zaterdag 30 juli 2011

School for Danger - French Resistance During WWII (1943) CIA Archives

This film is a dramatized account of French resistance during the Second World War.

MP4 - 273MB - 01h08m53s - Youtube rip

The French Resistance (French; La Résistance française) is the name used to denote the collection of French resistance movements that fought against the Nazi German occupation of France and against the collaborationist Vichy régime during World War II. Résistance cells were small groups of armed men and women (called the Maquis in rural areas), who, in addition to their guerrilla warfare activities, were also publishers of underground newspapers, providers of first-hand intelligence information, and maintainers of escape networks that helped Allied soldiers and airmen trapped behind enemy lines. The men and women of the Résistance came from all economic levels and political leanings of the French society, including émigrés; from conservative Roman Catholics (including priests), from the Jewish community, and from the ranks of liberals, anarchists, and communists.

The French Résistance played a significant role in facilitating the Allies' rapid advance through France following the invasion of Normandy on 6 June 1944, and the lesser-known invasion of Provence on 15 August, by providing military intelligence on the German defenses known as the Atlantic Wall and on Wehrmacht deployments and orders of battle. The Résistance also planned, coordinated, and executed acts of sabotage on the electrical power grid, transportation facilities, and telecommunications networks. It was also politically and morally important to France, both during the German occupation and for decades afterward, because it provided the country with an inspiring example of the patriotic fulfillment of a national imperative, countering an existential threat to French nationhood. The actions of the Résistance stood in marked contrast to the collaboration of the regime installed at Vichy.

After the landings in Normandy and Provence, the paramilitary components of the Résistance were organized more formally, into a hierarchy of operational units known, collectively, as the French Forces of the Interior (FFI). Estimated to have a strength of 100,000 in June 1944, the FFI grew rapidly, doubling by the following month, and reaching approximately 400,000 by October of that year. Although the amalgamation of the FFI was, in some cases, fraught with political difficulties, it was ultimately successful, and it allowed France to rebuild a reasonably large army (1.2 million men) by VE Day in May 1945.

The French Résistance has had a great influence on literature, particularly in France. A famous example is the poem "Strophes pour se souvenir", which was written by the communist academic Louis Aragon in 1955 to commemorate the heroism of the Manouchian Group, whose 23 members were shot by the Nazis.

The Résistance is also portrayed in Jean Renoir's wartime This Land is Mine (1943), which was produced in the USA.

In the immediate post-war years, French cinema produced a number of films that portrayed a France broadly present in the Résistance. The 1946 La Bataille du rail depicted the courageous efforts of French railway workers to sabotage German reinforcement trains, and in the same year Le Père tranquille told the story of a quiet insurance agent secretly involved in the bombing of a factory. Collaborators were hatefully presented as a rare minority, as played by Pierre Brewer in Jéricho (1946) or Serge Reggiani in Les Portes de la nuit (1946), and movements such as the Milice were rarely evoked.

In the 1950s, a less heroic interpretation of the Résistance to the occupation gradually began to emerge. In Claude Autant-Lara's La Traversée de Paris (1956), the portrayal of the city's black market and general mediocrity revealed the reality of war-profiteering during the occupation. In the same year, Robert Bresson presented A Man Escaped, in which an imprisoned Résistance activist works with a reformed collaborator inmate to escape. A cautious reappearance of the image of Vichy emerged in Le Passage du Rhin (1960), in which a crowd successively acclaim both Pétain and de Gaulle.

After General de Gaulle's return to power in 1958, the portrayal of the Résistance returned to its earlier résistancialisme. In this manner, in Is Paris Burning? (1966), "the role of the resistant was revalued according to [de Gaulle's] political trajectory." The comic form of films such as La Grande Vadrouille (1966) widened the image of Résistance heroes to average Frenchmen. The most famous and critically acclaimed of all the résistancialisme movies is Army of Shadows (L'Armee des ombres), which was made by the French film-maker Jean-Pierre Melville in 1969. The film was inspired by Joseph Kessel's 1943 book, as well as Melville's own experiences, as he had fought in the Résistance and participated in Operation Dragoon. A 1995 television screening of L'Armee des ombres described it as "the best film made about the fighters of the shadows, those anti-heroes."

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