June 23, 1945 – Postwar Europe – A Return To Vichy – Adjusting To Peace.
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June 23, 1945 – As VE continued to wear off and the business of getting back to some semblance of normalcy slowly began, the adjustments to a new life and healing the scars from the old one were proving to be a challenge which would only become more pronounced over time. In this episode of War Telescope, the weekly wrap-up of events during the War, reported Paul Archinard visited Vichy for the first time since VE day. He reported a largely empty, almost abandoned town, a former resort known for its theraputic waters, and later seat for the French government under Nazi occupation. With Pierre Laval awaiting trial for treason, along with Marshall Pétain, France was in the midst of reorganizing. Stories were now coming out, eyewitness accounts of raids by the Gestapo, the collaborationists, the ones who helped the Germans – the tortured and the ones who aided in the torture. The guilty ones were being rounded up – old scores were being settled – the ones even suspected of collaborating were brought in for questioning. As France was working on recovery – the dark years of occupation were impossible to dismiss.
Meanwhile, on the German side of the border – occupation by allied forces and a population largely in disbelief that Germany had lost the war. Many were feeling it was only a temporary situation that would probably be over soon, with Hitler regaining power and the German Army in hiding, to regroup and launch a stunning attack on the Allies, driving them out of the homeland. As time went on, they were slowly realizing that wasn’t going to be the case. The other problem was large-scale theft of food and supplies by the German population, selling goods on the black market. It prompted one solution where an entire German town was raided by Allied police, the local citizenry dragged out of their beds in the middle of the night while investigators uncovered vast stocks of hoarded, stolen goods.
Occupation was not going to be a walk in the park, it seemed.
And there were continued reports of fighting in the Pacific. All that, and a lot more via NBC Radio’s War Telescope for June 23, 1945.