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Meanwhile, their general secretary, Georges Marchais, worked in a German factory as a volunteer. Hardly models of heroism.
The forgotten women of the French resistance
But as Gildea points out, the maquis were beset by problems — lack of weapons, training and leadership — which led to a succession of disastrous setbacks and reprisals. In Ruines, one person per house was shot in retaliation, including a child of seven.
Gildea leaves the reader wondering, subversively, whether the outcome might have been radically different had the French shown no resistance at all until after the Free French Army landed in Provence on August 15, without taking part in the Normandy landings. Gildea tells a story that will be less appealing to French audiences than earlier tellings. It also considers the foreign fighters, whose role de Gaulle ignored: anti-fascists from Spain, economic emigrants from central and eastern Europe, Jewish refugees and British operatives from SOE.
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The truth behind the French Resistance myth
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