Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Crime Passionnel

A War Hero

Among those listening that June evening was Pierre Chevallier.

Yvonne had just given birth to their first son, Mathieu, and Pierre was in his final stretch of medical training. He could have raised his arms in surrender like most of his countrymen, and few would have blamed him, given the circumstances of his life.

Men of the Free French movement
Men of the Free French movement
 

But Chevallier made the brave decision to join the Free French movementone of just 7,000 Frenchmen who followed de Gaulles lead in the six weeks immediately after France formally gave in to Germany.

Chevallier quickly became a leading figure of the resistance in Orleans.

With recruitment and momentum, the movement grew over the ensuing four years of occupation. Some like Chevallier participated in cells of resistance fighters who managed to pull off daring acts of sabotage against the German occupiers. For others, the resistance was more passive.

By D-Day in 1944, the Free French movement included some 400,000 Frenchman. Orleans was bombed by the Allies that summer as they tried to cut off river crossings from the retreating Germans.

De Gaulle returns to France
De Gaulle returns to France
 

Allied soldiers arrived in the city on August 16, 1944, 10 weeks after the D-Day invasion. The Allies liberated Orleans, but they found the city had a thriving shadow government led by Dr. Chevallier and a handful of others.

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