Paris after the liberati.., p.45
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       Paris: After the Liberation 1944-1949, p.45

           Antony Beevor

  Those on the other side of the fence – mainly the younger historians grouped round the Institut d’Histoire du Temps Présent, and the American historian of Vichy, Robert Paxton – are less preoccupied with the fact that Pétain continued to lend his prestige to collaboration after 1942 than with the responsibility of Vichy for deporting French and foreign Jews to their death. ‘The collaboration of the [Vichy] state was appalling,’ said Paxton in an interview the day after the assassination of Bousquet. ‘Because the orders came from the Ministry of the Interior, the prefects and all parts of the administration obeyed. Without exception. It was a formidable machine for the Nazis who as a result needed only a handful of men to carry out their plans.’

  The shame of Vichy – the shame of their parents’ generation – clearly played a part in perpetuating the appeal of revolutionary chic among the young, who had only changed their role models. They despised the advanced ossification of the Soviet system and instead admired guerrilla movements in Latin America.

  On the subject of politically engaged intellectuals in France – whether Drieu, Brasillach, Malraux or Sartre – Professor Judt has observed that their fascination with violence contained a ‘quasi-erotic charge’. It underlines the fact that while it has long been easy to mock Hemingway, the posturing of French intellectuals, although more sophisticated, demonstrated an arrogant irresponsibility which was far more dangerous and dishonest. Sartre tried to reconcile existentialism with his new phase of revolutionary commitment, but predictably it failed to be anything more than an exercise in verbose sophistry. By the end of his life he even began to justify terrorist action.

  Saint-Germain-des-Prés and the Latin Quarter continued throughout the 1950s and 1960s to be a breeding ground of isms. The nouveau roman movement, with the novels of Nathalie Sarraute, Michel Butor and Alain Robbe-Grillet, even produced chosisme or ‘thingism’: the exhaustive description of inanimate objects, to emphasize how depersonalized the modern world had become. But the materialistic enemy was already within the gates. The Deux Magots sold itself to the tourist trade as the ‘rendez-vous des intellectuels’. Cheap fashion shops and hamburger bars soon stretched the length of the Boulevard Saint-Michel, and in the newspaper kiosks along the Boulevard Saint-Germain Playboy magazine had taken over from Les Temps modernes. ‘It is thus,’ wrote Marc Doelnitz, ‘that one passes from the cult of the head to the cult of the ass.’

  France, like the rest of the world, had started to lose its cultural independence after a spirited rearguard action, a battle fought by Communists and traditionalists for different motives. Yet whether the ‘American challenge’ started on 6 June 1944 in Normandy or in 1948 with the final signature on the Marshall Plan, France’s cultural purity was bound to be threatened in the long run. The left-wing ideals of the Liberation, along with the intellectual environment in which they had thrived, stood little chance. ‘Dirty money’, like the industrial warfare of heavy guns, was bound to triumph in the end.

  The events of May 1968 in Paris represented the dying flicker of the guerre franco-française, along with the last great moments of the Parisian intelligentsia’s political commitment. This time, however, there was no Stalinist focus, as there had been after the Liberation. Louis Aragon was the only member of the party’s central committee to go out to address them. They greeted him with cries of ‘Shut up, you old fool!’ The party itself, the only serious organization of the left, was loath to become involved in what it saw as Trotskyist or anarchist adventures.

  It now seems extraordinary that President de Gaulle and his ministers should have feared that France was again on the brink of civil war. There were also some curiously false echoes of the Liberation twenty-four years before. In an attempt to cow the students, tanks from the 2nd Armoured Division were diverted through Parisian suburbs on what was described as an ‘itinéraire psychologique’. *

  Strikes and rioting eroded government confidence to such a degree over the next two weeks that on 29 May de Gaulle left Paris without even warning his closest colleagues. They arrived at the Élysée Palace just before ten o’clock for a meeting of the Council of Ministers and were aghast to hear that the President had left for an undisclosed destination. Rumours spread rapidly that he had retired to Colombeyles-deux-Églises to announce his resignation. Parisians listened to the contradictory reports on their transistor radios in a state of apprehension comparable with that of the uprising in August 1944, when they feared that the Allies would never reach the city in time. There were even rich paniquards – those who could obtain fuel for their cars – taking the road to Switzerland with all their valuables.

  De Gaulle had in fact flown to Baden-Baden to meet General Massu at the headquarters of the French army in Germany. His son-in-law, General Alain de Boissieu, had arranged the meeting. The President needed a firm guarantee that he had the full support of the army, which had been discontented since his decision in 1962 to withdraw from Algeria. The price was the release from prison of General Salan, whose putsch in that year, with paratroopers emplaned at Algiers ready to seize Paris, had collapsed at the last moment.

  The next morning, 30 May, President de Gaulle reappeared at the Élysée Palace after landing by helicopter at Issy-les-Moulineaux. A communiqué was issued. After a meeting of the Council of Ministers, the President would address the nation by radio. Comparisons were immediately made with his radio appeal from London on 18 June 1940. Gaullist supporters, tipped off that their leader was about to fight back, began to gather in central Paris, armed with tricolours and transistors. The General’s speech at half past four was brief. He was not resigning. He had decided to dissolve the National Assembly and to appoint prefects to take on the post-Liberation authority of Commissaires de la République. But the underlying message of his text was a challenge to the left. If they wanted civil war instead of constitutional government, they would have it. This was de Gaulle’s last dramatic intervention. The next year, following an unfavourable result in a referendum, he resigned as President of the Republic and disappeared to Ireland. The succession was assured with Georges Pompidou as his replacement. The Fifth Republic, with the dirigiste Constitution which de Gaulle had wanted in 1945, maintained its stability well beyond the death of its creator eighteen months later.

  On that afternoon of his radio broadcast, 30 May 1968, the General’s supporters gathered exultantly on the Place de la Concorde and the Champs-Élysées. ‘De Gaulle is not alone!’ they cried. Fromcrowds nearly a million strong, there emerged a variety of other slogans. The favourite was the chant ‘Le communisme ne passera pas!’ No doubt there were many present who had been supporters of Marshal Pétain; but the vast majority now regarded themselves as average Frenchmen, exasperated with political strikes and chaos in the Latin Quarter. The Sartrian road to freedomwas at an end. Radical ideas had failed to overcome the bourgeoisie.

  The Gaulish leaders in league against Julius Caesar (100–44 BC), led by Vercingetorix (d. 46 BC), from a protective sleeve for school books, late nineteenth century.

  Lutetia or the second plan of Paris in the fourth and fifth centuries AD, French School, 1722.

  Sainte Geneviève gardant ses moutons, French School, sixteenth century.

  The Cathedral of Notre-Dame, Paris.

  Epitaph of François Villon (1431–?) from Le Grant Testament Villon et le petit, son codicille. Le jargon et ses balades, 1489.

  ‘Weighing of Souls’, French fifteenth-century stone carving.

  Engraving of the danse macabre, artist unknown, 1493.

  Portrait of Catherine de Médicis (1519–89), French School, sixteenth century.

  Engraving of ‘La Cour des Miracles’.

  Engraving of the St Bartholomew’s Day Massacre, Paris, 1572, by de Soligny.

  Garden and Cirque at the Palais-Royal, Paris, by Hoffbauer, 1794

  Engraving of the cemetery of the Saints-Innocents by Hoffbauer, nineteenth century.

  Scène grivoise by François Boucher (1703–70).

The Sans-Culotte’, French School, nineteenth century.

  ‘A Meeting of Artists, Mudscrapers and Rag Merchants’, caricature of a popular café at the Palais-Royal in Paris, French School, c. 1800.

  ‘Gargantua’, caricature of Louis-Philippe I by Honoré Daumier, 1831.

  Aerial view of Paris, c. 1871, showing public buildings, many of which were destroyed during the Paris Commune.

  ‘The Occupation of Paris, 1814 – English Visitors in the Palais-Royal’, English School, nineteenth century.

  The bombardment of Paris, German School, c. 1870.

  The siege of Paris, bombardment by the Prussians, 1870–71, French School, nineteenth century.

  The construction of the avenue de l’Opéra, Paris, 1st and 2nd arrondissements, 1878.

  Unidentified dead insurgents of the Paris Commune, 1871.

  The construction of the avenue de l’Opéra, Paris, 1st and 2nd arrondissements, 1878.

  Illustration by Jacques Tardi from Voyage au bout de la nuit by Louis-Ferdinand Céline, 1932.

  André Breton, c. 1930.

  ‘Une maison close monacale, rue Monsieur-le-Prince (couple s’embrassant)’, silver print by Halász Gyula Brassaï, c. 1931.

  Scene from the film Hôtel du Nord, directed by Marcel Carné, with Arletty and Louis Jouvet, 1938.

  Liberation fighters in Paris, 1944.

  French women punished for collaborating, 1944.

  A policeman throws tear gas to disperse crowds during student riots in Paris, 17 June 1968.

  Paris suburbs, 28 October 2005.




  Archives Nationales, Paris


  Archives Nationales, Paris


  Bruce Diaries, Virginia Historical Society


  Centre de Documentation Juive Contemporaine, Paris


  Duff Cooper diary


  Duff Cooper papers


  Diary of Brigadier Denis Daly, British Military Attaché


  Archives Nationales, Paris


  Institut FranÇais d’Opinion Publique


  Journal Officiel


  Library of Congress, Averell Harriman papers


  Lady Diana Cooper papers


  Diana Cooper correspondence with Conrad Russell

  NARA *

  National Archives and Records Administration, Washington,



  Nancy Mitford papers


  National Archives, Public Record Office, Kew


  Rossiisky Gosudarstvenny Arkhiv Sotsialno-Politeskoi Istorii

  (Russian State Archive for Social-Political History), Moscow


  p. ix ‘recurring fever’, Jean Monnet, Mémoires, p. 261


  p. 4 ‘You are a general…’, Charles de Gaulle, Mémoires de guerre, vol. i, p. 53

  p. 5 ‘Ah! If only I could be sure…’, ibid., p. 44

  p. 5 ‘poor relations…’, E. Spears, Assignment to Catastrophe, vol. ii, p. 138

  p. 5 ‘C’est la dislocation!’, ibid., p. 143

  p. 5 ‘We would fight on…’, ibid., p. 150

  p. 6 ‘the destruction of the country…’, Paul Reynaud, Au Coeur de la mêlée, p. 743

  p. 6 ‘at the last quarter of an hour’, ibid.

  p. 7 ‘with some annoyance…’, Spears, p. 288

  p. 8 ‘as if it were a commercial company…’, Peter Novick, The Resistance versus Vichy, p. 17

  p. 9 ‘Oh, Malraux…’, Jean Lacouture, De Gaulle, the Rebel, p. 212


  p. 12 ‘the gaze fixed…’, Henri du Moulin de Labarthète, Le Temps des illusions, p. 50

  p. 12 ‘I collaborate…’, 22 December 1940, AN F/1 a/3657

  p. 12 ‘much surprise was expressed…’, 23 November 1944, NA-PRO FO 371/42102/Z 8288

  p. 13 ‘femmes de mauvaise vie’, 15 May 1943, AN F/1 a/3657

  p. 13 ‘I swear to fight…’, quoted Azéma, ‘La Milice’, 20ème siècle

  p. 14 ‘This General dares…’, Emmanuel Le Roy Ladurie, Paris– Montpellier, p. 14

  p. 14 ‘You are all alone…’, R. Cassin, Les Hommes partis de rien, p. 76

  p. 18 ‘des lendemains…’, Gabriel Péri, Une Vie de combat, p. 126


  p. 20 ‘This Admiral knows…’, Édouard Herriot, Épisodes, p. 75

  p. 22 ‘a Gaullist and royalist…’, Sir Brooks Richards, letter to the authors, with notes on the original MS, 5 November 1993

  p. 22 ‘skunk’, NA-PRO PREM 3 446

  p. 22 New Year’s Eve dinner, Susan Mary Alsop, conversation, 5 January 1993

  p. 24 ‘émiettée’, Claude Bouchinet-Serreulles, conversation, 23 November 1992

  p. 25 ‘a good idea’, Dimitrov to Dekanazov, Vice People’s Commissar for Foreign Affairs, 8 February 1943, RGASPI 495/74/532

  p. 27 ‘nothing was more like…’, General de Bénouville, conversation, 21 January 1993

  p. 27 ‘Vichy à la sauce…’, Henri Noguères, conversation, 6 October 1989

  p. 28 ‘It’s our trial’, Simone de Beauvoir, La Force de l’âge, p. 591

  p. 29 ‘It’s pandemonium’, Hervé Alphand, L’Étonnement d’être, p. 177

  p. 29 ‘Has it occurred…’, Henri Amouroux, La Grande Histoire des Français sous l’Occupation, vol. viii, p. 546

  p. 30 ‘I do not shake…’, Charles de Gaulle, Mémoires de guerre, vol. ii. p. 376

  p. 30 ‘the clergy…’, Gaston Palewski, Mémoires d’action, p. 216


  p. 35 ‘forty Germans were killed…’, Henri Amouroux, La Grande Histoire des Français sous l’Occupation, vol. viii, p. 650

  p. 37 ‘Chacun son Boche!’, proclamation of 22 August 1944, quoted Adrien Dansette, Histoire de la Libération de Paris, p. 508

  p. 38 ‘I arrive…’, Jean Galtier-Boissière, Mon Journal pendant l’Occupation, p. 259

  p. 38 ‘The whole neighbourhood…’, ibid., p. 261

  p. 39 ‘Horch convertible…’, AN F/1 a/3254

  p. 39 ‘his white habit…’, Philippe Boegner (ed.), Carnets du Pasteur Boegner, p. 287

  p. 42 ‘I’ll make him talk…’, John Mowinckel, conversation, 15 October 1992

  p. 42 ‘General Hemingway…’, Jeffrey Myers, Hemingway, p. 408

  p. 43 ‘You are lucky’, Charles de Gaulle, Mémoires de guerre, vol. ii, p. 302

  p. 44 ‘That day Leclerc’s division…’, Amouroux, La Grande Histoire des Français sous L’Occupation, vol. viii, p. 684

  p. 45 ‘enormous disorder…’, Simone de Beauvoir, La Force de l’âge, pp. 609–10

  p. 45 ‘The greatness of man…’, Combat, 25 August 1944, quoted Paul Marie de la Gorce, L’Après Guerre, p. 10

  p. 45 ‘gave her a lot…’, Julien Green, Journal, p. 669

  p. 46 ‘A vibrant crowd surrounds…’, Galtier-Boissière, Mon Journal pendant l’Occupation, p. 276

  p. 47 ‘abandoned by their officers…’, ibid., p. 280

  p. 47 ‘were mixed up together…’, Boegner (ed.), Carnets du Pasteur Boegner, p. 295

  p. 49 ‘One would have liked…’, Léonard Rist, quoted Charles Rist, Une Saison gâtée, p. 432

  p. 50 ‘The request of Georges Bidault…’, René Brouillet, conversation, 15 October 1992

  p. 51 ‘were not very good’, 25 August 1944, BD

  p. 51 ‘débauche de fraternité’, Beauvoir, La Force des choses, p. 13


  p. 53 ‘The combination was enough…’, 25 August 1944, BD

  p. 54 ‘C’est un plébiscite’, Bulletin No. 1, 1 October 1944, IF

  p. 54 ‘There took place…’, Charles de Gaulle, Mémoires de guerre, vol. ii, p. 313

  p. 54 ‘Mixed in the immense crowd…’, Simone de Beauvoir, La Force de l’âge, p. 612

  p. 55 ‘cut in half’, Jean Cocteau, Journal 1942–1945, p. 534

  p. 55 ‘The heroes multiplied…’, Jean Galtier-Boissière, Mon Journal pendant l’Occupation, p. 284

  p. 56 ‘The effect was fantastic…’, Malcolm Muggeridge, Chronicles of Wasted Time, vol. ii, p. 211

  p. 56 ‘Public order…’, Philippe Boegner (ed.), Carnets du Pasteur Boegner, p. 301

  p. 57 ‘like a marriage feast’, Philippe Robrieux, Histoire intérieure du parti communiste, vol. ii, p. 20

  p. 57 ‘For shit’s sake…’, quoted ibid., vol. i, p. 519

  p. 60 ‘the spoken word…’, Beauvoir, La Force de l’âge, p. 599

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