French prisoners of war. Northern France, 1940. Photo: Federal Archive of Germany
Speaking about the main “allies” of the Soviet Union in the Anti-Hitler coalition and their real “contribution” to the Great Victory, it would be completely wrong to pass over the role and place in that war of France in silence. Also, it’s kind of like the “victors of Nazism”. Yeah ...
Even in the Victory Parade in 2010 participated. Fortunately, and the date is quite suitable “on the nose” - exactly 80 years ago, on June 14, 1940, the Nazis surrendered without a single shot. The truth about how, with whom and on whose side the French fought during the Second World War and the Great Patriotic War, in this country they do not like to remember. I will tell you why.
Strange War or European Giveaway
To begin with, de jure at war with the Third Reich, France was on September 3, 1939. That's just what happened on the border of these two countries, did not even draw to a weak border conflict, not to mention hostilities involving the leading powers of Europe. Ten days after the official declaration of war to Berlin, the French soldiers crossed the border and even advanced some distance. However, after this, without even encountering serious resistance (where did he come from - the main forces of the Wehrmacht were just cracking down on Poland!), These “brave warriors”, having trodden for some time on the spot, retired amicably. What for?! According to the official version - "wait for the British." Well, they didn’t want to "drag chestnuts out of the fire" in Paris for London, which was sitting out, as usual, in the English Channel. So they missed the only suitable moment in order to hit the Nazis in the back and end them with guarantee and without any problems.
Fortunately, this allowed even the power of the French army to be made - at the beginning of the conflict with Germany, it, at least, was not inferior to the German, and in some ways surpassed it. More than 2 million people, about 3 and a half thousand combat aircraft, more than 3 thousand tanks, many of which (about half a thousand) were much better than German ... Moreover, with the arrival of the British expeditionary force on the continent, the balance of forces did not change even more. Hitler's favor. Even taking into account the Italian allies of the Wehrmacht, which entered the war with the French at its final stage, and from which, frankly, as if from a goat of milk, the Franco-British coalition almost doubled the enemy in large-caliber artillery. By the number of tanks - one and a half times, by combat aircraft - also almost doubled. Human resources were almost equal.
And, nevertheless, to fight the Nazis all this power, to put it mildly, did not break. The French preferred to sit in the bastions of the Maginot Line, which contemporaries called the “peak of engineering” in the field of defensive fortifications, which was considered impregnable in principle. The British also did not seek to attack. This campaign was not without reason called the “strange war” - it seemed that the Allies, fearing to release an extra bullet at the Nazis, were trying in no way to prevent a real clash with them. London and Paris made it clear to the Wehrmacht generals and field marshals that if they continued to move to the East, begun on September 1, 1939, they would not be afraid of their rear! Hitler was literally pushed to start a war against the USSR: “Well, what are you waiting for ?! We have already given you the Rhine region, Austria, Czechoslovakia with all its military factories and arsenals ... So what kind of thing are you pulling, Fuhrer unfinished ?!
The fact that we declared war on you for Poland is just a make-believe, according to the rules of “big policy"As it should be. Attack the Bolsheviks - and no one will touch you, is it not clear what? Well, it’s said that the corporal is the corporal ... ”The fact that the reasoning, and at the highest levels in the capitals of Britain and France was carried out in this way, conclusively proves one single fact: they were really going to fight there. But not with the Third Reich, but with the USSR! In late autumn 1939 (three months after the occupation of Poland by the Wehrmacht!), The British, in company with the French, very seriously developed plans to enter the war with the USSR on the side of Finland. They were planning to land landing parties in Norway and Sweden, to bomb our oil fields in the Caucasus ... The victory of the Red Army in the "Winter War" did not allow these plans to materialize - they simply did not have time. Nevertheless, they demonstrate the true intentions of the West more than eloquently.
"Warriors" with reduced social responsibility
Because France and Britain ended up with the Nazis “on opposite sides of the barricades”, their peoples should be thanked not by their own rulers, but only by Hitler, who decided to solve all the problems in the West before the battle with the “Asian-Bolshevik hordes”. The entire campaign that followed was one huge disgrace - naturally, for those with whom the Wehrmacht waged war. Denmark, captured by him in 6 hours, Luxembourg, not resisting even one day (7 killed on both sides during the whole operation), “held” the whole 4 days the Netherlands ... Someone can say that we are talking about states whose forces could not Compare with Nazi Germany. Well, do not tell! The Dutch army numbered 400 thousand people, the Belgians - 600 thousand. A little more than the garrison of the Brest Fortress, is not it? The 45 Soviet border outposts attacked on June 22, 1941, which had 40 minutes to suppress in the Barbaross plan, lasted more than 45 days! One and a half months, six weeks ...
That is how much the Wehrmacht needed to smash the two millionth French army along with the British at the same time. Yes, about 95 thousand French people died in that war. One and a half million were captured. But the Nazi army during the occupation of half of Europe (France, Belgium, the Netherlands), did not lose killed and 46 thousand. No one stood to death. And the only attempt to counterattack the Germans was the actions of Charles de Gaulle. The Wehrmacht entered Paris in a ceremonial march, not meeting the slightest resistance! There was no one who at least dared to spit towards the invaders. They stood and stared mournfully, with European cow obedience ... Moreover, looking a little ahead, I note that no matter what tales there were about the French "resistance", the first German officer (sailor) was killed in Paris more than a year after his occupation - August 21 1941 year. Pierre Georges, the French communist, shot him ...
Well, even once it came to the Resistance ... The French partisans, "poppies" over the years began to portray the most heroic colors, almost equating to our people's avengers. All this pathos epic does not correspond to reality at all. Degolle's “Free France”, which, by the way, lodged in London, as of 1940, consisted of about 7 thousand people. Partisans in the mountains? Well, of course, there were ... Would you like to get acquainted with the names of several "French" units? “Kotovsky”, “Stalingrad”, “Donbass” ... Doesn't it suggest any thoughts? That's right - the main skeleton of resistance to the Nazis at the initial stage of the war was made by our compatriots, and, as, first of all, Soviet prisoners of war, who managed to escape from the camps, and Russian emigrants. Even the nobles, who had never sympathized with the Bolsheviks, were in considerable numbers. The anthem of the French Resistance was written by Russian, and then it even had to be translated into French.
Until mid-late 1941, there were no partisans in France from the word "completely." We can talk about any kind of mass anti-Nazi movement on its territory only starting in 1943, when Hitler’s affairs on the Eastern Front went on - there is nowhere worse. That's when they started to "pull up". By 1944, the number of "poppies" exceeded 130 thousand. That's just bad luck - the French were there, again, sparse. Almost half (more than 60 thousand) were Spanish Republicans. Thousands were, as I said, Soviet or Russian people. And also Armenians, Jews, Italians. There were even German anti-fascists, and, again, in considerable numbers! Up to a million, the number of "French anti-fascists" has risen sharply just before the Americans entered Paris. Then, of course, there were even more of them.
Charlemagne and others
Alas, speaking of the number (real, but not that emerged after the Victory) of the French partisans and underground members, of the heroic squadron Normandy-Niemen, which included 72 French citizens, one cannot be silent about other figures. The recruitment to the Legion of French Volunteers (LVF) for the war against the USSR was announced by the leader of the local fascist party PPF Parti Populaire Francais PPF Jacques Doriot on June 22, 1941. Soon, the initiative was approved in Berlin, and things started - in total, from 1941 to 1944, more than 13 thousand Frenchmen sought to join its ranks. True, many of them were screened out by harsh German doctors as unsuitable, but yes, they still found a case in their homeland, which I will talk about a little later. Be that as it may, in the late autumn of 1941, the first 3 thousand combatants from LVF arrived in Russia, trying once more to take part in the battle for Moscow. The version that they once again had a chance to meet with the Russians on the field near Borodino is most likely a beautiful legend - it does not coincide in dates.
On the other hand, this time these successors of Napoleon’s business didn’t get to the capital of our Motherland either - they were smashed to pieces at the approaches. Subsequently, the Germans preferred to use not very effective allies not at the front, but for various punitive and anti-partisan actions. Cutthroats from the LVF, the “Tricolor Legion” and other similar French-Nazi groups, completely “marked” in Ukraine, Belarus and other occupied territories. The former colonel of the Foreign Legion of France, Edgar Puot, who headed this gang, was awarded the general rank and two Iron Crosses for the "war" with peaceful Soviet residents. Toward the end of World War II, all this scum along with scraps of similar parts was reduced to 33. Waffen-Grenadier-Division der SS Charlemagne - the 33rd (or 1st French) SS division Charlemagne. In May 1945, several hundred of its soldiers and officers defended Berlin and even stood in the Reich Chancellery until the last. They didn’t fight for Paris like that ...
The exact number of Frenchmen who fought against the USSR as part of the SS and the Wehrmacht, alas, was not preserved in any document. It is only known for certain that ultimately in the Soviet captivity there were more than 23 thousand. Based on this, most researchers conclude that the number we are looking for is in no way less than 70, or even 100 thousand people. So compare it with Normandy-Neman ... Moreover, tens of thousands of Frenchmen who obeyed the collaborationist government of Hitler's puppet Vichy fought against the British and Americans in the French colonies - Senegal, Syria, Lebanon, Algeria, Madagascar. In France itself, there was an analogue of the Gestapo - Carlingue, numbering 30 thousand employees and very similar to the SS "police guard units" involved in the hunt for Jews and Communists. These were one and a half times more. In addition, there was a “regular” police police nationale, a considerable number (10 thousand in Paris alone), also involved in the persecution of Jews, of whom, I recall, in France more than 75 thousand were driven into concentration camps.
It seems that, one way or another, from 300 thousand to half a million Frenchmen actively supported the Nazis with weapons in their hands, at least at the initial stage of the war. It was then that they began to surrender en masse to the Americans and sign up for the Resistance. After the defeat of Germany, about 40 thousand people were convicted of collaboration in France. About 2 thousand were sentenced to death, 768 actually executed. This is - as for, so to speak, personal participation. But we must not forget about the other - about the millions of Frenchmen, who worked diligently and diligently throughout the war, providing the Wehrmacht with weapons technique, ammunition, uniforms and food. Here are just a few figures - from 1940 to 1944, 4 thousand combat aircraft and 10 thousand engines for them, 52 thousand trucks left the conveyors of French plants. All this, as you know, was intended for the "victorious German army." As well as mortars, howitzers, armored vehicles and more. The memoirs of German officers have been preserved, admiring how the French “unconditionally and without the slightest coercion” worked, multiplying the fighting power of the Third Reich.
In the number of "winners of Nazism" France introduced ... Who would you think? Stalin! Not out of proletarian internationalism and not because of it, naturally, but solely because the Supreme was preferable to a free state with Charles de Gaulle at the head (subsequently not very friendly with the Americans and withdrawing the country from NATO) than the territory occupied by other "allies" ". Yes, yes, the Americans and the British did not see the French “contribution to the victory over Nazism” point blank and intended to tear the country they had liberated into zones under their control. Since then, it has been customary to consider France “a member of the anti-Hitler coalition” and one of the states that “won the Second World War”. Nevertheless, we must remember how it really was.