The French, as well as the French language, are very popular throughout the world, and most people nowadays want to visit France, taste their croissants, and take pictures of the Eiffel Tower.
These days, the French are known for their great food and great sense of fashion or clothing brands. They are also seen to be extremely talented and quite fashionable, but what if I told you that back in the days, especially during the Second World War, the French were not famous for what they are now famous for? But first, who are the French?
Who Are The French?
The French people, or Français, as pronounced in French, are an ethnic group said to be descendants of Gauls and Romans. They are located in the western part of Europe and are known to share the same language, culture, and history. The French are known to mostly be dominated by Christians, predominantly Catholics, and extremely few other religions.
Their primary language is said to be French and other Romance languages like Occitan, Corsican and Catalan. Now that we have a bit of knowledge about who the French people are, let us quickly have a look at what they were popularly known for during the Second World War and what had to be recorded in history.
Who Or What Were The French Milice?
The French Milice, commonly referred to as’ La Milice ‘ , a French way of saying the Milice, was said to be a political paramilitary organization or setting, created during the Second World War with the sole aim of fighting against the French resistance or fighting against those who were against the French. Just in case you are wondering what the word ” paramilitary organization” means, let me help you out.
Though, paramilitary organizations are not formally part of a country’ s legal armed force or military, they are known to be some sort of semi- military force that acts and operates almost the same way as the military does.
They are known to use the same tactics, same structure, and serve the same function in a country as the military does, even though they are not the military. In times of war or national crisis, they are sometimes called upon to be present in some physical activities.
There are different types of paramilitary organizations which include;
Civil defense, Home guard, Government agencies, Law enforcement, Irregular military and Auxiliary forces.
Though an actual figure of the number of men who were part of the Milice was not given, it was believed there were about 36, 000 men from different backgrounds that made up the Milice.
During the active period of the Milice, Pierre Laval was said to be the Chief Operator of the Milice, with the General Secretary, Joseph Darnard. As earlier stated, the main aim of this group was mainly to fight against the French resistance, and this they did, especially seeing how much support they had from the Nazi government in Paris. Assassinations and executions became the order of the day with the Milice.
They also did an active and perfect job of rounding up potential threats, which included the Jews and others. Once they were done rounding them up, they would deport them from France. You know what they say about a stitch in time saving nine? Most claimed that Joseph Darnrd, the acting general secretary, used the milice as a dictatorial power and a strong regimentation of France at the time, because the milice was the only forceful suppression he could use against them as his opposition grew stronger and was on the verge of completely overpowering him.
Joseph Darnard’ s plan and purpose for working with the Milice became a dread group by their own opposition, especially after hearing of the disturbing methods they used in torturing and interrogating their opposition to extract information. The news of their brutal and inhuman way of interrogating and also executing people spread like wildfire and they were dreaded and feared even more than the famous SS and Gestapo, who are famous paramilitary organizations with a brutal way of torturing and excepting people.
The Milice group were always seen dressed in a blue uniform, which included jackets and trousers, a brown shirt and a blue beret. The Milice were brutal and could kill anyone anywhere, be it on the stress, in the shop or on the 24th of April, when they killed Paul de Gassovsk.
The End Of Milice
Soon after, the resistance began fighting back and in November 1943, there were records of 25 miliciens who were killed and about 30 injured. But it didn’ t stop there.
After the resistance began waxing strong and killing prominent people while being disguised as Miliciens in an attempt to oppress them and take over power, the Milice went on a battle that they eventually lost against the resistance in the year 1944. They had to invite the Germans to help them fight their battle, and with it, their regime came to an abstract end.
Prominent and influential people like Marshall Philippe tried to end the Milice of Curse, seeing that they failed and seeing that their numbers, which were once in the thousand, were now in the low hundreds. The milice office was ransacked and the remaining miliciens were captured and imprisoned. Even though most of the miliciens were able to escape prison, major holders like Paul Touvier and Lyon, were killed.
Thanks for reading.