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The Forgotten Enemy of WW2

By Edited May 18, 2016 1 2

Many times, when asked to name who was fighting in World War II, people will say the Germans, Italians and the Japanese. True, these were the main enemies of the Allies during World War II but did you know that the Allies also fought the French in WW II? That's right, you didn't misread this, because during WW II America and its allies fought the French.

Vichy France Map
On May 10th 1940, the Germans launched a massive attack into France. The French didn't put up a fight at all and quickly crumbled. On June 22nd, the French surrendered. France had been beaten and bloodied and its honor had been taken.

Vichy France Flag
Hitler signed an armistice with France to prevent extended fighting with them. But, to secure their loyalty, he gave power to high elected French officials to control southern France and its protectorates in Africa. The new Vichy France was formed. Vichy France was primarily ruled by a puppet government because they had to basically do whatever the Germans wanted. The high officials in control of the Vichy regime were corrupted by having a tight grip around the regime and they liked being there and having all that power. As their motto said "Travail, famille, patri" or "Work, Family, Fatherland"

Troop Landing
In fact, the French leaders liked their power so much they would send men out to their death to fight and die to preserve their power. Operation Torch was the Allied operation to take over Northern Africa. What many do not know is that when Patton invaded Morocco, he was solely fighting the French. The Americans gave unusual orders to their fighting force before they landed. They were told not to fire unless fired upon because maybe they would be greeted as liberators by the French. This hope proved not be the case because once the Americans landed they were under heavy fire from machine guns and one half built battle ship. The Americans also encountered a medieval castle fortified with modern weaponry where the Americans tried firing a howitzer at the gate to break it down but it just bounced off. The only way to get in was to bomb the walls.

The French put up a fierce fight but, as usual, surrendered just before the main American attack on the largest city, Casablanca. The Vichy French would decline in power in 1942 when Hitler started to take over it land. Their betrayal and collaboration were not forgotten when many of the Vichy officials were tried for treason.



Dec 3, 2009 3:22am
WoW! I never knew that and read about World War II all the time.
Jan 29, 2010 1:43pm
Thanks for this bit. I was just going to write an article about WWII, and decided to research what was out here- this is good, thanks.
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