1943, a significant example of Résistance strength was displayed when the Corsican Résistance joined forces with the Free French to liberate the island from General Albert Kesselring's remaining German forces.[161]

On mainland France itself, in the wake of the D-Day landings in Normandy in June 1944, the FFI and the communist fighting groups FTP, theoretically unified under the command of General Pierre Kœnig,[162] fought alongside the Allies to free the rest of France. Several color-coded plans were co-ordinated for sabotage, most importantly Plan Vert (Green) for railways,Plan Bleu (Blue) for power installations and Plan Violet (Purple) for telecommunications.[163][164][165] To complement these missions, smaller plans were drafted: Plan Rouge (Red) for German ammunition depots, Plan Jaune (Yellow) for German command posts, Plan Noir (Black) for German fuel depots and Plan Tortue (Tortoise) for road traffic.[166] Their paralysis of German infrastructure is widely thought to have been very effective.[167] British Prime Minister Winston Churchill later wrote in his memoirs praising the role the Résistance played in the liberation of Brittany, "The French Resistance Movement, which here numbered 30,000 men, played a notable part, and the peninsula was quickly overrun."[168]

The Liberation of Paris on August 25, 1944, with the support of Leclerc's French 2nd Armored Division, was one of the most famous and glorious moments of the French Résistance. Although it is again difficult to gauge their effectiveness precisely, popular anti-German demonstrations, such as general strikes by the Paris Métro, the gendarmerie and the police, took place, and fighting ensued.
The liberation of most of southwestern, central and southeastern France was finally fulfilled with the arrival of the 1st French Army of General de Lattre de Tassigny, which landed in Provence in August 1944 and was backed by over 25,000 maquis.[169]
One source often referred to is General Dwight D. Eisenhower's comment in his military memoir, Crusade in Europe:

Throughout France, the Free French had been of inestimable value in the campaign. They were particularly active in Brittany, but on every portion of the front we secured help from them in a multitude of ways. Without their great assistance, the liberation of France and the defeat of the enemy in Western Europe would have consumed a much longer time and meant greater losses to ourselves.
— [170]
Eisenhower (1948) Crusade in Europe
 General Eisenhower also estimated the value of the Résistance to have been equal to ten to fifteen divisions at the time of the landings. (One infantry division comprised about ten thousand soldiers.)[171][172] Eisenhower's statements are all the more credible since he based them on his GHQ's formal analyses and published them only after the war, when propaganda was no longer a motive. Historians still debate how effective the French Résistance was militarily,[173] but the neutralization of theMaquis du Vercors alone involved the commitment of over 10,000 German troops within the theater, with several more thousands held in reserve, as the Allied invasion was advancing from Normandy and French Operation Jedburghcommandos were being dropped nearby to the south to prepare for the Allied landing in Provence.
It is estimated that FFI killed some 2,000 Germans, a low estimate based on the figures from June 1944 only.[173] Estimates of the casualties among the Résistance are made harder by the dispersion of movements at least until D-Day, but credible estimates start from 8,000 dead in action, 25,000 shot and several tens of thousands deported, of whom 27,000 died in death camps.[174] For perspective, the best estimate is that 86,000 were deported from France without racial motive, overwhelmingly comprising resistance fighters and more than the number of Gypsies and Jews deported from France.[175]


During the Second World War, two British army officers, Garnett and Gowan, together with Private Clark, who used to live in France and ran a café with his French wife, and Raoul, a member of the Free French forces, are dropped off on the coast of occupied France. Their mission is to collect intelligence on German military strength in the area, prior to an airborne raid. They rendezvous at the chateau used as German headquarters, which is Raoul's ancestral home. His sister Michele still lives there, but is resigned to cooperation with the occupiers, and is too frightened to assist in the men's mission.
As part of the mission, Garnett and Gowan masquerade as champagnesalesmen, aided by a personal letter from Ribbentrop. Having thus established their bona fides, they do deals with German officers for supplying their mess. They also extract much information from the unwary Germans. They also discover that a local businessman, M. Fayolle, hated by some of the locals for his open collaboration with the occupying forces, is in fact secretly working with the French resistance and has assisted many Allied servicemen to escape.
The agents manage to gain access to a secret factory, which is so well disguised that it cannot be bombed, and show a light for arriving paratroopers, who land and overrun the factory. However, Raoul is killed.
As the other agents embark by boat to return to England, Michele refuses an offer to leave with them and promises to start working with the Resistance.[3]


    Secret Mission
    Secret Mission (1942) DVD cover.jpg
    UK DVD cover
    Directed byHarold French
    Produced byMarcel Hellman
    Screenplay byAnatole de Grunwald
    Basil Bartlett
    Story byTerence Young
    StarringHugh Williams
    James Mason
    Carla Lehmann
    Roland Culver
    Music byMischa Spoliansky
    CinematographyBernard Knowles
    Edited byEdward B. Jarvis
    Distributed byGeneral Film Distributors(UK)
    Release dates
    • 5 October 1942 (UK)
    1945 (France)
    Running time
    94 min.[1]
    CountryUnited Kingdom
    Box office1,759,641 admissions (France)[2]


    Ariadna Scriabina, (daughter of Russian composer Alexander Scriabin), co-founded the Armée Juive and was killed by the pro-Nazi milice in 1944. She was posthumously awarded the Croix de guerre and Médaille de la Résistance.

    The Cross of Lorraine (FrenchCroix de Lorraine) was originally a heraldic cross. Thetwo-barred cross consists of a vertical line crossed by two shorter horizontal bars. In most renditions, the horizontal bars are "graded" with the upper bar being the shorter, though variations with the bars of equal length are also seen. The Lorraine name has come to signify several cross variations, including the patriarchal cross with its bars near the top.

    Symbol in France[edit]

    The flag of Free France is a regular flag of France that has beendefaced with a Lorraine cross.
    The Cross of Lorraine is an emblem of Lorraine in eastern France. Between 1871 and 1918 (and again between 1940 and 1944), the north-eastern quarter of Lorraine was annexed to Germany, along with Alsace. During that period the Cross served as a rallying point for French ambitions to recover its lost provinces. This historical significance lent it considerable weight as a symbol of French patriotism. During World War IICapitaine de corvette Thierry d'Argenlieu suggested the Cross of Lorraine as the symbol of the Free French Forces led by Charles de Gaulle as an answer to theNazi swastika.
    In France, the Cross of Lorraine was the symbol of Free France during World War II, the liberation of France from Nazi Germany, and Gaullism and includes several variations of a two barred cross.
    The Cross was displayed on the flags of Free French warships, and the fuselages of Free French aircraft. The medal of theOrder of Liberation bears the Cross of Lorraine.

    New World[edit]

    French Jesuit missionaries and settlers to the New World carried the Cross of Lorraine c. 1750–1810. The symbol was said to have helped the missionaries to convert the native peoples they encountered, because the two-armed cross resembled existing local imagery.[7]

    European heraldry[edit]

    The coat of arms of Hungary depicts a double cross, which is often attributed to Byzantine influence as King Béla III of Hungary was raised in the Byzantine Empire in the 12th century, and it was during his rule when the double cross became a symbol of Hungary. Also the 'dual cross' is the consonant 'gy' in ancient Hungarian runic writing which reads "egy" (one) when it stands alone mostly, if not always, with "God" meaning.
    Monter, William (2007). A Bewitched Duchy: Lorraine and its Dukes, 1477-1736. Librairie Droz. ISBN 978-2-600-01165-5

    3:6 · A Latin cross with two beams instead of one is known as the cross of Lorraine, the patriarchal cross,the archepiscopal cross. This sign often appears in heraldic contexts, sometimes in the form 22:49, but more often as 28:38. It denotes a cardinal's or archbishops rank.
        Lothringen, or Lorraine, is a province on the border between France and Germany. During the Middle Ages this province was a principality. In the crusade that culminated with the siege and eventual fall of Jerusalem in 1099, the victory was dedicated to the duke of Lorraine. This sign is also the cross of the Greek Orthodox Church. It was used in for instance Belorus in the Middle Ages, and is still common there.
        In alchemy 03:6 has been used to denote white lead, which is a name for several poisonous white pigments containing lead. 
        In 1940, it was taken as the symbol representing the French resistance movement against Germany, and in 1963 this cross sign was used as a symbol for the exiled Cubans and their (unsuccessful) attempt to invade Cuba and conquer Fidel Castro's forces.

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