The Shadow of the Occupation, 1942–1955

in Living in Arcadia

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print December 2009 | ISBN: 9780226389257
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226389288 | DOI:
The Shadow of the Occupation, 1942–1955

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  • Modern History (1700 to 1945)


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In May 1940, during World War II, after France was routed by Germany, the country was divided into two parts: an occupied zone and a “free zone.” The free zone had its capital at Vichy, which was headed by Marshal Pétain. On August 6, 1942, Pétain signed an ordinance amending article 334 of the Penal Code. The new amendment outlawed all same-sex acts—by men or women—committed by individuals younger than twenty-one (while heterosexual sex remained legal for those older than thirteen). By criminalizing behavior involving two people of the same sex under twenty-one—and not just between adults and minors—the Vichy law directly targeted homosexuality. This article examines the fifteen years immediately preceding the birth of Arcadie in 1954. It discusses the relationship between fascism and homosexuality and considers how the Liberation celebrated a balanced and domesticated ideal of masculinity distinct from the submissive “passivity” of the collaborator and the unruly “hyper-virility” of the fascist. It also comments on Futur, a publication launched in October 1952 to denounce the new reign of Puritanism and the persecution of homosexuality.

Keywords: France; Vichy; homosexuality; Germany; same-sex acts; fascism; Liberation; masculinity; Futur; Puritanism

Chapter.  7186 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Modern History (1700 to 1945)

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