France Occupied

France Occupied

With the armistice of Compiègne (22 June) and Villa Incisa (24 June), France accepted the German and Italian occupation along a line that from the Swiss border near Geneva to Gale, Paray-Le Monial, Bourges reached up to 20 km. from Tours, and from there it went down to the Spanish border keeping to 20 km. east of the Tours-Augoulême-Libourne railway, through Mont-de Marsan and Orthez. In the following August Alsace and Lorraine were submitted to the civil administration of the Reich as part of the Westmark (14,522 sq. Km. With 1,915,700 residents). The Germanic occupation territory thus measured 289,880 sq km. with 25 million residents The rest, that is 246,000 sq. Km. with 14,208,000 residents, it constituted unoccupied France, or Vichy France.

Population. – According to, the losses of men suffered by France during the Second World War are calculated in 1,450,000 men (distributed as follows, in thousands: soldiers killed, or died as a result of wounds, 200; civilian victims 160; prisoners deported and died 240; surplus of deaths on births and supermortality of war 530, foreign parties 300; French established in Germany 20), or 3.50% of its population.

As a result of the peace treaty with Italy (Paris, 10 February 1947), an adjustment was made in favor of France along our Alpine border, involving the sectors of the Piccolo San Bernardo (2.8 km2) of the basin of the Moncenisio (kmq. 84), of the Valle Stretta and M. Chaberton (kmq. 47); of M. Tabor with the Rio Secco valley (17 sq. km.), as well as the upper Roja valley (567 sq. km.); in all sq. km. 718 with about 4,000 residents.

On March 10, 1946, a general population census was held, the results from which are shown in the previous table. The census reports a decrease of 1,383,133 residents (606,375 French and 782,278 foreigners) compared to that of 1936. The decline, which is 3.3%, affects 58 departments, in the eastern half of France, with the coasts of the Channel and those of the Mediterranean (the department of Bouches-du-Rhône lost a quarter of its population), while 32 departments, mostly in the western half, recorded some increases (maximum in Haute-Garonne with 10%). There are now 23 urban centers with populations over 100,000 residents (against 17 in 1936; Rennes, Limoges, Nîmes, Grenoble, Dijon and Le Mans must be added to the latter); 30 those over 50,000; then there are 56 with more than 30. 000, 75 with more than 20 and 221 with more than 10,000 residents However, most cities also recorded a decrease in population: 277,968 units in Marseille, equivalent to 30% of the population in 1936 (its residents decreased from 914,232 to 636,264), 109,874 (about 1/5) in Lyon, 104.372 in Paris, 57.149 (over 1/3) in Le Havre, etc.

During the period 1939-46 there was an annual average of 622,800 births in France against 663,604 deaths, which corresponds to an average deficit of 40,805 (0.97%). However, the demographic deficit was reduced in 1945 to only 17,164 units and indeed in 1946 there was even an active surplus of 294,350 units; not only, therefore, the war has not reduced the fertility of France but has increased it, revealing an unsuspected vitality in an organism characterized up to now, in the movement of the population, by progressive extinction, serious aging and strong immigration foreign. Foreigners were 1-670-729 as of March 10, 1946 (versus 2,453,507 in 1936); the highest figures concern the departments of the Seine (194,122), of the North (120,747) and of the Pas-de-Calais (110,178), the lowest are Lozère (866) and Morbihan (837). On the same date, Italian citizens were about 650,000.

Economic conditions – The war has not profoundly altered, as far as can be judged so far, the economic structure of France, or, rather, the relations between the various activities that characterize it. In the agricultural sector, however, the general contraction of the population is not surprising, accompanied – but not always proportionally – by a reduction in cultivated areas. In 1945 there was, of the territorial total: 32.6% to arable land; 22.4% to natural meadows and pastures; 2.7% to tree and arborescent crops; 19.7% to forest; 12.3% to moorlands; the rest was unproductive. Half of the arable land was held on cereals. -Some figures relating to the cultivated area and the production of the main crops are collected in this mirror:

In the mirror that follows the consistency of the livestock is summarized.

The production of meat, milk, butter and cheese has greatly decreased, almost halved that of butter, more than halved that of cheese.

As for industrial production, France has already reached, and in some sectors surpassed, the pre-war positions (the 1938 total made 100, there was 84 in 1946 and 98 in 1947):

Add to these the production of electricity which was 22.2 billion kWh. in 1946 and 25.3 billion in 1947, of which 11.4 and 12.6 billion respectively of thermal origin. In a few years, it is expected to be able to rise to 37 billion, of which 13 of hydraulic origin, more than half supplied by the Alpine region. The chemical industries are also recovering well, with this production (respectively for 1946 and 1947): sulfuric acid 840 and 1,069 tons; solid carbonate 481 and 592 tons; superphosphates 1,080 and 1,416 tons; fertilizers 110 and 134 tons; soap 43 and 73 t. Car production rose from 96.1 to 137.2 thousand units between 1946 and 1947.

Communications. – In 1938 France owned 631,000 km. of roads, of which 80,000 national, 545,000 local and about 600 departmental. From January 1938 all the railway networks were united in the Société Nationale des Chemins de Fer Français, of which the state holds 51%. In 1947 the total length of the railways reached 42,500 km., Of which only 3,531 were electrified, and about 20,000 of local railways. In 1946 there were 696.8 million travelers and 125.8 million tons. transported. The waterways measure (1945) 8,955 km; the relative traffic is around 15-16 million tons.

The merchant navy has over 500 ships (50 of which are transatlantic) for 2.1 million tonnes. tonnage (451,000 t. to ocean liners).

Foreign Trade. – The variations produced by the war crisis appear clear from the following table, in which the values ​​of foreign trade are reported to those of 1938 (index 100).

In 1947, imports amounted to 38.5 million tonnes. for a value of 346.7 billion francs, against 13.9 million t. for 212.9 billion francs for exports; the trade deficit therefore amounts to 132.8 billion francs. The distribution of this trade gave (1947) the following percentage values:

In imports, food products and raw materials destined for industries tend to decrease, while the proportion of finished products (American machinery and American and British agricultural machinery) increases; in exports there is a slight increase (121% compared to 1938) in manufactured goods, and a decrease in food products and especially raw materials (43%; iron ores and bauxite no longer go to Germany).

The first place in foreign trade was held in 1947 by the French Union as a whole (39% of imports and 24% of exports). The main suppliers are the United States (36.8%), the Belgian-Luxembourg Union (6.9), Germany (5.6) and Argentina (4.6); the main customers, the Belgian-Luxembourg Union (19%), Great Britain (11), Switzerland (11) and the Netherlands (6). The Italian-French trade is still very modest (3,222 million lire for imports from Italy, against 994 million for exports in 1946, according to our data).

France Occupied