The Importance Of Empire To Vichy France — страница 4

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such a day would come. So in conclusion the Second World War has been described as a turning point for this century. The pre-war social, political and economic order was swept away in favour of new systems. This is certainly true for the people of the former French possessions in Africa. The colonial response to the Vichy regime created sudden economic and political changes which disrupted the foundations of the old colonial system which had remained largely unchanged since the time of Napoleon III. The empire was important to Vichy as it gave them some control over Germany, as their territories possessed bargaining tool. The Vichy government could offer vast resources from her colonies and strategic advantages. With hindsight we see that the Nazis regime was not all that

concerned about the French empire as long as it remained neutral and the allies could not use it to there advantage. The Free French needed the empire to stage the liberation of France. However de Gaulle could only muster meagre resources from the territories loyal to him. He was totally dependant on the British and Americans help. The territories were important to the Free French because for every territory that turned to the allies it weakened the Vichy French power. The process of decolonization was initiated by these changes and it could not be prevented by any measures which the European colonial powers might have introduced. Regardless, the former French colonies in Africa can look to the armistice signed on June 22nd, 1940, as the catalyst for their eventual independence

from the French colonial empire.