Does nationalism produce resistance to foreign military occupation? The existing literature suggests that it does. Nationalism, however, also can lead to acquiescence and even to active collaboration with foreign conquerors. Nationalism can produce a variety of responses to occupation because political leaders connect nationalist motivations to other political goals. A detailed case study of the German occupation of France during World War II demonstrates these claims. In this highly nationalistic setting, Vichy France entered into collaboration with Germany despite opportunities to continue fighting in 1940 or defect from the German orbit later. Collaboration with Germany was widely supported by French elites and passively accommodated by the mass of nationalistic French citizens. Because both resisters and collaborators were French nationalists, nationalism cannot explain why collaboration was the dominant French response or why a relatively small number of French citizens resisted. Variation in who resisted and when resistance occurred can be explained by the international context and domestic political competition. Expecting a German victory in the war, French right-wing nationalists chose collaboration with the Nazis as a means to suppress and persecute their political opponents, the French Left. In doing so, they fostered resistance. This case suggests the need for a broader reexamination of the role of nationalism in explaining reactions to foreign intervention.

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