Orphans of the Republic: The Nation's Legislators in Vichy France

Orphans of the Republic: The Nation's Legislators in Vichy France

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Overview

On July 10, 1940, by a 570 to 80 margin, the representatives in the French parliament voted full powers to Philippe Pétain, ending the Third Republic and paving the way for the collaborationist Vichy regime. Olivier Wieviorka offers a nuanced portrait of the individuals who determined the fate of France at this critical moment.

Pétain claimed to be saving France from ruin. The day of the vote has been described as a journée des dupes, the legislators so ignorant or fearful that they voted without a thought to the consequences. But Wieviorka shows that most of the deputies made a considered decision to vote for Pétain. He analyzes the factors, such as political culture and regional origins, that motivated the voting on both sides, and traces the men’s fates through the war.

Recreating the tense atmosphere of summer 1940, Wieviorka shows how pressures brought on by defeat could affect even the most hardened republicans. He illuminates the complex moral issues inherent in accommodation and collaboration in a time of crisis.



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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780674032613
Publisher: Harvard
Publication date: 03/31/2009
Series: Harvard Historical Studies , #164
Pages: 448
Product dimensions: 6.50(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.60(d)

About the Author

Olivier Wieviorka is Professor of History at the École Normale Supérieure de Cachan.

Table of Contents

  • Contents

  • Acknowledgments
  • Introduction: In Search of Meaning

  1. The Rules of the Game
  2. Politics First?
  3. Here We Stand, Maréchal?

    July 1940–November 1942

  4. Parting the Waters

    1942–1944

  5. Purge

  • Epilogue

  • Appendixes
  • A. Members of Parliament and Positions Adopted
  • B. Members of Parliament after the Liberation

  • Notes
  • Sources and Bibliography
  • Index

What People are Saying About This

This is a definitive study on a topic about which much has been said, but little rigorous work had been undertaken: why French deputies handed full powers to Marshal Pétain in July 1940. In a nuanced and balanced analysis, Wieviorka does a marvelous job of measuring intangibles: the impact of defeat; the mood of the late Third Republic; the spirit reigning in the halls of Vichy's bourgeois casino on the day of the fateful vote. Actors and contexts are brilliantly and engagingly presented throughout. Eschewing causal determinism or teleology, Wieviorka sheds light on the grey areas of World War II France.

Eric T. Jennings

This is a definitive study on a topic about which much has been said, but little rigorous work had been undertaken: why French deputies handed full powers to Marshal Pétain in July 1940. In a nuanced and balanced analysis, Wieviorka does a marvelous job of measuring intangibles: the impact of defeat; the mood of the late Third Republic; the spirit reigning in the halls of Vichy's bourgeois casino on the day of the fateful vote. Actors and contexts are brilliantly and engagingly presented throughout. Eschewing causal determinism or teleology, Wieviorka sheds light on the grey areas of World War II France.
Eric T. Jennings, author of Vichy in the Tropics

Patrice Higonnet

Olivier Wieviorka is a historian of the first rank. This excellent study provides a detailed collective biography of the men who sat in the French Senate and Chamber of Deputies when the Third Republic collapsed in June–July 1940. Most of them voted for Pétain, but many of them were centrists and leftists who had been elected as members of a Popular Front majority in 1936. This precise and thoughtful book considers how their fateful choices were made, and how these men related to one another, to their parties, and to their constituencies. Wieviorka helps us greatly understand better the place of the Vichy regime in the history of the French nation between the Third and Fourth Republics.
Patrice Higonnet, author of Paris: Capital of the World

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