The politics of occupation : the German military administration in France, 1940-1944 / Thomas Johnston Laub.
After France and Germany signed an armistice in June 1940, Hitler installed a military government in occupied France. With vague instructions from the Führer, a small group of talented German officers monitored the French government in Vichy and integrated French industrial resources into the German economy. Himmler's SS, Göring's Office of the Four Year Plan, Ribbentrop's Foreign Office, and a host of smaller rivals all searched for a way to participate in the Occupation. Together with Alfred Rosenberg, the three Nazi paladins formed a temporary alliance and argued that the Reich needed to cleanse French society of so-called Jewish influences. Viewing social policies as a distraction, the military administration in Paris opposed the anti-Jewish campaigns championed by their civilian rivals. The commander of the military administration limited, but could not exclude, competing institutions from France. By raising the specters of communism and Judaism, civilian agencies established a foothold in the Hexagon.Refugees from eastern Europe and veterans of the Spanish Civil War understood that they had no place in Hitler's new order. With nothing to lose, refugees carried out the bulk of resistance activity before 1943. Although militarily insignificant, their symbolic attacks enraged the Führer. Hitler ordered his field commanders execute fifty to one hundred opponents after each resistance attack. Generals in Paris first argued against Hitler's reprisal policy and later hindered its implementation through delay and deception. Unwilling to disobey orders but unable to stomach bloody reprisals, the commander of the military administration resigned in February 1942. Afterwards, Hitler placed the SS in charge of all French and German security forces. Vested with ‘executive authority,’ the SS carried out the racial agenda of the Nazi regime. Harsh reprisals and deportations turned Frenchmen against the Vichy regime and fostered support for nascent resistance groups.As they vied for dominance, the army and SS articulated unique programs and employed distinct methods that defined the ethos of their respective institutions. Methods and goals employed by the army and SS link both institutions to the most unsavory aspects of the Nazi era: the Final Solution and the subjugation of defeated nations.
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