World Wars All books
Why were some soldiers tried and executed by their own military authorities during World War I? Using previously unpublished source material, the author has been able to throw light on one of the most sombre episodes of the Great War. Besides reviewing the history of the events themselves, the author also examines the struggle with the military authorities to clear the soldiers names, beginning in the period between the two world wars. By the 1960s, the public image of the executed soldiers had begun to change. It would culminate in the British campaign to grant them an official pardon and in the French decision to remember them a ceremony. How, he asks, did these changes come about? Nicolas Offenstadt is a graduate of the Institut des Etudes Politiques, in Paris. He holds an agrégation in history and is a member of the Thiers Foundation.
These two volumes constitute a new edition of Colonel Passys memoirs, which were first published by Plon in a three-volune limited edition (Deuxième Bureau-Londres; 10 Duke Street-Londres; Missions Secrètes en France). The new edition has been presented and annotated by historian Jean-Louis Crémieux-Brilhac, a specialist in the period. André Dewawrin, alias Colonel Passy, headed the Bureau de Contre-espionnage, de Renseignement et dAction (BCRA) of the Free French in London, from 1940 to 1944. He became General Koenigs chief of staff, in 1944. A former student at the prestigious Ecole Polytechnique, he headed the department of research and study for the French Ministry of Defence after the war.
On 25 June 1940, both the Franco-German and Franco-Italian Armistice came into effect. In Algeria, appeals to carry on the struggle in Frances colonial empire no longer served any purpose. The Vichy regime, which came into existence following the parliamentary vote of 10 July 1940, was thus able to extend its rule over Algeria. Claiming to be at the head of a National Revolution which would create a new Man and fight against the forces of Anti-France, the Vichy government was able to flourish until the Anglo-American landings in North Africa in 1942. The author has given us a thorough review of this little-known period. This is not just a historical parenthesis as the study of the consequences of the National Revolution in Frances colonies casts a new light on the discussion about the nature and actions of the Vichy regime. It also illuminates a frequently concealed stage in the development of colonial society, which had had to confront a growing number of internal difficulties since the 1930s. Jacques Cantier is a lecturer at the University of Toulouse-Le-Mirail.