Information

French Heads of State


ThirdRepublic (President)

1870 - 1871

Louis Jules Trochu

1871 - 1873

Adolphe Thiers

1873 - 1879

Patrice de MacMahon

1879 - 1887

Jules Grévy

1887 - 1894

Sadi Carnot

1894 - 1895

Jean Casimir-Périer

1895 - 1899

Félix Faure

1899 - 1906

Emile Loubet

1906 - 1913

Armand Fallières

1913 - 1920

Raymond Poincaré

1920

Paul Deschanel

1920 - 1924

Alexandre Millerand

1924 - 1931

Gaston Doumergue

1931 - 1932

Paul Doumer

1932 - 1940

Albert Lebrun

Vichy Government (Head ofState)

1940 - 1944

Henri Philippe Petain

Provisional Government (President)

1944 - 1946

Charles de Gaulle

1946

Félix Gouin

1946

Georges Bidault

1946

Leon Blum

FourthRepublic (President)

1947 - 1954

Vincent Auriol

1954 - 1959

René Coty

FifthRepublic (President)

1959 - 1969

Charles de Gaulle

1969 - 1974

Georges Pompidou

1974 - 1981

Valéry Giscardd'Estaing

1981 - 1995

François Mitterand

1995

Jacques Chirac


List of French monarchs

Ruled from the start of the Frankish Kingdom in 486 to 1870. During most of its history, France was ruled by kings. Four Carolingian monarchs were also Roman Emperors and the Bonapartes were Emperors of the French.

This article lists all rulers to have held the title "King of Franks", "King of France", "King of the French" or "Emperor of the French".

The title "King of the Franks" was in use until the reign of Philip II. During the short time when the French Constitution of 1791 was in effect (1791–1792) and after the July Revolution in 1830, the style "King of the French" was used instead of "King of France (and Navarre)".

In addition to the Kingdom of France, there were also two French Empires. The First French Empire was from 1804–1815. It was founded and ruled by Napoleon I. The Second French Empire was from 1852–1870. It was founded and ruled by his nephew Napoleon III Then 3rd 4th and 5th republic formed


Directory

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Directory, French Directoire, the French Revolutionary government set up by the Constitution of the Year III, which lasted four years, from November 1795 to November 1799.

It included a bicameral legislature known as the Corps Législatif. The lower house, or Council of Five Hundred (Conseil de Cinq-Cents), consisted of 500 delegates, 30 years of age or over, who proposed legislation the Council of Ancients (Conseil des Anciens), consisted of 250 delegates, 40 years of age or over, who held the power to accept or veto the proposed legislation. The Ancients also picked the executive—the five Directors (Directeurs)—from lists drawn up by the Five Hundred. A Director had to be at least 40 years old and to have formerly served as a deputy or minister a new one was chosen each year, on rotation. The Directors chose government ministers, ambassadors, army generals, tax collectors, and other officials. However, though nominally inheriting many of the centralized powers of the former Committee of Public Safety, they had no funds to finance their projects or courts to enforce their will. The Directory was a fatal experiment in weak executive powers it was created in reaction to the puritanical dictatorship that had existed under the Reign of Terror of 1793–94, and it would end up yielding to the more disciplined dictatorship of Napoleon Bonaparte.

The Directory suffered from widespread corruption. Its policies aimed at protecting the positions of those who had supported the Revolution and preventing the return of the Bourbons. Despite its unsavory reputation, it consolidated many of the achievements of the National Convention, such as the creation of a system of elite centralized schools, the grandes écoles. The French economy recovered from the disruption caused by the Terror, and the successes of the French armies laid the basis for the conquests of the Napoleonic period.


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French Heads of State - History


Of the 24 French prime ministers since 1958, some 18 also served as mayors before, during and after their appointments to the Hôtel Matignon, the official residence of French prime ministers. Among them were the Fifth Republic first prime minister Michel Debré, Jacque Chirac, before he became president, Alain Juppé, the Mayor of Bordeaux, and Manuel Valls, who served as head of government from 2014 to 2016. The latter, born in Barcelona to a Spanish father and Swiss mother, was Mayor of Évry (south of Paris) from 2001 to 2012. In 2019 he ran for Mayor of Barcelona but failed to dislodge the incumbent Ada Coloau.

President Emmanuel Macron&rsquos first Prime Minister, Édouard Philippe, was Mayor of the port city of Le Havre. He was re-elected to that post in July 2020, days before he was replaced as Prime Minister by Jean Castex. The new French Prime Minister served as Mayor of Prades from 2008 until 3 July 2020. The majority of French cabinet ministers during the past 60 years have also had local government experience.

Under French law, prime ministers and cabinet ministers have to step aside from any local government offices when they join the government. Their municipal duties are usually performed by an acting official. Presidents of the French Republic, upon taking office, are obliged to relinquish any other posts.

Until April 2017, parliamentarians in the French Assembly, the country&rsquos second chamber, the Senate, and the European Parliament were also allowed to serve as mayors, and a large number did so. However, a new law, originally drafted in 2014 under President François Hollande, now prohibits mayors from serving as parliamentarians in the country&rsquos upper and lower houses as well as the European Parliament.


The French Revolution through 7 severed heads

When we think of the French Revolution, we often think of the rise of Napoleon and flag-waving at the barricades as popularised in Victor Hugo’s Les Misérables. By its end, the monarchy had fallen, the old political and social system – known as the ‘Ancien Régime’ – had ended, and an overzealous use of the guillotine had spread fear across the country.

The Revolution began in 1789. Though most of the working classes were poor and hungry, the aristocracy remained rich and well-fed in their palaces. These were the hallmarks of a feudal system that meant little had changed since the Middle Ages. The King wielded absolute power, having stripped political roles from the nobility, and the majority of French citizens had little hope of change.

The country had been bankrupted by war and the bourgeoisie (the upper and middle-classes) had limited political power. Educated citizens, influenced by the writers of the Enlightenment, became jaded with the absolutist regime that had been in place for centuries. They decided it was time for change. Different factions rose up within the various revolutionary governments, all with their own approaches and definitions of revolution.

The mob’s storming of the Bastille on 14 July 1789 signalled that a revolution had begun. Though mainly a symbolic attack – there were only a handful of prisoners in the Parisian fortress-prison – it was seen as an assault on royal authority. The King and his family were soon imprisoned, with a deadly fate awaiting them and many others across France.

This time of nationwide change brought into the public eye some colourful characters – many of whom lost their heads. We bring you the stories of some of the pivotal people who defined the Revolution.

Louis XVI, 23 August 1754 – 21 January 1793

As the figurehead of the despised Ancien Régime, King Louis XVI was blamed for the suffering felt by the people of France. The chasm between the monarchy and the working classes was vast. What’s more, support for the colonists in the American War of Independence, as well as France’s participation in a number of other costly wars, had seen the country sink deep into debt. But while his people struggled in poverty without enough food to eat, Louis XVI wielded absolute power from his opulent palace at Versailles. The decadence and indifference of the royal family would eventually become too much for the citizens of France to bear.

In an attempt to fix the financial crisis, Louis reluctantly agreed to summon the Estates-General – a form of parliament with representatives from the three estates, the clergy, the nobility and the commons – for the first time in 175 years.

They met in May 1789 and began arguing immediately. By 17 June, the frustrated Third Estate, representing the majority of the population, had had enough. Even though it had the most members, the Third Estate wasn’t permitted a vote for every man present, neutering its ability to bring about reform. So it renamed itself as the National Assembly, a body that would represent the people and not the estates themselves. Over the next few days, members of the clergy and nobility joined them and, on 27 June, the King surrendered power to the Assembly.

The royal family were moved from their comfortable surroundings in Versailles to virtual imprisonment at Tuileries Palace in Paris. In June 1791, they made a desperate attempt to escape Paris and launch a counter-revolution, but only made it as far as Varennes – 150 miles away – before being arrested and returned to Tuileries.

On 21 September 1792, the French monarchy was officially abolished, and the First French Republic established.

This wasn’t the end of Louis’ troubles however – the National Convention (a successor of the Assembly) found him guilty of treason on 15 January 1793, sending him to the guillotine. He was executed a few days later, to the rejoicing of jubilant crowds.

Marie Antoinette, 2 November 1775 – 16 October 1793

One of the most enduring images associated with the French Revolution is of Marie Antoinette facing her impending death, with disdain for the starving citizens of France. It’s a persisting myth that she said “Let them eat cake” – this quote was attributed to her 50 years after her death. However, her unpopularity in France was no tall tale. An Austrian princess, Marie Antoinette married the future Louis XVI when she was just 14 years old. Their union was intended to cement an alliance between Austria and France, which had been at war for many years.

Although initially charmed by this young princess, popular opinion soon turned sour and she became despised by the ordinary working-class French for her lavish spending and extravagance. She even commissioned a model village to be constructed at Versailles as her own personal retreat, which was widely seen as a mockery of peasant life. Rumours circulated that she was having a number of affairs and she began to embody everything that the revolutionaries hated about the Ancien Régime.

After the royal family’s failed attempt to flee Paris in June 1791, Antoinette spent the remaining months of her life in various prisons, and France’s declaration of war with Austria in April 1792 did nothing to help her situation. Her last prison, the Conciergerie, was infested with rats, and foul water ran through it from the nearby River Seine.

The execution of Louis XVI saw the Queen’s two surviving children separated from her, including eight-year-old Louis-Charles who was later made to testify against his mother at her trial. Nine months later, Marie Antoinette was brought before a tribunal and found guilty of treason. She was guillotined on 16 October 1793. Her last words were an apology for standing on the foot of her executioner.

Marie Antoinette’s body was thrown into an unmarked grave – her remains, and those of her husband, were exhumed in 1815 and relocated to the Basilica of Saint-Denis.

From infamous to immortals

London’s famous waxwork museum allows visitors to get up-close and personal with their favourite celebrities and figures from history, but it actually has quite a gruesome history itself. Marie Tussaud was a French artist who learnt how to create wax models in Paris, where she worked with Philippe Curtis – a modeller whose wax museums Tussaud inherited. Tussaud was imprisoned as a royalist after working as the art tutor for Louis XVI’s sister, Madame Élisabeth. During the Reign of Terror, she was released on the grisly condition that she create death masks of those who had recently been guillotined – including those of Louis XVI and Robespierre. Tussaud eventually left France, taking her waxwork collection to Britain and establishing her Baker Street exhibition in 1835. The ‘Chamber of Horrors’ room was created to house some of the relics she had brought back from revolutionary France.

Princess Lamballe, 8 September 1749 – 3 September 1792

Marie-Thérèse-Louise de Savoie-Carignan, Princess de Lamballe, was an intimate companion of Queen Marie Antoinette, and her salon became a popular meeting place for royalist sympathisers after the Revolution began.

After a mob attack on Tuileries Palace on 10 August 1792 – where the royal family were being held – the Princess was taken to La Force prison. Between 2 and 4 September – a period later known as the September Massacres – prisoners were hauled in front of hastily-formed courts and sentenced to death. More than half of the 2,700 prisoners were killed, many by armed mobs, the Princess among them.

Refusing to swear an oath renouncing the monarchy on 3 September, Lamballe was delivered to a mob in the streets who awaited her. Various sensational and gruesome accounts of her death were circulated which included her being raped and mutilated. Most, however, agree that Lamballe’s head was severed and later processed through the streets, with the crowd intending to flaunt it before Marie Antoinette.

Charlotte Corday, 27 July 1768 – 17 July 1793

Events like the French Revolution demonstrate the extreme measures people can take in the name of their cause – in the case of Charlotte Corday, it was murder for liberty. Jean-Paul Marat was a journalist and one of the leading supporters of the Montagnards – a radical group within the Jacobin faction of the National Assembly, which advocated violence to achieve equality. It was led by one of the most influential, and ruthless, figures of the French Revolution, Maximilien Robespierre.

In 1789, Marat began writing a newspaper – L’Ami du Peuple (Friend of the People) – which advocated the rights of the lower classes against the enemies of the people, namely the monarchy and the revolutionary governments that had sprung up.

The paper was accused of inciting violence and instigating the September Massacres and the Reign of Terror, a particularly dark period of the Revolution, which saw radicals take control of the revolutionary government and hundreds executed by the guillotine.

Charlotte Corday was a minor aristocrat from Caen and a sympathiser of the Girondins – a political group that advocated a less extreme revolution. She grew distressed at the direction in which the Revolution was going and reacted in desperation. On 13 July 1793, after giving assurances that she would betray the Girondins, Corday was invited to Marat’s Paris home. He was takinga medicinal bath at the time – due to a debilitating skin disorder – when Corday stabbed him in the chest. At her trial where she was sentenced to death, Corday explained her reasoning for killing Marat: “I knew that he, Marat, was perverting France. I have killed one man to save a hundred thousand.”

According to one local legend, a man slapped the cheek of Corday’s severed head, causing it to take on an indignant expression. This fuelled the idea that guillotine victims may retain consciousness for a short while.

Louis Philippe, Duke of Orléans, 13 April 1747 – 6 November 1793

A surprising supporter of the Revolution came in the form of the King’s cousin – the Duke of Orléans. One of the wealthiest men in France, he favoured a transformation from an absolute monarchy to a constitutional monarchy. A champion of the poor, he would often use his wealth to feed the needy and opened up his residence, the Palais-Royal, to the public. Next in line to the throne after the immediate royal family, the Duke had a frosty relationship with his cousin and was openly hostile to Marie Antoinette.

In 1787, after challenging the King’s authority in front of the Parlement of Paris (one of the high courts of justice of the Ancien Régime), the Duke was temporarily exiled to his estates. He became a hero for many revolutionaries – especially those involved in the storming of the Bastille – and was elected to represent the nobles in the Estates- General, later joining the National Assembly.

After the fall of the monarchy, the Duke gave up his royal titles and was given the name Philippe Égalité (equality) by the Paris Commune – the government of Paris between 1792 and 1795. After learning that his cousin had called for his execution, the King said: “It really pains me to see that Monsieur d’Orléans, my kinsman, voted for my death.”

It would be the former Duke’s son, Louis Philippe, who would be his father’s downfall. In 1793, after several years serving in the French military, Louis Philippe defected to the Austrians, along with French general Charles-François du Périer Dumouriez. This caused outrage in Paris, and even though there was no evidence suggesting his father had committed any crime, his son’s actions were enough to condemn him. On 6 November 1793, Philippe Égalité was found guilty by the Revolutionary Tribunal and guillotined the same day.

Georges Danton, 26 October 1759 – 5 April 1794

Originally trained as a lawyer, Georges Danton was inspired to help the revolutionary cause, joining the civic guard (garde bourgeoise) in 1789. In 1790, along with some militant revolutionaries he founded the Cordeliers Club – created to prevent the abuse of power and violations against the rights of man. A brilliant public speaker, Danton quickly gained fans amongst the Jacobin faction and managed to secure a post in.the Paris Commune.

On 10 August 1792, Tuileries Palace was stormed by the National Guard of the Paris Commune – it’s unclear whether Danton actually took part in this overthrow of the monarchy, but he is credited with its success and was swiftly made Minister of Justice. By September, he had been elected into the National Convention. It’s believed that Danton had wanted to spare the King from execution but eventually voted for his death.

In April 1793, Danton became the Committee of Public Safety’s first president. Attempts were made to negotiate a peace with Austria, but when these failed Danton was left out of the next committee elections. As the revolution took a darker turn, Danton began to call for a more moderate approach. His continual challenges to Robespierre’s violent overtures led to his arrest on 30 March 1794, and he was beheaded a few days later.

Maximilien Robespierre, 6 May 1758 – 28 July 1794

One of the most influential figures during the Revolution, Robespierre was originally a lawyer who was elected into the Estates-General and then served as part of the National Constituent Assembly, which had been formed from the National Assembly in 1789. He became popular with the people for his virulent attacks on the monarchy and calls for democratic reform.

In 1790, Robespierre became the president of the radical Jacobin Club and then first deputy for Paris to the National Convention. The Convention abolished the monarchy, declared France a republic, and charged Louis XVI with treason.

A power struggle ensued between the Jacobins and the more moderate Girondins. The Jacobins used their influence with the mob to seize control, and leaders of the Girondins were rounded up. The Committee of Public Safety took control of France, with Robespierre becoming its leading force.

The Reign of Terror was now underway. Anyone considered an enemy of the Revolution was guillotined, including Robespierre’s former friend Georges Danton. Some 17,000 people were officially executed during the 11 months of the Terror, as Robespierre attempted to consolidate his power.

This dangerous time is often remembered as Robespierre’s defining act during the Revolution – but he would soon encounter a fall from grace. Robespierre’s autocratic rule soon saw his popularity diminish – he had even tried to establish a new national religion known as the Cult of the Supreme Being. A plan was hatched by the Convention to overthrow him. On 27 July 1794, after some resistance, Robespierre was arrested after being denounced as a tyrant in a counter-revolution that became known as the Thermidorian Reaction. During the scuffle he was shot in the jaw – it’s unclear whether Robespierre shot himself or was shot by one of his captors.

The next day, Robespierre and 21 of his supporters were sent to the guillotine. The executioner tore off the bandage covering his jaw, causing him to cry out in agony before the falling blade silenced him forever. According to witnesses, the crowd cheered for 15 minutes at his demise.

What happened next?

Robespierre’s death ushered in a period known as the White Terror, during which the familiesof those killed during the Reign of Terror enacted their revenge. It was followed, in October 1795, by a royalist revolt against the National Convention – quashed by a young general called Napoleon Bonaparte.

The Convention was disbanded in November 1795. In its place came the French Directory, a body that hope to reverse the quasidictatorship that had ruled France during the Terror. The number of executions began to fall and measures against royalists and the clergy were relaxed, but even so the Directory was full of corruption.

In November 1799, Napoleon led a coup against the Directory, establishing himself as First Consul. This ended the revolution butwould begin the Napoleonic era, throughout which he attempted to conquer most of Europe.

The monarchy was restored in 1814 after Napoleon’s defeat, with Louis XVI’s brothers, Louis XVIII and Charles X, ruling as constitutional monarchs. The July Revolution of 1830 saw Charles X forced to abdicate in favour of his cousin Louis Philippe I – son of the executed Duke of Orleans. Rebellions in 1832 against this ‘July Monarchy’ serve as the setting for Victor Hugo’s classic novel Les Misérables.

Revolution revisited France again in 1848, when the wellspring of political upheaval washed over Western Europe. This time, the monarchy was abolished for good.

Emma Slattery Williams is Staff Writer on BBC History Revealed.


Statement from the heads of state and government of France, Germany and the United Kingdom (12 January 2020)

We, the leaders of France, Germany and the United Kingdom, share fundamental common security interests, along with our European partners. One of them is upholding the nuclear non-proliferation regime, and ensuring that Iran never develops a nuclear weapon. The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPoA) plays a key role in this respect.

Together, we have made clear our regret and concern at the decision by the United States to withdraw from the JCPoA and to re-impose sanctions on Iran.

Despite increasingly difficult circumstances, we have worked hard to preserve the agreement. All remaining parties to the JCPoA, China, France, Germany, Russia, the United Kingdom and Iran, with the EU as coordinator, have stated their continuing commitment to preserve the JCPoA.

It is essential that Iran return to full compliance with its commitments under the agreement. We have expressed our deep concern at the actions taken by Iran in violation of its commitments since July 2019. These actions must be reversed. We reserve recourse to all the provisions of the JCPoA to preserve it and to resolve the issues related to Iran&rsquos implementation of its JCPoA commitments within its framework.

We will also need to define a long-term framework for Iran&rsquos nuclear programme.

Recent events have highlighted Iran&rsquos destabilising role in the region, including through the IRGC and Al-Qods force. Our commitment to the security of our allies and partners in the region is unwavering. We must address - through diplomacy and in a meaningful way - shared concerns about Iran&rsquos destabilizing regional activities, including those linked to its missile programme. We reiterate our readiness to continue our engagement for de-escalation and stability in the region.

We note Iran&rsquos announcement with regard to the shooting down of UIA Flight PS752 and commit to working with Iran on next steps.

Today, our message is clear: we remain committed to the JCPoA and to preserving it we urge Iran to reverse all measures inconsistent with the agreement and return to full compliance we call on Iran to refrain from further violent action or proliferation and we remain ready to engage with Iran on this agenda in order to preserve the stability of the region.


A history of Paris during Nazi occupation


Armed fighters take part in the liberation of Paris. Under the Nazi occupation, many Parisians not only cooperated with the Germans but felt humiliated, guilty and defensive about it. (Keystone/Getty Images)

Like so much else that happened in France during World War II, the Nazi occupation of Paris was something entirely more complex and ambiguous than has generally been understood. We tend to think of those four years as difficult but minimally destructive by comparison with the hell the Nazis wreaked elsewhere in the country. But just as Keith Lowe made plain in his magisterial “Savage Continent” (2012) that, in the years following Germany’s surrender in 1945, France was a place not of peace but of widespread hatred and violence, so Ronald C. Rosbottom leaves no doubt, in “When Paris Went Dark,” that the Nazi occupation was a terrible time for Paris, not just because the Nazis were there but because Paris itself was complicit in its own humiliation:

“Even today, the French endeavor both to remember and to find ways to forget their country’s trials during World War II their ambivalence stems from the cunning and original arrangement they devised with the Nazis, which was approved by Hitler and assented to by Philipe Petain, the recently appointed head of the Third Republic, that had ended the Battle of France in June of 1940. This treaty — known by all as the Armistice — had entangled France and the French in a web of cooperation, resistance, accommodation, and, later, of defensiveness, forgetfulness, and guilt from which they are still trying to escape.”

Rosbottom, who teaches at Amherst College, has written an unconventional account of the Nazi occupation, focusing on its thematic aspects rather than providing a standard chronological history. His book “aims to give an account of how the Parisians viewed the Germans and vice versa of how the Parisian citizen figured out a code of daily conduct toward his nemesis and effected it of how the citizen of the Occupation handled his psychological and emotional responses to the presence of a powerful enemy and of how each side perpetuated real and symbolic violence on the other.” It is almost certainly a unique event in human history, one in which a vicious and unscrupulous invader occupied a city known for its sophistication and liberality, declining to destroy it or even to exact physical damage on more than a minority of its citizens yet leaving it in a state of “embarrassment, self-abasement, guilt and a felt loss of masculine superiority that would mark the years of the Occupation” and that, Rosbottom persuasively argues, continued long thereafter.

To this day, he writes, one must be struck by “how sensitive Paris and Parisians remain about the role of the city and its citizens in its most humiliating moment of the twentieth century.” The history of Paris from 1940 to ’44 gives the lie to the old childhood taunt: Sticks and stones may break my bones, but names will never hurt me. The Germans for the most part spared Parisians sticks and stones (except, of course, Parisians who were Jewish), but the “names” they inflicted in the form of truncated freedoms, greatly reduced food and supplies, an unceasing fear of the unexpected and calamitous, and the simple fact of their inescapable, looming presence did deep damage of a different kind.

It is difficult to visit Paris today and conjure up much sense of the city in the early 1940s. It is indeed, as it is called throughout the world, the City of Light, but it was “a darker city — gray and brown, not to mention noir (black), were required adjectives to describe the absence of ambient light.” It was a quiet city as well: “The cacophony of daily urban engagement — passersby, hawkers, street minstrels and performers, construction work, and especially traffic noise — was severely diminished . . . writers of the period, such as Colette, emphasize how quiet Paris became during those years. Sometimes the silence brought benefits, when pleasant sounds — birdsong, music — were able to reach Parisians’ ears. . . . But mostly, the new silence in such a vital capital must have been confusing and intermittently frightening. Police sirens were more menacing, airplane engines meant danger, a shout or scream demanded a more nervous response.”

‘When Paris Went Dark: The City of Light Under German Occupation, 1940-1944’ by Ronald C. Rosbottom (Little, Brown)

The sirens must have been especially terrifying because those who usually sounded them, the French police, were no friends to the ordinary citizens of the city: “Though the French police have spent years trying to dodge their reputation as enablers, there is no doubt, now that the archives are almost all freely open, that the French forces of order were active, not reluctant, collaborators with the Germans. Indeed, there is no way the Germans could have succeeded as well as they did in rounding up . . . ‘illegals’ if it had not been for the help of the local police forces. The Germans quite simply did not have enough personnel to track and keep files on Jews or plan and carry out raids, arrests, and incarcerations. Nor did they know as intimately the labyrinth that was the city of Paris.”

The city was dark, silent and constricted “physical and psychological space seemed to progressively narrow.” Rosbottom continues: “The very term occupation connotes ‘taking a place,’ and the most compelling stories of this period concern how ‘places’ — apartments, shops, subway trains, bookstores, buses, parks, cafes, streets and sidewalks, restaurants, cabarets, even brothels — were taken over by foreign soldiers and bureaucrats as well as by smug French collaborators.” Perhaps the most useful way one can attempt today to get some sense of what Paris was like then is to imagine one’s own city occupied by a foreign power. It is easy enough for me, looking out my window onto Logan Circle in Washington, to see in my mind two armed men in uniform standing at the streetlight in front of our building, and armored vehicles crowding civilian vehicles to the side around the circle itself. Imagine that, and you should have little trouble imagining how Paris shrank into itself, how the life of the city was squeezed into a thin trickle of silent despair.

Eventually Paris did resist the Nazis, but the effects were limited — the most to be said is that the Resistance there “did keep the Reich and their Vichy allies on the alert and did send a message to the world that Paris was not being benignly held prisoner” — and the myths the French have derived from it are only tangentially related to reality. “French resistance against the Nazis has been asked to serve critical functions in that nation’s collective memory,” Rosbottom writes. The myth “served to postpone for a quarter of a century deeper analyses of how easily France had been beaten and how feckless had been the nation’s reaction to German authority, especially between 1940 and 1943. Finally, the myth of a universal resistance was important to France’s idea of itself as a beacon for human liberty and as an example of the courage one needed in the face of hideous political ideologies.”

Paris in those years was “a city where many, many young and middle-aged men were in prison, concentration camps, in hiding, or in the underground,” so almost by default the Resistance became in significant measure a movement of the young and of women and girls, without whom “the Parisian resistance, no matter its ideology, could not have been as successful as it was.” It did keep the Germans and their henchmen in the police force on the qui vive, but there remained “the ethical questions that would haunt France for decades: Which actions, exactly, constitute collaboration and which constitute resistance?”

The unhappy truth, about France generally and Paris specifically, is that there were more overt acts of collaboration than of resistance, though that began to change as German resources were challenged elsewhere from 1943 onward, leaving weak and vulnerable occupation forces in the city. The French have been eager to present themselves as far more important to the fight for freedom than they actually were, and the Resistance mythology has been essential to maintaining what is largely a fiction, if not a fantasy. As this fine book makes clear, there is little to celebrate in the story of Paris in the occupation and much to lament.


Relief

The narrow coastal zone, some 226 miles (364 km) long, consists of sandbanks and mudbanks deposited by the southern equatorial currents from the area surrounding the mouth of the Amazon River (located to the east of Suriname, in Brazil). South of the mudbanks begins the New Coastal Plain, also formed from sand and clay from the mouth of the Amazon. The region, covering some 6,600 square miles (17,000 square km), consists of swampland. The soil of the swamps is clay, in which a great deal of peat has formed. The region is traversed by sandy ridges that run parallel to the coast.

South of the New Coastal Plain is the Old Coastal Plain, which covers some 1,550 square miles (4,000 square km). It consists largely of fine clays and sands and contains a variety of topographies, including old ridges, clay flats, and swamps.

South of the Old Coastal Plain is the Zanderij formation, a 40-mile- (64-km-) wide landscape of rolling hills. This formation rests on bleached sand sediments, which are rich in quartz. Most of the region is covered by tropical rainforest, but swamps and areas of savanna grassland are also found.

Farther to the south, bordering Brazil, is an area consisting largely of a central mountain range, its various branches, and scattered hilly areas a vast tropical rainforest covers these highlands. The highest summit, at 4,035 feet (1,230 metres), is Juliana Top, in the Wilhelmina Mountains. In the southwest near the Brazilian border is the Sipaliwini Plain, another savanna area.


Terrorism RESEARCH

Terror in Antiquity: 1st -14th Century AD
The earliest known organization that exhibited aspects of a modern terrorist organization was the Zealots of Judea. Known to the Romans as sicarii, or dagger-men , they carried on an underground campaign of assassination of Roman occupation forces, as well as any Jews they felt had collaborated with the Romans. Their motive was an uncompromising belief that they could not remain faithful to the dictates of Judaism while living as Roman subjects. Eventually, the Zealot revolt became open, and they were finally besieged and committed mass suicide at the fortification of Masada.

The Assassins were the next group to show recognizable characteristics of terrorism, as we know it today. A breakaway faction of Shia Islam called the Nizari Ismalis adopted the tactic of assassination of enemy leaders because the cult's limited manpower prevented open combat. Their leader, Hassam-I Sabbah, based the cult in the mountains of Northern Iran. Their tactic of sending a lone assassin to successfully kill a key enemy leader at the certain sacrifice of his own life (the killers waited next to their victims to be killed or captured) inspired fearful awe in their enemies.

Even though both the Zealots and the Assassins operated in antiquity, they are relevant today: First as forerunners of modern terrorists in aspects of motivation, organization, targeting, and goals. Secondly, although both were ultimate failures, the fact that they are remembered hundreds of years later, demonstrates the deep psychological impact they caused.

Early Origins of Terrorism: 14th -18th Century
From the time of the Assassins (late 13th century) to the 1700s, terror and barbarism were widely used in warfare and conflict , but key ingredients for terrorism were lacking. Until the rise of the modern nation state after the Treaty of Westphalia in 1648, the sort of central authority and cohesive society that terrorism attempts to influence barely existed. Communications were inadequate and controlled, and the causes that might inspire terrorism (religious schism, insurrection, ethnic strife) typically led to open warfare. By the time kingdoms and principalities became nations, they had sufficient means to enforce their authority and suppress activities such as terrorism.

The French Revolution provided the first uses of the words "Terrorist" and "Terrorism". Use of the word "terrorism" began in 1795 in reference to the Reign of Terror initiated by the Revolutionary government. The agents of the Committee of Public Safety and the National Convention that enforced the policies of "The Terror" were referred to as 'Terrorists". The French Revolution provided an example to future states in oppressing their populations. It also inspired a reaction by royalists and other opponents of the Revolution who employed terrorist tactics such as assassination and intimidation in resistance to the Revolutionary agents. The Parisian mobs played a critical role at key points before, during, and after the Revolution. Such extra-legal activities as killing prominent officials and aristocrats in gruesome spectacles started long before the guillotine was first used.

Entering the Modern Era: The 19th Century
During the late 19th century, radical political theories and improvements in weapons technology spurred the formation of small groups of revolutionaries who effectively attacked nation-states. Anarchists espousing belief in the "propaganda of the deed" produced some striking successes, assassinating heads of state from Russia, France, Spain, Italy, and the United States. However, their lack of organization and refusal to cooperate with other social movements in political efforts rendered anarchists ineffective as a political movement. In contrast, Communism's role as an ideological basis for political terrorism was just beginning, and would become much more significant in the 20th century.

Another trend in the late 19th century was the increasing tide of nationalism throughout the world, in which the nation (the identity of a people) and the political state were combined. As states began to emphasize national identities, peoples that had been conquered or colonized could, like the Jews at the times of the Zealots, opt for assimilation or struggle. The best-known nationalist conflict from this time is still unresolved - the multi-century struggle of Irish nationalism. Nationalism, like communism, became a much greater ideological force in the 20th century.

The terrorist group from this period that serves as a model in many ways for what was to come was the Russian Narodnya Volya (Peoples Will). They differed in some ways from modern terrorists, especially in that they would sometimes call off attacks that might endanger individuals other than their intended target. Other than this quirk, we see many of the traits of terrorism here for the first time clandestine, cellular organization impatience and inability for the task of organizing the constituents they claim to represent and a tendency to increase the level of violence as pressures on the group mount.

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Fasces

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Fasces, insignia of official authority in ancient Rome. The name derives from the plural form of the Latin fascis (“bundle”).

The fasces was carried by the lictors, or attendants, and was characterized by an ax head projecting from a bundle of elm or birch rods about 5 feet (1.5 metres) long and tied together with a red strap it symbolized penal power. When carried inside Rome, the ax was removed (unless the magistrate was a dictator or general celebrating a triumph) as recognition of the right of a Roman citizen to appeal a magistrate’s ruling. The discovery of a miniature iron set of fasces in a 7th-century- bce Etruscan tomb at Vetulonia confirms the traditional view that Rome derived the fasces from the Etruscans. The Roman emperors, beginning with Augustus in 19 bce , had 12 fasces, but, after Domitian (reigned 81–96 ce ), they had 24 dictators, 24 consuls, 12 praetors, 6 legates, 5 priests, 1. Lowering of the fasces was a form of salute to a higher official.

Benito Mussolini’s Fascist Party of Italy was named for the fasces, which the members adopted in 1919 as their emblem. The Winged Liberty dime, minted in the United States from 1916 to 1945, depicts the fasces on its reverse side.

This article was most recently revised and updated by Amy Tikkanen, Corrections Manager.


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