THE NIGHT WILL END by Henri Frenay


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Frenay was a young army officer when he helped launch the Resistance in 1940, and a traditional nationalist who refused to give up on Petain for quite a while; by war's end, he had become a ""socialist humanist"" and pan-European. These memoirs, while certainly no more objective or candid than most, do present the political tangles and disputes among the British, Americans, London-based Gaullists, and Resistance groups instead of attempting to uphold the pretense that it was all a selfless unified struggle. Frenay himself is usually the bluff, honest military fellow who doesn't grasp intrigues until much later. The central fight is between Frenay's group, Combat, and de Gaulle's Resistance liaison, Jean Moulin, who kept withholding British funds and arms, whereupon Frenay turned to Allen Dulles. Frenay concludes that no rival force was wanted by de Gauge, and also claims that Moulin must have been a crypto-Communist because of his key party associates in the Resistance. He also argues that Moulin's notion of making the Vercors maquis into a fixed bastion was militarily wrong, and also points to the foolishness of the perpetual London efforts to discourage maquis from forming in the first place--since these men were escaping slave-labor transport to Germany and, without Allied aid, would perish. De Gaulle himself is treated with elaborate attempts at fairness, but Frenay insists that de Gaulle viewed the Resistance as a necessary evil, compared with the Free French regular forces and himself. Frenay was kicked upstairs from his Combat leadership niche to prepare postwar relocation plans--whether as a mere sop or because his ability in this sensitive post was appreciated is hard to tell, since he continues to maintain his naive-soldier tone. The descriptions of political realignments and population control during that 1944-45 relocation period are valuable, as indeed is the whole memoir, above ail for specialists. It has its due of Resistance drama as well, less through personal heroics than through the clash of political forces.

Pub Date: Jan. 1st, 1975
Publisher: McGraw-Hill