Sud­den Courage: Youth in France Con­front the Ger­mans, 1940 – 1945

  • From the Publisher
January 1, 2013

The incred­i­ble sto­ry of the youngest mem­bers of the French Resis­tance who waged a hid­den war against the Nazi occu­piers and their col­lab­o­ra­tors in Paris and across France. On June 14, 1940 Ger­man tanks rolled into Paris. Eight days lat­er, France accept­ed a humil­i­at­ing defeat and for­eign occu­pa­tion. Most cit­i­zens adapt­ed and many even allied them­selves with the new fas­cist lead­er­ship. Yet oth­ers refused to capit­u­late; in answer to the ruth­less vio­lence short­ages and cur­fews imposed by the Nazis a resis­tance arose. Among this shad­ow army were Jews, immi­grants, com­mu­nists, work­ers, writ­ers, police offi­cers, shop own­ers, includ­ing many young peo­ple in their teens and twen­ties. Sud­den Courage bril­liant­ly evokes this dark and uncer­tain peri­od from the begin­ning of the occu­pa­tion until the last Ger­man left French soil. A chron­i­cle of youth­ful sac­ri­fice and courage in the face of evil it is a sto­ry that holds rel­e­vance for our own time when demo­c­ra­t­ic nations are once again under threat from ris­ing nativism and author­i­tar­i­an­ism. Beyond that, it is a riv­et­ing inves­ti­ga­tion about what it means for a young per­son to come of age under unpre­dictable and vio­lent circumstances.

Discussion Questions