Showing posts with label Ostheim. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Ostheim. Show all posts

Summer 2015 in the Colmar Pocket - then and now

Alsace 1944-2015
At the beginning of the Occupation, French leaders expected to pay a price for France’s defeat and accepted German measures with a degree of resignation. The annexation of Alsace and Lorraine surprised few observers. French policemen turned over common enemies and undesirable refugees to Himmler’s ϟϟ. Laval passed legislation that sent hundreds of thousands of French workers to Germany in exchange for a few prisoners of war and short-lived exemptions for select Vichy supporters. 

Place Kléber, renamed Karl-Roos-Platz  by the Germans, then and now. After the ceasefire following the Fall of France in June 1940, Alsace was annexed by Germany and a rigorous policy of Germanisation was imposed upon it by the Gauleiter Robert Heinrich Wagner. When, in July 1940, the first evacuees were allowed to return, only residents of Alsatian origin were admitted. The last Jews were deported on 15 July 1940 and the main synagogue, a huge Romanesque revival building that had been a major architectural landmark with its 54-metre-high dome since its completion in 1897, was set ablaze, then razed. 
In September 1940 the first Alsatian resistance movement led by Marcel Weinum called La main noire (The black hand) was created. It was composed by a group of 25 young men aged from 14 to 18 years old who led several attacks against the German occupation. The actions culminated with the attack of the Gauleiter Robert Wagner, the highest commander of Alsace directly under the order of Hitler. In March 1942, Marcel Weinum was prosecuted by the Gestapo and sentenced to be beheaded at the age of 18 in April 1942 in Stuttgart, Germany, his last words being "If I have to die, I shall die but with a pure heart". From 1943 the city was bombarded by Allied aircraft. Whilst the First World War had not notably damaged the city, Anglo-American bombing caused extensive destruction in raids of which at least one was allegedly carried out by mistake. In August 1944, several buildings in the Old Town were damaged by bombs, particularly the Palais Rohan, the Old Customs House (Ancienne Douane) and the Cathedral. On November 23 1944 with permission from the British and Americans, the city was allowed to be 'officially' liberated by the 2nd French Armoured Division under General Leclerc. He achieved the oath that he made with his soldiers, after the decisive Capture of Kufra. With the Oath of Kuffra, they swore to keep up the fight until the French flag flew over the Cathedral of Strasbourg.  Many people from Strasbourg were supposedly incorporated in the German Army against their will, and were sent to the eastern front, those young men and women were called Malgré-nous with some said to have tried to escape from the incorporation, join the French Resistance, or desert the Wehrmacht but many couldn't because they were running the risk of having their families sent to work or concentration camps by the Germans. Many of these men, especially those who did not answer the call immediately, were pressured to "volunteer" for service with the SS, often by direct threats on their families. This threat obliged the majority of them to remain in the German army. After the war, the few that survived were often accused of being traitors or collaborationists, because this tough situation was not known in the rest of France, and they had to face the incomprehension of many. In July 1944, 1500 malgré-nous were released from Soviet captivity and sent to Algiers, where they joined the Free French Forces.
 The wife in front of  le maison des tanneurs and the site during the occupation

Molsheim Metzig 
The Metzig bedecked with swastikas and today  


Adolf-Hitler-Platz then and now 
After the Prussian victory in the Franco-Prussian War Mulhouse was annexed to the German Empire as part of the territory of Alsace-Lorraine (1871–1918). The city was briefly occupied by French troops on 8 August 1914 at the start of World War I, but they were forced to withdraw two days later in the Battle of Mulhouse. The citizens of Alsace who unwisely celebrated the appearance of the French army, were left to face German reprisals. Alsace-Lorraine was invaded and annexed by France after World War I. Although never formally restored to Germany after the Battle of France in 1940, it was occupied by German forces until returned to French control at the end of the war in May 1945.


The corner of Rue Kleber and Boulevard du Champ de Mars in 1940.
The Germans arrived in Colmar June 17, 1940, taking possession of the city in the name of the Führer as they tore the tricolour of the City Hall's balcony and replaced it with a swastika. The kommandierender des Sturmtruppenregiments Adolf Hitler, Colonel  Koch, and his men thus accomplished the first act: changing the flag and made it clear that Colmar was German again.Within a few days Colmar became Kolmar. By July a working group was being set up to determine how best to start Germanising the town chaired by Stadtkommissar Hellstern and moderated by Albert Schmitt, city librarian since 1924 and specialist in the history of Colmar, whose sympathies for the National Socialist regime would be revealed- under the pseudonym Morand Claden he published in August in the Strassburger Monatshefte an ode to Hitler. In the end, over three hundred street names, places or localities, were changed. Adolf Hitler-Str, now avenue de la République Ahnenplatz. Strasse des 17 June now replaced by another military event- avenue de la Liberté. Schillerstrasse replaced rue Victor Hugo and Robert-Koch-strasse replaced rue Pasteur. Avenue Foch was replaced with the name of another general- Hindenburgstraße.


On the bridge at the Château de Kaysersberg with an American cavalryman
Beside the church with an M4 Sherman Tank accompanied by soldiers of the CC5 in the Grand'Rue - Today incongruously Rue de General de Gaulle
La Tour de Fripons - Then and Now
Looking at the church from the place de l'Ancien-Hôtel-de-Ville
The fountain before the war and today

A M4 Sherman next to the Catholic church
US M4 Sherman tank in today's rue de la 1ere Armee
Riquewihr under the Nazis
Allied cars on Rue de la Gen de Gaulle
German troops in front of the Obertor
German PoWs in today's Rue de la 1ere Armee
US Stuart tanks in today's rue de la 1ere Armee
The first Americans arrive in Riquewihr - December 5, 1944
The Altes Fachwerkhaus


German POWs marching along the Rue des Chevalieres in Bergheim, Jan. 1945
in front of troops from Combat Command 6

Bergheim German Cemetery

Rue principale with the Hôtel de Ville on the left

The town church with the plaque commemorating 51 of its citizens who were apparently press-ganged into the Wehrmacht
The Ziehbrunnen at Place Schwendi
Maison Rittimann then and now
The M4 Sherman "Renard" then-and-now

Le Bonhomme
The rue du 3eme Spahis Algeriens then and now

The bridge over the Ill, since rebuilt after the war
 Remains of an anti-tank emplacement

The liberation of Sigolsheim was particularly dramatic on December 19, 1944 when the village was conquered by the five tanks of 1st Platoon, 2nd Squadron of the RCA first under the command of Camille Girard. But the American infantry had not followed, three tanks were destroyed and 25 men, three were wounded, six captured and mortally wounding Girard.
The church of Sts. Peter and Paul after the battle and today
The door after the battle, still displaying a rare version of the theme in which Christ holds keys out to St. Peter (Traditio Clavium) at the same time that He holds an open book out to St. Paul (Traditio Legis). The bullet holes remain 
Rue Principale with a tank roadblock in front 

The Capuchin Monastery in ruins 
Rue Sainte Jacques
At the crossroad with the Grand Rue on the left 
Sigolsheim today as seen from Hill 351,  known also as Bloody Hill. Atop Mont de Sigolsheim is this monument honouring the American soldiers who fought for the liberation of Alsace

The residence at 7 Grand Rue further up the road that had served as the German Field Hospital. 
For the Americans, the capture of Jebsheim was necessary to protect the north flank of the 3rd Division's advance. With the 3rd Division advancing ahead of the French 1 March Infantry Division on the 3rd Division's north flank, General O'Daniel committed the U.S. 254th Infantry Regiment (part of the U.S. 63rd Infantry Division but attached to the U.S. 3rd Infantry Division for the duration of operations in the Colmar Pocket) to capture Jebsheim. On 26–27 January, troops of the German 136th Mountain Infantry Regiment defended Jebsheim against the advance of the 254th Infantry. On 28–29 January, Jebsheim was taken by the 254th Infantry, French tanks of Combat Command 6 (French 5th Armoured Division), and a battalion of the French 1st Parachute Regiment.
St. Martin's church in Jebsheim January 1945
The intersection of Rue des Vosges and Grand Rue where the Germans had established a roadblock and, right, a dead German soldier at that same roadblock

The main road into town with many of the houses still recognisable today
A German anti-tank gun January 23, 1945 beside the river outside the town

World War II was disastrous for Ostheim. Located in the “Colmar Pocket” (“Poche de Colmar”) and shelled for almost two months, from November 1944 to January 1945 in order to free the passage over the River Fecht (bitterly defended by the Germans), Ostheim was totally destroyed and its inhabitants evacuated to the surrounding area. The village was awarded the 1939-1945 Military Cross (Croix de Guerre).
The houses built since the war now obscure the church, the ruins of which are shown behind the tank.
The ruins of the church serve as a memorial to the town's liberators. As with the next photo, a stork's nest continues to be enjoy the same location then and now.
A light tank of the 12th Armoured Division in what's now the Place de la République February 5, 1945 and today. The Witch's Tower, built in the 13th to the 15th centuries to serve as a gaol sports a stork's nest in both photos. During the time of Nazi annexation, a Nationalpolitische Erziehungsanstalt (National Political Institute of Education, NEPA, popularly known as Napola) was housed in a former sanatorium of the city from October 1940.


The victory monument in June 1940 draped with the German war ensign and today. In 1916 the Germans tried to ’bleed the French dry’ in a battle that lasted for 10 months and which brought France to the verge of collapse. Both sides lost tens of thousands of soldiers. To reduce the pressure on Verdun, a joint Anglo-French attack was launched on the Somme. Tanks were employed for the first time but the offensive was a fiasco. On the first day of the battle alone, the British lost 60,000 men, killed, wounded or missing. By the end of 1916, casualties on both sides were horrendous. 
Between them both sides lost half a million men and how many still lie buried in that charnel soil may never be known. Verdun remained in French hands. For the French it was a magnificent victory, but one that had almost shattered their army. For the Germans it was their first undeniable setback, a heavy blow to the morale of both army and people.
Howard (77) The First World War
German victory march past the Memorial to Victory in June, 1940 and after the Anglo-American liberation of France

Nearby the Monument Maginot, erected to the memory of politician and soldier André Maginot and inaugurated in 1935. Maginot had served in the French army during the Great War and was badly wounded near Verdun – an event depicted in the sculptured group placed in front of the central symbolic shield. Maginot served as Minister of War three times between 1922 and 1932 and was the principal advocate of a new line of impregnable defences against a future German invasion, completed after his death and which bore his name. In the event, of course, the Germans bypassed the Maginot Line in 1940 as shown on the right.

 This nearby village was destroyed during the Great War. Today the Douaumont Ossuary, which contains the remains of more than 100,000 unknown soldiers of both French and German nationalities found on the battlefield, stands high above the landscape. The cemetery here holding the remains of the dead of the First World War was a target again of the Germans in the Second.

President Raymond Poincaré visiting Munster, badly damaged during the Great War, on Tuesday August 19, 1919.
The church at Lauterbourg, seen from across the road from the hotel where I stayed at whilst watching France defeat Germany in the semi-Finals of the Euro 2016 championships.  It is the easternmost commune in Metropolitan France (excluding the island of Corsica), across from the German town of Neulauterburg. In the crossfire between France and Germany in numerous wars, it had originally been developed in the early 18th century, into a French fortification of the Lauter-line, defined as the border of France in the Congress of Vienna of 1815. On August 13, 1793, it was the site of a battle of the War of the First Coalition.  After the Franco-Prussian War of 1871, Lauterbourg passed to the German Empire. Lauterbourg was now developed industrially and attached to a railway line. After World War I, the town passed to the French Third Republic. In the 1930s, Lauterbourg was in an uncomfortable position between the Maginot and Siegried-lines. Its population was evacuated immediately upon the outbreak of World War II. In May 1940, the lower town was destroyed completely. Part of its population returned to Lauterbourg in 1942. There was an attempt at taking Lauterbourg on December 15, 1944 by the US 79th Infantry Division, who were forced to hold out against Operation Nordwind until the German offensive was stopped on January 25, 1945. Lauterbourg was taken by the French 1st Army and U.S. VI Corps on March 19, 1945 after assaulting the Siegfried Line fortifications in the Bienwald during a week of heavy combat.  The town was rebuilt after the war in a rudimentary fashion.

Boulay (Bolchen)
Shown during the German occupation when Place de la République was Platz des Führers. On August 9, 1870, the Battle of Boulay took place during the Franco-German War of 1870, when the 2nd Hussars regiment was engaged. Like the other communes of the present department of the Moselle, the town of Boulay was annexed to the German Empire from 1871 to 1918. In 1871, the commune of Boulay, or "Bolchen", became a sub-prefecture of Bezirk Lothringen Within the Reichsland Elsass-Lothringen. During the First World War, the Bolshoi conscripts, like most Mosellans, fought under the colors of the German Empire. Boulay became French again in 1918. At the time of the second annexation, the municipality was renamed "Bolchen" and became the seat of the "Landkreis Bolchen". Much of the city was destroyed by the Americans in November 1944, during the progression of Patton's Third Army to the Saar. Thus, the old town hall of Boulay, built in the 18th century, place de la Vendée, was destroyed on 8 November 1944 by an Anglo-American bombardment. The city was eventually liberated by the Anglo-American liberators on November 27, 1944.

1945. Prosecutors charged leading Nazis with committing crimes against peace, conspiracy against peace, specific violations of the Hague and Geneva Conventions (i.e. ‘war crimes’), and crimes against humanity. National courts judged citizens accused of treason and German nationals who committed crimes within their jurisdictions. In France, proceedings began immediately after the Liberation. Local resistance cells convened ad hoc courts and judged people who were accused of collaborating with German forces. After the provisional French government purged the judicial system, traditional courts handled charges like ‘(e)ntertaining, in time of war, relations with a foreign power or its agents in order to support this power against France.’1 By the time major trials ended in 1949, French prosecutors had executed approximately 7,000 people and sent another 26,289 to prison, but a 1950 amnesty bill pardoned many offenders. As they rendered verdicts and passed down sentences, French jurists defined unacceptable forms of collaboration and punished those found guilty of treason. Official proceedings failed to 1 Peter Novick, The Resistance versus Vichy. The Purge of Collaborators in Liberated France (New York: Columbia University Press, 1968); Philippe Bourdrel, L’E? puration sauvage, 1944 – 1945 (Paris: Perrin, 1988). after the fall live up to those that followed Napoleon III’s 1851 coup d’e?tat or the 1871 Paris Commune. Although harsh during the months that immediately followed the Liberation, French courts eventually accepted a rather narrow definition of collaboration that, in many ways, let bygones be bygones.2 The relatively moderate nature of purges may be connected to widespread acceptance of arguments advanced by defendants during postwar trials. In response to charges that he betrayed the Third Republic, Marshal Henri Pe?tain, the leader of the French state between 17 June 1940 and August 1944, testified that I used my power as a shield to protect the French people . . . Every day, a dagger at my throat, I struggled against the enemy’s demands. History will tell all that I spared you, though my adversaries think only of reproaching me for the inevitable . . . While General de Gaulle carried on the struggle outside our frontiers, I prepared the way for liberation by preserving France, suffering but alive. In his own mind, Pe?tain assumed a thankless position as leader of a defeated nation. From his capital in the eponymous town of Vichy, he exchanged limited French cooperation for limited German demands. From this perspective, de Gaulle served as a sword that struck against Nazi tyranny from London while Pe?tain shielded the French nation from the same threat in Vichy. Both men employed different tactics to achieve the same basic goal: the preservation of France. The Marshal attributed ‘excessive’ collaboration to unscrupulous politicians like Pierre Laval, fascists such as Jacques Doriot, and adventurers like Joseph Darnand.3 The High Court sentenced the Marshal to death on 14 August 1945, but judges suggested the death sentence be suspended, ostensibly because of the perpetrator’s advanced age. General Charles de Gaulle, then the provisional leader of France, commuted Pe?tain’s death sentence to life in prison.4 From these meager beginnings, the sword and shield theory took root in French society and shaped legal, popular, and academic conceptions of the Vichy regime. Shortly after the Liberation, three sympathetic authors confirmed the sword and shield interpretation of the Vichy era. Louis Rougier’s Les Accords Pe?tain–Churchill appeared in 1945 and Henri du Moulin de Labarthe`te’s Le 2 Jean-Pierre Rioux, The Fourth Republic, 1944–1958, translated by Godfrey Rogers (Cam- bridge: Cambridge University Press, 1989), pp. 29–42. 3 Proce`s du Mare?chal Pe?tain (Paris: Editions Louis Pariente, 1945), pp. 15–16; Jean-Marc Varaut, Le Proce`s Pe?tain, 1945–1995 (Paris: Perrin, 1995). 4 Varaut, Le Proce`s Pe?tain, p. 381ff. 2 introduction Temps des illusions followed a year later. Louis-Dominique Girard published Montoire, Verdun diplomatique in 1948. All three highlighted the diplomatic successes of the Vichy regime and implied that France might have fared much worse without Pe?tain. Most on the political right blamed Pierre Laval for the ‘excesses’ of Vichy, and few authors disputed the consensus.5 During the ten years that followed World War Two, Pe?tain’s sword and shield argument influenced historical analysis of the Vichy era. Postwar politics eventually divided veterans of the resistance into two camps. Allies of de Gaulle initially supported the trial of Pe?tain because the latter ‘had symbolized capitulation and, even if he did not wish it, collaboration with the enemy.’6 Eventually General de Gaulle shifted his position and attributed Pe?tain’s collaboration to weakness brought on by old age. Gilbert Renault, a confidant of the general who was known as Colonel Re?my during the war, reported that de Gaulle described himself and Pe?tain as two strings on the same bow. Taking their lead from the general, prominent Gaullists made amends with some former collaborators. Robert Aron’s scholarly Histoire de Vichy, 1940–1944 exonerated many bureaucrats who had worked for the Vichy regime and confirmed Pe?tain’s ‘sword and shield’ theory. Slowly but surely, moderate and conservative Frenchmen embraced the notion that forty million re?sistants had opposed Germany.7 Left-wing opponents of the Vichy regime halfheartedly opposed the sword and shield theory. L’Humanite?, the official newspaper of the French Communist Party (Parti Communist Fran?cais or PCF), supported the execu- tion of Marshal Pe?tain. Long-time members of the resistance (as opposed to re?sistants who joined during the last months of the war) condemned lenient sentences that courts handed down to functionaries of the Vichy regime.8 5 Henry Rousso, The Vichy Syndrome: History and Memory in France since 1944, translated by Arthur Goldhammer (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1991), pp. 241–251; Louis Rougier, Les Accords Pe?tain–Churchill: Historie d’une mission secre`te (Montreal: Beauchemin, 1945); Henri du Moulin de Labarthe`te, Le Temps des illusions: Souvenirs, juillet 1940–avril 1942 (Geneva: E?ditions du Cheval aile?, 1946); Louis-Dominique Girard, Montoire, Verdun diplomatique: Le Secret du Mare?chal (Paris: A. Bonne, 1948); Rene? de Chambrun, France during the German Occupation, 1940–1944, translated by Philip W. Whitcomb (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1957); Paul Badouin, Neuf mois au gouvernement (Paris: E? ditions de la table ronde, 1948); Yves Bouthillier, Le Drame de Vichy (Paris: Plon, 1950). 6 Rousso, The Vichy Syndrome, p. 35. 7 Rousso, The Vichy Syndrome, pp. 32–43; Robert Aron, The Vichy Regime 1940–1944 (Paris: Fayard, 1954); Pierre Laborie, L’Opinion fran?caise sous Vichy (Paris: E? ditions du seuil, 1990). 8 Varraut, Le Proce`s Pe?tain, p. 387; Fred Kupferman, Les Premiers beaux jours, 1944–1946 (Paris: Calmann-Levy, 1985); Jean Cassou, La Me?moire courte (Paris: Minuit, 1953), pp. 33–4; Charles 3 after the fall Yet the dismay of the political left may have been disingenuous. Commu- nists avoided a thorough discussion of the past because such an endeavor might talk about the Nazi-Soviet Non-Aggression Pact, widespread public apathy during the first years of the Occupation, and other disconcerting facts. With skeletons in almost every closet, neither right- nor left-wing parties pushed for a thorough examination of the Vichy era. They both accepted the sword and shield theory as the least-worst explanation of the Occupation.9 Robert Paxton’s Vichy France: Old Guard and New Order, 1940–1944 forced many to revise their understanding of the Vichy era. Using German sources, Paxton argued that the shield theory hardly bears close examination. The armistice and the unoccupied zone seemed at first a cheap way out, but they could have bought some material ease for the French population only if the war had soon ended. As the war dragged on, German authorities asked no less of France than that of the totally occupied countries. In the long run, Hitler’s victims suffered in proportion to his need for their goods or his ethnic feelings about them, not in proportion to their eagerness to please. Vichy managed to win only paltry concessions: a few months of the rele`ve instead of a labor draft, exemption from the yellow star for Jews in the unoccupied zone, slightly lower occupation costs between May 1941 and November 1942, more weapons in exchange for keeping the Allies out of the empire. Judged by its fruits, Vichy negotiation was barren.10 Paxton examined the actions of the Vichy regime and found that Pe?tain and his lieutenants pushed their own agenda. In 1940 Pe?tain asked Germany for an armistice to prevent a left-wing revolution. After hostilities ceased in June 1940, Laval and Darlan tried to exchange economic and military collaboration in return for an easing of restrictions outlined in the Armistice Agreement. Although fettered by the 1940 defeat and the occupation of two-thirds of France, Pe?tain’s lieutenants used whatever autonomy they could muster to construct a new version of La Patrie. Instead of describing Vichy’s program as something imposed by Hitler, Paxton characterized Rist, Une Saison gaˆte?e. Journal de la guerre et de l’occupation Matt Bera Department of History York University 2187D Vari Hall 4700 Keele Street Toronto, Ontario M3J 1P3 Canada The Canadian Centre for German and European Studies 230 York Lanes Building 4700 Keele Street Toronto, Ontario M3J 1P3 Canada Raise the white flag: Conflict and collaboration in Alsace by Matt Bera The views expressed in the Working Papers are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of The Canadian Centre for German and European Studies/Le Centre canadien d’études allemandes et européennes. CCGES/CCEAE welcomes offers for publications. Please send your papers to the CCGES at York University. Les opinions exprimées dans les Notes de Recherche sont celles de l’auteur et ne reflètent pas nécessairement le point de vue du CCEAE. CCGES/CCEAE accepte volontiers des propositions d’articles. Faites parvenir votre article au: CCGES York University 4700 Keele Street Toronto, On, Canada M3J 1P3 CCEAE Université de Montréal Pavillon 3744, rue Jean- Brillant, bureau 525 Montréal, Qc, Canada H3T 1P1 2 Abstract The history of Alsace in the modern period provides historians with an opportunity to examine the course and effects of collaboration both before and after the momentous events of the Second World War. The Alsatian experience suggests that collaboration can be a rational choice for the articulation of social and political conflicts within an occupied region. The peculiar divided linguistic and cultural identity of Alsace in particular created a pool of potential collaborators for both France and Germany throughout the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. At the same time, each new invasion created new opportunities to settle old scores and improve the social mobility of particular groups. However, the detrimental effects of Alsatian adaptability increased with every regime change, and the enormous impact of the National Socialist government broke the cycle of collaboration, purge and counter-collaboration in the region. As a result, Alsatians quickly developed a discourse of total victimhood that allowed them to collectively turn away from Germany, integrate more thoroughly into France and overlook the implications of their own collaborationist past in the post-war period. Résumé L’histoire de l’Alsace, pour ce qui est de la période moderne, donne aux historiens l’opportunité d’examiner le processus et les effets de la collaboration, avant comme après les principaux événements de la Deuxième Guerre Mondiale. L’expérience alsacienne implique que la collaboration peut avoir constitué un choix rationnel par rapport à l’articulation des conflits sociaux et politiques au sein d’une région occupée. Les spécificités liées à l’Alsace, une région dont l’identité culturelle et linguistique est divisée, créèrent un environnement pour des collaborateurs potentiels pour la France comme pour l’Allemagne aux dix-neuvième et vingtième siècles. En même temps, avec chaque invasion s’annoncèrent de nouvelles opportunités de régler de vieux comptes et de permettre l’ascension sociale de certains groupes. Malgré tout, les effets négatifs de l’adaptabilité alsacienne s’accrurent avec chaque changement de régime, et l’impact considérable du gouvernement National-Socialiste interrompit le cycle de collaboration, purges, et contre-collaboration dans la région. Ainsi, les Alsaciens développèrent rapidement un discours de victimisation totale, ce qui leur permit d’opérer une distanciation collective vis-à-vis de l’Allemagne, de s’intégrer plus complètement au sein de la France, et d’éluder les implications liées à leur propre passé collaborationniste au cours de l’après-guerre. Introduction “Collaboration” is a tricky business. While some (such as Hendrik Dethlefsen) have attempted to establish a broad, neutral definition of collaboration as “the continuing exercise of power under the pressure produced by an occupying power,” it continues to evoke powerful and often contradictory emotions that are capable of overpowering a more measured definition (Dethlefsen 1990, 199). Since the term developed into a description primarily of a relationship with brutal and aggressive regimes, most notably National Socialist Germany, “collaboration” has been unable to disentangle itself from connotations of treachery, venality and cruelty. This is partly due to the effects of collaboration itself. Successful collaboration can lead to a new or integrated social hierarchy that transforms the original act of collaboration into an act of patriotism in the eyes of future generations. Unsuccessful collaborators, on the other hand, find themselves with few friends to defend or explain their actions. At the same time, while invasions can destroy governing structures and elites, they can also open up new opportunities for dispossessed members of the occupied region. As a result, the motives and effects of working with a new authority depend largely on context. The history of Alsace throughout the nineteenth and twentieth centuries provides a unique example of a series of regimes that relied on the co-operation of sympathetic locals both before and after the watershed period of the Second World War. Historically, Alsatians have claimed to possess a unique regional identity that was nevertheless fissured by cultural and linguistic affinities with both Germany and France. During the tumultuous period between 1870 and 1945 the question of the dominance of French or German culture turned Alsatian intellectuals and artists away from more rarefied and universal pursuits (Schreiber 1988, 327). At the same time, as Alsatians found themselves shuffled between these two great powers, this dual identity provided a pool of potential collaborators for both States. As a result, collaboration in Alsace took on many of the attributes of a local partisan conflict. This was allowed to develop over a long period of time and affected both the occupied Alsatians and the two competing Imperial powers. The region was caught in a cycle of collaboration, purges and counter- collaboration which provide a robust example of the phenomenon of collaboration itself in different stages and contexts. Collaboration provided a number of advantages to both the invading power and specific groups of Alsatians. However, with each new regime change, the cycle grew increasingly bitter and dangerous. This trend culminated in the Nazi occupation and annexation of 1940-44. As old elites were toppled and replaced by a new group of privileged collaborators in 1871, 1918 and 1940 the consequences were becoming disastrous. While Alsace did not escape the redefinition of the term “collaboration” that took place over the course of WWII to take into account the relationship between Vichy France and Nazi Germany in particular, the period had a profound effect on the development of a discourse of collaboration in Alsace. Rather than leading to a renewed condemnation of collaboration (or at least a few representative collaborators), the implications of both wartime collaboration itself and the post-war use of the term led Alsatians to turn away from the concept of collaboration entirely in favour of a discourse of “total victimhood.” This discourse corresponded with the Gaullist myth of resistancialisme and allowed Alsatians to break the cycle of collaboration and unite the formerly antagonistic groups in an Alsace that was imagined to be firmly embedded in French culture. The Alsatian example 5 therefore demonstrates both the advantages and dangers of collaboration for a small region caught between powerful enemies. Collaboration worked, but it often came at a high price. At the same time, the Alsatian experience of collaboration also demonstrates the profound effects the dislocations of the Second World War had on the region and its relationship to its neighbours. 1. Background: A complicated identity Alsace provides an example of a social polity with a self professed unique regional identity that was nevertheless deeply entangled in the culture and politics of both France and Germany. This both established an identity with a specific regional focus and provided a reserve army of potential collaborators in times of conflict between the two larger powers. In Das Elsaß auf der Suche nach seiner Identität, Michael Essig argues that Alsatian identity is in fact closely bound to the concept of Heimat (Essig 1994, 135). Like the English concept of home, the German Vaterland and French patrie, Heimat solidly anchors Alsatian identity in an identifiable geographical region which is invested with an enormous emotional appeal (ibid., 138). The concept offers a median position between tradition and modernization embodied palpably in physical surroundings (ibid., 139). Collective identity is thus rooted in “the soil,” geography, architecture and customs of the region and disintegrates the farther one moves from home (ibid., 138). This regional identity allowed Alsatians to maintain a sense of coherent collective identity despite its position between two formidable and often fractious nation states. At the same time, it fostered support for a broader European identity that would serve to disarm the centralizing tendencies of both (Craig 1984, 333). In practise, however, this often meant a delicate process of negotiation between French and German interests. This rather rarefied provincial concept of Heimat is bolstered by both Alsatian cultural practise and Alsatians more practical capacity to survive momentous change. When questioned after the Second World War, Herr and Frau “E” identified Alsace as an entity entirely separate from both France and Germany which was nevertheless always on the side, or at least in the possession, of the victors.1 Frau “E” in particular mused that it was important to “always fly the right flag”.2 For Alsace, the right flag also meant the white flag. For Frau “E”’s father-in-law in particular, this meant peace rather than surrender (ibid., 301). However, while Alsatians like Herr and Frau “E” seem willing to submit to an invading power with surprisingly little resistance, they have traditionally been unwilling to accept full integration into either occupying nation. In Alsatian popular culture, this intransigence has been parlayed into a popular identification with a permanently dissatisfied people. This is notably expressed through the Alsatian folk song “Hans-im-Schnockeloch” in which: 1 “4. Ab) Schuld sin ja net die Leut” (in Stamm 1997, 300-01) 2 “Un dann hat er erzält vom Krieg, wie’s war, un der hat er g’sagt, er muß immer an sein Vatter denke -war aa’n Bäker- der hat g’sagt zu’m: Des eine musch der merke, bei jedem Krieg immer glei die richtige Fahn zun Fenstschter rauhänge- Des isch so typisch Elsäßer, die wechsle, immer glei die richtige Fahn. Un der hat au glei g’sagt, wo’s fertich war: geh’ raus un häng die weiß Fahn raus. Wisse Se dei weiße Fahn bedeutet? Friede, net, mir sin friedlich” (Stamm 1997, 301). 6 Hans in the Mosquito-hole has all that he wants. And what he has, he doesn’t want, And what he wants, he doesn’t have. Hans in the Mosquito-hole has all that he wants. (Harvey 2001, 205) This song was so closely identified with Alsatian identity that it was used by the Russian army on the Eastern Front as a signal to conscripted Alsatians waiting to defect from the Wehrmacht (Graff 1996, 84). Taken together, this would point to a well integrated social polity whose identity remains rooted in the region and that tacitly accepts a certain measure of reluctant collaboration, or at least capitulation, in order to protect local interests in times of crisis. Pétain might have been comfortable in this Alsace. Like Ashis Nandy’s Indian Babu, a figure who absorbed other cultures into his Hindu identity in order to avoid any real change, Alsatians have the ability to adapt to the demands of power in order to survive as an intact cultural unit (see Nandy 1983). However, in reality, this version of identity rests uneasily on Alsatians, particularly in the context of their relationship with both France and Germany in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Alsace has not been populated by a separate border people caught between two foreign powers, but is rather characterised by a population that is a linguistic, ethnic and political mixture of the two. The heterogeneous nature of Alsace has had a profound impact on both Alsatian identity and blurred the line between collaboration, patriotism and normal cultural practise at any given time. The possession of Alsace nominally passed to Louis XIV during the Thirty Years War. However, the Sun King experienced considerable difficulty administering the region, which was only brought to heel after an extensive siege of Strasbourg that ended in 1681 (Kahn 1990, 27). Despite efforts to centralize both the administration and culture of Alsace, the new territory remained a strangely mixed population divided along confessional, linguistic and cultural lines. By the mid-nineteenth century 32% of the population of Bas-Rhin and 11% of Haut-Rhin were protestant, while the region also supported a substantial Jewish minority (Harp 1998, 27; Kahn 1990, 46). At the same time, a majority of the population spoke German or a closely related Alsatian dialect as a first language while only the nobility and bourgeoisie of the cities were raised primarily in French (Philipps 1980, 25). Linguistic and religious differences also combined in strange ways in Alsace. While the French speaking bourgeoisie were generally Protestants integrated into the Lutheran church, German speaking workers were predominantly Catholic and maintained ties to French ecclesiastical structures. Alsace thus came to be seen as a linguistically fractured region whose population demonstrated a love of French politics and German culture (Kahn 1990, 28). Like Nandy’s Babu, this divided population of Alsace provided a deep reservoir of potential collaborators for both Germany and France. This duality allowed individuals and social groups to move between both regions with relative ease. This dual identity was cause for concern for political figures from the French interior from the revolutionary Bertrand Barère to Napoleon III. Barère in particular explicitly identified Alsatians as potential collaborators with their “brothers” in Prussia and advocated the forcible imposition of French culture and language in the region (Harp 1998, 27). This fear seemed to be 7 confirmed in the eyes of the administrators of the Second Empire as support for Napoleon III’s last plebiscite in 1870 declined substantially in Alsace and a wave of strikes swept the region, particularly Colmar, on the eve of the Franco-Prussian war (Silverman 1972, 20-21). As the Prussian troops advanced, violent outbursts increased in the region. While the Second Empire was entering its death-throes, municipal authorities in Colmar and Mulhouse formed volunteer corps to restore order at home in Alsace, rather than to meet the invading Prussians (ibid., 22). Excited by the prospect of unification and ideas linking ethnicity, culture and nationhood, Prussian and North German nationalists took this to be evidence of the “German” nature of the region and hoped to incorporate Alsace into the new Reich with little difficulty. However, the German Imperial government soon found itself entangled in the contradictory identity of Alsace. When, despite being occupied by Prussian troops, Alsatians were allowed to participate in the National Assembly elections immediately following the armistice of 1871, the region overwhelmingly endorsed Léon Gambetta and his call to renew the war against Prussia (Silverman 1972, 25). Thereafter, the German government treated the region with some caution. When Alsace and Lorraine were both eventually incorporated into the German constitution in 1874, they entered as subordinate regions directly administered by the Prussian government (Kahn 1990, 30). Despite the subordinate position of the region, the Reich government did not actively attempt to purge Alsace of its French population. This was left up to the effects of time and the allure of German culture (Harvey 1999, 540). Residents wishing to retain French citizenship, however, were required both to make an open declaration of their intention and to relocate across the new border by October 1, 1872 (Silverman 1972, 66). Fleeing French citizens were quickly replaced by a wave of German born administrators and migrants until, by 1910, approximately 123 out of every 1000 inhabitants of Alsace-Lorraine were born in the German interior (ibid., 69). This was increased by the presence of an unusually large military garrison in the region which accounted for 4.4% of the population. Thus, by 1879, 95% of the population of Lower-Alsace and 78% of that of Upper-Alsace spoke German or dialect as a first language. In contrast, less than 5% of the population Alsace as a whole primarily spoke French (ibid., 75). Although the Reich government was relatively uninterested in the French speaking population of Alsace, it did actively encourage integration into the Reich through its education policies, military conscription and an administration that was wholly dependent on the German interior. As early as April 14, 1871, the Imperial government issued a directive that prohibited the use of French as a language of instruction in the primary grades (ibid., 76). In 1874 this policy was extended to the elementary level in general and finally to the Gymnasium. On May first and second 1872, a new German university was inaugurated in Strasbourg (Craig 1984, 61). At best, the new University of Strasbourg was intended to help spread German learning and culture throughout the new territories. On a more practical level, the institution would allow the new administration to prepare Alsatians for a range of professions in which they would operate in German (ibid., 30-60). In practice, however, the education system was much less demanding than it appeared. Many regions with predominantly French populations continued to educate their children in French, while both French and German were routinely taught. Many professional fields became functionally bilingual and technical terms were often expressed using both their French and German equivalents (Silverman 1972, 76-77). Moreover, the German government expressed little interest in the ethnicity or convictions of Alsatian teachers and 8 retained the French educators of the Second Empire (Harp 1998, 55). The relationship between Alsatians and both the German military and administration was rather less ambivalent. As new citizens of the Reich, Alsatians were now expected to serve in that great school of the nation, the Imperial army. Despite suspicions regarding the reliability of troops conscripted from the new territories, compulsory service was introduced to Alsace- Lorraine the same day the option for emigration to France expired (Silverman 1972, 71). However, these troops were generally stationed far away from home in the Reich’s eastern provinces, and even volunteer Alsatians could not expect to advance into the fabled Prussian officer corps (Harvey 1999, 538). The administration of the Reichsland was equally restrictive. With the exception of Secretary of State Zorn von Bulach, no Alsatian was permitted to serve in a responsible position in the administration of the region (Silverman 1972, 79). Even the potential appointment of the Strasbourg industrialist Jean Schlumberger, honoured twice for his service to the Kaiser, was rejected in 1885 as a “dangerous concession” to Alsatian ambitions (ibid., 84). The upper echelons of the civil service were likewise staffed by Germans from the interior and were closed to locals (Harvey 1999, 538). While some Alsatians, particularly members of the “League of Alsace”, protested during the initial stages of Prussian administration, the region soon began to adapt to its new circumstances. The proportion of conscript soldiers who failed to turn up for duty in Alsace- Lorraine dropped from 25% in 1879 to 8% in 1904, a figure comparable to some areas of central Germany (Silverman 1972, 72). At the same time, the education system and new university prepared Alsatians to work in German and created a corps of civil servants and technical elites who functioned exclusively in the language of the Reich (Grünwald 1984, 55). This effectively inverted the pre-1871 hierarchy (Essig 1994, 128). Whereas a minority of French speakers had once dominated Alsatian society through their connections to effective authority in the interior, opportunities for collaboration opened up for German and German speaking Alsatians under the auspices of the nascent German Empire. With the introduction of a more liberal constitution for the region in 1911, both Alsace and Lorraine seemed to be moving closer into the Reich (Silverman 1972, 151). While émigrés and French Alsatians might nurse bitter memories of the effects of the Franco-Prussian war, they now watched as a largely pacified and increasingly German Alsace sank into a complacent “paix du cimetiere” during the last decades of the nineteenth century (Kahn 1991, 31; Anderson 1972, 19). Thus, while the German occupation of Alsace shifted opportunities from French to German speaking Alsatians, collaboration largely took the form of the speedy adaptation to a new centre of authority. As long as things went reasonably well under the German administration, Alsatians seemed largely content to work for improvements rather than fundamental change. However, as the German occupation grew more onerous, the Reich found it difficult to maintain its position in Alsace. 9 2. 1914-1944: Diminishing returns The advent of the First World War had a profound impact on the population of Alsace. While the war helped to bolster the hopes of both regional autonomists and French sympathists, it also aroused deep suspicions on the part of the German Imperial government. Faced with an ongoing war on its western borders, the German government now feared that Alsace would act as a fifth column for the interests of the French. Therefore, while the German army mobilized over 380 000 Alsatians during the conflict, it also placed the two territories under direct military authority (Boswell 2000, 132). Lenient policies towards French speakers were suspended and the use of the language was banned in public places. “Strict Censorship” was introduced and freedom of movement was suspended (ibid.). While these provisions generally held true in the rest of the Reich as well, the peculiar linguistic mixture that characterized the Alsatian population made them particularly problematic. Contact, or even sympathy, with France became a punishable offence and several thousand inhabitants of the two regions were arrested as a wave of denunciations swept Alsace and Lorraine (Harvey 1999, 538). While the denunciation of neighbours might indicate a certain amount of sympathy for the German cause, or at least a willingness to settle old scores through the regime, support for the Reich plummeted over the course of the war (Boswell 2000, 133). At the same time, support for regional autonomy grew. As the Imperial government collapsed into chaos in November of 1918, an ad hoc committee of three made a serious attempt to establish an independent republic in Alsace (Grünwald 1984, 47-49). However, as the victorious poilus crossed the Moselle, they were greeted by an enthusiastic and, by all accounts, suddenly Francophile population (Harvey 2001, 127; Beyer 1995, 42, 49). When the invading power began establishing its own authority, Alsace was gripped by a wave of purges of the former German “collaborators”. As in 1871, the occupation by a new power altered the relationship and relative position of Alsace’s two linguistic groups. However, this reorganization was decidedly more bitter and thorough than its predecessors. While the French troops advanced, Francophone Alsatians that had been excluded from power under the old regime quickly set about settling the score with local collaborators. Following the armistice, an Alsatian comité d’épuration was established in Strasbourg in order to “purge Alsace of the boches who deserve it” (Boswell 2000, 140). However, despite the enthusiasm of some Francophile members of the local population, the French government itself quickly assumed responsibility for the purge of those associated too closely with the German regime. Like the German government, the French administration was deeply suspicious of the populations of Alsace-Lorraine during the war and had in fact interned a number of émigrés and up to 8000 Alsatians from parts of the region that had been briefly re-occupied by French troops in the confusion of the opening days of the war (Boswell 2000, 133). Their suspicions were underscored by the fact that, by 1918, only 2% of the population spoke French fluently (Anderson 1972, 20). The French government was therefore committed to aggressively reintegrating the two regions into the republic as loyal French provinces. Accordingly, a committee charged with establishing the ethnicity of each inhabitant and expelling undesirables was created under the forbidding title of “Commissions de Triage” in November 1918 (Grünwald 1984, 20). 10 The commissions represented both the new opportunities for collaboration with the French and the increasing tendency of national governments to classify the inhabitants of Alsace according to race or ethnicity. The commissions themselves were made up of three members; one presiding French general and two local Alsatians (Harvey 1999, 542). One of the local members of the commission was appointed by the government in Paris, while the other was named by the local military administrator. In practice, this meant that Alsatians with close ties to either the French interior or the new military presence presided alongside a French officer who often spoke no German (Boswell 2000, 145-46). The commissions were immediately “overwhelmed by a wave of denunciations” and the effects of the previous collaboration with the German government became apparent (Harvey 1999, 542). Those accused of harbouring pro- German sentiments, including Alsatians who had denounced others to the German government during the war, “pangermanists” or those who demonstrated “Germanophilia,” were then summoned “to answer for anti-French acts” and faced expulsion from the region, internment or the loss of a number of civil rights (Grünwald 1984, 21; Boswell 2000, 147, 150). Defendants were allowed no access to legal council and were not permitted to summon witnesses to speak on their behalf. Apart from those accused of directly collaborating with the German authorities, the commissions also targeted important or influential figures from the previous regime. Civil servants, priests and teachers in particular were relieved of their duties and often expelled outright (Boswell 2000, 152). The post-war purge also furnished an excuse to remove a variety of groups determined to be undesirable by the new administration. Labour leaders, “women of easy virtue” and even Alsatian autonomists were targeted by the Commission de Triage (Harvey 1999, 547). More than 4 300 cases were examined by the Strasbourg commissions alone between 1918-1919 (Boswell 2000, 147-48). The post-war purges were underscored by French efforts to assign every Alsatian an identity card establishing their ethnic descent. “Pure” Alsatian citizens and émigrés from the French interior were issued “A” cards, while residents with at least one Alsatian parent were given “B” cards. Alsatians born as a result of the union between two foreign parents received “C” cards. At the very bottom of the new social hierarchy, Alsatians with two German parents were issued “D” cards (Harvey 1999, 548). While identity cards did not confer or deny citizenship in the Third Republic, “A”, “B” and even “C” cards conveyed considerable advantages over ”D” card holders. Employers in Alsace were actively encouraged to dismiss “D” card holders, or at the very least to avoid hiring German-Alsatians. These individuals were also required to exchange their Marks for Francs at an inflated rate as compared to “A” through “C” card holders (ibid., 549). At the same time, “D” card holders were prevented from registering to vote, effectively disenfranchising residents of German descent (Boswell 2000, 144). In the context of the activities of the Commissions de Triage, the introduction of the identity card system seemed to be an ominous indication of the future for German-Alsatians. As a result of the purges, over 150 000 Germans left or were expelled from Alsace- Lorraine (Grünwald 1984, 57). While those who left voluntarily fared better than the expelled Germans, those fleeing across the Rhine were officially only permitted to transport 2000 Marks, 30kgs of goods and sufficient provisions for the journey (ibid., 55). Once inside Germany, the refugees were forced to rely on aid agencies and self-help organizations, particularly the “Hilfsbund für die vertriebenen Elsaß-Lothringer im Reich” (ibid., 60). While these organizations served to integrate former Alsatian Germans into the young republic, they also 11 helped to cultivate bitter feelings towards France that would bear terrible fruit in the future.3 The situation in Alsace itself remained rather ambiguous. French administrators from the interior and émigrés who had fled in 1871-2 flooded in to fill the positions vacated by the Germans, infuriating many Alsatians by behaving “with the arrogance of colonial officials” while also collecting handsome salary bonuses for having relocated to the region (Anderson 1972, 20). German speaking civil servants and teachers were largely replaced by French Alsatians or appointees from the interior (Harp 1998, 188-89). A new generation of Alsatians was to be raised in French. Accordingly, in 1919 schools were required to teach in French for 50% of the week and classes were to be conducted entirely in French by the fall of 1920 (ibid., 191). On December 7 1918, the German university in Strasbourg was closed, only to reopen one month later as a French institution (Craig 1984, 108-110). For many Alsatians, the shine soon wore off the Third Republic. Administrative and educational changes proved to be disorienting at best, a “lost generation” of bureaucrats and administrators from the old regime were unable to secure comparable employment and many Alsatians actively condemned the heavy-handedness of the post-war purges (Boswell 2000, 159). Moreover, local residents soon learned that their opportunities for advancement under the Third Republic were as limited as those under the Second Reich (Harvey 2001, 144). As a result, the government in Paris grew increasingly alarmed at the “Alsatian malaise” which reflected the provinces disappointment with the French administration (Anderson 1972, 20). Nevertheless, French-Alsatians were able to step into the places of former German speaking collaborators and reap the rewards of a close association with power. At the same time, Alsatians in general could look east and be thankful that the fortunes of war had delivered them from the political and economic quagmire into which the young Weimar republic was visibly sinking. However, the uneasy peace between Paris and Alsace was shattered by the election of a new government in 1924. For Alsatians, the election of the Cartel des Gauches and establishment of the government of Eduard Herriot was as divisive as the government of Léon Blum would be in the rest of France some eight years later. Committed to fully integrating Alsace into a secular, unitary French state, Herriot announced on June 17 1924 that his government would eliminate the last of the special laws obtaining in Alsace. As a result, the province would be subject to all French laws and the Napoleonic Concordat of 1801, which still governed the relationship between church and state in Alsace, would be abolished (Kettenacker 1973, 15). Catholic Alsatians in particular were outraged by Herriot’s intention and 17 000 protesters turned out in Strasbourg alone to denounce the Cartel on July 20 (Bankwitz 1978, 14). Although the Cartel des Gauches was forced to abandon the project in January 1925, the controversy surrounding the proposal had alienated a wide variety of Alsatians and emboldened autonomists and German- 3 This is particularly true in the case of Valentin Beyer, whose memories of the French occupation and his own exile became coloured by national socialist ideology in the 1930s. His memoirs thus present a fascinating example of the relationship between ideology, memory and identity. Because the book is largely concerned with Beyer’s later writing and is heavily glossed by his grandson, most of the text represents a troubled meditation on the significance of Beyer as the head of a family and representative of the Nazi period. (Beyer 1995, 42) 12 Alsatians dissatisfied with the new regime (ibid., 15). The following year, this widespread dissatisfaction began to develop into an autonomist movement with close ties to Germany. On May 9 1925, the newspaper “Die Zukunft’ (The Future) was founded in order to promote the interests of the region (Heimat) and the traditional rights of its inhabitants (volksrechte) (Kettenacker 1973, 16). By the end of the year, Zukunft was read by one in twelve households in Alsace (Bankwitz 1978, 16). In September of 1925, the regional Communist Party officially endorsed the autonomist movement in Alsace (Kettenacker 1973, 16). This was quickly followed by the establishment of an Elsaß-Lothringisches Heimatbundes in 1926 (ibid.). The Heimatbund in turn supported two separate autonomist parties: the moderate Elsaßische Fortschrittspartei (Alsatian Progressive Party) and the more radical Landespartei (Bankwitz 1978, 18). By 1928, three Alsatian autonomists sat in the French National Assembly (Anderson 1972, 22). This new movement was not simply an expression of dissatisfaction with the policies of the Cartel des Gauches. Rather, the autonomists of the mid-1920s identified themselves explicitly with the old Reich and developed a discourse that linked the Alsatian Heimat to irredentist Germany and cultivated resentment towards French efforts to re-orient Alsatian culture and society towards Paris. The manifesto of the Heimatbund in particular identified the Alsatians to whom it appealed as belonging to a separate race as well as language.4 At the same time, the movement was largely financed from the east bank of the Rhine. The Hilfsbund in particular had quickly transformed itself from a mutual aid society into a political organization representing German interests in Alsace on both sides of the border (Grünwald 1984, 99). By early 1924, it employed Robert Ernst, an embittered ex-patriot who had fled Alsace with his family in 1918 and nursed dreams of an eventual reunification with Germany, to establish a relationship between the Hilfsbund and the autonomist movement (Kettenacker 1973, 76; Grünwald 1984, 101). It was Ernst who secured the funds necessary for the establishment of Die Zukunft and the Heimatbund (Bankwitz 1978, 21). At the same time, German émigrés and the Hilfsbund re-established connections with local and municipal governments in Alsace in order to offer their services in the “reconstruction of our German Fatherland”.5 The French government was now sufficiently unnerved by the prospect of a German fifth column that Paris began to crackdown on autonomist activities. Autonomist newspapers were outlawed in the region in November 1927 and French authorities arrested twenty-four leaders of the movement on the following Christmas eve (Bankwitz 1978, 25). Four of the accused were convicted for subversion, sentenced to one year in prison and expelled from the region for a further five. However, sympathetic Alsatians rallied around the autonomist leaders and two of the convicted men, Joseph Rossé and Georges Ricklin, were elected to the National Assembly in the spring (ibid., 26). Although they were prevented from sitting in the assembly, their election sent a powerful message both to the government in the interior and Germans waiting across the Rhine. 4 “Appeal to all Alscace-Lorrainers faithful to their homeland” (in Bankwitz 1978, 16-18) 5 “An die Stadtverwaltung der Stadt Restatt. Z.H. des Herrn Oberbürgmeister Renner. Dez. 1927." (in Stamm 1997, 152) 13 While the autonomist movement was underwritten by dissatisfied German-Alsatians and their supporters in the Reich, the rise of the National Socialists as a viable political movement and then governing party split the autonomist movement and created a small cadre willing to collaborate with an aggressive German Reich. Although many were initially drawn to the dynamic progress made by the Nazis in Germany, moderate autonomists, particularly those associated with the Catholic church, soon distanced themselves from the pro-German movement and embraced regional rights within a strong French republic (Harvey 2001, 167). Others, including the former editor of Die Zukunft, Robert Schall, openly endorsed the political and racial ideology of the Nazi party and continued to advocate for strong ties with Germany (ibid.). In 1931, an Elsaß-Lothringische Jungmannschaft, modelled on the growing Nazi volkische and youth movements, was formed with the support of pro-German fraternities at the University of Strasbourg (Craig 1984, 302). By the mid-1930s, the clash between right wing organizations such as the Croix de Feu and the left wing Popular Front government likewise polarised politics in Alsace, driving many German speaking Alsatians into the fascist Elsäßische Arbeiter und Bauern Partei (Alsatian Workers and Farmers Party) (Harvey 2001, 173-176). As refugees from the third Reich began to enter and settle in Alsace, an increasing number of right-wing Alsatians began to protest the number of Jews and other “undesirables” being allowed into the region (ibid., 171). When the relationship between France and Germany deteriorated, the French government once again took measures to contain the internal threat in Alsace. In February 1939 one of the leaders of the Landespartei, Karl Roos, was arrested and imprisoned. In the weeks immediately following the declaration of war on Germany, fifteen other autonomist leaders were arrested and held in the city of Nancy (Bankwitz 1978, 34). However, in their haste to prevent discontented Alsatians from aiding Germany, the French authorities conflated real German agents like Roos and Friedrich Spieser with local fascists such as the head of the Junmannschaft, Herman Bickler, and the mercurial autonomist Rossé, who now sat as a deputy for the Union Populaire Républican along with René Stürmel (ibid., 37-66). The group’s arrest and the subsequent execution of Roos underlined the seriousness of the situation and turned the “Nanziger” as a group into a minor cause celebre in Nazi circles (Kattenacker 1973, 128). Together, this group would constitute the public face of Alsatian collaboration during the war. Following the successful invasion of France, the Nazi government demanded the return of the Nanziger to Alsace. On July 17, one month after Petain had made a “gift of his person” to the nation, the fifteen prisoners were returned to Alsace (Harvey 2001, 195). However, before they returned to their homes, the former prisoners were pressured into signing a joint declaration publicly condemning the French government and calling for the full integration of Alsace into the Third Reich (Bankwitz 1978, 69-70). Thereafter, members of the group were shuffled into visible positions in the new National Socialist administration. Four of the former Nanziger (Lang, Hauss, Bickler, and Nußbaum) were appointed Kreisleiter of Zabern, Hagenau, Strasbourg and Molsheim, respectively (Kettenacker 1973, 126). The remaining members found employment in important positions in the semi-official Elsäßischer Hilfdienst, founded by Robert Ernst upon his return to Alsace (Bankwitz 1978, 77). A number of other prominent pre- war figures were also integrated into the new governing structure. Ernst himself was made chief advisor to the new Gauleiter, Robert Wagner (Harvey 2001, 194). Kreisleiter positions in Mülhausen, Gebweiler and Rappoltsweiler were likewise filled by former members of the 14 Jungmannschaft and the Arbeiter und Bauern Partei (Kettenacker 1973, 126). These, however, were only the most visible Alsatians willing to work under the new regime. The Hilfdienst in particular was able to find work for a wide variety of German-Alsatians (ibid., 116). By the end of the war, 30 000 Alsatians had joined the NSDAP and 63% of the population was member of at least one Nazi organization (Graff 1996, 91). In the early days of the occupation, the population of Alsace began to adapt as they had after conflicts twice before in living memory. Like French citizens all over occupied France, Alsatians were relieved to discover that the German troops, from whom they expected terrible acts of brutality, were in fact well disciplined, clean and orderly young men.6 This revelation was particularly poignant to the refugees returning after having been evacuated from Strasbourg and the areas surrounding the Maginot Line. These families returned to Alsace to discover that their homes and wine cellars had been plundered by unruly French, rather than German, troops while their livestock was requisitioned without compensation by the French high command (Boswell 1999, 561-62). Many of these Alsatians were at least thankful for a swift end to the war and a return to their homes. The German invasion of 1940 thus repeated the pattern set for Alsace in 1871 and 1918. The social hierarchy was once again inverted and collaborators connected to the new site of power were integrated into the new administration. Schools and the civil service again functioned in the language of the victor and the creatures of the old regime were expelled. However, the National Socialist government was of an entirely different order than that of previous invading powers. Ethnically or politically undesirable Alsatians were sometimes exiled into France, but they were also often sent into the German interior or into concentration camps. Use of the French language was banned outright as the government attempted to stamp out the remains of the previous regime (Essig 1994, 146). Francophone civil servants were seized as hostages to ensure the safety of the region’s new masters (Ungerer 1998, 32). The distasteful French policy of classifying Alsatians according to ethnicity found a terrible echo in the imposition of National Socialist racial policies in 1940. Alsatians themselves also seem to have developed a reputation as opportunists and collaborators over the course of the previous two regime changes. The Alsatians historical ability to come to terms with their most recent invaders met with a cool reception amongst a Nazi leadership who considered most Alsatians to be little more than crass opportunists (Bankwitz 1978, 74; Robert Ernst in Stamm 1997, 268-69). Alsatians were therefore barred even from positions of relatively little importance such as local police forces (Ungerer 1998, 60). As a result, the full weight of the National Socialist State was brought to bear on Alsace, undermining the Alsatian rationale for collaboration. Although Alsace was not publically annexed to the Reich, an unpublished decree of August 2, 1940 officially extended the German administration into the region (Milward 1970, 39). Gauleiter Wagner, a comrade of Hitler’s since the Beer-hall putsch of 1923, was charged with fully assimilating Alsace-Lorraine into the Third Reich within ten years. Wagner himself 6 For a discussion of the French reaction to German troops see Burrin 1993, 197. For the Alsatian reaction see Ungerer 1998, 30-31. 15 was determined to expunge all cultural and linguistic peculiarities from the region ahead of schedule (Kettenacker 1973, 62). Education was therefore made little more than indoctrination into National Socialism and young people were uniformly drafted into a variety of Nazi youth organizations (Ungerer 1998, 60-64). Even minor cultural differences were not tolerated, and Alsatians were pressured to switch their wedding rings to their right hand after the German custom (ibid., 58). The Concordat of 1801 was finally abolished in 1940, and the new regime began a policy of repression of Catholicism as an “enemy of the Reich” (Kettenacker 1973, 197). As new citizens of the Reich, young Alsatians were required to perform at least one year of compulsory labour service after May 1941 (Harvey 2001, 195). On August 23 1942, compulsory military service was introduced to the region (Kettenacker 1973, 223). As a result, 130 000 Alsatians were sent to the eastern front, where 40 000 perished or disappeared (Graff 1996, 76). While the Allied armies approached Alsace in the summer of 1944, virtually the entire population was inducted into the German Labour corps in order to prepare the region’s defences (Wurch 1973, 194). 3. Post-war years: Identity out of the ashes As the reality of the situation revealed itself, it became apparent that this occupation was substantially different from its predecessors. The region’s population and resources were being consumed by a nation which demonstrated a surprising commitment to obliterating regional identity. In this context, it is often asserted that “Hitler did more for the cause of the French state than all the “patriots” taken together” (Anderson 1972, 23). While it is true that the war drove Alsatians into the arms of the French, this also involved a profound redefinition of the relationship between Alsace and any outside power. In this context, the relationship between the two competing linguistic groups in Alsace changed fundamentally as Alsatians attempted to sever or downplay ties to Germany. Alsace did not experience the purges that wracked the interior of France or the majority of liberated states in the closing days of the war. Rather, Alsatians developed a unique approach to the war years that focussed on the totalizing effects of victimhood at the hands of a totally foreign power. Opportunities for collaboration and the close ties between Germany and Alsace itself were therefore minimized, or turned into acts of resistance. This approach hardened into a surprisingly durable discourse through the controversy surrounding the massacre at Oradour in particular which allowed Alsace to integrate itself into French society and avoid some of the contemporary implications of its collaborationist past. The Alsatian understanding of the wartime experience is largely dependant on its illegitimate integration into the Third Reich. A wide variety of writers and historians, including the filmmaker and playwright Martin Graff, have based their discussion of the occupation on this point (Graff 1996, 178; see also Harvey 2001, 193). This has had several consequences for Alsatian memories of the war years. First, it established a clear distinction between the experiences of occupied France and that of annexed Alsace. At the same time, it distinguished Alsatians from Germans of the same period. This median position allowed Alsatians to claim (with some justification) that they, unlike the collaborators of Vichy, were forced to serve the Nazi State while also avoiding the guilt associated with full participation in the Third Reich. Alsatians experienced National Socialism as victims, without contributing to it. This effectively precluded widespread resistance and removed the voluntary aspects of collaboration. This later 16 argument formed a substantial part of the defence of the Alsatians charged with participation in the massacre at Oradour (Farmer 1999, 151). At the same time, this position papered over the competition between French and German speaking Alsatians. Alsatians’ approach to collaboration during and following the war is consistent with this model of totalizing victimhood. Thus, actions which might have been considered acts of collaboration in the French interior have been transformed into acts of necessity or minor acts of resistance in Alsace. When Tomi Ungerer describes his beautiful mother’s ability to trade her attentions and flattery for extraordinary privileges, he uses this as an example of both the stupidity of the Nazi officers in question and of Alsatians ability to manipulate the occupying authorities (Ungerer 1998, 36, 105-06). As a result, Alsace was not swept by a wave of riotous unofficial purges following liberation. Many Alsatians in fact expressed their concern at the tendency of the French army to arrest “good Alsatian citizens” on charges of colla0 July conspirators, liberated Paris and ended the Occupation by force of arms. Paris teetered on the brink of revolution and approximately 100,000 Frenchmen participated in demonstrations on Bastille Day: 14 July 1944. Hitler replaced Carl-Heinrich von Stülpnagel with General Dietrich von Choltitz, a veteran of the attack on Rotterdam and the siege of Sevastopol. After meeting with Hitler and receiving orders to not surrender without explicit permission, Choltitz assumed command of German forces in Paris on 9 August 1944.37 French railway workers walked off the job the day after Choltitz arrived, and Ob West ordered 35 Schramm, Conspiracy Among Generals, pp. 172–5; Hoffmann, The History of the German Resistance, 1933–1945, pp. 517–518, 529; Liddell-Hart, German Generals Talk, pp. 266–7; BAMA, N 5/24/11–13. 36 Birn, Die Ho?heren SS- und Polizeiführer, pp. 255–9, 341; Lappenküper, ‘Der ‘‘Schla?chter von Paris’’.’ 37 USNA, RG 242/T-175/65/2580562–2580563; Larry Collins and Dominique Lapierre, Is Paris Burning? (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1965), pp. 33–6, 46–8. 287 after the fall the MBF to disarm French policemen on 12 August. Unfettered by orders to fight to the last man, SS policemen began to flee on 10 August. The last MBF would have to hold Paris without help from Ob West, French collaborators, or the Black Corps.38 Communist partisans called for a general strike and mobilized their forces on 18 August, and non-Communist leaders quickly followed suit. General von Choltitz threatened to answer resistance with ‘the sharpest means,’ but his threats proved hollow. Skirmishes broke out across Paris and, despite local ceasefire agreements, continued until 24 August. General Eisenhower would have preferred to bypass the French capital, but General de Gaulle forced his hand. Elements of General Leclerc’s Free French forces entered Paris on 24 August and accepted the surrender of General von Choltitz the following day.39 Given the forces at his disposal, Choltitz had no other realistic choice. Despite contrary orders from Hitler, Paris escaped total destruction. Approximately 60 per cent of the military administration survived the retreat to Germany by joining regular military units. Survivors eventually gathered in Potsdam during the winter of 1944–1945 and, in an attempt to avoid combat, began to write a history of occupied France. Veterans of the military administration did not escape the malevolent attention of Heinrich Himmler. The Reichsführer SS asked Keitel to reassign MVW officials to combat units immediately after they finished writing their reports. Oddly enough, the process lasted until 7 May 1945—the day Jodl agreed to an unconditional surrender.40 Final reports written by the military administration contain a wealth of information pertaining to the occupation of France during World War Two.41 Although rich in detail, many were written by people who feared prosecution for war crimes after the end of hostilities. Veterans of the military administration excused their own actions by crediting war crimes to the SS, the German embassy in Paris, Sauckel’s labor organization, senior military leaders in Berlin, and orders from Hitler. 38 Jackson, France. The Dark Years 1940–1944, p. 561; BALW, R 70 Frankreich/33/7; BAK All. Proz. 21/209/39–41. 39 BAMA, RH 19 IV/141/fiche 2/94; Jackson, France. The Dark Years, 1940–1944, pp. 561–9. 40 BAMA, RH 3/206/30, 57–59, 66, 95, 99; Ja?ckel, France dans l’Europe de Hitler, pp. 508, 520. 41 BAMA, RW 35/244–247. 288 invasion and retreat Although interspersed with references to the Hague Convention and leading scholars of international law, arguments amounted to little more than ‘somebody else did it’ or ‘you did it too.’ Every parent can appreciate the value of such rhetoric. Often portrayed as an absolute dictator in scholarly discourse and popular imagination, Hitler recognized the limits of his power. An anti-Semite to the core, Hitler understood that German society did not share all of his opinions regarding Jews and proceeded with caution. As Nazi electoral prospects improved in the 1930s, the Führer toned down anti- Semitic rhetoric in favor of the need for living space and the iniquity of parliamentary politics.42 After assuming control of the German state in 1933, Hitler implemented his anti-Semitic agenda in stages that began with defamation and discrimination before proceeding to despoliation and concluding with extermination during the war. After defeating the French on the field of battle, Hitler followed the same pattern and pursued French Jews in stages but proceeded without any regard for French sensibilities. Ignoring legal arguments raised by military administration officials, the Führer approved the confiscation of Jewish property and antagonized the Vichy government in short order. The advent of deadly resistance activity allowed Hitler to up the ante in 1941. Speaking through Keitel, Hitler outlined a reprisal policy of 50 to 100 executions for each and every German casualty. The Führer’s brutal strategy liquidated racial opponents, intimidated neutral Frenchmen, and shocked the French public. Confident of victory, Hitler refused to accommodate French concerns and pushed his anti-Semitic agenda forward. The Vichy regime went to extraordinary lengths to accommodate German needs. After the Moser assassination, French courts executed six communists to satisfy Germany’s thirst for vengeance. Darlan allowed French firms to work for the German war machine even when such contracts made France vulnerable to Allied bombing raids. Neither Darlan or Laval displayed a preference for anti-Semitism during the interwar era, but both supported the defamation, discrimination, and despoliation of French Jews and the deportation of foreign Jews of their own accord. Until the very last weeks of the Occupation, many French police cooperated with their German counterparts in an effort to seize Jews, round up re?fractaires, 42 Kershaw, Hitler, 1889–1936: Hubris, pp. 288, 330. 289 after the fall and maintain order. The French government accommodated Nazi goals and persecuted Jews in an attempt to vanquish common enemies and secure a place in Hitler’s new order. During his tenure as MBF, Otto von Stülpnagel indulged some French concerns in order to expand economic collaboration. For example, he opposed travel restrictions that divided occupied and unoccupied France because they impeded commerce. In a 1940 letter, the MBF asked General Jodl to send vital raw materials to France because ‘one must give a cow fodder in order to get milk.’43 During the hostage debate, Otto von Stülpnagel condemned ‘Polish Methods’ that made ‘future rapprochement more difficult.’44 Carl-Heinrich von Stülpnagel followed the policies of his cousin and minimized the number of hostage executions while he remained in charge of German security policy. Both MBFs placed economic cooperation above racial considerations and tried to accommodate French sensibilities while they supported the military war effort. Oberg certainly understood Nazi racial goals based on his SS background, first-hand experience in Poland, and talks with Heydrich during the latter’s May 1942 visit to Paris. Personnel shortages drove Oberg to negotiate with French counterparts and accommodate some French concerns in order to secure indigenous support. To mitigate the number of unpopular reprisals, he did not report every incident to higher authorities in Berlin. In exchange for accelerated labor deportations in the first half of 1943, the HSSuPF quashed plans for accelerated deportations that were championed by Eichmann, Dannecker, and Ro?thke. Neither Oberg nor Knochen threatened dire repercussions after Laval failed to publish denaturalization legislation that would facilitate the deportation of more Jews. Under Oberg’s command, SS police forces focused on re?fractaires and resistance groups that endangered order. Oberg’s support for the cover-up of the 20 July coup can be characterized as another act in a series of modest accommodations. Pragmatic considerations may have informed Oberg’s decision to accom- modate the Vichy regime. The HSSuPF could not fulfill his entire mission with the 3,000 German policemen at his disposal. Unilateral German round- ups alienated the French populace and drove people toward resistance 43 BAMA, RW 35/244/32–35; Ja?ckel, France dans l’Europe de Hitler, p. 139. 44 USNA, RG 242/T-501/122/711–712. 290 invasion and retreat groups. Assassinations had discredited Otto von Stülpnagel in late 1941. Burgeoning resistance activity and widespread participation in the coup against Hitler threatened to do the same to the HSSuPF in 1944. Once in charge of ‘security,’ Oberg had an interest in securing French cooperation through accommodation. Oberg’s predecessor, SS Brigadeführer Thomas, had helped the Einsatzstab Rosenberg confiscate Jewish property, bombed synagogues, antagonized the military administration, and upset the leaders of the Vichy regime. Relative to Thomas, Oberg acted with some dis- cretion and accomplished some of Himmler’s goals while accommodating some concerns of his French and German colleagues. The logic of accommodation also shaped racial and labor deportations. Fritz Sauckel furloughed one French POW for every three workers sent to Germany through the Rele`ve program. Subsequent drives exempted policemen, agricultural laborers, and other key Vichy supporters in return for French assistance. Labor campaigns mounted in the final months of the Occupation failed in part because they included few exemptions and incurred widespread hostility. Racial deportations followed a similar course. Initial round-ups exempted assimilated French Jews, focused on unpopular refugees, and were backed by the Vichy regime and French policemen. Once the supply of foreign Jews ran short, SS officials pressed for the deportation of recently naturalized and later assimilated French Jews, but they could offer nothing in return for French cooperation. With a brief limited to security, the SS could not offer political or economic concessions that Laval craved. Finally, the military administration helped Sauckel collect French workers but played a junior role in racial deportations after 1 June 1942. As long as they could accommodate the concerns of other German agencies and the Vichy regime, both Sauckel and Oberg enjoyed a degree of success, but with more to offer, Sauckel enjoyed the greater success. The balance of Franco-German accommodation inevitably favored the Reich. At the beginning of the Occupation, French leaders expected to pay a price for France’s defeat and accepted German measures with a degree of resignation. The annexation of Alsace and Lorraine surprised few observers. French policemen turned over common enemies and undesirable refugees to Himmler’s SS. Laval passed legislation that sent hundreds of thousands of French workers to Germany in exchange for a few prisoners of war and short-lived exemptions for select Vichy supporters. Eager to 291 after the fall preserve French sovereignty, the Vichy regime surpassed terms of the 1940 Armistice Agreement in an attempt to curry German favor, demonstrate French loyalty, and secure a place in Hitler’s new order. In return, the Führer gave France the ashes of Napoleon Bonaparte’s son and four long years of cold, hunger, and oppression. The Vichy regime and, by extension, the French public, may not have had any other realistic choice. Foreign communists associated with the Main-d’œuvre immigre?e answered Stalin’s call for resistance and carried out a series of dramatic assassinations in 1941, but most French communists stuck to propaganda and sabotage. Deadly German reprisals forced Charles de Gaulle to back down in 1941 and underscored the folly of armed resistance while German soldiers stood at the gates of Moscow. With few weapons at their disposal, resistance forces could not attack Germany directly and focused their ire on French collaborators in 1943 and 1944. Resistance groups and the French public had to accommodate overwhelming German firepower. Hitler’s strategy succeeded in so far as it ran parallel to traditional goals, long-standing prejudices, and popular stereotypes. Eager to avenge the Versailles Agreement, many German officers overlooked unpalatable facets of the Nazi regime, supported rearmament in the 1930s, and acquiesced in aggressive foreign policy initiatives that culminated in World War Two. Playing upon an institutional fear of partisans who operated behind German lines, Hitler secured military support for an expanded definition of reprisals that included racial opponents of the Nazi regime. Although the scale and scope of cooperation between the Nazi party and German army remains a controversial topic of historical inquiry, both Hitler and the army shared some common goals. Despite the occasional pinch, Hitler’s Nazi glove usually fit the Wehrmacht’s iron fist quite well. Officers may have complained about and bristled under Hitler’s leadership on occasion, but they endured five long years of war before mounting a serious attempt to overthrow the Nazi regime. By satisfying the army’s desire for revenge and manipulating a widespread fear of partisans, Hitler maintained control over most of the Wehrmacht until the bitter end. The French and Nazi governments, as well as the German military administration, all accepted the fundamental legitimacy of the so-called Jewish Question but could not agree upon a common answer to the alleged problem. In a plebeian attempt to satisfy latent French anti-Semitism and 292 invasion and retreat curry favor with the Nazi regime, the Vichy government inaugurated a campaign against Jews in the press, stripped Jewish immigrants of their French citizenship, and allowed prefects to imprison foreign Jews. Prime Minister Laval created a temporary administration agency (SCAP) to take over ‘Jewish’ businesses and ‘Aryanize’ the French economy. Admiral Darlan created the General Commissariat for Jewish Affairs (CGQJ) to coordinate French anti-Semitic initiatives. Aggravating traditional anti- Semitic prejudices that survived throughout Europe, Hitler enlisted French support in comprehensive defamation, discrimination, and despoliation campaigns. Perceiving Jews as a security threat, the military administration deported Jews from coastal provinces and ordered Jews to register with local police. Playing upon widespread guerillaphobia within the German army, Hitler also tried to enlist the MBF in the Final Solution via hostage executions. Characterizing Otto von Stülpnagel’s response to resistance as much too mild, the Führer directed the MBF to execute 50 to 100 hostages after every resistance attack. Upping the ante in December 1941, Hitler allowed military commanders to exchange hundreds of hostage executions for thousands of deportations by way of the Nacht und Nebel Erlass, and ancillary documents reveal deportation as equivalent to death. In any case, both hostages and deportees would be drawn from anti-German groups that were, in Hitler’s mind, invariably led by Jews and Jewish stooges.45 By demanding immediate reprisals, Hitler guaranteed that investigators would not have time to catch bona fide perpetrators and ensured that reprisals would fall squarely on the usual suspects: Jews. Otto von Stülpnagel protested against Hitler’s reprisal policy, resigned his command, and proved that neither he nor the military administration could be relied upon to wage Hitler’s deadly war against the so-called international Jewish conspiracy under the guise of reprisals. Opposition to the Einsatzstab Rosenberg and a lack of enthusiasm for deadly reprisals discredited the MBF in the Führer’s eyes. In response, Hitler placed French and German police forces in the hands of a man who accepted his broad definition of security. Oberg’s appointment signaled another major defeat for the military administration and provides further 45 GerhardWeinberg(ed.),Hitler’sSecondBook,translatedbyKristaSmith(NewYork:Enigma Books, 2003), pp. 229–234. 293 after the fall evidence that neither Stülpnagel served as Hitler’s willing executioner. As HSSuPF, Oberg had the authority to address the so-called Jewish Question to Hitler’s satisfaction, but he lacked the resources to carry out the Führer’s will on his own. Dependent upon French police and German military assistance, Oberg concentrated on common enemies in an attempt to carry out part of his mission. Although willing, he was not able to fulfill the racial goals of the Nazi regime. During their tenure as Milita?rbefehlshaber in Frankreich, Otto and Carl- Heinrich von Stülpnagel gained first-hand knowledge of the methods and goals of the Nazi regime. Otto von Stülpnagel worked within the chain of command and condemned Nazi policies in a series of letters, memoranda, and official reports. After resigning his command and retiring to Berlin, he survived the war only to be arrested by Allied authorities. Carl-Heinrich von Stülpnagel also rejected the Nazi regime but followed a different course. Rather than condemning specific policies, Carl-Heinrich turned against the entire Nazi regime. Conspirators in Paris arrested the SS in an attempt to change the political balance of power within the Reich and eliminate a baneful influence within German society. Despite pursuing very different courses, both Stülpnagels ultimately paid a high price for their conduct. Carl-Heinrich met his fate before a Nazi court in Berlin, and Otto committed suicide while awaiting trial for war crimes in a French prison. Tainted by their association with the Nazi regime and anti-Nazi resistance, neither man could escape the hangman’s noose. On the whole, members of the military administration may have behaved in a more humane fashion than some of their civilian and SS counter- parts. But the military administration can be characterized as humane or ‘proper’ only when juxtaposed with the SS. The military administration ruthlessly exploited French industrial resources to support the German war effort. Senior officers used ambiguous language in the Hague and Geneva Conventions to justify harsh reprisals that stopped short of genocide but still resulted in mass murder. Carl-Heinrich von Stülpnagel and his con- federates may have detested Hitler, but they made no overt preparations to end the Occupation or rescind criminal regulations from OKW.46 Guer- rilla tactics employed by resistance groups may not have been completely ‘legal,’ but they cannot excuse the transgressions of the MBF or his military 46 Ja?ckel, France dans l’Europe de Hitler, p. 475. 294 invasion and retreat administration. American and British officials followed a very different course as they governed western Germany after the war. American, British, and French jurists operated under the same ambiguous rules of war set forth in the Hague Convention, but they made veterans of the German occupation stand trial after hostilities ceased. Carl Oberg, Helmut Knochen, Otto Abetz, Werner Best, and Elmar Michel all managed to survive the Allied occupation. 295 This page intentionally left blank Bibliography ARCHIVAL COLLECTIONS Bundesarchiv, Abteilung Koblenz (BAK). Allgemeine Prozess 21 (All. Proz. 21): Prozesse gegen Deutsche in europa?ischen Ausland. N 1023: Nachlaß Best. Bundesarchiv, Abteilung Reich und DDR, Lichterfelde West, Berlin (BALW). NS 19: Reichsführer SS Perso?nalischer Stab.