As Hitler armed in the mid-1930s, Europe prepared for war. With its sophisticated series of fortifications called the Maginot Line, France expected to thwart any rapid German advance from the east so that, with England, the countries could fight an updated version of their World War I experience. But Hitler’s blitzkrieg (“lightning war”) tactics, based upon rapid tank and troop movements, overran the powerful French army. In 1940 France fell in just six weeks. Churchill’s anticipated bulwark against Nazi aggression on the continent disappeared as Hitler marched into Paris, the city largely intact. For more than four years, France lived under a German occupation that reinforced its shame and sapped its energies. Afterward, the renowned French philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre attempted to explain France’s experience under the occupation and repair the nation’s now tarnished reputation.
Translated from the French with an introduction by Lisa Lieberman, “Paris Under the Occupation” is released through the Kindle Store by Now and Then Reader, Digital Publishers of Serious Nonfiction.
Jean-Paul Sartre–French existentialist philosopher, playwright, novelist, screenwriter, political activist, biographer, and literary critic–was a leading figure in 20th century French philosophy, particularly Marxism, and one of the key figures in literary and philosophical existentialism. His work continues to influence fields such as Marxist philosophy, sociology, critical theory, and literary studies
Lisa Lieberman’s writings on French postwar film and literature and their efforts to come to terms with the Holocaust have appeared in a variety of media. She is the author of Leaving You: The Cultural Meaning of Suicide, which addresses the suicides of notable Holocaust survivors including Primo Levi, Bruno Bettelheim, and Jean Améry. Trained as a modern European cultural and intellectual historian, she studied at the University of Pennsylvania and Yale University and has taught at Dickinson College. She lives in Amherst, Massachusetts.