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Paris Under the Occupation
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.
Length: 8,231 words; approx. 18 book pages
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