History of Saint-Palais-sur-Mer : in turmoil (1939-1945) by Stéphane Magrenon

The first book devoted to the history of Saint Palais-sur-Mer during World War II

A historical narrative that plunges us into the heart of this eventful period. While the archives explored in France and Germany bring us the concern for historical detail, around 450 illustrations (photos, postcards...), mostly new, enhance the course of the book.

In early September 1939, as Europe sees its destiny darken, summer passes peacefully along our beaches. Very quickly, however, things accelerate: by invading Poland then by surging across the Benelux and France, Germany ignites Europe and then the world. Fleeing the danger, of many refugees, notably Belgian and Parisian, find refuge in Saint-Palais-sur-Mer. For little time.
On June 23, 1940, the first German soldiers reached our town. It is the time of the Occupation.
Upsetting the quiet habits of our seaside resort, hotels and villas are requisitioned unceremoniously. At the other end of the territory, the Grande Côte, a strategic point covering the entrance to the Gironde estuary, concentrates artillery batteries. From mid-1943 and faced with the threat of a Anglo-Saxon landing, Saint-Palais-sur-Mer becomes part of the Atlantic Wall. While that the Todt Organization builds massive blockhouses and small concrete works there, a multitude of anti-landing obstacles dot the coastline.
Encouraged by an increasingly seasoned resistance, deliverance will come from heaven in the first place. So that on April 14 and 15, 1945 the American bombers of the 8th Air Force dropped their bombs on Saint-Palais-sur-Mer, April 16 tanks of the second DB (armored division) enter the scene at the Well of Auture. From the next day, the valiant fighters of the Third Reich are now satisfied with the status unenviable prisoners of war. In Saint-Palais-sur-Mer, gathered in commandos, they will serve so essentially mine clearance in 1945. Hustled by refugees from all over, marked by the importance of the military presence German, partially disfigured by the harshness of the fighting, Saint-Palais-sur-Mer did indeed live this period in turmoil…
Table of contents (abbreviated):
Introductory remarks
First part
Saint-Palais-sur-Mer, land of refuge (September 3, 1939 – June 23, 1940)                   
Chapter 01.   
Uncertainty (September – October 1939)
1. The German threat
2. Arrival of refugees in Saint-Palais-sur-Mer
chapter 02.
The panic (May – June 1940)
1. Refugees, the second wave
2. the withdrawal of the administration from the Ministry of Public Works in Saint-Palais-sur-Mer
Second part
Saint-Palais-sur-Mer under the Occupation
(June 23, 1940 – April 13, 1945)
Chapter 03.
From one ordeal to another, from defeat to the Occupation (June – September 1940)
1. Towards the armistice… (June 16 – 23, 1940
2. The arrival of the Germans in Saint-Palais-sur-Mer (June 23 and 24, 1940
3. The time of the armistice (June 25 – September 30, 1940
Chapter 04.
Under occupation, continued military presence
1. Saint-Palais-sur-Mer, nerve center of German artillery in the Royan sector
2. Infantry units stationed at Saint-Palais-sur-Mer
3. The functional units positioned in Saint-palais-sur-mer
Chapter 05.
The Atlantic Wall in Saint-Palais-sur-Mer
1. The Atlantic Wall: a strategic requirement
2. The builders of the Atlantic Wall
3. The Atlantic Wall works on the Saint-Palais-sur-Mer sector
4. Anti-landing obstacles on the Saint-Palais-sur-Mer sector
5. Camouflage efforts
Chapter 06.
The upset life of a seaside resort
1. meet the needs of the occupying troops
2. Tourist sites with hampered activities
Third part
liberation of the territory
(1943 – 1945…)
Chapter 07.
Pre-Liberation Operations
1. The organization and actions of the local Resistance
2. The bombing of Royan and its impact on Saint ‑ Palais-sur-Mer
Chapter 08.
Deliverance (April 14-17, 1945)
1. Preparing for the « Venerable » operation
2. Saint-Palais-sur-Mer, April 14, 1945
3. Saint-Palais-sur-Mer, April 15, 1945
4. Saint-Palais-sur-Mer, April 16, 1945
5. Saint-Palais-sur-Mer, April 17, 1945
6. The victims of the operations to liberate the Poche de Royan relating to Saint-Palais-sur-Mer
Chapter 09.
The price of war (1945-…)
1. Saint-Palais-sur-Mer, land of fire
2. Comfort: General de Gaulle’s visit to Saint ‑ Palais-sur-Mer
3. The fate of the vanquished: German prisoners of war (PGA
4. Saint-Palais-sur-Mer, a new land of welcome