Paris Under the Occupation

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Upon arriving in Paris, many Englishmen and Americans were surprised that we were not as thin as they had expected. They saw women wearing elegant dresses that appeared new and men in jackets that, from afar, still looked good; they rarely encountered that facial pallor, that physiological misery that is usually proof of starvation. Concern that is disappointed turns into rancor. I am afraid that they were a little annoyed with us because we didn’t conform completely to the pathetic image that they had previously formed of us. Perhaps some of them wondered in the depth of their heart if the occupation had been quite so terrible after all and if France shouldn’t consider the defeat as a lucky break that would allow her to regain its place as a great power without having deserved it through great sacrifices; perhaps they thought as did the Daily Express that, in comparison to the English, the French didn’t fare so badly during these four years.

Sartre Studies International

An Interdisciplinary Journal of Existentialism and Contemporary Culture


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