This masterful book is the first comprehensive reappraisal of the Vichy France regime for over 20 years. France was occupied by Nazi Germany between 1940 and 1944, and the exact nature of France's role in the Vichy years is only now beginning to come to light. One of the main reasons that the Vichy history is difficult to tell is that some of France's most prominent politicians, including President Mitterand, have been implicated in the regime. This has meant that public access to key documents has been denied and it is only now that an objective analysis is possible. The fate of France as an occupied country could easily have been shared by Britain, and it is this background element, which enhances our fascination with Vichy France. How would we have acted under similar circumstances? The divisions and repercussions of the Vichy years still resonate in France today, and whether you view the regime as a fascist dictatorship, an authoritarian offshoot of the Third Reich or an embodiment of heightened French nationalism, Curtis's rounded, incisive book will be seen as the standard work on its subject for many years.
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April 30, 2012
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