"Le cout de vie" : daily life in northern France during the German occupation of World War II / by Sylvia Lynne Taylor.
This dissertation is a study of the impact of the German occupation of northern France during World War II on the daily lives of the region's inhabitants. The focus of attention is on the drastic shortages of food and fuel which arose both because of the destruction caused by the invasion and because of the centrally controlled economy imposed by the German occupiers, their impact on the lives and health of the local population and how that population coped with the shortages. Their methods of coping took two general forms; protest and evasion. The various coping techniques used were shaped by the peculiar nature of the relationship between occupier and occupied. Because of the importance of the region to the Germans' short-term and long-term plans, the occupiers required the cooperation, albeit grudging, of the local population. This need on the occupiers' part meant that they were constrained somewhat in the exercise of their authority. It also meant that the local populace was presented with unexpected opportunities to cope with the difficulties of daily life. Chapters two and three explore the nature of the governmental, economic and social changes brought to the region by the combined effects and consequences of these changes on the daily lives of the region's inhabitants. Chapter four examines the effects and consequences of these changes on the daily lives of the region's inhabitants. Under the Nazi regime, daily life became a struggle for survival in a hostile and repressive political environment and an economy of chronic shortages and inflation. Chapters five and six explore the various means by which the population sought to cope with the difficulties of daily life, both through protest and through evasion of the myriad of regulations governing the economy. Some were more successful than others; all were frought with danger, for they were largely illegal activities. The opportunities available proved surprisingly diverse, ranging from strikes and food riots to pillaging and black markets. Each was a reflection of the nature of the relationship between the occupier and the occupied, and of the unpredictable and indeterminate nature of that relationship.
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