By Christopher Lloyd (auth.)
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Additional resources for Collaboration and Resistance in Occupied France: Representing Treason and Sacrifice
Leclerc himself estimated that only 10 per cent of the FFI (the combined military units of the internal resistance) were ‘genuine combatants’ (cited by Dreyfus, 1996: 508). -G. Dreyfus suggests that Eisenhower’s diplomatic compliment is no more than a reference to the total numbers of FFIs (about 125,000 joined the regular French army of 550,000 men which fought in the final months of the war in Europe). And Philippe Buton similarly argues that the FFI played no more than a nominal role in the liberation of 85 per cent of French towns (they were most active in the north-west and south-west), although the symbolic importance of the liberation of Paris did play a vital part in restoring France to the victors’ camp and building Gaullist legitimacy (in Aze´ma and Be´darida, 1993).
The limits range between accusing the entire population of collaboration, as ‘quarante millions de pe´tainistes’, and acquitting the entire population by blaming a few thousand fanatics who seized the reins of power (here resistance in the most notional sense becomes the mass phenomenon). The two extremes actually meet, in the sense that ‘we are all guilty’ effectively means everyone has to be acquitted. 22 But as was suggested at the beginning of this chapter, a meaningful analysis of collaboration has to be based on actual choices and acts, and passive complicity distinguished from active commitment.
Apart from a dubious causal link between resistance action and German excesses, this comparison 26 Collaboration and Resistance in Occupied France wilfully overlooks the fact that most deportations were not even provoked by resistance activity; however, the wider issue of comparative judgements will be discussed in more detail in the concluding section of this chapter. Before turning to resistance and the aftermath of the liberation, we need to widen the discussion of collaboration beyond the political and administrative responsibilities of the Vichy regime to consider its social and psychological dimensions.