In June 1940 France was divided; the northern and western parts were occupied by the Germans while the central and southern regions were governed by the head of the French State Marshal Pétain from the spa town of Vichy.
Prime Minister of Vichy France Pierre Laval, servile puppet of the Germans, introduced compulsory labor service. In consequence of that, hundreds of thousands of French workers were transported to Germany.
At the beginning Pétain – celebrated military leader of World War One and commander in chief of the French Army from 1917 to 1918 – enjoyed popularity and respect. In 1940, a woman threw herself in front of his car so as to touch the marshal.
Authorities of Vichy and its paramilitary units deported an estimated 60 thousand resistant fighters and killed 40 thousand of them.
Find more interesting facts in our monthly magazine.
Click on www.myhistorydigest.com