10 July 1940: the Vichy regime is established in France

A nominally neutral puppet government was set up in the southern French town of Vichy on this day 1940, to administer the part of France not under Nazi occupation.

Ptain makes a short-lived deal with Hitler

After invading Poland in September 1939, Nazi forces turned their attention westwards. However, the German high command vetoed Hitler's plans for an immediate attack on France, pointing out that the army and airforce weren't big enough. Instead, they focused their efforts on further armament.

Meanwhile, British and French forces did not directly engage the Germans, apart from a brief invasion of the Saar for a few weeks in 1939. Instead, the French placed their hopes on a series of fortifications called the Maginot Line, and were content to let the Germans make the first move.

Advertisement - Article continues below

On 10 May 1940 Germany launched a series of simultaneous attacks on Belgium, Holland and France. By focusing their forces on small areas, and by outmanoeuvring the French, they were able to achieve huge success within a matter of weeks. Not only did they invade the Low Countries and force the British to evacuate, they also forced the Frenchto agree an armistice. This allowed Germany to occupy northern France. The rest of France was administered by a new government set up on 10 July and headed by field marshal and World War I war hero Henri Philippe Ptain.

While this new government, which was run from the town of Vichy, would be technically neutral, it would pay large sums of money to Germany to "cover the costs of occupation". It also collaborated with Nazi efforts to round up Jews and send them to concentration camps. However, this wasn't enough to prevent Germany invading Vichy France in November 1942.

Also on this day

10 July 1946: Hungary suffers the world's worst hyperinflation

Read more here




How long can the good times roll?

Despite all the doom and gloom that has dominated our headlines for most of 2019, Britain and most of the rest of the developing world is currently en…
19 Dec 2019

Are we back on the road to serfdom?

The coronavirus crisis has led to levels of state intervention unprecedented in peace time. The Austrian School reminds us of the challenges, say Dan …
22 May 2020

MoneyWeek's quiz of the week, 16-22 May

Test your recollection of the events of the last seven days with MoneyWeek's quiz of the week
22 May 2020
UK Economy

What are negative interest rates and could they happen here?

Negative interest rates – where banks pay you to borrow money – now exist in many parts of the world. John Stepek explains why they are a terrible ide…
18 May 2020

Most Popular

UK Economy

What bounce back loans can tell us about how we’ll pay for all this

The government will guarantee emergency "bounce back loans" for small businesses hit by Covid-19. Inevitably, many businesses will default. And there'…
1 Jun 2020

This looks like the biggest opportunity in today’s markets

With low interest rates and constant money-printing, most assets have become expensive. But one major asset class hasn’t. John Stepek explains why com…
2 Jun 2020

These seven charts show exactly why you must own gold today

Covid-19 is accelerating many trends that were already in existence. The rising gold price is one such trend. These seven charts, says Dominic Frisby,…
3 Jun 2020