Resistance in France

Under the command of Colonel Passy, the Bureau Central de Renseignement et d'Action (BCRA) ran the information, counter-espionage, escape and action networks of Free France.

Independently of the external resistance movement embodied in Free France and its networks, other movements sprang up in France with the twofold aim of combating the propaganda of the Vichy regime and of taking part in the fight for liberation when the moment came. This struggle on the home front created many martyrs, such as  d'Estienne d’Orves, shot by firing squad at Mont Valérien on 29 August 1941.

In the occupied Northern zone, action against Nazism was the predominant concern. The main movements active in the Northern zone were the Organisation Civile et Militaire (OCM), Libération Nord, Ceux de la Résistance (CDLR), Ceux de la Libération (CDLL) or the information network known as the "confrérie Notre-Dame", founded by Rémy. The Front National, set up by the French Communist Party, was active in both zones but primarily in the north.

In the Southern zone, which was only occupied from November 1942 onwards, resistance was more political in nature and directed essentially against the Vichy government. Its three main movements were Combat, Libération and Franc-Tireur.

The three men responsible for unifying resistance at home and joining its forces with Free France to form what was then known as "La France Combattante" or Fighting France, were Jean Moulin, General de Gaulle's chief representative in France, Pierre Brossolette, the General's political advisor, and Emmanuel d’Astier de La Vigerie.