The Lesson of Vichy France

When Hitler and Nazi Germany conquered France at the beginning of World War Two, the Germans divided France into an occupied zone and a free zone. This free zone was governed largely by a puppet government that supposedly was independent but was mostly cooperative with the Nazis. Now the big question anyone must ask themselves is why would anyone, conquered by an enemy, suddenly turn around and willingly cooperate with their conquerors?

Some French people fled and fought with the British and Russians against the Nazis. Many other French people stayed in France and formed the French Resistance that sabotaged Nazi plans and rescued Allied airmen whose planes were shot down over France. These French Resistance members risked their lives to continue fighting against the Nazis.

Yet who were the people governing Vichy France who would eagerly and openly cooperate with their Nazi conquerors? To answer this question, ask yourself this. If America were conquered by Nazi Germany today, which type of people would be far more likely to cooperate with the Nazis?

First, which group of people in America fear and hate minorities such as Jews, the disabled, homosexuals, and immigrants?

Second, which group of people in America believe that women are not equal and should stay at home?

Third, which group of people in America believe that safety can only occur by shutting down borders, that a free press is a direct threat to the government, and that labor unions should be abolished?

If you’re still having a hard time answering these questions, then chances are good you fall into that group of Americans who would be most likely to support the Nazis if they conquered the United States.

In France, the Vichy French government that cooperated with the Nazis consisted largely of right-wing, conservatives because the beliefs of the Nazis largely mirrored their own conservative beliefs. Thus when given permission by the Nazis to pursue their own conservative agenda against their own people, the Vichy France government had no problems cooperating with the Nazis.

So if everyone agrees that the Nazis were evil, then what does that say about any group of people whose own ideas and beliefs largely mirror those same ideas that the Nazis embraced?

In the United States, which group of people would be far more likely to cooperate with the Nazis because they share similar beliefs? Liberals or conservatives? Left-wing extremists or right-wing extremists? Democrats or Republicans?

If you accept the belief that the Nazis were evil, then you must also accept the belief that anyone who embraces the same principles of the Nazis must also be evil. If so, what does that say about the people of Vichy France who embraced the Nazis?

More importantly, what does that say about the people in America today who would be more likely to cooperate with the Nazis if they had a chance to do so?

To learn more about Vichy France, click here.