Louis Renault & WW II
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  1. #1
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    Default Louis Renault & WW II

    Did you know Louis thought Adolf was a great guy? He collaborated with the Nazi's and The British blew up his factory at Billancourt in 1942. He was chucked in jail for being a traitor.
    Charles De Gaulle returned to Fance in 1944 and bought lots of Citroens.

    Vive la Republique

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    Quote Originally Posted by Davide Perinet
    Did you know Louis thought Adolf was a great guy? He collaborated with the Nazi's and The British blew up his factory at Billancourt in 1942. He was chucked in jail for being a traitor.
    Charles De Gaulle returned to Fance in 1944 and bought lots of Citroens.

    Vive la Republique
    and renault was nationalised as punishment; there is actually a surprising amount of detail about this on renault's own web site, to their credit.

    quote:

    At the summit of his glory, Louis Renault was completing his lifetime's work but he was no longer in tune with the times. And in 1940, he did not understand the shape history was taking. When he died in 1944, his company was nationalized for being "an instrument of the enemy".

    see more at

    http://www.renault.com/gb/decouverte/accueil_saga.htm

    "no longer in tune with the times" is an interesting way of putting it. Old man Louis was a great engineer but rude and socially inept. (perhaps some representatives of Renault Australia are in his mould...)

    when it was nationalised the company was called "REgie NAtionale des Usines renault" (national company of factories renault) and some people thought that's how the name was derived.

    he won the Legion of honour for designing a tank for the French in the first world war. History is fascinating isn't it?
    Last edited by ColinJ; 23rd September 2005 at 01:02 AM.
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    Even more reason to buy a Citroen over a Renault.... Andre Citroen was an upstanding man, unlike Louis Renault.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Uga Boga
    Even more reason to buy a Citroen over a Renault.... Andre Citroen was an upstanding man, unlike Louis Renault.
    Yeah, but he died before Mr H came on the scene.
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    If only history was so simple in hindsight……..

    Renault himself was an industrialist and his interest in the VW was solely of an industrial nature. After viewing the VW, he wanted to design a similar cheap to manufacture car for post war French production in the knowledge that after the war France would likely be poor and unable to afford Renaults’ pre war products. The development of the 4CV was completed in secret from the Germans, and Renault’s collaboration was likely out of misguided self interest in trying to protect his interest in the Renault works.

    Postwar, things were different. A prewar study of the French motor industry revealed that the French manufacturers were producing too many models, which wasn’t considered sustainable. In the cold light of post war production, it was realised that fewer models in larger volumes were required in order for the economy to grow. Instead of 121 pre war vehicle models, a plan was prepared restricting manufacturers to 16 models. The hierachy was based on the production numbers in the year prewar, of 61,460 Citroën’s, 52,976 Pug’s and 45,388 Renault’s. Citroën was to be the large car producer, Peugeot the medium car producer and Panhard the small car producer. Renault were to only make trucks, based on them being the largest prewar truck producer. However the new postwar head of Renault, Pierre Lefaucheux, fought against the new plan and gained the right to allow Renault to manufacture passenger cars.

    So in a nutshell, the reasons that De Gaulle would have chosen Citroëns as official cars, would be that they were considered to be the flagship of the French automotive industry. Anything else would be like having Prime Minister John Howard run around in a Toyota Camry Altise rather than his Holden Statesman.

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    I agree Uga Boga.

    De Gaulle, Mitterand & Chirac have all chosen Citroen as they are the best French cars.
    'Vous n'imaginez pas tout ce que Citroen peut faire pour vous'

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    Citroen also the only manufacturer with a car that could seat 6.
    Renault were limited to the Fregate which though large was not as smooth as big Cit. http://www.classic2.dds.nl/foto/Renault/Rena%207.jpg
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    Quote Originally Posted by Davide Perinet
    Did you know Louis thought Adolf was a great guy? He collaborated with the Nazi's and The British blew up his factory at Billancourt in 1942. He was chucked in jail for being a traitor.
    Charles De Gaulle returned to Fance in 1944 and bought lots of Citroens.

    Vive la Republique
    Not surprising as many Frenchman did not like the Germans doing their World tour thing thru their country but a lot did not excatly disagree with certain German policies and ideals. Louis in his position and stature should have known better and he paid the ultimate price. In 1944 I would have brought a Citroen too. But I have not checked what Andre,s boys where doing during the war.

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    Citroens are ugly pieces of CRAP ( cop that citroen boys). I can't think of one model other than a Light 15 that even holds the slightest appeal If you don't like Renaults then keep your opinions to yourselves.
    Louis Renault was a great man. Try reading the book about his life sometime.

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    Default Not quite

    [QUOTE=ColinJ
    quote:

    when it was nationalised the company was called "REgie NAtionale des Usines renault" (national company of factories renault) and some people thought that's how the name was derived.
    [/QUOTE]

    I was born in 1952 in Boulogne-Billancourt, maybe a mile away from the Renault Factory, most of the facts you relate are quite correct, but I remember I think that nobody around France thought the name Renault came from Regie National.... In fact every one knew Renault cars came from the name of Louis Renault. When we were kids after the nationalization of Renault we would refer to it as R.N.U.R : Regie Nationale des Usines Renault
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    How about a more retrospective point of view...

    Written by a pom - Ian Morton...

    Louis Renault and the shame of a nation

    Little more than 60 years ago, on October 24, 1944, Louis Renault, giant of early motoring and arguably the greatest single name in French auto history, died in a hospital in the Rue Oudinot, Paris, having been transferred there from prison at Fresnes.

    Officially, cause of death was given as urine in the blood, but according to eyewitness and family accounts, the previously wiry little 67-year-old had been tortured and beaten. A nun at Fresnes testified that she saw Renault collapse after being hit over the head by a jailer wielding a helmet. An X-ray organised by his family indicated a broken neck vertebra.

    Louis Renault had been accused of wartime collaboration. Some 40,000 French died at the hands of vengeful compatriots in the confused aftermath of the Second World War, and Renault was a high-profile scapegoat needed by the post-war administration to demonstrate its political direction and resolve.

    But there are those who to this day regard him not as a collaborateur but as a hero, and his end as an enduring national scandal. But for his efforts, Renault factories and employees would have been shipped to Germany. When France was attacked in 1939, Renault was sent by his government to America to ask for tanks. He returned to find a Franco-German armistice in place.

    From that point, like some other industrialists, Renault felt that his duty was to preserve France’s manufacturing base. Military and Daimler-Benz officials arrived at the gates of his Billancourt factory to assess it for removal into Germany, together with its workforce. Renault fended them off by agreeing to make vehicles for the Wehrmacht. He was heard to remark: “Give them the butter or they’ll take the cows”.

    From this situation the charges of collaboration and profiteering were to arise, though if Renault was guilty of anything it was Gallic pragmatism. While his firm undeniably contributed to the Nazi war effort, later studies showed that he also hived off strategic materials and sabotaged trucks. Dipsticks were marked low, for example, and engines dried and seized in action, an outcome much in evidence on the Russian Front.

    But with liberation, Renault became the personal target of a reprisal campaign. Left-wing newspapers wildly accused him of making six billion francs from the war, and of responsibility by association for many military and civilian deaths. The authorities were accused of failing to act. Convinced he had performed honourably and confident of justice, Renault refused to disappear discreetly, as did some others whose wartime conduct had been questioned.

    To appease the baying press, he was arrested. Though he was never charged, or tried, and died before he had the chance to put his case, his company was seized by the state after his death on the grounds that it represented “guilty enrichment obtained by those who worked for the enemy”. Though the Renault name was retained, compensation was not paid to the family. Even today all mention of Louis Renault is avoided by Régie Renault officials.

    The company’s post-war recovery is officially attributed to the efforts of Pierre Lefauchaux, who took over the running of the nationalised factories. When the centenary of the original Renault Frères company was celebrated by Régie Renault in 1999, his grandchildren Louis and Marie were ignored. Will France ever rehabilitate her outcast son? Will Régie Renault ever proclaim its founder?

    Those in France who argue against what they may see as an injustice meted out to Louis Renault believe it unlikely. Legally it could be argued that Régie Renault, that jewel in the country’s industrial crown, constitutes the proceeds of murder and theft. The administration could not allow this argument to surface, for any admission that Louis Renault and his company had received rough justice would raise the question of compensation – huge compensation.

    Even those who know enough to raise a glass to the great man on his birthday - February 15 - do so circumspectly, for it is murmured that to speak publicly in France of such matters even 60 years later is to risk some sort of indirect reprisal, perhaps a tax investigation.

    The same pragmatism that guided Louis Renault through those dark war years and saved his company from displacement and absorption by Daimler-Benz must still direct both his supporters and the government.

  12. #12
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    'The Dark Continent- Europe's 20th Century' by Mark Mazower paints a black and depressing picture of Europe in the leadup to WW2, but gives a perspective on the whole social and idealogical mix of Europe which makes it difficult to say conclusively that Louis Renault was a Nazi sympathiser.

    The suggestion that Renault was a Nazi collaborator and the product of the reformed RNUR is therefore somehow related is along the lines of criticising German companies because they did war work ie. Daimler-Benz, Opel, Zeiss Ikon, AEG, Bosch, Siemens, Volkswagen (car, not the company), Auto-Union (Audi), BMW etc.
    If these companies were "reborn" and "cleansed" after WW2, then how is the nationalised Renault organisation any different??

    Many photographs of De Gaulle visiting "repatriated" towns in 1945-46 show him being driven in a Delage- a truly appropriate car.

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    Last edited by farmerdave; 23rd September 2005 at 10:21 PM.

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    Default History Lesson

    I know personally a family in Holland, who made cast iron lamp posts pre war. When the Germans invaded there was little choice, you either did it the Germans way, or not. They carried on, making whatever.
    At the end of the war they were labelled as collaborators and lost the lot. Which is how they ended up in Australia as penniless migrants in the early 50's.
    It is hard for us to imagine what Europe was like under Hitler, they would have had their business appropriated and given to a sympathiser if they didn't toe the line, so what was the choice? The devil, or the deep blue sea?
    Watched avidly "Spitfire Ace" on the ABC over the last few weeks. One of the comments made last night was, that if the Poms had lost the Battle of Britain, Hitler would have invaded Russia anyway ( he had to) What would have happened if he'd lost? Russia would have had the whole of Europe, Britain included. A scary thought. I'm damn sure that given a choice of the Gestapo vvs the KGB, I know which one I'd choose.
    Wonder who makes those lamp posts now?
    Sorry if this doesn't seem like a Renault thread any more, but you get that, we do get side tracked.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Davide Perinet
    Did you know Louis thought Adolf was a great guy? He collaborated with the Nazi's and The British blew up his factory at Billancourt in 1942. He was chucked in jail for being a traitor.
    Charles De Gaulle returned to Fance in 1944 and bought lots of Citroens.

    Vive la Republique
    I thought De Gaulle used Citroens as his official cars partly because the 'owners' of Citroen were the Michelin family and many of this family were conspicious members of the "Free French" forces that De Gaulle led during the war?? I think a few were killed in action during the war.

    He was lucky he was in a DS when the OAS tried to assasinate him - even though they shot out the tyres, his driver was able to speed away - out of range - without crashing.
    So many projects - so little time.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Davide Perinet
    Did you know Louis thought Adolf was a great guy? He collaborated with the Nazi's and The British blew up his factory at Billancourt in 1942. He was chucked in jail for being a traitor.
    Charles De Gaulle returned to Fance in 1944 and bought lots of Citroens.

    Vive la Republique


    As a German born Renault, Peugeot enthusiast, (even worked for Renault/Peugeot in Australia) I disagree that Louis was " a mate of Adolf "or a collaborateur. I think he acted out of necessity to minimise the damage of a Blitz Krieg surrender like Petain and the Vichy government did. Had his factory blown up anyway (by the allies)for his efforts, and a good excuse for De Gaulle to nationalise it (RNUR) after the liberation. The resistance tried to look good (after the war was over) and not only execute surrendered German soldiers with a bullet to the back of the head, but a lot of their own as well, just like Louis died under questionable circumstances at Fresnes prison with a broken neck. Hard and sad times on both sides, but who actually made some effort after 3 hard fought wars: De Gaulle and Adenauer, ending the feud and starting the EC to end the fight over iron ore and coal. In the 1960's when the VW paintshop burnt out, who was the first one to offer assistance: Renault(RNUR). Well, this was getting a little political, but I do have a soft spot for froggy cars, sorry if I offended anyboby.

    Viva La Differance.

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    Thanks Mistareno and Frosch for supplying some of the information that is in the book i was referring to. I'm a slow typist and it would have taken me for ever to write what you guys have said.

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    Default Done, but done well!

    You guys don't need me to stir the pot.! On all threads I score Renault 1 opposition stirrers ZERO. Must be quiet over there or have you been stirring them up Richard also good stuff "the Real French Frog" on those other threads

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    Quote Originally Posted by Charger_071
    Citroens are ugly pieces of CRAP ( cop that citroen boys). I can't think of one model other than a Light 15 that even holds the slightest appeal If you don't like Renaults then keep your opinions to yourselves.
    Louis Renault was a great man. Try reading the book about his life sometime.
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    <TABLE cellSpacing=0 cellPadding=0 border=0><TBODY><TR><TD>
    ANDRE CITROEN , LOUIS RENAULT - UN DUEL SANS MERCI
    </TD></TR><TR><TD>Alain Frerejean - Albin Michel - 304 pages</TD></TR><TR><TD>André Citroën et Louis Renault ont joué un rôle éminent dans l'histoire récente de la France. Partis de presque rien, ces créateurs géniaux ont, après avoir participé à la victoire de 1918, inventé la voiture populaire qui a révolutionné la vie des campagnards et des citadins, et fait rêver la génération des Années Folles.Pendant seize ans, ces deux camarades de lycée, également fascinés par la Russie des tsars et par l'Amérique de Ford, se sont fait une concurrence acharnée à coups d'incessantes innovations, chaque avancée de l'un stimulant la créativité de l'autre. Une interaction permanente qui a contribué à faire d'André le polytechnicien et de Louis le mécano les fondateurs d'immenses empires industriels.Duel d'ingénieurs et de publicitaires, d'industriels et de commerciaux, de coureurs automobiles et d'explorateurs jusqu'en plein coeur de l'Afrique : Alain Frerejean, retrace à l'heure où l'on célèbre le centenaire de la première Renault, l'aventure étonnante de ces deux Français si différents, l'un avec ses extravagants coups de poker, l'autre avec ses invraisemblables colères. <TABLE cellSpacing=0 cellPadding=0 border=0><TBODY><TR><TD>

    </TD></TR><TR><TD>Alain Frerejean - Albin Michel - 304 pages</TD></TR><TR><TD></TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE>
    </TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE>

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    Not sure what this has to do with the topic really, but according to my rusty french, this is what was posted...

    Andre Citroen and Louis Renault played an eminent part in the recent history of France.

    Starting from almost nothing, these brilliant creators - after the victory of 1918 - invented the popular car which revolutionized the life of the countrymen and the townsmen, and created dreams for the generation of the Folles.

    During sixteen years, these two comrades of college, also fascinated by the Tsars of Russia and by Ford of America, were keenly competitive in with the introduction of ceaseless innovations, each stimulating the creativity of the other. A permanent interaction which contributed to make of Andre the polytechnician and Louis the mechanic and the founders of immense industrial empires.....

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    Quote Originally Posted by mistareno
    Not sure what this has to do with the topic really, but according to my rusty french, this is what was posted...

    Andre Citroen and Louis Renault played an eminent part in the recent history of France.

    Starting from almost nothing, these brilliant creators - after the victory of 1918 - invented the popular car which revolutionized the life of the countrymen and the townsmen, and created dreams for the generation of the Folles.

    During sixteen years, these two comrades of college, also fascinated by the Tsars of Russia and by Ford of America, were keenly competitive in with the introduction of ceaseless innovations, each stimulating the creativity of the other. A permanent interaction which contributed to make of Andre the polytechnician and Louis the mechanic and the founders of immense industrial
    empires.....
    bien fait

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    Quote Originally Posted by mistareno
    Not sure what this has to do with the topic really, but according to my rusty french, this is what was posted...

    Andre Citroen and Louis Renault played an eminent part in the recent history of France.

    Starting from almost nothing, these brilliant creators - after the victory of 1918 - invented the popular car which revolutionized the life of the countrymen and the townsmen, and created dreams for the generation of the Folles.

    During sixteen years, these two comrades of college, also fascinated by the Tsars of Russia and by Ford of America, were keenly competitive in with the introduction of ceaseless innovations, each stimulating the creativity of the other. A permanent interaction which contributed to make of Andre the polytechnician and Louis the mechanic and the founders of immense industrial
    empires.....
    bien fait mistareno

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    It's easy to be brave at this distance and be critical of collaborators but the German occupation of France was very severe and the penalties for resistance and non co-operation so terrible that most people had to go along with the occupation. Which makes those who did work in the Resistance like our own Nancy Wake incredibly courageous.
    Early in the occupation the British sent an agent to Jean-Pierre Peugeot who agreed to allow the Peugeot factories to be sabotaged to restrict production. The Peugeot management faced a difficult task, to do as little as possible but on the other hand to stop workers being sent to Germany. The main football stadium in Sochaux is named in honour of a manager who was deported to Germany and never returned. As an added horror there was the risk of families being deported. Volkswagen ran a nightmarish childrens home for children of its slave labourers from which few returned. As well in return for open acts of resistance there was the taking and execution of hostages or even of a whole village (Oradour). The RAF bombed the Sochaux Peugeot factory in 1943 but unfortunately hit the town instead. The resistance requested no further bombing raids but stepped up internal sabotage. The Peugeot and Citroen families are held in high esteem for their resistance to the occupation.

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    Default This reminds me of..

    Friends

    This reminds me of a course I attended many years ago, one of the visiting lecturers gave details of security operations within Australia by our most secret organisations.

    I always remember the part of his talk where he paid tribute to the many Patriotic Australians who chose for one reason or another to endure the utmost condemnation of their fellow Australians while in reality they were providing intelligence that made average Australians so much safer.

    He marvelled at the dedication and motivation that enabled these wonderful people to choose to undertake this service in the full knowledge that the truth would never be revealed even to their closest family who now despised them for their public persona.

    Makes you think when you hear something like that. These are the very people that would be the first to be attacked, hung drawn and quartered by a vengeful mob in the aftermath of war.

    When an angry mob are stoning somebody they expect to hear and ignore protestations of innocence.

    Where politics and the mob intertwine after an event, truth is the first casualty.

    Whether you read something in French or English, the truth or otherwise may never be revealed or do justice to those concerned.

    If we all held such shallow views there would never be a Japanese or German car sold in this country and I know that even today such views are harbored by individuals whose lives are ruled by enduring hate and personal experience, may that now be put to rest.

    Ken
    Last edited by Kenfuego; 24th September 2005 at 03:10 PM. Reason: minor spell

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kenfuego
    Friends

    This reminds me of a course I attended many years ago, one of the visiting lecturers gave details of security operations within Australia by our most secret organisations.

    I always remember the part of his talk where he paid tribute to the many Patriotic Australians who chose for one reason or another to endure the utmost condemnation of their fellow Australians while in reality they were providing intelligence that made average Australians so much safer.

    He marvelled at the dedication and motivation that enabled these wonderful people to choose to undertake this service in the full knowledge that the truth would never be revealed even to their closest family who now despised them for their public persona.

    Makes you think when you hear something like that. These are the very people that would be the first to be attacked, hung drawn and quartered by a vengeful mob in the aftermath of war.

    When an angry mob are stoning somebody they expect to hear and ignore protestations of innocence.

    Where politics and the mob intertwine after an event, truth is the first casualty.

    Whether you read something in French or English, the truth or otherwise may never be revealed or do justice to those concerned.

    If we all held such shallow views there would never be a Japanese or German car sold in this country and I know that even today such views are harbored by individuals whose lives are ruled by enduring hate and personal experience, may that now be put to rest.

    Ken

    Ken, Um, "What the...."?

    In Britain, criminals were executed by hanging them on the end of a rope.
    This was slow and painful. The victim could hang for some time before they died. If they were lucky, the fall would break their neck immediately.
    Very bad criminals were often hung, drawn and quartered.
    First they were hung and cut down while still alive. Argh!
    Then they were put on a 'rack'. Their feet were tied to one end and hands to the other and they were stretched or drawn out. Ow!
    They would then be cut open while still alive. Usually, all their insides would be taken out and burnt before their eyes. This would kill them. Ooo!
    Lastly, their dead body was cut up into four quarters. Usually, each part was taken to a different part of the country and displayed as a warning to others.
    Yuck! from Bershire history for kids

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    Default Lack of comprehension = shallow thinking Hmmmn

    Quote Originally Posted by Davide Perinet
    Ken, Um, "What the...."?
    from Bershire history for kids
    Hmmn I quote from life experiences, yours from a childrens book! oh well the point was lost about shallow thinkers making decisions to buy or not buy a vehicle based upon what could be dubious history at best - what curious thinking.

    Tuck your tail up between your legs and retreat to the safety of your own forum - methinks

    Can't really see why you would post such garbage in another car forum unless your were trying to be smart - you were not! or foment trouble - forget it and go home - cease desist, be gone Cheers guys

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