By Douglas Boyd
Based on unique examine and private memories of French and Allied members, this tale, formerly unpublished in English, highlights the cynical fail to remember for civilian lives proven by way of British SOE and American OSS
Nearing D-Day, Allied intelligence used Royal Air Force airdrops to ship Allied liaison officials down with provides to the hundreds of thousands of younger males hiding in France's forests and hill kingdom. right here the officials defied the 2 rules of guerrilla battle: by no means focus your forces or probability a pitched conflict. They assembled small armies of untrained civilians in wild nation the place it was once believed Allied airborne forces might land and aid them force the hated occupiers out in their nation. actually they have been getting used as bait—to draw German forces clear of the invasion seashores. They have been hunted down by way of collaborationist French paramilitaries, Wehrmacht, and Waffen-SS troops, death within the snows of iciness via to excessive midsummer. these taken prisoner have been raped, tortured, and shot or deported to demise camps in Germany. lots of their killers have been themselves murdered after the liberation, whilst hundreds of thousands of Frenchwomen have been additionally publicly humiliated as sexual traitors.
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Extra resources for Blood in the Snow, Blood on the Grass: Treachery, Torture, Murder and Massacre - France 1944
11. , La Vie des Français sous l’Occupation, Paris, Fayard, 1961, Vol. 2, p. 58. 9 Also spelled Natzweiler in German. , Unhealed Wounds, New York, Grove Press, 1985, pp. 98–9. 2 PUTTING THE DIRT IN ‘DIRTY WAR’ The concept of SOE stems from the very first days after the invasion of France in May 1940, when the Chiefs of Staff minuted the British War Cabinet that, should the French army and Lord Gort’s British Expeditionary Force be defeated, Germany might in turn be brought down in the long run by economic pressure and a campaign of industrial unrest in the conquered territories.
In the summer of 1940, after Hitler and his generals had taken just six weeks to conquer the country with the biggest standing army in Europe, the new government of Marshal Philippe Pétain signed an armistice agreement on 22 June. It was a humiliating defeat, after which a few patriots immediately sought to assuage the shame that their military and political leaders had been found so sadly wanting. In full knowledge that the penalty for being caught was death, they decided to work against the occupation in defiance of the armistice agreement signed by their legal government.
So, the largest single element of the Resistance was frequently at odds with the others from June 1941 onwards. De Gaulle therefore used a number of politically astute figures in efforts to unite the various groups in the Resistance under his overall control. Socialist politicians Pierre Brossolette and Christian Pineau played their parts but most credit is usually given to a brilliant administrator named Jean Moulin. Parachuted into France in January 1942, this former prefect of Chartres had by the end of the year drawn the three main Resistance networks of the Free Zone – COMBAT, LIBERATION-SUD and the communist FTP – into a loose federation titled ‘Les Mouvements Unis de la Résistance’ (MUR).