Tuesday, April 5, 2022

Traveling Tuesday: Spies in WWII France

Traveling Tuesday: Spies in France 

In September 1939, France and England declared war on Germany after Hitler’s forces overran Poland. The “phony war,” when little fighting was done, lasted until April 1940 when Norway was invaded. Two months later, Germany took Paris, and France surrendered. A collaborationist regime was established under Phillipe Petain in Vichy. The armistice divided the country in half; one occupied by Germany, the other designated as free. 

Refusing to accept his government’s agreement with Germany, General Charles de Gaulle fled to England and set up a government in exile, later leading the Free French Forces and the French National Liberation Committee. De Gaulle wasn’t the only citizen who took exception to Germany’s presence. Thousands of men, women, and youth overtly and covertly resisted; some of whom became famous for their exploits, others who faded into the shadows of history without recognition. 

Photo: WikiImages
Interestingly, quite a few women-led resistance networks. While working for Georges Lonstaunau-Lacau, known as Navarre, Madeleine Fourcade created sections within unoccupied France then recruit agents for each section. The network later became known as “Alliance.” Born in Marseille and educated in convent schools in Shanghai, Madeleine married young and had two children, but the relationship didn’t last. Her husband had custody of the children, and she only visited them periodically over the years. In addition to managing networks, and performing her own espionage, she worked on the Resistance publication L’orde National. One of her most celebrated accomplishments through one of her agents was the regular collection of information about the V-1 and V-2 rocket programs. 
Another agent, about which little is known of her personal life, is Peggy Turner who posed as a prostitute to gather intelligence about troop, equipment, and installation numbers and locations. One story is told about her bicycling along the Normandy coast “blowing kisses at the German soldiers” while she collected information. 
Photo: WikiImages
American singer Josephine Baker moved to France and later agreed to spy for her adopted country. She attended parties at embassies and among high-ranking officials, writing notes on the palms of her hands and on her arms under her sleeves. She left Paris after the occupation began and set up quarters three hundred miles south where she hid refugees and Resistance members. In November 1940, under the guise of departing for a South American tour, she smuggled photographs and documents out of the country that were couriered to de Gaulle. 

These are just three examples of brave individuals who risked all in an effort to free their country. 

Spies & Sweethearts (Sisters in Service, Book 1):

She wants to do her part. He’s just trying to stay out of the stockade. Will two agents deep behind enemy lines find capture… or love? 

1942. Emily Strealer is tired of being told what she can’t do. Wanting to prove herself to her older sisters and do her part for the war effort, the high school French teacher joins the OSS and trains to become a covert operative. And when she completes her training, she finds herself parachuting into occupied France with her instructor to send radio signals to the Resistance. 

Major Gerard Lucas has always been a rogue. Transferring to the so-called “Office of Dirty Tricks” to escape a court-martial, he poses as a husband to one of his trainees on a dangerous secret mission. But when their cover is blown after only three weeks, he has to flee with the young schoolteacher to avoid Nazi arrest. 

Running for their lives, Emily clings to her mentor’s military experience during the harrowing three-hundred-mile trek to neutral Switzerland. And while Gerard can’t bear the thought of his partner falling into German hands, their forged papers might not be enough to get them over the border. Can the fugitive pair receive God’s grace to elude the SS and discover the future He intended?

1 comment:

  1. Linda, these stories are so important to pass on. The Resistance was the French at their best, just as the Blitz was England at its best. We're not the only country that had a "Greatest Generation." Thanks for sharing this.