"Throughout France the Resistance had been of inestimable value in the campaign. Without their great assistance the liberation of France would have consumed a much longer time and meant greater losses to ourselves." Dwight D. Eisenhower, after WWII
Another topic I am excited to research through my reading and while in France is the French resistance. I have limited background on the topic, mostly what I have gleaned from conversations with Francine. I know they faced many challenges during the occupation of their country – they were more loosely organized than a typical military group with unclear lines of authority, supplies and arms were limited at best, communication was difficult, and it was often difficult to get support of the French people due to their desire to not stir up trouble and face repercussions from their Nazi occupiers. As author Dan Van Der Wat put it, the resistance “not only had to elude capture by the Germans – which could mean torture and death – but also needed to be diplomats as well as weapons, intelligence and wireless experts.”
Facing those obstacles, the Resistance played an essential role in the liberation of their homeland. While they had been active since occupation in 1940, their actions of 1944 were essential to Allied success. Prior to the invasion, they provided the Allies with essential information concerning Nazi strength and movement and also helped with misinformation. They planned and carried out sabotage on the electrical power grid, transportation facilities, and telecommunications networks, helping to cut off the German divisions from each other. I have read countless examples of small acts of assistance for the Allied troops on and after June 6, some by the Resistance, and many simply by the citizens of France. They also helped shield political dissidents and assisted some French Jews to escape the horrible fate that awaited them if deported.
I plan to focus (in part) on the resistance movement when I take the Paris World War II Walk on the final day of my excursion. I have never been to Paris, and I am hopeful that this tour will quench my historical WWII thirst – so I can come back with Cathy (my wife) in the future and do the dining, shopping, wine, and entertainment tour!"