Collaboration in Wartime France, 1940-1944
Title: Collaboration in Wartime France, 1940-1944
Author: LEMMES, Fabian
Publisher: Routledge Journals, Taylor & Francis Ltd
Citation: European Review of History-Revue Europeenne d'histoire, 2008, 15, 2, 157-177
This paper deals with political as well as economic collaboration. It conceptualises collaboration as a form of cooperation with the occupying power that is - at least to a certain extent - voluntary and goes beyond the search for a pure modus vivendi. The aim of the paper is twofold. First, it presents a synopsis of the framework and central political aspects of collaboration in France. In doing so, it points out the classic distinction between state collaboration and collaborationism, stressing, however, that this distinction is not clear-cut. Both state collaboration and collaborationism interacted with and influenced each other, as is shown by the armed collaboration. Second, the paper problematises one particular dimension of collaboration, which the historiography has rather neglected even though it was the most prevalent and crucial of factors for the occupying power: economic collaboration and especially business collaboration. Focusing on the example of the construction industry, it maps out different patterns of behaviour of companies within the framework of the German policy of economic exploitation and Vichy's economic state collaboration. Even though proper 'economic collaborationism' was as rare as proper resistance, the great majority of enterprises accommodated themselves to the new circumstances. This accommodation could, however, take very different forms. Choices were based on multiple, partially overlapping, partially contradictory logics, and both collaboration and resistance proved to be multidimensional phenomena. It is argued that collaboration is and remains a fruitful concept for the study of occupations, including economic issues.
Subject: Second World War; occupation; collaboration; economic collaboration; business collaboration; business history; state collaboration; collaborationism; France; New Order; Franco-German relations
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