Under the terms of the armistice, whose application methods are so vague that France runs the risk of being suffocated, the French government is disarming the fleet and the colonial territory with the commitment not to place either nor the other in the service of England; as for the metropolitan territory, it – excluding a small area under Italian control – is nominally cut in two: a free area under the direct control of the Pétain government and an occupied area; but in reality the latter is also tripartite: on the greater part the Germans exercise only the “rights of occupying power”; the departments of the north and north-east, on the other hand, are a real forbidden zone, administratively re-attached to the Kommandatur of Brussels; while the Alsace and Lorraine are unilaterally incorporated into the Reich (the expulsion from Lorraine of the French unwilling to denationalize themselves assumes an impressive pace in November 1940). This dividing line marks not only the temporary territorial breaking up of France, but also a split in its own history: now on the one hand there is that of the Vichy regime and enemy occupation, on the other that of dissidence and resistance. They must be examined separately. now on the one hand there is that of the Vichy regime and the enemy occupation, on the other that of dissidence and resistance. They must be examined separately. now on the one hand there is that of the Vichy regime and the enemy occupation, on the other that of dissidence and resistance. They must be examined separately.
According to politicsezine, the panic that invaded the majority of the French people in the face of the successes of the German troops had been the real secret of Pétain’s success: the fame he acquired – rightly or wrongly – in the previous war as the only general park of the soldier’s blood now presented him as the great saver of new French lives. But behind the “myth Pétain” and the anti-parliamentarism of the old marshal there are also active forces that from the armistice they will lead to the establishment of a new regime. They are varied and many. It is inevitable that the people, faced with the disaster, look for those responsible; but it is also inevitable that the architects of the armistice, who are soldiers, have every interest in shifting the blame for the defeat on the political-institutional level. The defeatist campaign, established by the Communists after 23 August 1939, it is a good weapon for the defeatists of the Right to shift their share of responsibility to the Left; and, on the other hand, the French employers see a propitious opportunity to make the old trade union gains ineffective. Catholics, since 1926, have become active and loyal forces of the republican regime, but M. Weygand is a favorite of the Jesuits and Pétain speaks of old France, whose origin is Joan of Arc: then – where more where less – a complex feelings stir: now the sense that the fathers felt after 1870 of hostile detachment towards an unwanted regime, now the awareness of a divine punishment for secularist aberrations, now the mirage of stemming the red danger with the social theses of a P. Le Play. There is no shortage of Fascist and National Socialist infiltrations; add still the calculation of many small Machiavellis and the recovery of all the losers of the previous political struggles. A group of feelings, a tangle of interests, a clash of forces: a multicolored world which, from its joyful insertion into the new Hitlerian order, leads to the dream of a “single France”, but which agrees on one point: abolition of the Third Republic. And this happened very soon. the abolition of the Third Republic. And this happened very soon. the abolition of the Third Republic. And this happened very soon.
On 2 July the government, which had already withdrawn from Bordeaux to Clermont-Ferrand, moved to Vichy and on 10 it obtained from the National Assembly, with 569 votes against 80 (mainly socialists) and 17 abstentions, the acceptance of a text drawn up by Laval, which gave all the powers to the government, under the signature and authority of Pétain, in order to promulgate, with one or more acts, a new constitution of the “French State” which guaranteed the rights of work, family and homeland. It is the death certificate of the Third Republic; the next day, three constitutional acts establish the powers of Petain, which centralizes the legislative, executive and constituent functions, while the chambers are updated indefinitely.