From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia
French Resistance is the name used for resistance movements during World War II which fought the Nazi German occupation of France and the collaborationist Vichy regime, and was a vital and some say decisive factor in the defeat of Hitler and the Nazi revolution. Resistance groups included small groups of armed men and women (referred to as the maquis, if they were based at the countryside), publishers of underground newspapers, and escape networks that helped allied soldiers.
French Resistance in popular culture
- In the British sitcom Allo Allo, René Artois is a French café owner who also helps out the French Resistance, which is led by a woman called Michelle, who often thinks up very far-fetched plots. For much of the series, the Resistance are primarily concerned with helping two British airmen get home to Britain. In the latter part of the series, they are concerned with spreading propaganda messages to the local French people. The town also boasts a chapter of the all-female communist Resistance, who are much more ruthless than the de Gaulle Resistance. At one point, they disguise two German officers they have captured as Adolf Hitler and Herman Göring, and attempt to force "Hitler" to broadcast the surrender of Germany.
Other people involved with the French Resistance include:
- Louis Aragon
- Josephine Baker
- Samuel Beckett
- Albert Camus (writer)
- Marguerite Duras (writer)
- Paul Eluard (poet, communist resistance)
- Jean-Pierre Melville (Filmaker)
- Chuck Yeager
- Tristan Tzara
After the war, many Frenchmen falsely claimed to have had connections to resistance. Some—like Maurice Papon—even manufactured a false resistance past for themselves. Estimates range from 5% of the French population to about 200,000 active armed members and possibly ten times that of supporters.