WWII-The true History1/2

 

Proposal of reform of education regarding the history of WWII in France and in the rest of the European

Union

The Red Army, indisputable Vanquisher of Nazi Germany

12 June 2013

Didier Bertin

 PART 1/2

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Monument of the Victory in Israel - glorifying the victory of the Red Army over Nazi Germany -

This monument was inaugurated on June 25, 2012 on the military site of Beit Yad Labanim in Natanya by Shimon Peres, Benjamin Netanyahu and Vladimir Putin

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The Red Army liberating Auschwitz

 

I. THE NEED OF REFORM OF EDUCATION REGARDING THE HISTORY OF WWII AND OF THE

INFOMATION SPREAD BY MUSEUMS, MONUMENTS AND MEDIA

The one sided appropriation of history should remain the feature of totalitarian states while democracies have a moral duty to provide people and future generations with an unbiased narrative to enable them to accomplish a work of memory necessary to the progress of humanity.

In France the History of the Second World War in France is taught in order to hide the dark aspect of the history of the country at that time and to integrate the sole political camp of the Anglo-American allies at the expense of facts.

It took 50 years in France to start with reluctance the drop of the legend and face the shameful reality. 

This painful and hesitating progress towards the truth is probably related to (i) the gradual disappearance of the main actors of this period who kept trying to nicely dress the historical events, (ii) the end of the Cold War, and (iii) the improving the overall educational level of citizens who are more demanding than they were in the past. Museums, historical monuments and education must now evolve in order to avoid the usual shortcuts and oversights, which pollute the collective memory. 

In order to briefly introduce this situation we present below few examples:

1- June 6, 1944 (date of Overlord operation) is usually presented by the institutions and media of France as the symbolic date of the beginning of the liberation of the whole Europe despite it was the date of the real first and very late landings in continental Europe of the Anglo-American troops; this operation took place near the end of the war conflict when the fate of Germany was already played.

We may also read worse in Caen's Memorial:

2 - "If the singularity of the Holocaust must be affirmed, its history is inseparable from the context of the extreme violence that characterized the Second World War."

This sentence is shocking since it seems to moderate the severity of the Holocaust because of the context of military violence instead of being tied to the history of anti-Semitism in Europe that seems to be ignored.

The root of the Holocaust is the traditional anti-Semitism magnified by racist theorists of the nineteenth and twentieth century that led to the "final solution" foreseeable in "Mein Kampf" before the World War. 

Racist slaughters are the violence such as pogroms and ethnic cleansing in Rwanda without need for a violent context.

This municipal museum plays a disproportionate role because of its location in an area erroneously considered as the place where started the liberation of Europe.

3-When the allies' flags are hoisted near monuments or museums in France, that of the one of the real vanquisher of the war i.e. USSR is systematically forgotten while this country lost nearly 16% of its population to allow the liberation of the European continent from the Nazi dictatorship.

The mistakes of the Soviet Union should not penalize the peoples of former USSR who would then suffer a double penalty inflicted by Western countries: (i) the human losses during the war and (ii) the Stalinism.

The Cold War is now over and it is time to acknowledge the facts.

4 - The monument below indicates together that on June 14, 1944 Charles De Gaulle, called "the liberator" came back to France and that the allied troops free Europe on June 6, 1944. 

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Charles De Gaulle showed that some men were different from Marshal Petain but did not received any mandate to represent the French people of the French people during the war and he is certainly not the liberator of France which was freed by the Allied troops: The Red Army which defeated the Germans and the Anglo-American troops just arrived on the French ground.

This cult of personality and the myth of the providential man seem to be put in relation with the unfortunate uses on trend in the authoritarian regimes of most of European countries and cannot erase the dark history of France.

"France Libre" (free France) of General De Gaulle would have reached its highest level in 1943 with about 70,000 soldiers only, half of them being foreigners i.e. a negligible figure as compared to allied troops.

5- The European countries have been freed "by the merits" of the Red Army because they destroyed near 80% of the German army which was concentrated on the Eastern front. The progress of the freshly landed Anglo-American troops was made possible and easy as a result of a German Army weakening inexorably.

We wish to clarify for the rest of our text that the figures given are in general approximate because they vary according to the "the most reliable sources" but remain essential for a general factual understanding of the historical narrative.

If we restrict the victory to the criteria of destruction of the German Army, one could say that the USSR won 80% of the war and other allies 20% but it makes more sense to speak of an unquestionable victory of the Red Army with the subsidiary and very late participation of the other Allied armies.

6-The involvement of French troops in the liberation of France alongside the Anglo-American allies was particularly weak in term of number of soldiers coming for a substantial part from the African army:

In Italy, where Allied troops were practically blocked until the surrender of Germany, the French expeditionary corps included only 112,000 soldiers whose 67,000 were Muslim, victims of colonization and not recognized as French out of 460,000 allied soldiers landed in Italy trough three operations.

In Normandy, where nearly three million Allied soldiers were involved from June 1944, the French troops were composed of the 2nd DB (Tank division utilizing mainly American Sherman tanks, included 14,500 soldiers out of which a quarter of non-French soldiers from the African Army colonies despite the racist whitening requested by the Americans and English and 177 soldiers under command of Captain Kieffer.

In Provence, from 15 August 1944, 350,000 soldiers landed including 120,000 American soldiers and 230,000 French troops composed of 23 000 soldiers from France, 110 000 French from colonies (called: pieds noirs i.e. black feet) and 120 000 Muslim North African victims of colonization.

The work of memory started with big controversy in 1970's and took a more official turn in 1995, half century after the war, with the audacious intervention of President Jacques Chirac:

Free translation from French: "Yes, the criminal madness of the occupant was assisted, this is well known, by French people, supported by the French State ......" Jacques Chirac 16 July 1995. 

The quarantine of the USSR organized by the 1914-1918 allies who kept it away from the negotiations related to the Treaty of Versailles and away from European affairs after the First World War has eased the signing of the Munich Agreements by France and the United Kingdom and thus WWII. Western allies did not support the USSR's proposal for an intervention of the Red Army against Germany in the Sudetenland as proposed and in order to rescue Czechoslovakia.

The Polish military dictatorship that had prevented this action has eased the invasion of its own country one year later leading inexorably Europe to war.

In 1939 the USSR demonstrated that it was indeed the only country in Europe militarily efficient when it inflicted Japan the severe defeat in Khalkhin-Gol.

Japan then turned his appetite from northern Asia to South-East Asia and the Pacific and aggressiveness to the United States that hindered its territorial ambitions.

The United States did not want to intervene in the conflict with Germany and the attack on Pearl Harbor was followed by the declaration of war against Japan. As a result of alliances Germany and Italy declared then the war to USA. Japan has had the merit to take USA out of its isolationism.

During the two world wars, the United States have had two presidents: Wilson and Roosevelt who were more farseeing than the American political.

By invading Poland, the anti-Semitic Germany unfortunately found in this country a substantial part of European Jewry who constituted half of the victims of the Holocaust. 

The appropriation of history for political purposes has also led to the pathetic Prague Declaration of 2008 and a similar statement of the European Parliament meeting the wishes of the European far right wing.

We present below as a proposed guideline a synthetic, simple and objective narrative of the history of WWII.

It must be also noted that the State of Israel whose government is not communist or socialist as France and who is a close ally of the USA, has inaugurated in 2012 "the monument of Victory" which is dedicated to the glory of the victory of the Red Army over Nazi Germany and acknowledges the debt of gratitude to the Jewish people to the Russian people and peoples of the former Soviet Union, despite the plight of Jews in the Soviet Union before the fall of communism. This is an illustration of a remarkable and courageous intellectual honesty and of high sense of equity, which should inspire the European countries.

The merit of the Red Army during the Second World War must be independent of the opinion that one can have regarding on the policy of the USSR before or after the war and now regarding the policy of the Russian Federation. 

 

II-THE BATTLEFIELD WHERE THE FREEDOM OF THE WHOLE EUROPEAN CONTINENT WAS

WON- IN FIGURES

LOSSES OF EUROPEAN BELLIGERENTS ON THE EASTERN FRONT

Countries

Soldiers

Civils

Total

USSR

10 600 000

15 900 000

26 500 000

POLAND

320 000

5 500 000

5 820 000

YOUGOSLAVIA

300 000

1 400 000

1 700 000

ROMANIA

520 000

465 000

985 000

HUNGARY

300 000

450 000

750 000

BULGARIA

19 000

2 000

21 000

CZECHOSLOVAKIA

 

400 000

400 000

FINLAND

84 000

 

84 000

ALBANIA

 

28 000

28 000

SPAIN -Russian Front

12 000

10 000

22 000

TOTAL

12 155 000

24 155 000

36 310 000

BELLIGERENTS COUNTRIES ON OTHER EUROPEAN FRONTS-LOSSES

GERMANY-AUSTRIA

1 700 000

4 000 000

5 700 000

GREECE

 

574 000

574 000

France

238 000

330 000

541 000

ITALY

330 000

80 000

410 000

USA -Europe

300 000

 

300 000

UK-Europe

377 000

67 800

444 800

NETHERLANDS

12 000

198 000

210 000

BELGIUM

12 000

76 000

88 000

CANADA-Europe

45 300

 

45 300

AUSTRALIA-Europe

29 700

 

29 700

NORWAY

 

10 000

10 000

Luxembourg

 

5 000

5 000

DENMARK

4 000

 

4 000

TOTAL

3 048 000

5 341 000

8 362 000

TOTAL EUROPE

15 203 000

29 496 000

44 672 000

PRISONERS ON EASTERN FRONT

USSR

5 200 000

Out of which more than  3 000 000 were killed or dead victims of maltreatment

GERMANY-AUSTRIA

3 500 000

 

 

ROMANIA

500 000

 

 

HUNGARY

500 000

 

 

Russians  allied to the Axis  

1 000 000

 

 

TOTAL

10 700 000

 

 

60% of the 5.2 million Soviet prisoners of war held by the Germans were executed or dead following maltreatments; this could be linked to violent anti-Communism and to the alleged superiority of the Aryan race over Slavic and also to the bloodthirsty appetite of German soldiers who caused the death of 13 600 000 soviet civilians.

Statistics often report the number of soldiers killed or prisoners with insufficient mention of wounded soldiers who became therefore out of action and who also neutralize part of an army.

According to the Wehrmacht and to the statistical work of Professor Schramm of Göttingen, figures of German soldiers killed, missing and wounded are the following:

German soldiers killed and missing: 3,900,000

German soldiers wounded: 4.4 million

German prisoners not yet returned in Germany in 1949: 1,450,000

Mobilization capacity of Germany was 12 million but in May 1944 the number of German soldiers was approximately 9 million.

The number of German soldiers killed or captured by the Red Army was approximately 7.5 million and should be increased by the number of wounded German soldiers becoming out of action as soldiers; these elements support the evaluation generally considered of 80 % of destruction of the German Army by the Red Army. 

1-World War II in Europe was thus ended by the victory of the Red Army over Germany with a second rank late participation of the Anglo-American allies.

2-The losses of the USSR amounted to 26.5 million or nearly 16% of its population.

3-84% of military losses were suffered on the Eastern front and therefore only 16% in the rest of Europe.

4-82.4% of civilian and military casualties occurred on the Eastern front and thus only 18.6% in the rest of Europe.

5-The total military casualties of the United Kingdom, the United States and Canada in Europe totaled 750,000 soldiers i.e. only 7% of those of the USSR.

6-The Anglo-American interventions on European soil were the landings in Normandy and Provence which took place near the end of the war on June 6 and August 15 1944. The troops landed in Italy were blocked in this country by the German army and were able to get out of Italy only 6 days before the general capitulation of Germany.

7-The Red Army reached the banks of Oder (natural border between Germany and Poland) in February 1945 and U.S. troops reach the German border on March 7, 1945 i.e. 9 months after the Normandy landing while the German Army was mainly concentrated on the eastern front.

The fact that any countries troops landed in a place and free the territories on their way does not mean that such countries won the war but only participated to it. The Vanquisher is of course the country who destroyed all or almost all the enemy's army and thereby eases the progress of the other participating allied armies.

 

II-STATUS OF EUROPEAN COUNTRIES AT THE BEGINNING OF CONFLICT

After the invasion of Poland by Germany, France and the United Kingdom declared war on Germany on September 3, 1939 "but did not do it."

On April 9, 1940, Germany invaded Denmark and Norway and in May and June 1940, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, Belgium and France.

In a few months after the beginning of the German offensive all continental European countries with the exception of the USSR and the territories which were provisionally granted to it, were either members of the Axis countries or under the control of the Axis.

In order to give an accurate picture of the political situation in Europe before and during WWII we use the word "dictatorship" to refer to governments of countries that aim to destroy the democratic system even if they have used it to conquer this power.

 

A-EASTERN COUNTRIES

 

1-DICTATORSHIP OF HUNGARY

Hungary ruled by Miklós Horthy, was the first country to join the Axis; Hungary signed the Tripartite Pact in September 1940.

In the early 1920s the Republic crumbled and Miklós Horthy established an ultranationalist regime. Hungarian nationalists wanted to get back the territories lost as the result of the Treaty of Trianon and allied with Germany and Italy to erase the territorial changes that were made. This alliance allowed Hungary to receive Czechoslovak and Romanian territories at the Vienna Arbitration in 1939-1940.

Hungary also participated in the invasion of Yugoslavia and took territories in northern Serbia.

Over 500,000 Hungarian soldiers fought on the Russian Front alongside the Germans.

 

2-DICTATORSHIP OF ROMANIA

After the invasion of Poland and France, fascist and pro-German movements developed in Romania. Romania had lost one third of its territory as a result of the transfer of Bessarabia to the Soviet Union, Transylvania to Hungary and Dobruja to Bulgaria. In order to meet the requests of the fascists and obtain the protection of Germany, the king of Romania appointed General Ion Antonescu as Prime Minister in September 1940.

Ion Antonescu forces the king to abdicate and he was replaced by Prince Michael; Ion Antonescu called himself "conducator" i.e. dictator. Romania joined the Axis on November 23, 1940. German troops entered Romania in 1941 to invade Yugoslavia and the USSR, but also to ensure the control of Romanian resources in grain and oil.

Romania participated in the invasion of the Soviet Union in 1941.

 

3-BULGARIA

Bulgaria was led by Tsar Boris III when joining the Axis in March 1941. Bulgaria was already an ally of Germany during the First World War and hoped to obtain territories. Bulgaria participated to the invasion of Yugoslavia and Greece and took some portions of their territories.

 

4-PROTECTORATE OF BOHEMIA-MORAVIA - German-protectorate

The independence of Czechoslovakia was proclaimed October 28, 1918 and ratified by the Treaty of Saint-Germain-en-Laye in 1919. Czechoslovakia included the territories of the present Czech Republic, Slovakia and Carpathian Ruthenia taken by the USSR in 1945. Sudetenland was integrated to Germany after the Munich Agreement of September 1938, which involved the exile of Edvard Beneš, the president of Czechoslovakia.

The existence of Czechoslovakia ended on March 21, 1939 with the entry of German troops, the creation of the German Protectorate of Bohemia-Moravia on the territory of Czechoslovakia reduced by Sudetenland and Slovakia; the latter declared its independence and became a dictatorship under German control.

 

5-DICTATORSHIP OF SLOVAKIA

Following the dismemberment of Czechoslovakia in 1939, Slovakia declared its independence in March 1939 as part of a protection agreement with Germany. It participated in the invasion of Poland in 1939. The Slovak Republic was ruled by the dictator Jozef Tiso who signed the Tripartite Pact on November 24, 1940.

Slovakia participated in the war against the Soviet Union with 20,000 soldiers.

 

6-DICTATORSHIP OF CROATIA

On 10 April 1941 the State of Croatia (Hrvatska Nezavisna Drzava or NDH) was declared independent and became a member of the Axis.

Mussolini designated the Duke of Aosta as king Aymon I but Ante Pavelic leader of the fascist Ustaše Party was the real leader of Croatia supported by the Croatian National Guard including 130,000 men in 1943.

Croatia made the war against USSR alongside the Germans.

The ultranationalist Ustaša raged against Serbs, Jews and Muslims in order to create an ethnically pure Croatia in their opinion. The territory of the Independent State of Croatia lost 700,000 people during the war including a majority of Serbian

 

7-DICTATORSHIP OF POLAND

On 11 November 1918, Poland was freed from the German and Austro-Hungarian occupation and regained its independence on June 28, 1919 with the proclamation of the Second Republic. The first free Sejm elections took place on January 26, 1919 and the nationalist right wing obtained the majority of seats.

"Upon independence, the Poles instigated many Pogroms, which were condemned by the U.S. and British parliaments in 1919."

After the Polish-Soviet War of 1919-1920, Poland obtained Russian territories granted to it by the Treaty of Riga.

In 1926, Józef Piłsudski, supported by the army, made a coup and impose a dictatorship. In 1905, Józef Piłsudski had led the Warsaw uprising and at the beginning of the First World War, he created the Polish Legion, which fought alongside the Austria-Hungary.

The legion provided officers, who served as Ministers and heads in the dictatorial governments whose reign continued until the German invasion.

Despite a new constitution, named constitution of April (April 1935), the dictatorial military regime continued after the death of General Pilsudski on May 12, 1935. General Składkowski and Marshal Rydz-Śmigły run Poland from 1936 to 1939.

In 1937 Poland had planed with the agreement of France, the mass deportation of Polish Jews to Madagascar: "Madagascar Project."An investigation mission concluded that this project was not feasible. This project was then taken into consideration by the German but was also dropped out.

In 1938 Germany threatened to invade the Sudetenland. Czechoslovakia called for help France and the United Kingdom in the frame of the defense agreement they have signed but only the USSR offered to send troops in Sudetenland. Poland prohibited the passage of the Red Army through its territory and precipitated with France and UK the fall of Czechoslovakia. France and Britain did not make pressure on Poland to force it to change its decision.

As a matter of fact, the French and British preferred to sign the Munich agreements and sidelined both the USSR and the president of Czechoslovakia Edvard Beneš himself who was forced to exile.

The Munich agreements gave Germany what it wanted and caused the breakup of Czechoslovakia into Slovakia an ally of Germany and a German Protectorate named Protectorate of Bohemia-Moravia.

Soviet intervention in Czechoslovakia might have changed history as this happened in 1939 when the USSR defeated Japan in Khalkhin-Gol.

 

8-DICTATORSHIP OF LITHUANIA

In December 1926, a military coup empowered the former President Antanas Smetona, who appointed as Prime Minister Augustinas Voldemaras, the leader of the fascist party "Wolves of iron." In September 1929 Augustinas Voldemaras was relieved of his duties and Antanas Smetona, became "dictator" until the Soviet occupation in 1940.

On 22 June 1941, Germany launched Operation Barbarossa and the German forces took control of the whole of Lithuania in the following week.

Lithuanians welcomed the Germans as liberators, hoping to become a state under German protection.

Instead of independence, the Germans set the Reichskommissariat Ostland and applied annexation and ethnic cleansing called up: "Generalplan Ost".

The Lithuanians did not join Waffen SS but militia such as LFA collaborated with Germany. The Germans were helped by many Lithuanians regarding the extermination of partisans and practically of all the Jewish population: 96% of extermination.

 

9-DICTATORSHIP OF LATVIA

In the context of a substantial deterioration of the economic and political situation caused by the far right-wing, Karlis Ulmanis made a coup on May 15, 1934, with support from the General Jānis Balodis. Parliament and all political parties were dissolved. 

At the end of the term of President Alberts Kviesis in 1936, Karlis Ulmanis combines the functions of Minister-President and President of the Republic and took the title of "Tautas Vadonis" which means head of the Nation and of course dictator.

In 1940, Latvia was invaded by the USSR and in 1941 by the army of Nazi Germany, which was welcomed by the population. Members of Latvian police assisted the Germans regarding the eradication of the Jews. The Latvians formed units of the Waffen SS and fought on the Russian front alongside Germany.

 

10-DICTATORSHIP OF ESTONIA

From 1937 Konstantin Päts proclaimed himself Riigihoida , that is to say, "Protector of the State" and of course dictator.

The regime established by Konstantin Päts was a dictatorship: the constitution was suspended, the state of emergency was declared, political parties were banned and were all replaced by one patriotic league. Propaganda emphasized the primacy of the group over the individual as well as rural values. A new constitution came into force in January 1938 with elections with a bicameral system meanwhile the political parties were still banned. The country depended on the Reichskommissariat Ostland as all Baltic countries.

The first elections were held in 1938 and 90 of the 108 seats were taken by supporters of the dictator Konstantin Päts. 

Estonia was invaded by the Soviet Union in 1940, followed by Germany in 1941. The country depended on the Reichskommissariat Ostland, which also includes Belarus and the other Baltic countries and applied the Generalplan Ost.

Ten Thousands of Jews from neighboring countries perished in the concentration camps set up in Estonia, as well as approximately 15,000 Russian prisoners of war.

Estonians collaborated with the Germans. Estonian security forces played an active role in the arrests of minorities and partisans and provide the bulk of the supervision of prison camps and concentration camps.

In August 1942, Estonian Waffen SS were created. From February 1943 over a third of Estonian classes 37 to 42 were enrolled by the Germans.

 

11-DICTATORSHIP OF SERBIA-Government of National Salvation

The Germans invaded Yugoslavia in April 1941 and settled on August 29, 1941, a Government of National Salvation Serbia under the leadership of dictator Milan Nedić, who was in charge of the collaboration with Germany. Discriminatory steps were taken against Jews and concentration camps were established. The Serbian National Guard (up to 35 000 men) supported the dictatorship, were armed by Italians and Germans and made numerous slaughters against the Croatian, Bosnian, Jews and Serb partisans.

In 1942, after the creation of the Serbian section of the Gestapo, Serbia was proclaimed "Judenfrei" (free of Jews).

Tito's communist Partisans created in 1941 the Republic of Uzice on part of Serbian territory.

 

12 - MONTENEGRO

After the collapse of Yugoslavia, Sekula Drljevic and the Montenegrin federalist movement proclaimed the autonomy of Montenegro in July 1941 under Italian control. Montenegro became an Italian protectorate. In 1943, after the Italian capitulation, Montenegro came under the control of Germany.

 

13-ALBANIA-Italian Protectorate

Ahmed Bey Zogulli, head of Muslim clan, became Prime Minister and President of the Republic, and was proclaimed king in 1928 under the name of Zog I. Italy invaded the country from 1939 expelled the King. Albania became an Italian protectorate and Victor Emmanuel III became its king.

 

B-AXIS FORCES OR RELATED TO THE AXIS IN EUROPE AND / OR TO THE GERMAN ANTI-

COMINTERN PACT (I.E. ANTICOMMUNIST PACT)

The Anti-Comintern Pact that could be called "anti-Communist" is an agreement established by the Germans and signed on 25 November 1936 with Japan. This pact was directed against the country claiming their link with the third International Communist and then against the USSR. On November 6, 1937 Italy signed the anti-Comintern pact.

Germany, Japan and Italy formed the Axis Berlin-Rome-Tokyo as a result  of the tripartite agreement signed on 26 September 1940. These countries were quickly joined by other fascist states.

1-The main signatories of the anti-Communist Pact were:

Germany, Japan, Italy, Croatia, Denmark, Finland, Hungary, Manchukuo, Romania, Slovakia, Serbia and Turkey

2-The signatories of the Axis, co-signers, co-belligerents, annexed countries and countries collaborating with AXIS in Europe were:

Germany, Japan, Italy, Hungary, Romania, Slovakia, Finland, Austria, Albania, France, Croatia, Montenegro, Norway, Serbia.

 

Manchukuo-Japan-China-USSR

In 1931, the Japanese army provoked an incident in Manchuria, occupied the entire North of China and created the puppet state of Manchukuo in 1932. In juillet1936, the Japanese declared war on China.

The USSR and its associated Republic of Mongolia had a border of 7 500 km with Manchuria occupied by Japan; one third of this border was not clearly designed and was a source of incidents between the USSR and Japan The Japanese accused the USSR to intervene in the Sino-Japanese conflict. On 24 November 1936, Japan signed the German Anti-Comintern Pact designed to counter the Communists and therefore the USSR. 

In 1939 the Japanese army attacked the USSR, but suffered a crushing defeat in Nomonhan-Khalkhin-Gol. Japan then renounced to its expansionism in northern Asia and redirected it towards the South-East Asia and the Pacific.

Anti-Comintern Pact and tripartite Pact linking Germany and Japan put the USSR in a vise between Europe and the Pacific Ocean, between Germany and Japan.

 

COUNTRIES OF EASTERN EUROPE IN THE CAMP OF AXIS

1-DICTATORSHIP OF HUNGARY

2-DICTATORSHIP OF ROMANIA

3-BULGARIA

4-PROTECTORATE OF BOHEMIA-MORAVIA

5-DICTATORSHIP OF SLOVAKIA

6-DICTATORSHIP OF CROATIA

7-DICTATORSHIP OF LITHUANIA

8-DICTATORSHIP OF LATVIA

9-DICTATORSHIP OF ESTONIA

10-DICTATURE OF SERBIA-Government of National Salvation

11-MONTENEGRO

12-ALBANIA

OTHER EUROPEAN COUNTRIES IN THE CAMP OF AXIS

 

13-DICTATORSHIP OF GERMANY and Austria

a- Versailles Treaty and collective responsibility in WWII

The Treaty of Versailles was signed on June 28, 1919 and promulgated on January 10, 1920; one of its aspects was the redrawing of the borders of Germany and as a result of Europe.

  • Germany lost 68,000 km² or 15% of its territory and 10% of its population i.e. 8 million inhabitants and its union with Austria reduced to a Germanic country was prohibited in order to limit the power of Germany in continental Europe.
  • Alsace-Lorraine returned to France.
  • The Polish provinces (Silesia) occupied for more than a century were given back to Poland which was recreated;
  • Danzig became a free city administered by the League of Nations to give Poland access to the sea but also for separating Eastern Prussia from Germany;
  • Saarland and Rhineland were demilitarized and occupied by the Allies for 15 years and their fate to be determined later by referendum.
  • Germany was declared unable to make a civilizing mission and lost all its colonies whose administration was mainly given to France, UK and Union of South Africa.
  • Austria-Hungary was broken up by the Treaty of St. Germain and Trianon, which was an exhibit of the Treaty of Versailles. To this end Hungary was declared independent and Czechoslovakia and Yugoslavia were created.

 Yugoslavia was an extension of the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes. Various other parts of Austria-Hungary were transferred to Romania and Italy.

In addition:

• Germany had to deliver 5,000 cannons, 25,000 military aircrafts and its entire fleet (which scuttled).

• Its army was limited to 100,000 men and excluded tanks, artillery and military aviation.

• The left bank of the Rhine and Koblenz, Mainz and Cologne were demilitarized.

• Germany lost ownership of all its patents.

• The Rhine, the Oder and the Elbe were internationalized

The target of the Allies was the breaking of Germany and Austria in order to protect them against any future conflict and also to get financial and economic benefits from the victory.

Versailles was chosen by reference to the Treaty signed on 18 January 1871, in the same place after the defeat of France in 1870 and during which the birth of the German Empire was proclaimed. June 28 referred to 28 June 1914 (assassination in Sarajevo of the Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria).  

Thirty two Allied and Associated countries were represented in the negotiations of the Treaty of Versailles but Russia was excluded and quarantined by the allies because the Revolution forced her to withdraw from the conflict in 1917 and had created a political regime inacceptable for the allies.

Because of this ostracism, the allies renounced eventually to the proposed intervention of the USSR in the Sudetenland to block the appetite of Germany ultimately on the whole Czechoslovakia, which might have changed the course of history. One year later the USSR demonstrated its military effectiveness against Japan.

Work on the Treaty of Versailles was dominated by a board of four members: Georges Clemenceau for France, Lloyd George for the Great Britain, Vittorio Orlando for Italy and Woodrow Wilson for the United States.

Woodrow Wilson obtained that inclusion of the Covenant of the League of Nations (LN) in the text of the treaty.

Woodrow Wilson wanted to establish a new international policy based on the right of peoples to self-determination and cooperation between states materialized by LN and received in this respect the Nobel Peace Prize in 1919. We may regret that the black people of the USA did not benefit in that time of the rights of people advocated by this country.

Neither the Americans nor the British wanted to break completely Germany respectively not to arouse a spirit of revenge and to limit correspondingly the power of France in continental Europe.

Georges Clemenceau, in contrast to the Anglo-American and in a spirit of nationalism and revenge wanted to impose large reparations for breaking the economic power of Germany and fund the reconstruction of France.

The amount to be paid by Germany was set to 132 billion gold marks mainly to France: 52% and to the Great Britain: 22%, to Italy: 10% and to Belgium: 8%.

The GDP of Germany at that time was in the range of 3 billion gold marks and reparations therefore represented 44 years of GDP. In Germany, the debt before 1914 amounted to two months of GDP to 3 years after the war.

John Maynard Keynes, renowned economist and  member of the British commission recommended to reduce the overall amount of reparations to 20 billion gold marks and warned allies against the threat of war arising from excessive compensations (See: Economic Consequences of the Peace). Germany has dragged its debt until October 3, 2010, when it finally repaid all compensation and related cost, almost a century after the start of the conflict.

AFP news -2010: translation from French

"Nearly 92 years after the end of the First World War, Germany has finished on Sunday to pay the reparations requested by the Allies. A final payment, the amount due to complete nearly 200 million Euros, will be made on Sunday i.e. exactly 20 years after the reunification of Germany divided into two at the end of the Second World War.

Reparations of 269 billion Reich marks, imposed by the Treaty of Versailles in 1919, had weighed heavily on the German governments of the Weimar Republic in the 1920s and contributed to the coming to power of Hitler in 1933.These reparations were due in compensation of the losses suffered by France and Belgium during the war, and help to cover the cost of this war for the Allies.

The borrowings for the payment of theses reparations and made before the date of the Hoover moratorium of 1932 were still due. The West Germany had agreed to repay a portion of them from 1953, but the interests for the period 1945-1953 were not paid.

An agreement was reached whereby Germany would pay any remaining amount due 20 years after the unlikely reunification that finally took place. " 

The Treaty of Versailles influenced the course of German history leading to the WWII; the U.S. Senate refused to ratify it and prevented thus the United States to join the League of Nations and reduced the authority of this organization that Americans created.

Italy considered that it did not received sufficient territories and called the 1918 victory the "mutilated victory"; this frustration led notably to the rise of fascism and to the alliance of Italy with Germany in the WWII against the Allies.

The payment of reparations was a heavy burden for the democratic Weimar Republic which succeeded the authoritarian Empire. The amount was impossible to pay even at the cost of total impoverishment of Germany.

In 1922 the new Reich Chancellor Wilhelm Cuno requested a 2-year postponement of payments of reparations in order to apply a policy of monetary stabilization but the allies rejected his request.

On January 11, 1923, the French Prime Minister (Président du Conseil) Raymond Poincaré decided to invade militarily the Ruhr because Germany had delivered only 75,000 meters of telegraph lines instead of 200,000 meters and did not supply enough coal . This shortfall in deliveries of Germany represented only 24 million gold marks compared to 1484 million already paid. This brutal invasion was a humiliation for the German people and an error that with other blunders, have paved the way for the victory of Nazism.

The economic requirements and the occupation increased the economic destabilization of Germany and popular discontent. The French troops acted with brutality in the Ruhr: Establishment of a state of siege, prohibition of sending coal from the Ruhr to the rest of Germany.

The Americans intervened to moderate the situation and avoid a conflict. Dawes' Plan eased the repayment terms of Germany in 1923, but the burden remained too heavy and led to the Young's Plan in 1929 which substantially reduced the German debt and rescheduled its repayment until 1988. Given the great international depression, payments were temporarily interrupted under the Hoover's moratorium of 1931 and the Young Plan was not applied. 

b-The Weimar Republic did not withstand the weight of reparations imposed by the Treaty of Versailles

After the defeat, Kaiser Wilhelm II abdicated on November 9, 1918 and fled to the Netherlands and the same day the Republic was proclaimed by Philipp Scheidemann. Between 1918 and 1919, the old Germany disappeared and a wave of violent conflicts opposed social democrats to revolutionaries. The SPD, obtained the majority in the Weimar National Assembly in February 1919 and Friedrich Ebert became President of the Weimar Republic. This name was due to the fact that the Constituent Assembly met in Weimar by fear of revolutionary unrest in Berlin; the National Assembly was transferred to Berlin in September 1919. 

In 1923 and 1924 Germany sank in the hyperinflation, which was a consequence of the dismemberment of the economy by the allies and of their refusal to help German economic recovery while French and Belgian armies occupied the Ruhr.

This situation fueled the discontent, encouraged extremists and accelerated the rise of the Nazi party. The hyperinflation of 1923 was a key event, which sustainable supported Nazism by the trauma it caused and by the bitter memory it left.

Chancellor Cuno resigned on August 13 1923 and was replaced by Gustav Stresemann who formed a government of "grand coalition."In a spirit of appeasement Gustav Stresemann ended the passive resistance of the population against the allies in Ruhr that Cuno had encouraged. Chancellor Gustav Stresemann was chancellor during three months only but remained thereafter Minister of Foreign Affairs until his death in 1929.

During the last years of his life Gustav Stresemann and Aristide Briand attempted to prevent a bad development of relations between France and Germany in order to avoid a new conflict.

The Weimar Republic had to live severe events as the hyperinflation and the military occupation of the Ruhr. Charles Dawes, Vice President of the United States reduced the installments of the reparations from 1924 to 1928 and provided the option of a moratorium in case of international economic crisis. This reorganization allowed Germany to stabilize its economy and reduce the inflation. For his action, Charles Dawes received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1925.

When Nazis came to power in 1933, the reparations payments were stopped.

 

c-ARISTIDE BRIAND AND GUSTAV STRESEMANNN: AN ARDENT WISH OF PEACE

Aristide Briand (1862-1932): he was 11 times French Prime minister (Président du Conseil) and 20 times minister; he acted to promote the reconciliation and cooperation between France and Germany and wanted to outlaw the war with the support of the League of Nations.

Gustav Stresemann (1878-1929): He was Chancellor in 1923 and Minister of Foreign Affairs from 1923 to 1929; he also acted to promote the reconciliation and cooperation between France and Germany.

For their action for Peace, Aristide Briand and Gustav Stresemann received together the Nobel Peace Prize on December 10, 1926.

Gustav Stresemann needed additional relief regarding the payment of reparations to stabilize economy and prevent the rise of Nazism.

In 1929 Gustav Stresemann declared: « Wenn Briand jetzt keine Konzessionen macht, bin ich erledigt. Dann kommt ein anderer. Gehen Sie nach Nürnberg und sehen Sie sich Hitler an! » - Felix Hirsch, op. cit., p.75. "If Briand makes no concessions now, I'm done. Another will come . Go to Nuremberg and see Hitler! "

Shortly before his death in 1929, he also said: « Wenn die Alliierten mir ein einziges Mal entgegengekommen wären, hätte ich das Volk hinter mich gebracht, ja, noch heute könnte ich es hinter mich bringen. Aber sie haben mir nichts gegeben und die geringfügigen Konzessionen, die sie gemacht haben, sind immer zu spät gekommen. So bleibt uns nichts anderes als die brutale Gewalt.

Die Zukunft liegt in der Hand der neuen Generation, und diese, die deutsche Jugend, die wir für den Frieden und Wiederaufbau hätten gewinnen können, haben wir verloren. Hierin liegt meine Tragödie und ihr, der Alliierten, Verbrechen. » - Gerhard Krause, Die Schuld am deutschen Schicksal, Wahrheit als Waffe gegen Lüge und Verleumdung, Preussisch Oldendorf, 1973, p.251.

"If the Allies had come to see me once, I would have the people behind me, yes, I still could. But they gave me nothing and smaller concessions they have made have always come too late. Thus, we are left with nothing but brutal violence.

The future is in the hands of the new generation, but the latter, the German youth that we could lead to join us for peace and reconstruction, we lost it. This is my tragedy and your crime, you Allies"

Historical responsibilities are never as simple as presented. Everyone has a responsibility that we perceive better as time passes. Peace is a collective effort but the obstinacy of each other has caused the Second World War.

 

d-THE RISE OF NAZISM

The economic crisis of 1929, the memory of the hyperinflation of 1923 due to the economic dismemberment of Germany, the other conditions of the Versailles Treaty and the occupation of the Ruhr undermined German democracy and paved the way for the National Socialist German Workers' Party (NSDAP- Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei), which became the second party in the German Reichstag elections of September 14, 1930 behind the SPD.

In the elections of 6 November 1932, the Nazi Party lost some seats meanwhile the Communist Party got 100 seats. The right wing and the business community were afraid by the rise of the Communist Party and made pressure on Marshal Hindenburg (Reich President) in order that he appointed Hitler chancellor after the 1933 elections in which the Nazi party made progress. The fear of communism by the right wing was a staunch ally of Nazism.

As a matter of fact the elections of March 1933 gave the Nazi party a relative majority in parliament with 43.9% of the vote, Hitler was appointed chancellor and obtained the full powers. Upon the death of Paul von Hindenburg August 2, 1934, Hitler launches the Third Reich and named himself "Führer" accumulating the roles of President and Chancellor of the Reich. For the Nazis, the first Reich was the Holy Roman Empire and the second Reich was the Empire of William II.

The Communists were imprisoned or killed, the opposition was stifled and anti-Semitism became a state policy: in 1933 the Jews were excluded from public administrations and in 1935 they were deprived of German citizenship. In 1933, Germany left the League of Nations, stopped the payment of reparations and denounced the clauses of the Treaty of Versailles.

In 1935, military service was restored; in 1936, the Rhineland was remilitarized and German troops were sent in Spain alongside the Italian fascist troops to support Franco against the Republic. In 1938 the Nazis achieved the Anschluss with Austria (as opposed to the conditions of the Treaty of Versailles), enthusiastically supported by German and Austrian populations.

Always in opposition to the Treaty of Versailles, the Germans invaded the Sudetenland in 1938 for which they obtained the agreement of English and French in Munich which ultimately allowed them to tear Czechoslovakia; in 1939 they invaded Poland which was rebuilt by the Treaty Versailles.

 

e -NAZISM

Nazism had a huge popular support in Germany in particular from 1933 since the Nazi started the rearmament and created jobs before the war. During the war, the exploitation of resources and labor of occupied countries improved the situation of the Germans. Moreover the expropriation of Jews, the occupation of the Rhineland and the Anschluss all satisfied the Germanic people.

After Germany and its allies took control of most continental Europe from west to the suburbs of Moscow, the Nazi leaders adopted the "final solution" on January 20, 1942 at Wannsee, which consisted in the cold, calculated and organized extermination of the whole Jewish people.

This destruction had actually started in 1941 when the Red Army had to retreat, first initiated by local people of Eastern Europe and then by the German upon their arrival in these countries.

France is in this field the star student of the Nazis as anti-Semitic laws were enforced in this country in 1940 followed by arrests and raids organized by the French authorities with more zeal than requested by the Germans at least at the beginning.

ANTI-SEMITIC OBSESSION

The anti-Semitic obsession of Nazis satisfied most European used to a bimillenary traditional and multifaceted anti-Semitism; on this basis Nazis were easily able to designate the Jewish people as the cause of all evils.

The Nazi anti-Semitism is a "paroxysmal" form of the traditional European anti-Semitism.

In the nineteenth and twentieth century the traditional anti-Semitism inspired by the Church was strengthened by pseudo-scientific racist theories on which the Nazis based the highest collective homicide in the European history.

Beyond the Dreyfus affair which led to the conclusion that only the return of Jews to Israel could protect them against a risk of violent death in Europe.  France, England and Germany were the nest in the nineteenth and twentieth century of  many anti-Semitic and racist theorists who inspired Nazism:

Arthur de Gobineau (1816-1882) author of "An Essay on the Inequality of the Human Races; his text contains the racial hierarchy model adopted by the Nazis.

Georges Vacher de Lapouge (1854-1936) author of the Aryan and his social role. He disguises his racist vision in a pseudo-scientific form and influenced the Nazis.

Heinrich Treitschke wrote in 1880 "Noch einige Bemerkungen zur Judenfrage."(Some remarks on the Jewish question).

Eugen Dühring wrote the same year “Die Judenfrage als Frage der Racenschadlichkeit.”(The Jewish question as harmful to races).

Houston Stewart Chamberlain (1855-1927) author of the Foundation of the nineteenth century is a fanatical racist convinced of the superiority of the Aryan race.

Herbert Spencer (1820-1903) created the Social Darwinism entitling the stronger to eradicate the weaker.

Francis Galton (1822-1911) created eugenics whose principles were adopted by the Nazis

Nazism has pushed to the extreme the anti-Semitic continuum of the Christian tradition and European thought.

Antisemitic choice of France during the Second World War and Germany illustrated the strong roots of this phenomenon in the popular tradition.

The populations of the eastern countries did not need theorists to maintain their murderous anti-Semitic tradition that led to pogroms in Czarist Russia. Until 1921 the Tsarists continued to foment pogroms in Russia and Ukraine.

In 1939 the European Jewish population was 9.6 million people out of which 6 million or 62.5% were exterminated by Germany and its collaborators.

 

RACISM CORNERSTONE OF NAZI THOUGHT

The Nazis affirm the superiority of the "Aryan race" or "Nordic race" to which they claim to belong, to all the others. The Aryan race is for them the only source of human progress; they think that the Aryan race must preserve the purity of its blood in order to concentrate the human genius. This perverse conception has encouraged the implementation of eugenic policies as the elimination of sick and disabled people. The Nazis classify roughly non-Aryan races as "races to educate" (Latin people...) "Races to enslave" (Slaves...) and "races to exterminate" (Jews...).

Alfred Rosenberg, the Nazi theorist in The Myth of the Twentieth Century (1930), reduces history to a struggle of races and shows that the Nordic race is threatened by interbreeding, Jewish and Judeo-Christian values.

 

NAZISM AND FASCISM

National Socialism is opposed to socialism and communism both international. National Socialism is inspired from fascism and racism and does not include the values of the socialism.

According to Hitler: "Anyone who is willing to adopt the national cause as his own cause, to such an extent that he does not know an ideal higher than the nation prosperity and who has understood that our great hymn "Deutschland über alles" means nothing in the wide world surpasses in his eyes Germany, his land and his people, this one is a socialist."

Thus in the Nazi language the terms "nationalism" and "socialism" are synonymous and the class struggle is replaced by the union of the classes in the "Volksgemeinschaft" (community of the people).

The Nazi regime is close to fascism by its demonstrative character, the cult of the leader, the domination of the party and the use of violence. Nazism is a kind of fascism incorporating racism and anti-Semitism as doctrines of State. Nazism is a unique phenomenon.

The Nazis believe that the Aryan race deserves a living space that brings it both the space and resources to make it independent from the economy and international finance, which are for them, influenced by the Jews; war is a legitimate way to obtain what the Aryans deserve.

The fascist movements today have a Nazi color since it always includes racism in addition to ultra-nationalism.

Nazism is a unique phenomenon that cannot be compared to any other without the risk of weakening the paroxysmal reference that is in terms of horror (as this was unfortunately made in the declaration of Prague of 2008).

The singularity of Nazism led to the horror of the Holocaust which is a unique phenomenon; yet the uniqueness or singularity of the Holocaust is dangerously challenged today by the European right wing and the far right wing, which wish to make a trivial equality between Communism and Nazism weakening thus Nazism and the Holocaust as historical references of horror.

The most fervent supporters of this equality canard are generally far-right and anti-Semitic movements of Eastern European countries relayed by the European right wing.

The inaccuracy or bias of the different narratives of the European history Europe since 1918, lead to a radicalization of ideas. This trend is illustrated by the Prague Declaration of 2008.

 

AUSTRIA

Since the end of the first word war, Austria was reduced to a Germanic State, which was not authorized to unite with Germany as a result of the Versailles Treaty aiming to limit the size of Germany. The Nazis of course had an opposite view and wanted the union between Germany and Austria. Austrian Chancellor Kurt von Schuschnigg favorable to an independent Austria tried to organize a referendum on the subject, but the Austrian Nazi Party made a coup on March 11, 1938 before the vote.

The power was transferred to Germany, whose troops entered Austria on March 12, 1938 to support the union of the two countries. The German and Austrian peoples highly supported the Anschluss that obtained 99% of the votes in a referendum made in Austria.

The persecution of the Jews who suffered the same fate as the German Jews, was supported by the Austrian people whose anti-Semitism is a longstanding tradition. About 130,000 Jewish Austrians fled abroad and particularly in the United Kingdom.

If the Austrian population represented only 8% of the population of Germany, the Austrian represented 14% of the Waffen SS and 40% of the staff in charge of the implementation of the Holocaust.

Among the Austrians having held senior positions in the Third Reich we may notice the following:

 Adolf Hitler, Franz Böhme, Lothar Rendulic, Julius Ringel, Alexander Löhr, Adolf Eichmann organizer of the Holocaust, Odilo Globocnik, Amon Göth commander of the concentration camp of Plaszow, Franz Stangl commander of the extermination camps of Sobibor and Treblinka, Ernst Kaltenbrunner responsible RSHA-Reichssicherheitshauptamt  (Central Reich Security Office), Otto Skorzeny organizer of the escape of Benito Mussolini from Gran Sasso, Arthur Seyss-Inquart Reich Commissioner for the Netherlands, Karl Silberbauer famous for having arrested Anne Frank and her family on August 4, 1944...

Austria refuses all responsibility and indemnity payment regarding its Jewish victims. 

 

13-DICTATORSHIP OF ITALY

Italy is the birthplace of fascism. The name originates from "fascio" i.e. a bundle of sticks and ax for the enforcement of punishments decided by the Roman magistrates and that can be understood as "order by violence."

Fascism is opposed to democracy, parliamentary system, individualism, humanism, human equality; it is totalitarian, nationalist and militarist and imposes its order by violence.

Fascism requires a social order at the head of which is the Supreme Leader. Fascism seeks broad popular support by populist demagoguery.

In 1922, the National Fascist Party obtained 35 seats in parliament, more than 700,000 members and Benito Mussolini organized the march of the Blackshirts in Rome on October 28, 1922.

King Victor Emmanuel III did not authorize the Italian Army to repel the fascists and gave Benito Mussolini the responsibility to form a new government. The National Fascist Party won the elections in April 1924 helped by a change in the electoral system (Acerbo's law).

With fascist laws - leggi fascistissime (1926) political parties other than the fascist party were prohibited, the press was censored and secret police was created as well of a file of political suspects.

Italy signed the anti-Communist German Pact and the Tripartite Pact with Germany and Japan.

In 1938 Italy enacted racist and anti-Semitic laws. Fascism is normally based on extreme nationalism and influenced Nazism; in turn Fascism was influenced by Nazism in combining the concepts of national community and racial community.

 

14-DICTATORSHIP OF FRANCE

Despite France declared war on 3 September 1939, it really began on 10 May 1940, when the German decided to launch the offensive against France through the Netherlands, Belgium and the Ardennes. German Tanks and aviation played an essential role and the French troops retreated hastily.

France declared war on Germany after the invasion of Poland, but did not intervene to defend this country despite it committed to do so and simply waited for 8 months the German offensive. The United Kingdom did the same.

On May 17, 1940, Marshal Petain was appointed Vice-Prime Minister (Vice- Président du Conseil) of Paul Reynaud's government.

On 14 June 1940, Paris was occupied by the German and the French Government and the President of the Republic and the Parliament fled to Bordeaux.

On 16 June 1940, Paul Reynaud presented the resignation of his Government and Marshal Petain was appointed in his place.

Marshal Petain was in favor of an armistice and on 17 June 1940, he announced: "il faut cesser le combat"(we must stop fighting).

The armistice was signed on June 22, 1940 at Rethondes i.e. where Germany had signed the Armistice on 11 November 1918.

The text of the Armistice included twenty four articles easing the German offensive in the rest of Europe; the main articles included the following points: 

• Prisoners of war (more than 1.5 million men) remain in captivity until the signing of a peace agreement.

The northern half, and the Atlantic coast of France are under German occupation; the occupied area covers three-fifths of the richest part of France and the southern rest after the river Loire is called "free zone". French sovereignty is exercised over the whole territory, free zone and occupied zone; in the occupied zone, Germany benefited of the rights of the occupying country, which involves the close collaboration of administrative authorities.

France had to cover the cost of the maintenance of the German army of occupying the country set at 439 million francs per day which were on average 400 million per day from June 1940 to May 1941 - 300 million per day May 1941 to November 1942 and 500 million per day from May 1942 to August 1944 i.e. a total amount of 639 billion francs i.e. an average of 150 billion francs per annum.

• In the free zone, the French army is limited to disarmed 100,000 soldiers.

• The French colonial empire remains under the authority of the French government.

• Warships must remain in their home port.

• France must deliver to Germany, the German or Austrian political refugees on its soil.

• The Alsace-Moselle is annexed by Germany

On 10 July 1940, the French Republic through its Parliament set up a dictatorship in granting full powers to Marshal Petain, who enjoyed an immense popular support.

A law called "constitutional law," was passed by both Houses -Senates and representatives both standing in the premises of the Casino of Vichy, With 569 votes and only 80 votes against and 20 abstentions.

This law gave full power to the government of the Republic, under the authority and the signature of Marshal Petain "without control of the Parliament.

After the Allied landing in North Africa in November 1942, the free zone was also occupied by Germany.

From 1940 the French State initiated a policy of zealous collaboration with Nazi Germany.

The Marshal Petain had fascist, racist and anti-Semitic beliefs that made France a country in ideological agreement with Nazi Germany; he pursued a policy of national contrition for redemption of the alleged releasing of France before the war.

His government acted ahead of the German requests regarding the anti-Jewish policy.

France wanted to be a good student of the Axis probably to have a good place in the future of Europe led by Germany and brought presumably the most important aid to Nazi Germany from the Axis countries in various fields. 

Economic and financial: by providing various commodities and goods, by paying 438 million francs per day on average and by supplying labor to Germany (STO). France offered to Germany approximately half of its GDP.

Military: by delivering arms, blocking the fleet, arresting the German and Austrian opponents to Nazism who sought refuge in France, by building the Atlantic Wall: this wall was built by French companies and French staff paid with part the payments from France to Germany. 7000 French volunteers fought on the Russian front alongside the German.

Anti-Semitism: Establishment of laws restricting the activity of the Jews and arrests of Jews delivered to Germany. A militia of 35,000 French participates in the implementation of the German policy.

Vichy government was very productive in laws, rules and actions to "aryanize" the French society by excluding Jews and delivering them to the Nazis.

Fascism and anti-Semitic obsession of Marshal Petain were close of Nazism beliefs.

Anti-Semitism was particularly invasive during this period and France cannot be healed of it without a work of memory based on reality.

Moreover the zeal of French towards Nazis would never have bought fruits for France knowing the unhidden aversion of Nazis for France as clearly expressed in Mein Kampf.

 

Examples of Vichy laws 

a. Law of 21 June 1941 regulating the conditions of admission of Jewish students in higher education institutions: 

We, Marshal of France, head of the French State, the Council of Ministers heard, decree:

Art. 1: The number of Jewish students allowed to register for each academic year of a faculty, school or institute of higher education may not exceed 3% of non-Jewish students during the previous school year.

b. Act of 22 July 1941 on the undertaking, property and assets belonging to Jews

We, Marshal of France, the French head of State, the Council of Ministers heard decree:

Art. 1: In order to eliminate any Jewish influence in the national economy, the Commissioner General for Jewish Affairs may appoint a provisional administrator to:

1. Any industrial, commercial, real estate or craft;

2. Any property, real estate or any right to lease;

3. Any personal property, security or any property right, when those to whom they belong, or the head, or some of them are Jewish.

Darquier de Pellepoix appointed as director of the General Commissariat for Jewish Affairs in May 1942, circulated instructions prohibiting the use of Mister or Mrs before the name of a Jew,which should be replaced by "the Jew" e.g. Mr X became the Jew X and the typical French word "Israélite" was also prohibited; Jew being assimilated as an insult in the anti-Semitic France, Napoleon introduced the word of "Israélite" instead with the aim of normalizing all religions in France. Israelite refers only to the religion of Jacob and has no relation with Israeli: inhabitant of Israel. This word belongs to what is usually named as the French exception.

 

Orchestrated exaggeration of the weight of "France Libre" (free France):

This importance of "France Libre" is substantially exaggerated in France History as compared to its reality as this can be seen in museums, monuments, media and education. The aim of this exaggeration was to clean French History in putting General De GAULLE on the foreground and hide or make secondary the dark reign of Marshal Petain. Unfortunately this maneuver prevents French people to make a healthy work of memory as the German did.

It was only after the initiative of a declaration of President Jacques Chirac on 16 July 1995, i.e. half a century after the end of the war, that it was officially admitted the existence of one single France instead of two responsible for its crimes committed during the war.

"Yes, the criminal madness of the occupant was well known, assisted by the French, supported by the French State ....." (Oui, la folie criminelle de l'occupant a été chacun le sait, secondée par des Français, secondée par l'État Français.....) Jacques Chirac 16 July 1995.

The organization of the "Free France" comes from the rally to De Gaulle of French people and natives from the colonies who wanted to continue the fight against Germany.

Many French troops were in Great Britain at the beginning of the summer of 1940, because they were evacuated thanks the operations "Dynamo and Ariel", but a very small portion of them rallied the "Free France".

 In December 1940, the Free French Forces consisted of 27,000 persons and after the rallying of various colonies reached a maximum of 70 000 persons in June 1943, half of them being French citizens, before the merger of free France within the CFLN - French Committee of National Liberation. 

The reality

In November 1942, the American landings in North Africa -Operation Torch- took place under the fire from French soldiers linked to the French state and therefore the Axis. The U.S. took control of Morocco and Algeria and the situation was changed in French North Africa but the Americans did not  consider to utilize supporters of General de Gaulle.

The Americans were reluctant regarding De Gaulle and Alexis Leger said St John Perse supporter of Aristide Briand and exiled in the United States, warned the Americans against possible abuses of authority by General De Gaulle.

Finally the command of French troops (troops of Africa and free France) was coordinated from 1943 by the French Committee of National Liberation (CFLN) under the double authority of General Giraud who seceded with Marshal Petain and General de Gaulle.

Work of   memory hardly started until the 1970s: Movie "The Sorrow and the Pity" of Marc Ophuls in 1971, ", "the book by Robert Paxton" on Vichy's France in 1973, "the Case Touvier" in 1992"and "the statement Jacques Chirac" in 1995. 

 

15-FINLAND

Finland signed the German Anti-Comintern Pact in November 1941 but not the Tripartite Pact. Finland joined the German troops on the Russian front and helped the Nazi troops to make the Siege of Leningrad. We must therefore consider this country as part of "de facto" the Axis.

 

16-DICTATORSHIP OF GREECE

After the German invasion, the Greek government went into exile in Crete and Egypt. Originally, Italy wanted to annex the country but Germany preferred to install a puppet regime. Italy occupies most of the country, but the key areas of Athens and Macedonia were controlled by the Germans. General Georgios Tsolakoglou was appointed as head of government collaboration.

 

17-DICTATORSHIP OF NORWAY

Germany invaded Norway in spring 1940, but the King Haakon VII refused both to abdicate and to collaborate. Eventually the Germans exiled the King and imposed a government headed by the pro-Nazi Vidkun Quisling on August 1, 1942.

 

18-DANEMARK

Germany invaded Denmark - Operation Weserübung - in April 1940, leaving it autonomy. Denmark aligned its foreign policy with that of Germany by signing the Anti-Comintern Pact and cutting its relations with the Allies.

 

19-SWEDEN

Sweden has always claimed a status of neutral country. However during the Winter War between Finland and the Soviet Union, the country provided Finland with logistical and military support.  Sweden also allowed the transit of German troops through its territory. Sweden appeared thus more on the side of Germany than Neutral.

 

20-DICTATORSHIP OF SPAIN

During the Spanish Civil War, nationalist forces led by Franco received the support of Germany and Italy and won the civil war against the Republicans. Franco was not able to fully join Germany in WWII war because of the catastrophic situation of the country after the civil war. However, Spain signed the German antikominern pact and sent 50,000 soldiers named the Blue Division, fighting on the Russian Front alongside the Germans. After the war, the country welcomed many fascists, Nazis and collaborators fleeing the Allies.

 

C-CURRENT COUNTRIES OF THE EUROPEAN UNION AND THE AXIS

 

Among the 21 European countries being member of the Axis or having had collaborating relations with the Axis, 15 took freely initiatives favorable to the Axis. These countries were:, Hungary-Axis, Romania-Axis, Croatia- Collaborator with Axis, Bulgaria-Collaborator with Axis, Lithuania- Collaborator with Axis, Latvia- Collaborator with Axis, Estonia- Collaborator with Axis Germany-Axis, Austria-Axis de facto, Italy-Axis, Finland-Axis de facto, France- Collaborator with Axis, Denmark-Close of the Axis, Sweden-Close of the Axis despite alleged neutrality and Spain-Close of the Axis.

8 of these 15 are Eastern European countries.

These 15 countries are now all members of the 28 countries of the European Union from July 2013 (including Croatia)

These 15 countries represent 54% of the 28 member States of the European Union from July 2013, but their population represent 65.5% of the population of the European Union (333 million out of 508 million). 

 

D-UNITED KINGDOM

On 1st September 1939 Germany invaded Poland which led France and Great Britain to declare war on Germany on September 3, 1939.

A British Expeditionary Force (BEF) was sent on the Franco-Belgian border, but Britain and France did not launch any offensive and let Germany invade Poland.

The BEF was composed of 10 infantry divisions, a tank brigade and a detachment of the Royal Air Force with 500 aircrafts. On 10 May 1940, Germany invaded France and the BEF was isolated by the German offensive through Belgium and Ardennes. 

The largest operations of fleeing the battlefield organized by the UK to enable French and British troops to escape to England

Operations Dynamo and Ariel

Isolated by the Germans, the French and the British forces fled to England. The evacuation of British and French forces began on May 26, 1940 -16 days after the German offensive -with the air support the RAF. In ten days, 338,226 British and French soldiers were evacuated to England in the frame of the Operation Dynamo and around 215,000 other soldiers were evacuated to England from Cherbourg, St Malo, Brest, St Nazaire, La Rochelle, Bordeaux, Le Verdon, Bayonne and St Jean de Luz mostly in June; this was the operation Ariel.

The protection of Britain against a possible German invasion became a priority. In mid-1940, the main concern of the Royal Air Force was to protect British airspace against the attacks of the Luftwaffe.

For the Germans, the air superiority was a prerequisite for an invasion of Britain; the defense of the airspace was "the Battle of Britain".

The Germans had three targets:

• Bombing of the British convoys called "Kanalkampf" (July-August 1940)

• Destruction of the RAF (early August - 7 September 1940);

• Bombing of London and other large cities until spring 1941.

After many fights the RAF won this defensive battle and the Germans decided to postpone the invasion of Britain and focus on that of the USSR. 

The German failure was due to the following reasons:

• Effectiveness of radar stations of the RAF

• Successful deciphering of the German communications

• Limited range of German aircraft

The UK increased its troops from 2.2 million soldiers in 1940 to 4,500,000 in 1944 and was used as a military base in Europe for U.S. and Canadian forces, which landed in continental Europe only four years later i.e. very late.

 

III-THE MOLOTOV-RIBBENTROP PACT

According to the bestseller of that time "Mein Kampf" with 12 million copies sold or distributed before and during the war as underlying the program of the Nazi Party, the Soviet Union was at the forefront to provide the necessary "Lebensraum" i.e. living space for Aryans because of its size, its resources and its non-Aryan population. According to the Nazis the conquest of the Lebensraum by the war was legitimate. On top the USSR was the birthplace of Bolshevik ideology to be annihilated also according to the Nazis; Nazis believed among others that the defeat of Germany in 1918 was due to the action of the Communists and Jews.

From 1936 the Germans sought and obtained support of their Anti-Comintern pact whose target was essentially the USSR.

The Soviet Union had thus to be prepared to face a violent and predictable war of conquest.

In 1936 the USSR was the sole country, which intervened in favor of the Spanish Republic in supplying weapons (tanks and aircraft) and military advisers.

Nazi Germany was involved in Spain alongside the nationalists and sent 10,000 soldiers and made air bombardments of the Republican positions. Italian aid to the Spanish nationalist camp was massive and yet France and Britain did not intervene.

In 1938 the USSR proposed to defend Czechoslovakia against Germany regarding the Sudetenland but was not heard by the French and British, who preferred ultimately, abandon Czechoslovakia by signing the Munich Agreements.

In 1939 the USSR was attacked by one of the signatories of the German Anti-Comintern Pact "Japan" and the latter suffered a crushing defeat.

  • The USSR was caught between Europe and Pacific, between Germany and Japan.

The USSR had to gain time to catch up in the weapon industry and the signing of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact "can be seen" as a means to obtain this respite.

Moreover the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact was for the USSR a way to recover the lost territories as a result of the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk between Russia disrupted by the Revolution and Germany on March 3, 1918: loss of 800 000 km2 and that of Riga between the USSR and Poland signed on March 18, 1921, which endorsed the advance of Polish troops advised by the French officers De Gaulle and Gamelin, beyond the limit set by Lord Curzon -the Curzon line (Lord Curzon was Minister of Foreign Affairs of Britain).

The USSR suffered anti-communist ostracism from the European countries and had to face alone the organization of its defense; the case Sudetenland and Munich agreements may have legitimized a mistrust of the USSR towards France and Britain.

The ostracism steps and the lack of offensive to defend Czechoslovakia and Poland might have also have encouraged the search for a respite before a predictable war.

The Molotov-Ribbentrop pact gave the USSR nearly 20 months of respite to prepare the WWII, which in Europe essentially opposed Germany to the USSR. This respite would have been probably shorter if the Italians did not take initiatives in the Balkans, which forced the Germans to intervene.

 In the Führer Directive No. 21 released in 1940, was said: "The German army must be ready even before the conclusion of the war against England, to crush Soviet Russia in favor of a quick campaign ".

 

 SEE FOLLOWING ARTICLE PART 2/2