Courtesy Reuters

The Forces of Collaboration

In Defeated France

THE overwhelming majority of the French people hope for the victory of the United Nations. Many express that hope openly, especially in the occupied zone, regardless of fears of German punishment. Some hold the hope because the victory of the United Nations will mean the triumph of democracy, of the free way of living and thinking; others simply desire to be free from German oppression, to have normal conditions of life restored, to get home the war prisoners, to get more food. The hope, then, though it is widespread, varies in degree and is based upon contrasting desires. But let me say once more at the start: the overwhelming majority of the French people hope for the victory of the United Nations.

In spite of this immense consensus omnium, France as a national entity collaborates with Germany. Not merely the Government at Vichy, but a relatively important part of what might be called the French élite collaborates. The majority which opposes collaboration lacks weapons; it also lacks leadership -- at any rate inside of France. At no time in French history has there been such a deep abyss between the French people and their government; at no time such a gap between the real France and the legal France. This abyss is not merely the result of the military defeat. Indeed, it is much more a cause of the defeat than its result. Probably it is the most important cause.

II

What are the basic economic and social reasons why the policy of collaboration was adopted by a considerable number of French leaders?

To understand the spirit of collaboration, we must understand, first of all, the psychology of the French bureaucrats. Collaboration would have been much more difficult, if not impossible, without the silent consent of the highest French officials.

As a result of the First World War, state intervention in the economic field became steadily more pronounced. But the French Parliament proved to be very badly equipped to solve difficult

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