Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Milice Française

Despite the well molded self image of the French during WWII, the truth, to a certain extend, is pretty ugly.
The beret may have been a symbol for La Résistance française,  it was also part of the uniform of the Milice française, the collaborators with Nazi Germany under the Vichy Government. 
Milice troops, known as miliciens, wore a blue uniform coat, a brown shirt and a wide blue beret. (During active paramilitary-style operations, a pre-war French Army helmet was used.) Its newspaper was Combats. (Not to be confused with the underground Resistance newspaper, Combat.) It employed both full-timers and part-timers, as well as a youth wing. The Milice's armed forces were officially known as the Franc-Gardes.
Confined initially to the former zone libre of France under the control of the Vichy regime (which moderated its actions and forbade some of its more radical aspirations), the radicalized Milice in January 1944 moved into what had been the zone occupée of France, including Paris.
Since the Second World War, the term milice has acquired a derogatory meaning in French.

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