The History Place - World War I

An encounter between French civilians and a German guard in occupied France. Ten percent of eastern France remained in the possession of the German Army for the war's duration. During the occupation, many thousands of civilians, including teenage girls and boys, were taken away for forced labor. Everything of value, including the contents of shops and factories, household goods and personal possessions, and even church bells, was confiscated and removed to Germany. Local foodstuffs and livestock were seized and fed to the occupying army, causing civilian malnutrition. Below: German soldiers in Laon crowd around a storefront while others stroll about. By official order, any act of hostility by civilians toward the occupying troops or any attempt to communicate with the French Army was punishable by death.

Below: People in Paris, outside of the German grip, reacted to the whole situation by wrecking a German-owned restaurant in their city.

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