By Douglas Boyd
Based on unique examine and private memories of French and Allied contributors, this tale, formerly unpublished in English, highlights the cynical forget for civilian lives proven via British SOE and American OSS
Nearing D-Day, Allied intelligence used Royal Air Force airdrops to ship Allied liaison officials down with offers to the hundreds of thousands of younger males hiding in France's forests and hill kingdom. right here the officials defied the 2 ideas of guerrilla battle: by no means focus your forces or probability a pitched conflict. They assembled small armies of untrained civilians in wild state the place it used to be believed Allied airborne forces could land and aid them force the hated occupiers out in their nation. in truth they have been getting used as bait—to draw German forces clear of the invasion shores. They have been hunted down by means of collaborationist French paramilitaries, Wehrmacht, and Waffen-SS troops, demise within the snows of wintry weather via to excessive midsummer. these taken prisoner have been raped, tortured, and shot or deported to demise camps in Germany. a lot of their killers have been themselves murdered after the liberation, while millions of Frenchwomen have been additionally publicly humiliated as sexual traitors.
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Extra resources for Blood in the Snow, Blood on the Grass: Treachery, Torture, Murder and Massacre - France 1944
Paris in the Third Reich, London, Collins, 1981, p. 120 (abridged). , article in Arkheia, No. 17–8, Montauban, p. 11. , La Vie des Français sous l’Occupation, Paris, Fayard, 1961, Vol. 2, p. 58. 9 Also spelled Natzweiler in German. , Unhealed Wounds, New York, Grove Press, 1985, pp. 98–9. 2 PUTTING THE DIRT IN ‘DIRTY WAR’ The concept of SOE stems from the very first days after the invasion of France in May 1940, when the Chiefs of Staff minuted the British War Cabinet that, should the French army and Lord Gort’s British Expeditionary Force be defeated, Germany might in turn be brought down in the long run by economic pressure and a campaign of industrial unrest in the conquered territories.
Going underground was not too difficult for many members because, when the party was banned during the phoney war, its elected députés who were not immediately arrested went underground, as did many less well-known activists. There was thus already a cell structure in which no one member could betray more than a few colleagues. Reversing the previous love affair with the occupation troops was a more bloody business: orders came swiftly from Moscow to launch a campaign of terrorism, assassinating German military personnel and civilians.
The problem was not so much shortage of food as disruption to food production and distribution caused by 8 million refugees being far from home, butchers, bakers and other shopkeepers among them. Once the fighting stopped, most French people were surprised at the good behaviour of the German soldiers. Taking refuge with friends in the Loire valley after fleeing the capital, Simone de Beauvoir wrote of their arrival there: To our general surprise, there was no violence. They paid for their drinks and the eggs they bought at farms.