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La France et les Français devant le service du travail obligatoire (1942-1945)

Abstract : This thesis represents the first scientific synthesis nationwide about the Compulsory Labor Draft (Service du Travail Obligatoire, STO) inflicted upon France during the Second World War. Between September 1942 and the summer of 1944, laws enacted by the Vichy Regime forced approximately 600000 to 650000 French people to leave for the Reich in order to replace the German people recruited to the military. This turning point of the Occupation remained underrepresented in post-war research, and the victims felt into oblivion. The STO is reconstructed with special interest to the relationships between France and Germany, the socio-economic impacts, the discredit brought to the Vichy government and the collaborationist parties, the help to the expansion of the French Resistance and of the Maquis. The work ends with a depiction of the exiled people’s lives, their return and their bitter memories, supported by the former Fédération Nationale des Déportés du Travail. The main idea throughout this work is the attitude displayed by the public opinion confronted to the forced labor. Perceptions and behaviors depend on the periods in the history of the STO, of social classes, religion or local contexts. In spite of many protests such as strikes and demonstrations, France is the only country to have delivered all men requested by Germany, at least up to the summer of 1943. The French people seem to have been taken by surprise, powerless and divided. Individuals seem less troubled with dodging the forced labour service or with helping others to do so than with claiming that the whole population should equally be taken by this highly obnoxious toll. The massive disobedience only took over in a second cycle. Alongside the obedience and the réfractariat, the refusal newly coined as “refusance”, is a phenomenon studied in this work. The latter world refers to official actions and dynamics of refusing the STO without having to go underground, i.e. protected workplaces, false medical certificates or the joining of the law polices, to name but a few.
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  • HAL Id : tel-00749560, version 1

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Raphaël Spina. La France et les Français devant le service du travail obligatoire (1942-1945). Histoire. École normale supérieure de Cachan - ENS Cachan, 2012. Français. ⟨NNT : 2012DENS0031⟩. ⟨tel-00749560⟩

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