Vichy et la Corporation paysanne

Vichy et la Corporation paysanne

The history of the Peasant Corporation set up under the Vichy régime is one of struggle between the farmers and the state, a struggle from which the French state was to émerge the victory, though subject to foreign occupation. The institution corresponded both to one of the major ideological bases of the new régime and to the wishes of the principal pre-war farm union leaders, who took over its leadership without however succeeding in creating a real " corporate law " in which the main power would be in the hands of the professions. Despite the attempts at the Liberation to eradicate the work of the Vichy government, the Corporation left a lasting imprint on the présent organization of agriculture. The unity of agricultural organizations had been sought for a long time ; it was finally achieved under Vichy, and it has never been seriously questioned since. The author has had first access to ail the public archives concerning the Corporation — the Corporation's own files, those of the ministries of Agriculture, Finance, the Interior or of the cabinet of Marshal Pétain. She also used numerous private archives and interviewed the principal leaders of the Corporation and the senior officers of the Ministry of Agriculture.