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Defending National TreasuresFrench Art and Heritage Under Vichy$
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Elizabeth Karlsgodt

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780804770187

Published to Stanford Scholarship Online: June 2013

DOI: 10.11126/stanford/9780804770187.001.0001

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Cultural Affairs under Vichy

Cultural Affairs under Vichy

(p.17) 1 Cultural Affairs under Vichy
Defending National Treasures
Stanford University Press

This chapter provides an overview of the arts administration under the Occupation. The Germans deliberately gave French authorities significant latitude in cultural affairs during the Occupation. Hitler believed that cultural activities would distract the French people from the difficulties of everyday life and help placate urban populations. Similarly, Propaganda Minister Paul Joseph Goebbels believed it was in the German interest for the arts and cultural life to flourish, particularly in the French capital. Vichy leaders pursued ambitious domestic reforms under the illusion that the government had maintained full sovereignty. A traditionalist reform program, dubbed the National Revolution, was designed to renovate the French nation in the wake of defeat, under the strong leadership of an authoritarian regime. In the end, however, the combined impact of German restrictions, logistical difficulties, and a lack of time and resources hindered the implementation of some reform measures, while others had profound, lasting, and at times devastating consequences.

Keywords:   France, arts administration, Occupation, cultural life, National Revolution, Vichy regime

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