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Vichy water into blood France surrendered to the German invasion after only six weeks' fighting. Without allies - Britain unprepared for war, America neutral, and Hitler now master of Europe - there was no option. On 21 June 1940, Marshal Philippe Petain (1856-1951) signed an armistice which divided France into two zones - one controlled by the Germans, the other "non-occupied", governed from the spa town of Vichy, famous for its curative waters. Political compromise is one thing, quite another was the Vichy government's policy of active collaboration with Nazi Germany.

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