German Occupation

An occupation describes the situation where an invaded state is placed under foreign military domination without annexation. During the Second World War, Germany occupied many countries, including France.

 

The beginning of the German occupation of France

The German occupation of France began with the armistice of 22nd June 1940. France was divided into two zones: the occupied northern zone and the zone which was called "free" in the south, placed under the authority of the Vichy regime.

The occupied zone included all French coasts. Coasts were protected by mobile artillery batteries and by the Luftwaffe from 1940. 

For French people, life in German occupied France was marked by daily privation, in the curtailing of freedom and the lack of vital needs, like food.

The Atlantic Wall 

From March 1942, the German tasked  Organisation Todt with the construction of the Atlantic Wall, with the objective of providing efficient coastal protection against Allied landings, with batteries, radar stations and V1 launching ramps. Known as the flying torpedo, the V1 was a weapon of reprisal against Allied bombing.

 

Ouvriers travaillant à la construction du Mur de l’Atlantique

Construction workers building the Atlantic Wall

 

Un bunker, une des fortifications constituant le Mur de l’Atlant
A bunker, one of the Atlantic Wall’s fortifications
 

The end of the occupation

After the Allied landings in North Africa of 8th November 1942, the "free" zone was invaded by German and Italian troops on 11th November (Operation Attila). 

This German occupation ended with the Liberation in 1944.

 

With the contribution of  Rémy Desquesnes
Historian