The following are articles about the topic of France during World War II:
The Anglo-French Supreme War Council (SWC) was established to oversee joint military strategy at the start of the Second World War. Most of its deliberations took place during the period of the Phoney War, with its first meeting at Abbeville on 12 September 1939. The final three sessions were held in France during the German Blitzkrieg of May and June 1940.
The Entente Cordiale was a series of agreements signed on 8 April 1904 between the United Kingdom and the French Republic which saw a significant improvement in Anglo-French relations. Beyond the immediate concerns of colonial expansion addressed by the agreement, the signing of the Entente Cordiale marked the end of almost a thousand years of intermittent conflict between the two states and their predecessors, and replaced the modus vivendi that had existed since the end of the Napoleonic Wars in 1815 with a more formal agreement. The Entente Cordiale was the culmination of the policy of Théophile Delcassé, France's foreign minister from 1898, who believed that a Franco-British understanding would give France some security against any German system of alliances in Western Europe. Credit for the success of the negotiation belongs chiefly to Paul Cambon, France's ambassador in London, and to the British foreign secretary Lord Lansdowne.
The Army of Africa was an unofficial but commonly used term for those portions of the French Army recruited from or normally stationed in French North Africa from 1830 until the end of the Algerian War in 1962.
The French Forces of the Interior refers to French resistance fighters in the later stages of World War II. Charles de Gaulle used it as a formal name for the resistance fighters. The change in designation of these groups to FFI occurred as France's status changed from that of an occupied nation to one of a nation being liberated by the Allied armies. As regions of France were liberated, the FFI were more formally organized into light infantry units and served as a valuable manpower addition to regular Free French forces. In this role, the FFI units manned less active areas of the front lines, allowing regular French army units to practice economy of force measures and mass their troops in decisive areas of the front. Finally, from October 1944 and with the greater part of France liberated, the FFI units were amalgamated into the French regular forces continuing the fight on the Western Front, thus ending the era of the French irregulars in World War II.
The Free French Naval Forces were the naval arm of the Free French Forces during the Second World War. They were commanded by Admiral Émile Muselier.
The Vichy French Air Force was the aerial branch of the armed forces of Vichy France - the government of France that collaborated with the Axis powers following the defeat of France by Germany in 1940.
The French Resistance was the collection of French movements that fought against the Nazi German occupation of France and the collaborationist Vichy régime during the Second World War. Resistance cells were small groups of armed men and women, who, in addition to their guerrilla warfare activities, were also publishers of underground newspapers, providers of first-hand intelligence information, and maintainers of escape networks that helped Allied soldiers and airmen trapped behind enemy lines. The men and women of the Resistance came from all economic levels and political leanings of French society, including émigrés, academics, students, aristocrats, conservative Roman Catholics, and also citizens from the ranks of liberals, anarchists and communists.
The National Council of the Resistance, in French Conseil National de la Résistance (CNR), was the body that directed and coordinated the different movements of the French Resistance: the press, trade unions and members of political parties hostile to the Vichy regime, starting from mid-1943.
The Service du travail obligatoire was the forced enlistment and deportation of hundreds of thousands of French workers to Nazi Germany to work as forced labour for the German war effort during World War II.
The Maginot Line, named after the French Minister of War André Maginot, is a line of concrete fortifications, obstacles, and weapon installations built by France in the 1930s to deter invasion by a resurgent Germany and compel them into a long battle of attrition which would leave Germany saddled with the omnipresent two front war with French ally, Russia. Constructed on the French side of its borders with Italy, Switzerland, Germany, and Luxembourg, the line did not extend to the English Channel due to the then alliance with Belgium. Unfortunately when the Second World War began in the West on May 10, 1940, Belgium had become a neutral nation in an effort along with the Netherlands, to appease Adolf Hitler and his ever more aggressive Third Reich. Further construction on the Belgium border section of the Maginot Line had only just begun when the Wehrmacht's panzers emerged from the Ardennes.
The Alpine Line or Little Maginot Line was the component of the Maginot Line that defended the southeastern portion of France. In contrast to the main line in the northeastern portion of France, the Alpine Line traversed a mountainous region of the Maritime Alps, the Cottian Alps and the Graian Alps, with relatively few passes suitable for invading armies. Access was difficult for construction and for the Alpine Line garrisons. Consequently, fortifications were smaller in scale than the fortifications of the main Line. The Alpine Line mounted few anti-tank weapons, since the terrain was mostly unsuitable for the use of tanks. Ouvrage Rimplas was the first Maginot fortification to be completed on any portion of the Maginot Line, in 1928. The Alpine Line was unsuccessfully attacked by Italian forces during the Italian invasion of France in 1940. Following World War II, some of the larger positions of the Alpine Line were retained in use through the Cold War.
The Phoney War was an eight-month period at the start of World War II, during which there was only one limited military land operation on the Western Front, when French troops invaded Germany's Saar district. The Phoney period began with the declaration of war by the United Kingdom and France against Nazi Germany on 3 September 1939, and ended with the German invasion of France and the Low Countries on 10 May 1940. Although there was no large-scale military action by Britain and France, they did begin economic warfare, especially with the naval blockade, and shut down German surface raiders. They created elaborate plans for numerous large-scale operations designed to swiftly and decisively cripple the German war effort. These included opening an Anglo-French front in the Balkans, invading Norway to seize control of Germany's main source of iron ore and a strike against the Soviet Union, to cut off its supply of oil to Germany. Only the Norway plan came to fruition, and it was too little too late in April 1940.
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The Maquis were rural guerrilla bands of French Resistance fighters, called maquisards, during the Nazi occupation of France in World War II. Initially, they were composed of men and women who had escaped into the mountains to avoid conscription into Vichy France's Service du travail obligatoire to provide forced labor for Germany. To avert capture and deportation to Germany, they became increasingly organized into active resistance groups.
Operation Torch was an Anglo–American invasion of French North Africa during the Second World War. It was aimed at reducing pressure on Allied forces in Egypt, and enabling an invasion of Southern Europe. It also provided the 'second front' which the Soviet Union had been requesting since it was invaded by the Germans in 1941. The region was dominated by the Vichy French, officially in collaboration with Germany, but with mixed loyalties, and reports indicated that they might support the Allied initiative. The American General Dwight D. Eisenhower, commanding the operation, planned a three-pronged attack, aimed at Casablanca (Western), Oran (Center) and Algiers (Eastern), in advance of a rapid move on Tunis.
Free France and its Free French Forces were the government-in-exile led by Charles de Gaulle during the Second World War and its military forces, that continued to fight against the Axis powers as one of the Allies after the fall of France. Set up in London in June 1940, it organised and supported the Resistance in occupied France.
The Milice française, generally called the Milice, was a political paramilitary organization created on 30 January 1943 by the Vichy regime to help fight against the French Resistance during World War II. The Milice's formal head was Prime Minister Pierre Laval, although its Chief of operations and de facto leader was Secretary General Joseph Darnand. It participated in summary executions and assassinations, helping to round up Jews and résistants in France for deportation. It was the successor to Joseph Darnand's Service d'ordre légionnaire (SOL) militia. The Milice was the Vichy regime's most extreme manifestation of fascism. Ultimately, Darnand envisaged the Milice as a fascist single party political movement for the French state.
The European theatre of World War II was an area of heavy fighting across Europe, starting with Germany's invasion of Poland on 1 September 1939 and ending with the United States, the United Kingdom and France conquering most of Western Europe, the Soviet Union conquering most of Eastern Europe and Germany’s unconditional surrender on 8 May 1945. The Allied powers fought the Axis powers on two major fronts as well as in a strategic bombing offensive and in the adjoining Mediterranean and Middle East theatre.
From 1939 until 1940, which witnessed a war against Germany by the French Third Republic. The period from 1940 until 1945, which saw competition between Vichy France and the Free French Forces under General Charles de Gaulle for control of the overseas empire. And 1944, witnessing the landings of the Allies in France, expelling the German Army and putting an end to the Vichy Regime.
Nearly every country and territory in the world participated in World War II. Most were neutral at the beginning, but only a few nations remained neutral to the end. The Second World War pitted two alliances against each other, the Axis powers and the Allied powers. The leading Axis powers were Nazi Germany, the Kingdom of Italy and the Empire of Japan; while the United Kingdom, the United States, the Soviet Union and China to an extent were the "Big Four" Allied powers.
Case Anton was the military occupation of Vichy France carried out by Germany and Italy in November 1942. It marked the end of the Vichy regime as a nominally-independent state and the disbandment of its army, but it continued its existence as a puppet government in Occupied France. One of the last actions of its armed forces before their dissolution was the scuttling of the French fleet in Toulon to prevent it from falling into Axis hands.
The Allies of World War II, called the United Nations from the 1 January 1942 declaration, were the countries that together opposed the Axis powers during the Second World War (1939–1945). The Allies promoted the alliance as a means to control German, Japanese and Italian aggression.
The Military Administration in France was an interim occupation authority established by Nazi Germany during World War II to administer the occupied zone in areas of northern and western France. This so-called zone occupée was renamed zone nord in November 1942, when the previously unoccupied zone in the south known as zone libre was also occupied and renamed zone sud.
The Allied leaders of World War II listed below comprise the important political and military figures who fought for or supported the Allies during World War II. Engaged in total war, they had to adapt to new types of modern warfare, on the military, psychological and economic fronts.
The French State, known as Vichy France, proclaimed by Marshal Philippe Pétain after the Fall of France in 1940 before Nazi Germany, was quickly recognized by the Allies, as well as by the Soviet Union, until 30 June 1941 and Operation Barbarossa. However France broke with the United Kingdom after the destruction of the French Fleet at Mers-el-Kebir. Canada maintained diplomatic relations until the occupation of Southern France by Germany and Italy in November 1942.
The French Committee of National Liberation was a provisional government of Free France formed by the French generals Henri Giraud and Charles de Gaulle to provide united leadership, organize and coordinate the campaign to liberate France from Nazi Germany during World War II. The committee was formed on 3 June 1943 and after a period of joint leadership, on 9 November it came under the chairmanship of de Gaulle. The committee directly challenged the legitimacy of the Vichy regime and unified all the French forces that fought against the Nazis and collaborators. The committee functioned as a provisional government for Algeria and the liberated parts of the colonial empire. Later it evolved into the Provisional Government of the French Republic, under the premiership of Charles de Gaulle.
Vichy France is the common name of the French State headed by Marshal Philippe Pétain during World War II. Evacuated from Paris to Vichy in the unoccupied "Free Zone" in the southern part of metropolitan France which included French Algeria, it remained responsible for the civil administration of France as well as the French colonial empire.
The Organisation de résistance de l'armée, O.R.A. was a French paramilitary resistance organisation during the Second World War. It was created on 31 January 1943, following the November 1942 German invasion of the zone libre as a self-styled apolitical organisation bringing together former French military personnel in pursuit of active resistance against the German occupiers, but rejecting Charles de Gaulle.
The zone libre was a partition of the French metropolitan territory during World War II, established at the Second Armistice at Compiègne on 22 June 1940. It lay to the south of the demarcation line and was administered by the French government of Marshal Philippe Pétain based in Vichy, in a relatively unrestricted fashion. To the north lay the zone occupée in which the powers of Vichy France were severely limited.
Italian-occupied Corsica refers to the military occupation by the Kingdom of Italy of the island of Corsica during World War II. It lasted from November 1942 to September 1943.
The Commemorative medal for voluntary service in Free France was a French commemorative war medal established by decree on 4 April 1946 on the 1945 proposition of general Edgard de Larminat to the Minister to the armies.
Underground media in German-occupied Europe refers to various kinds of clandestine media which emerged under German occupation during World War II. By 1942, Nazi Germany occupied much of continental Europe. The widespread German occupation saw the fall of public media systems in Northern France, Belgium, Poland, Norway, Czechoslovakia, Northern Greece, and the Netherlands. All press systems were put under the ultimate control of Joseph Goebbels, the German Minister of Propaganda.