This chapter begins the examination of occupation misconduct – in some senses a precursor to collaboration in the Second World War – by focusing on what was considered sexual misconduct: French women having sexual or romantic relations with Germans. It highlights the belief among the occupied that this behaviour, considered unrespectable, was widespread; the chapter also attempts to assess its actual extent. The phenomenon is examined from a number of angles including prostitution and venereal disease, genuinely loving relationships (including marriages), children born of German fathers, and ostentatious displays of joy seen as an extension of sexual misconduct. The chapter reflects on the way such relations developed over time, and underlines the way in which these behaviours drew criticism and contempt from occupied compatriots. It also introduces a source base that holds much significance throughout book: interviews with repatriated occupied individuals, and post-liberation investigations into behaviour during the occupation.
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