The Importance Of Empire To Vichy France — страница 3

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would return to France and fall under the control of the Germans. The high loss of French life of course angered the French Vichy government. This incident was significant in that it stunted the supported that de Gaulle built up around the colonies. It also damaged the flow of French exiles to Britain joining the liberation movement. Britain´s actions had also strengthened support for Vichy in France. Laval saw this as an opportunity to form a united Franco-German collaboration against the British. The French colonies started to suffer directly from these complex politics between the warring nations. The French empires economy was stuttering to a standstill. This state of economy obviously caused discontent as economy was being furthered weakened. Colonists were suffering from

lack of income and food stuffs. Vichy government with a damaged French fleet could not replace administrative positions with loyal Vichy collaborators in her colonies. This lead to governors such as governor-general , Admiral Jean Decoux began to employ the indigenous people in high ranking positions. This had never happened before, and allowed the colonies some more independence. The French colonies were now finding themselves in the theatres of war around the globe. The loyal Vichy colonies were most at risk. “deprived of sufficient military and Naval support to act with a considerable degree of independence and responsible to a government which was itself subservient to another nation, the overseas territories loyal to Vichy were exposed and susceptible to invasion and

conquest.” Germany considered invading North Africa , but without support of Spain and Italians claims in North Africa, Germany decided to let the Vichy government take control of there colonies in North Africa as long as they remained neutral. The French empire was in total disarray. This was causing concern from the Americans and the British. British and Americans saw that the French colonies could propose serious threat to allies if they fell into the hands of the axis powers. However the threat could be reversed if the territory came into the hands of the allies. “President Franklin D. Roosevelt, in a speech made on 15 may 1941, indicated his concern. ‘The delivery of the French Colonial Empire to Germany,´ he declared ‘would be a menace to the peace and safety of

the Western Hemisphere.” German occupation of these French territories would pose a threats to British and American superiority. Germany would be able to threaten shipping routes in the Although the distaste for the Vichy regime among the peoples of French Africa had served as a catalyst for political and economic change in Africa (along with the American anti-colonialism activities), the French were more determined than ever before to maintain control over their empire after the war. It was a common view throughout the war that the French Empire in Africa would be a significant part of the instrument of France’s liberation. When this speculation became truth, it was taken to mean that the loyal Africans had “contributed mightily to the liberation of France” and therefore

had a patriotic attachment to it. However, at the Brazzaville conference of 1944, General de Gaulle stated that there would be “no real progress in Africa if the native populations could not profit by it morally and materially.” He shared his belief that the French African colonies would one day grow to a state of autonomy in terms of both political and economic development. However, the reforms which he endorsed at the conference did little in terms of working towards independence for African nations. Instead, they were aimed at improving the lives of African subjects while keeping them in the French political structure and thereby maintaining The Great French Power. However France believed that the African colonies had considered themselves as having grown up while having

passed through the test of war and now ready to become an integral part of the new Fourth Republic. This was not acceptable to the Africans. The French Empire in Africa existed for almost two decades after the Brazzaville Conference. However, it was already clear that the long but inexorable process of decolonization had already begun when the disruption between France and her colonies had occurred. The war had set the people free from the chains of the French colonial system and nothing less than complete independence would prove adequate to quench their hunger for the freedom which they had tasted. The British colonies which had been interspersed with the French colonies in West Africa were also granted independence, but by a colonial master which had always recognised that