Paris After the Liberation 1944-1949, Term Paper Example
Words: 2736Term Paper
World War Two devastated many locations, politically, socially, and environmentally. Hitler’s reign over Germany and the horrific life loss that occurred in the Jewish community was not the only consideration of the war. Russia had significant interest in maintaining a relationship with Hitler in efforts to gain control of the bordering locations. The United States was viewed as a threat because of their unknown interest and power that took place in this war. As a result of the war, there were many people who were left poor and complying with virtually anything as a method of survival. The liberation of Paris created significant controversy for conflicting emotional and political situations. The postwar events plagued many European locations and other powerhouse including Russia and France. Knowing the historical battles that took place after World War Two is important in understanding the political and social structure that we know today.
The first focus of Beevor is in Paris, prior to, during, and after the liberation. The fall of France along with the political in-fighting that occurred was also an important part of the creation of Vichy France. Postwar France provided many different attitudes and prejudices that occurred. There is also the conflict between the supporters of the Republic and the French Communist Party, and how the treatment of these supporters pushes them closer to Germany. Monnet and Schumann were statesmen that provided a favorable vision of the future while most were faced with addressing the past battles. Anthony Beevor addressed Frances role in going to war with herself on multiple occasions. Since 1789, the French have been making more history than they know how to cope with. There is a significant amount of uncertainty and chaos that followed the 1944 liberation of Paris. The Battle of Britain was won by the British in the summer of 1940. It was not just a good war, but it was a greater battle of good and evil for the betterment of their civilization.
The French was crushed through their moral dilemmas. They were humiliated and defeated by the German occupation, and it created an environment of resistance and collaboration. There were storages of supplies which created issues for the people who lived with the heroism, rebuke, and betrayal. As a result, the black market became far more thriving than legitimate enterprises, and thieving became more of a norm than making an honest living. The loyalties were split between the Vatican, Moscow, Petain’s Etat Francais, and that of self-preservation. The French carried on their war in efforts to gain moral and political retaliation.
The immediate aftermath of the liberated France was fierce. It was estimated that there were an estimated 10,000 individuals who died in the purge after the war. The personal and collective revenge created an environment which stayed out of the courts, and personal vendettas were handled on their own. The secrets were hidden, and the people were changing their sided in the war. Jacques Soustelle estimated that in 1943 only 1 percent of the population was still resisting. After the liberation, those involved in the resistance became the laughing stock of the others. It became difficult for individuals to decipher between right and wrong, so they found themselves considering the better option of distinguishing between right and left.
The villains paid a significant price in this war. Beevor portrayed an important trial of Petain, which is where the Prime Minister, Pierre Laval, were in a verbal fight. The black marketeering minnows were treated badly, so where the other individuals who resisted the change. The country was going through a lot of stuff, and it was growing with issues. “On the night of 16 July 1942 some 13,000 Jews including 4,000 children whom even the Nazis were willing to spare, were seized in five arrondissements by French policemen” (Beevor and Copper, p. 196). From that point, they were taken to Velodrome d’ Hiver, a bicycle stadium. There were over a hundred individuals committed suicide, shortly after all the Germans were taken to concentration camps where they perished. Inevitably the events that took place spread, and other countries stepped in to dethrone Hitler.
It was assumed that the Paris environment under German control was oppressive. However, the Frenchmen found it to be claustrophobic. It can be said that the regime’s morality was far more harsh than anything. If a woman was accused of having an abortion, they would be sentenced to a life of working in a forced labor situation. Prostitutes were sent to an internment camp. The regime quickly builds their political police to ensure that the activities that took place were compliant with their control. Each member was forced to take an oath of “I swear to fight against democracy, against Gaullist insurrection and against Jewish leprosy” (Beevor and Copper, p. 206). The army officers and political officials took oaths just as required in Nazi German.
The end of the horrific war brought a sort of freedom that the majority of the Frenchmen felt suspicious of the United States and its occupying power. They felt that efforts to recolonize Europe was an intended buffer against Russia. Jean Monnet spent significant time reconstructing France where the people felt they were given an option to pick up the pieces and gain a new perspective on life. A location that was once deprived of all resource had its lifeline turned back on again. The Parisians were enlightened to the London blitz for the first time in 1940. It required them to support the system D, debrouillere, which means to get out of trouble, however, possible. The survivors were forced to face horror and disbelief of the trains bringing bags of bones home from German camps.
During this period in history, it is important to see the life of the poor districts. The brothels that were forced to close in 1946. The St.-Germain-des-Pres were haunting the existentialists. The streets were revived and what can be described as a reawakening occurred. It is difficult to know the events that took place not only in the concentration camps, but in other European locations which were challenged by the war. It is still not known as to why France continued war with itself and its obsession with a revolutionary change. The challenges of building a relationship with United States and France lingered far after the wars.
After the Second World War, Europe was left in utter desolation. The helpless civilians, broken cities, and hopeless environments were all that was left. “Shaven-headed deportees and concentration camp inmates in striped pyjamas stare listlessly at the camera, starving and diseased. Even the trams, propelled uncertainly along damaged tracks by the intermittently available electric current, appear shell-shocked. Everyone and everything with the notable exception of the well-fed Allied occupation forces—seems worn out, without resources, exhausted” (Judt, p.422). The Second World War forced European people to be mobilized, primarily in efforts to exploit other Europeans. British had no choice to exploit their resources; it was estimated that Great Britain had spent more than half of its Gross National Product on their efforts to win the war. Nazi Germany was able to fight the war with the help from the victims overrun economies.
The Nazis lived off of their victim’s wealth for the majority of their reign. Germany and its citizens failed to feel the impact of the war with shortages and restrictions until 1944. At this point, the military conflict was enclosing their camps with allied bombing and advancement of allied armies from the east and the west. The final year of the war was when the worst physical destruction. It was the period when the active campaigning west of the Soviet Union took place. “Surviving the war was one thing, surviving the peace another. Thanks to early and effective intervention by the newly formed United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration (UNRRA) and the occupying allied armies, large-scale epidemics and the uncontrolled spread of contagious diseases were avoided the memory of the Asian ’flu that swept through Europe in the wake of the First World War was still fresh” (Judt, p. 571). The devastations were plaguing the people continually grew.
The liberated Europe government’s consideration to be legitimate, it needed to be a properly constituted states. The wartime regimes greatly discredited the legacy, and this was something that was left to be addressed. Despite the devastation of the Nazis, their crimes still haunted. The retribution of the war left its impact on many locations. Liberated Poland was a location where the Soviet authorizes did not welcome praise for the partisans whose intentions were at least as much anti-Nazi and anti-Communist. “In post-war Yugoslavia, as we have seen, some resisters were more equal than others at least in the eyes of Marshall Tito and his victorious Communist fighters. In Greece, as in Ukraine, the local authorities in 1945 were rounding up, imprisoning or shooting every armed partisan they could find” (Judt, p. 1017). Resistance and collaboration were two very different factors of the war. Collaborators could be charged with treason depending on their involvement.
The punishment of collaborators was different based on location. Collaboration took place throughout the entire war, whether through an underground regime or on an individual basis. In France, it was estimated that 10,000 people were killed in extrajudicial cases. The suspected collaborators would have their property seized by any manner they saw fit, including having things shot out of hand. Italy utilized unofficial retribution and reprisal where the death toll approached 15,000. Belgium there war far less bloodshed being around 265 and in the Netherlands, the lynched men and women are less than 100. Netherlands frowned upon French-speaking women and would tar and feather the women in public. There was often charges against women trading sex for food and clothing, which carried its penalties as well. The battle to regain order and power left virtually everyone susceptible to the dangers associated with war.
The rehabilitation of Europe was another vital situation that took place after the war. War changed everything for Europe and what it had been accustom to. The real issues that arose did not even begin to start until after the 1940s. Anti-fascist resisters found themselves in the continual battle with not only wartime considerations, but also with the social and political systems that were left after the disaster hit their countries. The soldiers, businessmen, bankers, and politicians aided in their countries catastrophe and betrayed the events that happened in the First World War. It also laid the groundwork for the starting of the Second World War. The conservative advocates were called the guilty men, and their system laid the groundwork in war time for the post-war change. Resistance during this time was everywhere; everyone wanted a revolutionary change.
The post-war politics are an inevitable continuation of wartime struggle. The political parties had rigged the elections or had been banned from them. The individuals placed themselves beyond the law in efforts to mandate change and oppose the authorities. In the aftermath of Hitler’s defeat, many Fascists or reactionaries had been done away with. Many of the legitimate government-in-exile individuals waited out the war in London awaiting the opportunity to return and change. The position of the local resistance organizations was viewed as problems instead of allies. The political class felt it was in the best interest of change to return the careless youngsters to the civilian life and eliminate all traitors and collaborators. Without such structure and events, it could easily be considered anarchy.
The European and German individuals had horrible feelings towards each other. The allies of wartime have been concerned with keeping up the Association during such difficult times. British and Americans were concerned that Stalin might have had arrangements with Hitler, especially because the Soviet Union took over much of the lost territory after the war. “Stalin, for his part, saw the delay in establishing a Second (Western) Front as a ploy by the Western Allies to bleed Russia dry before coming forward to benefit from her sacrifices. Both parties could look to pre-war appeasement and pacts as evidence of the other’s unreliability; they were bound together only by a common enemy” (Judt, p. 2278). The allied governments all had factors at stake and agreements in place to the end of World War Two.
The most beneficiary agreement was from Stalin. The Red Army did play a vital role in the Hitler struggle, so it made sense that they were the beneficiary. In 1944, Churchill sat with Stalin to initiate the percentages agreement. It was an attempt to concede to the Soviet dictator which would later surely be seized. The secret deal had three main notable points. The percentages were formulaic in Romania and Hungary, the main issue was Balkans. The second point is that the secret deal was upheld by both sides. Lastly, the agreement wasn’t significant. The same consideration can be applied to the 1945 discussion at Yalta. Yalta mattered a bit more than the initial agreement considerations.
It is important to understand that this war was far beyond the horrific events that took place on German soil. “This war is not as in the past; whoever occupies a territory also imposes upon it his own social system” (Judt, p. 2899). The military has determined the outcome of the social system in other wars besides World War Two. However, Stalin’s position was clear, to allow the Communist to take over Eastern Europe. The Soviet’s side of the war had been fought to defeat the power that Germany gained and restored Russia’s power. The regions separating Germany and Russia had uncertainty despite the devastation of Germany. The territories such as Finland to Yugoslavia were some of the vulnerable states where the government had been hostile to the Soviet Union.
‘Say what you will the Communists were more intelligent. They had a grandiose program, a plan for a brand-new world in which everyone would find his place . . . From the start, there were people who realized they lacked the proper temperament for the idyll and wished to leave the country. But since by definition an idyll is one world for all, the people who wished to emigrate implicitly denied its validity. Instead of going abroad, they went behind bars’ (Judt, p. 3659). The utilization of the Red Army required them to march on foot and haul weapons. The soldiers were not allowed any time off and were not allowed to act with any hesitation. It is estimated that in 1941 and 1942 there were 157,593 executed for what was believed to be cowardice actions. Stalin positioned Russia to battle against any German invaders.
Stalin was striving to provide security for all of Europe. His interest lied heavily on the economic benefits he gains from the victories in the West. The little states in central Europe were heavily dominated by Germany even prior to World War II. Nazi Germany was a main source of foreign capital from Poland to Bulgaria. It turned into a master and slave relationship, where Germany exploited the people and land for its personal gain. The Soviet Union took over in 1945 right where Germany left off, using these locations for their own personal exploitations. They extracted compensations from Romania and Hungary as former allies of Hitler. Romanian restitution to the USSR made up 15 percent of the country’s national income.
Knowing the historical battles that took place after World War Two is important in understanding the political and social structure that we know today. Chaos and power are the best explanations of what occurred during this period. Hitler was the start and the end of World War Two, and millions of innocent people lost their lives in the concentration camps. The life loss of people who died in concentration camps was in excess of 22 million, but as a result of the war resulted in an estimated death of 80 million people. The struggle for power and control after the destruction of Germany was very real. Soviet Union had their communist intentions, and it left any wondering if there would be a repeat of what took place under the Hitler regime. Regardless, there were many countries faced with restructuring in economic, political, and social manners. It is important to know the vast events that took place in forming the political environments and the role that war played in reaching these outcomes.
Beevor, Antony and Artemis Cooper. Paris After the Liberation 1944-1949. Penguin Group.1994. Print.
Judt, Tony. Postwar: A History of Europe Since 1945. Penguin Group. 2005. Print.
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