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The French internal resistance, called in France the Resistance, includes all the clandestine movements and networks that during the Second World War continued the fight against the Axis and its collaborationist relays on French territory from the armistice of 22 June 1940 until the Liberation in 1944.
This struggle includes military actions: intelligence and sabotage against the occupying troops (mainly German) and the forces of the Vichy regime, as well as civil actions such as the clandestine press, the distribution of leaflets, the manufacture of false documents, the organisation of strikes and demonstrations, the rescue of escaped prisoners of war, refractories to the STO and persecuted Jews.
The Shadow Army brought together men and women from all walks of life, all exposed to strong repression by RSHA (Central Reich Security Office, of which the Gestapo is a member), Abwehr, Wehrmacht, as well as the French Militia and the French State Police.
While the Active and Organized Resistance has never attracted more than 2 or 3% of the French population, it could not have survived or developed without multiple popular complicities, especially during the Maquis era. Similarly, it is thanks to the solidarity of the population that the people persecuted by Vichy were able to escape them.
The history of the Internal Resistance is inseparable from that of Free France. General de Gaulle, leader of the Free French, took refuge in London and led his agents to the occupied metropolis through the BCRA networks or envoys such as Jean Moulin, Pierre Brossolette and Jacques Bingen. The latter were given the task of unifying all the currents and movements of the Internal Resistance, under the aegis of London and then Algiers. The creation of the Conseil national de la Résistance by Jean Moulin on 27 May 1943 and the creation of the French Internal Forces (FFI) by Jacques Bingen on 1 February 1944 marked the essential milestones in this sometimes difficult unification process.
Forms of resistance also existed in French North Africa and the rest of the French colonial empire, as well as in Alsace and Moselle, the departments annexed by the Third Reich.
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