Updated:
Original:
Year
1942
Month Day
November 10

Germans take Vichy France

On November 10, 1942, German troops occupy Vichy France, which had previously been free of an Axis military presence.

Since July 1940, upon being invaded and defeated by Nazi German forces, the autonomous French state had been split into two regions. One was occupied by German troops, and the other was unoccupied, governed by a more or less puppet regime centered in Vichy, a spa region about 200 miles southeast of Paris, and led by Gen. Philippe Petain, a World War I hero. Publicly, Petain declared that Germany and France had a common goal, “the defeat of England.” Privately, the French general hoped that by playing mediator between the Axis power and his fellow countrymen, he could keep German troops out of Vichy France while surreptitiously aiding the antifascist Resistance movement.

Petain’s compromises became irrelevant within two years. When Allied forces arrived in North Africa to team up with the Free French Forces to beat back the Axis occupiers, and French naval crews, emboldened by the Allied initiative, scuttled the French fleet off Toulon, in southeastern France, to keep it from being used by those same Axis powers, Hitler retaliated. In violation of the 1940 armistice agreement, German troops moved into southeastern-Vichy, France. From that point forward, Petain became virtually useless, and France merely a future gateway for the Allied counteroffensive in Western Europe, namely, D-Day.

FACT CHECK: We strive for accuracy and fairness. But if you see something that doesn't look right, click here to contact us!

ALSO ON THIS DAY

Playwright and activist hanged in Nigeria

Ken Saro-Wiwa, a Nigerian playwright and environmental activist, is hanged in Nigeria along with eight other activists from the Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People (Mosop). Saro-Wiwa, an outspoken critic of Nigeria’s military regime, was charged by the government with ...read more

Maryland gets a miracle in Miami

On November 10, 1984, at the Orange Bowl, the University of Maryland’s backup quarterback Frank Reich throws six touchdown passes against the University of Miami in the second half, completing an improbable comeback. The Terrapins, who had been losing 31-0 at the half, ended up ...read more

Henry Wirz hanged for murder

On November 10, 1865, Henry Wirz, a Swiss immigrant and the commander of Andersonville prison in Georgia, is hanged for the murder of soldiers incarcerated there during the Civil War. Wirz was born in Switzerland in 1823 and moved to the United States in 1849. He lived in the ...read more

Birth of the U.S. Marine Corps

During the American Revolution, the Continental Congress passes a resolution stating that “two Battalions of Marines be raised” for service as landing forces for the recently formed Continental Navy. The resolution, drafted by future U.S. president John Adams and adopted in ...read more