104. "After France fell, the French laid down and let the Germans walk all over them. They just waited for us to liberate them. Why didn't they put up a fight?"

Millions of French men, women and children put up a fight that took immense guts, skill and patience.

     The Fighting French never stopped fighting - in the RAF North Africa, Italy, and up through France with the US 7th Army.

     Here is how the French people inside France fought the Germans after the fall of France:

  • They sabotaged production in war plants. They destroyed parts, damaged machinery, slowed down production, changed blue-prints
  • They dynamited power plants, warehouses. transmission lines. They wrecked trains. They destroyed bridges. They damaged locomotives.
  • They organized armed groups which fought the German police, the Gestapo, the Vichy militia. They executed French collaborationists.
  • They acted as a great spy army for SHAEF in London. They transmitted as many as 300 reports a day to SHAEF on German troops' movements, military installations, and the nature and movement of military supplies.
  • They got samples of new German weapons and explosive powder to London.
  • They ran an elaborate "underground railway" for getting shot-down American and British flyers back to England. They hid, clothed, fed and smuggled out of France over 4,000 American airmen and parachutists (Getting food and clothes isn't easy when you're on a starvation ration yourself. It's risky to forge identification papers). Every American airman rescued meant half a dozen French lives were risked. On an average, one Frenchman was shot every two hours, from 1940 to 1944 by the Germans in an effort to stop French sabotage and assistance to the Allies.

     The Germans destroyed 344 communities (62 completely) for "crimes" not connected with military operations.

Perhaps the Germans realized better than we do the relentless fight against them which the French people waged.

     An official German report, quoted in the Christian Science Monitor on December 26, 1942, stated sadly: "For systematic inefficiency and criminal carelessness they (the French) are unsurpassed in the history of modern industrial labor".