An excellent book that invites reflection and prudence on the duty of memory

An excellent book that invites reflection and prudence on the duty of memory

Vichy, a past that does not pass (Paperback)

Customer Review

It comes to editing louvrage 2013 Henry Rousso and Conan Deric dedicated to the delicate issue of the status of the Vichy regime in the collective memory of France. The authors' basic premise is that the weight of this event is constantly evolving over time from lépuration trial period 1944-1947. The demonstration of the change in the perception of the Vichy regime has been the object dune dailleurs comprehensive academic study from Henry Rousso in a book entitled Vichy Syndrome and available in the collection Point history. Henry Rousso Indicates that it is as if "the children or grandchildren of the war generation, who constantly denounce the absence of lucidity or cowardice which evinced their elders, once absorbed the tragedy, can do so with all the more easily as the world war rages dune were spared them and that they have had the chance to navoir never been confronted with such commitments dune radicalism. "

Henry Rousso said that although this is the occupation German who was at the heart of the problem including limiting Drafting capabilities of the Vichy government. On the substance can only be agree with the moderate views of the author, but it's also forget me it seems that the existence of Vichy was an item that resulted from the intention of the Nazi regime itself, not a French single action. François Delpla well asks in his blog lambiguïté between master and lesclave, between the Nazi regime and the state said French rump state, for it is certain that Hitler had lévidence at least a tactical interest in having dune structure as puppet Vichy . One can dailleurs consider the major elements of answers included in the work of Barbara Lambauer "Otto Abetz and French: lenvers collaboration" which dates from 2001, this fundamental element that hurts our collective memory, because she is a sign Additional dabaissement of France after a shameful military debacle is discussed carefully by John Paul Cointet in his book "Hitler and France" published in 2014 by Editions Perrin and shows Quà lévidence the Führer would not only good for France , nen fools offense to which the objective is rehabilitation of the Vichy regime.

However Henry Rousso and Eric Conan put rightly cautioned facing what has become the "duty of memory", that is to say an instrumentalisation of certain historical elements, their denaturation and their exploitation for political purposes Nont quun vague connection with the study of history and its narrative structure. And on this point we can only grant discharge to the authors who believe that some current speech (this is to say reinterpretations post which mainly arose in the 1980s and 1990s) that wanted to ignore how the will was was strong in the liberation of not to distinguish between the resistant victims, the Jewish victims and enlisted through labor service (STO) that were once designated as deported work. It is absolutely correct that this is well within the context of the release and then in that of the Cold War that it should include the required speech and actions to mend national unity which had been undermined by the period 1940-1944, "the General de Gaulle, much of the political class and the majority of French gathered to underestimate the indigenous character of the Vichy regime and hide its inclusion in a long French tradition ideological "Henry Rousso and Eric Conan indicate that French thought lépuration French employees as traitors rather than as French fascists (that one can confine dailleurs political and ideological to personalities like those of Jacques Doriot, Deat Marcel Bucard and rigor of Joseph Darnand when the Vichy regime to pinnacle of its ideological hardening became something détat proto-fascist policeman who was often referred Detat militiaman. In this troubled environment policy and scary the Vichy regime was dubbed "de facto regime" or dautorité fact to which dénia any legal authority and legitimacy, "the collaboration as a whole was considered a parenthesis, a dramatic phenomenon but minority, the values ​​of "eternal France" has been embodied by the resistance.

The authors from the years 1944-1945 National Memory has built, or at least biased on one side by the Gaullist memory and the other side by the communist memory, although both entities are irreconcilable enemies, they form the two major political currents of post-World War in France, there is quune supposedly revolutionary dimension is present in the communist discourse, but absent from the Gaullist speech. These memories sefforcent reducing episode of collaboration to a minority event (which is dailleurs accurate since All in all the now complete historical data show that resistance, such collaboration was lapanage dune minority of French).

These two memories will forge myths from 1950-1960 that leave much less room for some actors and victims of the dark years, especially the French prisoners of war very numerous (François Mitterrand will be a strong entity from prisoners, and Late presumed starting the administration of Vichy in 1943: a posteriori it is easy to say that it was late, will deprive the dune full recognition of his contribution to the French resistance, which will SAdd detestable relations with Charles de Gaulle); This is also true of Jewish deportees whose voice is heard less than lépuration resistant deported during trial. This failure to take into account the sufferings of deported Jews during trials, is an element that was observed by John Paul Cointet in his book "To expiate Vichy" but also many marked Alain Decaux in his book "Dying to Vichy ' puisquAlain Decaux wasnt not an expert on issues of collaboration or resistance, it is likely that his astonishment is also a significant element Henry Rousso and Eric Conan, taking the developments of the Vichy syndrome shows that in the 1960s the memories of places of Nazi barbarism will be the Mont Valerien and Oradour sur Glane, and not the Vel dhiv and the deportation process is materialized by the Buchenwald concentration camp, not the camp-Birkenau extermination dAuschwitz.
It should be said than this time Raul Hillberg penalty to edit his book on "the destruction of the Jews Europes".

According to the authors, this period of repression, the second of the Vichy syndrome, covers the years 1954-1971 and sest damnistie open the day after the laws passed during the Cold War between 1951 and 1953 with a legal oblivion resulting return on the danciens Vichy politics that will strengthen conservative and reactionary wing of the right in 1944 discredited by its support Petainism. Damnistie laws are passed against the opinion of the Socialists and Communists. In December 1964 the ashes of Jean Moulin were transferred to the Pantheon, fairly logical conclusion for a man whose unification was the action of the internal resistance under the patronage of the free France of de Gaulle.

However, repressed memories begin to manifest, but sporadic, ongoing resistance to occupy all the emotional and historical dimension, while Detat cooperation (as opposed to ultra-collaborationists who were hirelings of Paris and in particular by lAllemagne Otto Abetz to put constant media pressure on the Vichy regime), the National Revolution and French lantisémitisme and French complicity made by the state to the final solution are totally ignored.
The third step of the Vichy syndrome is the "broken mirror" and occurs in the early 1970s, including the film of Marcel Ophuls' The Sorrow and pity ", but also by the granting dune presidential pardon by Georges Pompidou to a militiaman unknown of all the French, Paul Touvier and these events trigger as Henry Rousso an undercurrent in a particular socio-historical context: May 1968; departure and the death of Charles de Gaulle and the abandonment of "the tradition résistancialiste" by his successor shattered the post-World War myths with a new questioning of the young generations.

Finally with the end of the 1970s, we would have the last phase of the Vichy syndrome, the dark years become an obsessive memory issue with waking dune Jewish identity, which claims for the first time since the authors of Jews in lémancipation France its "right to difference".

It is noted, a positive point in largumentation authors, this is recognition of the considerable work of Serge Klarsfeld and the considerable role of Robert O. Paxton in 1973 with his Vichy France: about that authors are careful dévoquer any doxa Paxtonian which would be a kind of intellectual terrorism prevents a proper assessment of what the state was French.
At present, such assertions comeback in largumentaire dune extreme right uninhibited wishing the recognition of a positive role of the Vichy regime, including a protective function of the Jews: these people are extremely dangerous, because for them the sacrifice of foreign Jews (including French nationality of children) show that the Vichy regime intended to protect French Jews. And if we accept that sacrifice foreign Jews or stateless persons was a permissible thing, implicitly argues for the fact that their lives had less value than the French Jews, any argument quite nauseous and abject.

To my mind the three major developments louvrage Rousso and Conan are treating the problems of the roundup of the Vel dhiv and associated commemoration problems; a second major element is the Touvier trial with the final recognition by the French courts dune complicity in a crime against humanity conducted by the militia in the person of Paul Touvier making the execution of seven Jewish hostages, one can assume that this trial was well the last of the French lépuration trial.

The issue of allegedly inaccessible archives is an interesting element but for experienced researchers it napportera nothing new, given that the archives are open wide in this period in 2015 and quen addition the regime of exemptions for the consultation of sensitive funds again much changed, with ladjonction safety devices for technological archives impacting in Dadm matter.

The problems of the famous shower of François Mitterrand at the tomb of Marshal Petain deserve BE mentioned, but without overestimating so controversial nature of a rather clumsy gesture, not malicious, such as the controversy over the award dailleurs dune francisque audit François Mitterrand, who sest him -even locked into a false story, speaking of that attributed to his friend Jean de Lattre de Tassigny, before being forced to turn back from the wrath of the Marechale which meant that her late husband navait never held this decoration.

The analysis of the past Mitterrand is resistant dailleurs traced dune honest and well-documented way, which ended a psychodrama with a fairly widely imaginary component

In terms of lenseignement of the Second World War in France, and especially of the Holocaust, I think Henry Rousso and Eric Conan may have a little sin per share indicating that Jewish organizations would never be trends satisfied by the content of school textbooks college you to high schools. In my memories, these manuals are far from being scientific or educational leaders oeuvres. However, the real problem in 2015, in full lhostilité public school to which the Jews are not victims but perpetrators to France: this situation corresponds to a disturbing introduction problems specific to Israel and the Middle East but unrelated direct with the French national community.

All this shows that the question of history, of his teaching and dune politicized through awkward use of a nickname duty of memory is a sensitive issue which is very far from being exhausted.

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