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The Vichy Regime, Collaboration and Resistance

Seminar questions:

  • What were the main terms of the Armistice and why did Vichy go beyond them to seek state collaboration?

  • What kind of France did Vichy try to create and how successfully did it achieve its aims?

  • How have historians classified the Vichy regime, i.e. fascist, authoritarian etc? Do you agree with their analyses?

  • Why did Robert Paxton’s analysis revolutionize historiographical interpretations of Vichy?

  • What explains collaborationism and French involvement in the implementation of the Holocaust?

  • What constituted resistance? What were the aspirations of resisters?

Core texts: 

  • R. O. Paxton, Vichy France: Old Guard and New Order 1940-44 (1972, 2001), ‘Introduction to the 2001 Edition’ [digitized book extract]

  • R. O. Paxton, ibid., chapter 2 [quite long]

  • Background: Popkin, History of Modern France, chps. 27.

Further reading:

Primary sources

  • The terms of the armistice (in English)
  • Documents on Resistance and Collaboration complied by Warwick's Modern Record Centre
  • Conseil national de la résistance programme in P. Novick, The Resistance versus Vichy: The Purge of Collaborators in Liberated France (1968) 198-201 [digitized book extract]
  • The Unpublished Diary of Pierre Laval, with an introduction by Josée Laval (1948)

  • Images de la France de Vichy 1940-1944: images asservies et images rebelles (1988) [in French but contains an extensive selection of images, including

    Vichy propaganda]
  • Irène Némirovsky, Suite Française (2007), appendices

  • L Fittko, Escape through the Pyrenees (2000)

  • V Fry, Surrender on Demand (1997)

  • Simone de Beauvoir, Wartime Diary (2009)

  • Explore the documents on Vichy and Occupied France at the Conditions and Politics in Occupied Europe, 1940-1945 website:


  • H Diamond and S Kitson, Vichy, Resistance, Liberation: New Perspectives on Wartime France (2005)

  • S Fishman et al (eds.), France at War: Vichy and the Historians (2000),

  • R Kedward and R. Austin, Vichy France and the Resistance: Culture & Ideology (1985)

  • R Kedward, La Vie en Bleu (2005), chapter 11

  • J Jackson, France: The Dark Years 1940-1944 (2001)

The Vichy regime

  • R. Austin, ‘Propaganda and Public Opinion in Vichy France. The Department of the Hérault, 1940-1944’ European Studies Review 13, (1983) 455-82

  • R. Austin, ‘The Chantiers de la Jeunesse in Languedoc 1940-1944’ French Historical Studies 13/1 (Spring 1983), 106-126,

  • B. Bowles, ‘Newsreels, Ideology, and Public Opinion under Vichy: The Case of La France en marche,’ French Historical Studies 27/2 (Spring 2004): 419-63, available as an ejournal

  • R. Bourderon, ‘Was the Vichy Regime fascist?,’ in J. Cairns (ed.), Contemporary France: Illusion, Conflict and Regeneration (1978)

  • P. Burrin, ‘Vichy’ in P. Nora (ed.), Realms of Memory, Rethinking the French Past. Volume 1: Conflicts and Divisions (1996)

  • M. Cone, Artists under Vichy: A Case of Prejudice and Persecution (1992)

  • S. Fishman, ‘Grand Delusions: The Unintended Consequences of Vichy France’s Prisoner of War Propaganda,’ Journal of Contemporary History 26 (April 1991): 229-54, available as an ejournal

  • R. M. Griffiths, Marshal Pétain (1994)

  • J. Hellman, The Knight-Monks of Vichy France (1993)

  • J. Hellman, ‘Memory, History, and National Identity in Vichy France, Modern and Contemporary France 9/1 (February 2001)

  • R. Kedward, ‘Patriots and Patriotism in Vichy France,’ Transactions of the Royal Historical Society 5th Series, 32 (1982): 175-192, available as an ejournal

  • Debbie Lackerstein, National Regeneration in Vichy France: Ideas and Policies, 1930-1944 (2012)
  • F. Muel-Dreyfus, Vichy and the Eternal Feminine: A Contribution to a Political Sociology of Gender (2001)

  • M. Pollard, Reign of Virtue: Mobilizing Gender in Vichy France (1998),

  • S Kitson, The Hunt for Nazi Spies: Fighting Espionage in Vichy France (2008)

  • M. R. Marrus, ‘Vichy France and the Jews: After Fifteen Years’ in S. Fishman et al (eds.), France at War: Vichy and the Historians (2000), 35-47
  • A. Milward, The New Order and the French Economy (1984, 1993)

  • R. O. Paxton, Parades and Politics at Vichy (1966)

  • C Pearson, Scarred Landscapes: War and Nature in Vichy France (2008)

  • D. Peschanski, ‘Control or Integration? Information and Propaganda under Vichy , in M. Scriven and P. Wagstaff, War and Society in 20th Century France (1991), 201-08

  • A. Shennan, Rethinking France: Plans for Renewal, 1940-1946 (1989) Chapter 1 ‘Vichy’s National Revolution, 1940-2’

  • M Thomas, The French Empire at War, 1940-1945 (2007)

Everyday life in Vichy and Occupied France

  • L. Capdevila, ‘The Quest for Masculinity in a Defeated France, 1940-1945,’ Contemporary European History 10/3 (2001),

  • S. Fishman, We Will Wait: Wives of French Prisoners of War, 1940-1945 (1991)

  • S. Fishman, The Battle for Children: World War II Youth Crime and Juvenile Justice in Twentieth-century France (2002)

  • H. Diamond, Women and the Second World War in France 1939-1948. Choices and Constraints (1999)

  • R. Gildea, Marianne in Chains: In Search of the German Occupation of France 1940-45 (2002), esp 109-157

  • W. D. Halls, Politics, Society and Christianity in Vichy France (1995)

  • S. Hoffman, ‘Effects of WWII on French Society and Politics’ French Historical Studies 2/1 (Spring 1961), 28-63

  • J. F. Sweets, Choices in Vichy France: The French under Nazi Occupation (1986), 64-98

  • R. Zaretsky, Nîmes at War: Religion, Politics and Public Opinion in the Gard 1938-1944 (1995), chapter 3

  • C. Rearick, The French in Love and War: Popular Culture in the Era of the World Wars (1997), chapter 9

  • P. Schwartz, ‘The Politics of Food and Gender in Occupied Paris,’ Modern and Contemporary France 7/1 (1999)

  • L. Taylor, ‘The Black Market in Occupied Northern France, 1940-1944’ Contemporary European History 6/2 1997

  • L. Taylor, Between Resistance and Collaboration: Popular Protest in Modern France, 1940-45 (2000)

  • R. Vinen, The Unfree French: Life Under the Occupation (2006)


  • M. Koreman, ‘The Red Tape Option: Bureaucratic Collaboration and Resistance in Vichy France’ in Contemporary European History 9/ 2 (2000) 261-267

  • John Sweets, ‘Hold that Pendulum: Redefining Fascism, Collaborationism and Resistance in France,’ French Historical Studies 15/4 (Autumn 1988),l – a useful historiographical review

  • C. Lloyd, Collaboration and Resistance in Occupied France: Representing Treason and Sacrifice (2003)

  • P. Burrin, Living with Defeat: France under the German Occupation 1940-1944

  • D Drake, French Intellectuals and Politics (2005), chap 5 (ebook)

  • Y. Durand, ‘Collaboration French-Style: A European Perspective’ in in S. Fishman et al (eds.), France at War:Vichy and the historians (2000), 61-76

  • K. Glazier, ‘Problems of Collaboration in Alsace,’ in M. Scriven and P. Wagstaff, War and Society in 20th Century France (1991)

  • R. Golsan, ‘Ideology, Cultural Politics, and Literary Collaboration at La Gerbe,’ Journal of European Studies 23, nos. 89-90 (1993), 27-47

  • R. Golsan, French Writers and the Politics of Complicity: Crises of Democracy in the 1940s and 1990s (2006), chapters on Henry de Montherlant, Châteaubriant, and Giono

  • B. Gordon, Collaborationism in France during the Second World War (1980)

  • B. Gordon, ‘The Morphology of the Collaborator: The French Case’ Journal of European Studies 23 nos. 89-90 (March-June 1993), 1-27

  • B. M. Gordon, ‘The Countryside and the City: Some Notes on the Collaboration Model during the Vichy Period’ in S. Fishman et al (eds.), France at War: Vichy and the Historians (2000)

  • S. Hoffman, ‘Collaborartionism in Vichy France’, Journal of Modern History 40/3 (1968) 375-95 [electronic resource]
  • S. Kennedy, ‘Accompanying the Marshal: La Rocque and the Progès Social Français under Vichy,' French History 15/2 (June 2001): 186-213, available as an ejournal

  • M. Meyers, ‘Feminizing Fascist Men: Crowd Psychology, Gender, and Sexuality in French Antifascism, 1929-1945 ‘ French Historical Studies 29/1 (Winter 2006):109-42, available as an ejournal

  • R. Paxton, Vichy France: Old Guard, New Order (1972, 2001), Chapter 3

The Holocaust

  • J. Adler, ‘The Jews and Vichy: reflections on French historiography’ The Historical Journal 44, 4 (2001) 1065-1082

  • J. Adler, The Jews of Paris and the Final Solution (1987)

  • C. Callil, Bad Faith: A Forgotten History of Family and Fatherland (2006)

  • M. Collins Weitz, ‘French Women in the Resistance: Rescuing Jews,’ in R. Rohrlich, Ruby (ed.) Resisting the Holocaust (1998), 179-93

  • Y. Cohen, ‘The Jewish Community of France in the Face of Vichy-German Persecution, 1940-44’ in F. Malino and B. Wasserstein (eds.), The Jews in Modern France (1985)

  • W. D. Halls, Politics, Society and Christianity in Vichy France (1995) 95-147

  • U. Herbert, ‘The German Military Command in Paris and the Deportation of the French Jews,’ in U. Herbert (ed.), National Socialist Extermination Policies (2000), 128-162

  • L. Lazare, Rescue as Resistance: How Jewish Organizations Fought the Holocaust in France (1996)

  • L. Kritzman, Auschwitz and After: Race, Culture, and "the Jewish question" in France (1995)

  • M. R. Marrus and R. O. Paxton, Vichy France and the Jews (1981, 1995)

  • D. Ryan, The Holocaust and the Jews of Marseilles (1996)

  • S. Zuccotti, The Holocaust, the French, and the Jews (1993)

On the impact of Paxton:

  • H Rousso, The Vichy Syndrome: History and Memory in France since 1944 (1987, 1991), 241-5

  • M. Temkin, ‘”Avec un certain malaise”: The Paxtonian Trauma in France,’ Journal of Contemporary History 38/2 (April 2003): 291-306, available as an ejournal

  • Various chapters in S. Fishman et al (eds.), France at War (2000) deal with the reception and influence of Paxton’s work.