I am taking a course on the history of the Netherlands and have a paper coming up at the end of April. I am going to write the paper on the changing portrayal of the Dutch resistance during World War II. I thought that a good starting point was to watch Marcel Ophul’s film about the worst collaboration of WWII, the Vichy government.
I had always heard jokes about how the Nazi’s showed up and the French just surrendered on the spot, but I didn’t know how much truth there was in them nor the crimes the French committed during the occupation. A film like Melville’s Army Of Shadows gives a very one-sided view of the heroics of the French Resistance. Casablanca would have you believe that the Vichy government was a puppet set up by the Nazi’s. Neither is near the truth.
When the Nazi’s arrived the French surrendered and with the Nazi’s willingly set up a government whose motto was collaboration. While Jews were picked up and sent to concentration camps the French were partying. While the Resistance was fighting for their country, their country started fighting against them because they were mostly Communists.
It’s sick and disturbing to think that people would roll over and collaborate on such a grand scale, but I have a feeling that I will find something very similar when I start looking at the Dutch during WWII.
I highly recommend this film even if it it’s truths are very hard to swallow.