|Hans Ernst Varner (heil_hans) wrote in la_vie_ooc,|
@ 2008-03-04 02:30:00
Since the fall of France in June of 1940, the Vichy government is in charge. Little more than a puppet government in control of all of Northern France and administrating most of the southern 'free zone', the true power lies with the Nazi council that 'advises' President of the Council Philippe Petain. Resistance groups have cropped up all over, each with different ideologies and purpose, but most with the common goal of liberating France from her oppressors.
Though the main seat of the government is in the spa town of Vichy some 4.5 hours away by train, the majority of our game takes place in Paris. A Nazi government oversees the city of lights. A curfew is in effect. Citizens must carry papers, and use ration books to purchase some materials that are in short supply.
The current year is 1941, and the month corresponds to our months in real time. The exact pacing of time may slow down for certain events.
The current curfew lasts from 10 pm to 6 am. During the night, inhabitants have to close their shutters or windows. Without Ausweis (authorization), it is forbidden to go out during the night.
Current rations - 10 oz (280 g) of bread, 4 oz (114 g) of sugar, 2 oz (50g of cheese), 13 oz (360g) of meat, 6oz (170 g) spaghetti, 1.5oz (43 g) rice per day and 3 oz (85 g) of margarine per week per person.
The bread ration, formerly 12 oz (350g), was reduced in February. Sugar was reduced from 11 oz (300 g). Fat from 4oz (100g).
Supply problems affect many stores. The queues in front of shops are frequently lengthy.
In the absence of meat and other foods including potatoes, people eat unusual vegetables, such as Swedish turnip and Jerusalem artichoke. Sugar substitutes (saccharin) are available. Coffee is frequently replaced by toasted barley mixed with chicoree.
Gasoline is in short supply. Gas generators ("gazogenes") on trucks and automobiles frequently burn charcoal or wood pellets as a substitute to gasoline. The sale of gas for private use is severely restricted. People use "Gazogène" for big cars and trucks. Gazogene was a device to transform wood by distillery procedure into gas. These vehicles are slow and difficult to start. Many private vehicles have been conscripted by the government and the Nazis.
Women are making and remaking dresses, painting their legs to simulate stockings as proper stockings are a rarity.
Soap proper is rare, with a substitute often made in households from fats and caustic soda.
Many goods in short supply are substituted with 'ersatz'.
The Black Market:
Some people benefit from the black market, where food is sold without ration tickets at very high prices. Counterfeit ration tickets are also in circulation. The black market is currently thriving. Altered or forged ration coupons are sold for a high price. Luxury goods, information, and services are all sold and bartered clandestinely.
Direct buying or barter from farmers in the countryside and barter against cigarettes are also frequent practices. These activities are strictly forbidden however and thus carried out at the risk of confiscation and fines. Food shortages are most acute in the large cities like Paris. In the more remote country villages, however, clandestine slaughtering, vegetable gardens and the availability of milk products permit a better standard of living.
The current exchange rate is twenty French francs to one Reichsmark. Reichsmarks are the official currency of the occupation, and are both coin and paper currency.
Obligatory Work Service
Obligatory Work Service (Service du Travail Obligatoire or STO ) frequently requisitions and transfers of hundreds of thousands of French workers to Germany against their will, for the German war effort (factories, agriculture, railroads, etc) in work camps. Avoiding being picked up for this is a wise idea.
Many Frenchmen refuse to be drafted into the factories and farms of Germany by the "STO" organization, going underground to avoid imprisonment and subsequent deportation to Germany. For the most part, these people eventually join the Resistance.
Jews are forced to take the last carriage on the Paris Metro. They are frequently the subject of arrest and interrogation. The Statut des juifs (Statute on Jews) is in effect. Under this law, 5,000 people have had their French nationality revoked, of which 40% were Jews. They are grouped as a lower class, and excluded from many rights of citizenship. All Jews must wear a yellow star sewn on to their clothing to identify them at a glance.
The French Police often assists the Nazis in organizing raids to capture 'undesirables'.
Undesirables were defined as - Jews, métèques (immigrants), Freemasons, Communists and Protestants, Gypsies, homosexuals, and, in a general way, any left-wing activist. These 'undesirables' are often brought to Camp Gurs.
Vichy imitated the racial policies of the Third Reich and also engaged in policies aimed at reviving the pride of the "French race", although they never went as far as the eugenics program implemented by the Nazis. They refer to this ideology of a return to French national pride as Révolution nationale (National Revolution).
All French resistance can be said to originate from the Appeal of 18 June, a famous speech by Charles de Gaulle, the leader of the Free French Forces, in 1940. De Gaulle spoke to the French people from London after the fall of France. He declared the war for France was not yet over, and encouraged Frenchmen to keep on fighting.
Resistance takes place on many levels. Not all is active resistance- some French citizens only bend the rules through acts such as listening to the banned BBC, or reading underground newspapers. Some give collateral or material aid to Resistance members.
Others take a more active roll - assisting in the escape of wanted figures, sabotaging Nazi interests, or even actively taking up arms. There is also a vast intelligence network, funneling information between the various groups.
Armed underground groups in the field (generally known as the "Maquis") are in their infancy and just beginning to organize in the more remote parts of France.
The universal symbol of the resistance is the Croix de Lorraine.
The major groups are:
* Ceux de la Libération (CDLL) (Right-leaning)
* Ceux de la Résistance (CDLR) (Apolitical)
* Combat (Christian democratic)
* Franc-Tireur (Left-leaning)
* Front National (Communist)
* Libération-Nord (Left-leaning)
* Libération-Sud (Left-leaning)
* Organisation civile et militaire (OCM) (Right-leaning)
There are also the following:
The Special Operations Executive (SOE) a British and Free French military organization directed from London. It parachuted more than four hundred agents into occupied France to establish escape routes, coordinate acts of sabotage and set up radio communications.
Défense de la France a resistance group that was centered around the distribution of a clandestine newspaper
The Groupe du musée de l'Homme formed by Parisian academics and intellectuals in 1940 after General de Gaulle's Appeal of 18 June. It distributes clandestine newspapers, which are patriotic and conservative in nature. It also transmits political and military information to Britain and helps to hide escaped Allied POWs.
Some French citizens (called simply 'Colaborators') were actually eager to collaborate with Nazi Germany. They followed the new rules and reported those who were breaking them.
Others were "Pétainistes", who supported the Vichy leader Pétain and the Vichy policies to some extent, without being too keen on collaboration with Nazi Germany itself.
Besides classical and folk music, American jazz and swing was popular among some in despite the Nazi government's displeasure and suppression of it as inferior Neger Muszik. Many clubs still play jazz and swing in spite of this, and are sometimes even frequented by the Germans. Many cabarets , night clubs , bars, theaters, and cinemas remain open.