The Riviera at War: World War II on the Côte d'Azur (Hardcover)
In this riveting first-time history of World War II in the French Riviera, author and retired US Army General George G. Kundahl combines a military man's eye for the tactical aspects of the conflict, with a storyteller's voice for relating the complicated layers of the battles that raged among the many armies that fought in the area during the war, including the French resistance, the Allies, and the Nazis and Italian Fascists.
During World War II, three distinct forces opposed the Allies: Germany, Italy, and Japan. Few areas of the world experienced domination by more than a single one of these, but southeastern France - the region popularly known as the Riviera or Cote d'Azur - was one. Not only did inhabitants suffer through Italian Fascism and German Nazism, but also under a third hardship at times even more oppressive: the rule of Vichy France. Following a nine-month prelude, the reality of World War II burst onto the Riviera in June 1940, when the region had to defend itself against the Italian army. The war ended in April 1945, with a battle against German and Italian forces, meaning the Riviera fought longer than any other part of France.
Kundahl's extensive work on the book included reviews of press records, military documents, and official reports, as well as archival and library research in Washington, DC, Pennsylvania, California, London, Paris, and throughout the south of France. More than 30 individuals were interviewed, including those with family on the Vichy and Resistance sides, with the author sifting through the complex nature of memory in an occupied country to present an incredible story of little-known battles, resistance tactics, and more anecdotes of the war that will fascinate Francophiles and WWII historians alike. An area of France renowned for its Mediterranean resorts (including Cannes, where the film festival was first promoted in 1939, before the war), the Riviera would become a little-known battlefront that featured years of fighting.
The result is a book that tells for the first time the full story of World War II on the French Riviera, and includes dozens of previously unseen sources and photographs. Essential reading for anyone interested in wartime France and the history of World War II.