Fall of France in World War II
Also sponsored by Earth Pendant at PeacefulJewelry
I am going to quote at length from Berlin Diary by William Shirer because the facts he observed have been purposely erased from most histories. Information in brackets are my clarifications; my opinions follow the quotation.
"Berlin, June 27  . . .
But from what I've seen in Belgium and France and from talks I've had with Germans and French in both countries, and with French, Belgian, and British prisoners along the roads, it seems fairly clear to me that:
France did not fight.
If she did, there is little evidence of it. Not only I, but several of my friends have driven from the German border to Paris and back, all along the main roads. None of us saw any evidence of serious fighting.
. . . But since the Germans chose to fight the war on the roads, why didn't the French stop them? Roads make ideal targets for artillery. And yet I have not seen one yard of road in northern France which shows the effects of artillery fire. . . .
More than one French soldier I talked to thought it was downright treachery . . .
D. B. in Paris, having seen the war from the other side, concludes that there was treachery in the French army from top to bottom — the fascists at the top, the Communists at the bottom. And from Germany and French sources alike I heard many stories of how the communists had received their orders from their party not to fight, and didn't. . . .
Many French prisoners say they never saw a battle. When one seemed imminent, orders came to retreat."
Shirer provides many more details. I had not heard the communists avoided fighting, but given that they followed orders that came ultimately from Joseph Stalin, and that he and Adolf Hitler had an alliance at that moment (it did not last long), it is certainly plausible. The heroics of the French underground, which was largely communist, came later, after Germany invaded Russia.
It is the treatment of French fascism by American (and Western) historians that falls deeper into the pit of falsification, given Shirer's account.
Of course Americans make fun of French fighting abilities. But the German victory in 1940 is usually attributed to their blitzkrieg tactics (which Shirer addresses at great lengths in other parts of his books). The fascist Vichy regime under Philippe Petain is treated as a German collaborator, but one that resulted from the French war loss and Hitler's bullying. Petain is viewed as a nationalist, just one that chose the wrong side after France's defeat.
When you begin to piece the various fragments of fascist history together, however, a different picture emerges. As with so many complex things, fascism is word that covers a lot of people, time, and ideas, and many were in contradiction to each other. So it is easy to paint a false picture of fascism by leaving out bits of the truth.
Why do American historians (and propagandists, politicians, and cultural leaders) lie about fascism, including about its very nature? For the same reason the CIA worked closely with organized crime after World War II: a common enemy. Communism, and the need for allies against it.
Plus American politics. Although the Democratic Party emerged from the Great Depression as the more liberal of the main American parties, it carried a legacy with it: Roman Catholic voters. Very generally Republicans in the northern and western states were Protestants, while urban Democratic Party voters in these areas were largely Roman Catholic. The Solid South was nearly 100% Democratic Party, Protestant, White voters (until the 1960s).
Knowing how he depended on Catholic voters, President Franklin Roosevelt's failure to oppose fascism in Spain in 1936 when it would have been relatively easy to stop by just arming the anti-fascists is easily comprehensible. Catholics (in general; not all) supported General Franco, who was a conservative Catholic, as were most people on the fascist side in the Spanish Civil War.
Not all fascists were Roman Catholic, and not all Roman Catholics were fascists, but it is a fair generalization to say that the fascist movement was a Roman Catholic phenomena. Its roots go back to late 19th century Popes looking for a system to turn back the tide of atheism (and Protestant Christianity) after the monarchist system collapsed. The first fascist to come to power, Benito Mussolini, was raised as an atheist, but converted to Catholicism as part of the deal putting him in power in Italy. Popes and fascist dictators had a common interest: authoritarian government with enough social equality to keep people happy.
But what the Vatican wanted (and again, maybe not every single person in the Vatican or Church hierarchy, but certainly the controlling cabal) was One King to Rule Them All. Essentially, the Popes worked at restoring the old Holy Roman Empire. The plan was to have one religion and one religious authority, the Pope, and one secular ruler (title to be determined) as a global overlord. But major nations, at least, would have their own secular rulers and some autonomy.
Popes Pius XI (who died in 1939) and Pius XII worked towards this goal. But they ran into the classic Holy Roman Empire problem: if the overlord and the Pope disagree, who must give way? When history was re-written disagreements between Hitler and Pope were exagerated, while their points of agreement were erased.
France was majority secular by 1940, but the fascists like Petain, by refusing to fight Hitler, gained local power and were able to restore the Roman Catholic church to prominence (and export Jews to death camps). Doubtless Petain would have preferred to be the overlord instead of Hitler.
I think this unfiltered bit by Shirer (who did not like the fascists at all) confirms what Avro Manhattan in The Vatican in World Politics (1949) claimed: the Popes tried to use fascism to defeat atheism, Protestant Christianity, and eventually all other belief systems.
When it became clear that the fascists were going to lose the war, Pope Pius XII decided the Church could not be allowed to sink with the fascist ship. He switched into apolitical neutrality as Hitler's troops began their long retreat from Stalingrad. His emissaries in the U.S. lobbied President Roosevelt and reminded him of the importance of the Catholic vote.
Then Pius XII made a deal. He did not want communists taking over all of Europe, and neither did the United States or the British Empire. He made a new, anti-communist alliance. Millions of atheists died defeating Hitler's troops, but atheists were the new enemy and U.S. propaganda glorified the relatively minor U.S. role in defeating Germany.
History was re-written almost immediately after it happened. The Popes involvement in the rise of Adolf Hitler and their working closely with him against atheism and communism was erased. Even the fact that Adolf Hitler was Roman Catholic was erased. The fact that every Nazi membership application required swearing to be a Christian was erased. No, those Nazi's believed in Thor and Loki or were atheists. Myth replaced fact.
Pius XII saved the regime of one fascist, General Franco. But mainly he kept a relatively low political profile until he died in 1958. Too many people in Italy and Europe remembered his alliance with Mussolini, Petain, Hitler and Franco.
And today's Pope Francis? Sure, I agree with him on protecting the environment and making the economy more fair. But at core I won't trust him until he states: Jesus was not God and the Bishop of Rome has not been appointed as God's representative on earth. Only then will I believe he may be trying to tell people the truth. Right now he is just recruiting.
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