Defending sovereignty without collaboration: Vichy and the Italian fascist threats of 1940-42

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This article explores how Vichy sought to defend French sovereignty against Italian threats across the unoccupied areas of France and its colonial empire covered by the Italian armistice between June 1940 and November 1942. It suggests that while Vichy’s response to German violations of French sovereignty was limited by its policy of collaboration, no such constraints were in place when it came to Italian interventions. Despite this, however, the defence of French sovereignty against Italian threats was not a straightforward story of defiance. Opposing Italian actions in one policy domain in one territory had to be weighed against the potential repercussions in another policy domain in another territory. It also had to be calibrated with the implications for French relations with Berlin. The Italian dimension to Vichy’s actions therefore suggests that it was not so much defending sovereignty that was a negotiating liability as the lure of collaboration.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)422-443
Number of pages22
JournalFrench History
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 30 Nov 2019


  • sovereignty
  • Vichy France
  • fascism
  • WW2
  • Fascist Italy

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