WWII and Patriotism

I use World War II in my class a lot because pretty much everyone agrees that what Hitler did was bad. (Not everyone agrees on what Hitler did, but whatever it was they think he did, it was bad.)

So I was interested in a discussion of a French novel/biogrpahy/memoire, Very Good People. It is about Nazi collaborators within the Vichy government and how they never were held responsible.

The author is the grandson of a man he says knew that the 13,000 Jews were going to be rounded up and cooperated with their demise. That man has been pardoned and lived a very acceptable French life following the war.

“In the end it was not at all necessary to be a monster to participate in the worst. There was an anti-Semitism of the state. Men like my grandfather were prepared to do absolutely anything to preserve a little fragment of national sovereignty,” Mr. Jardin observes. “They preferred that the French police came to arrest Jewish families rather than let the German police do it. It is disturbing. In any case in my family there has not been any [feeling of] guilt after the war. My grandfather had the feeling of having done good. It is incredible.”

One thing I think is interesting is that someone (the French people) are reading a book and having, possibly irate, discussions about it.

Can someone in the US write a book like that so that I may encourage my students to read it and form an opinion?

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