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) is the common name of the French State (État français) headed by Marshal Philippe Pétain during World War II.

It represented the unoccupied "Free Zone" (zone libre) in the southern part of metropolitan France and the French colonial empire.

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Alsace-Lorraine was officially still part of France, as the Reich never annexed the region, the Reich government at the time was not interested in attempting to enforce piecemeal annexations in the West (although it later did annex Luxembourg) - it operated under the assumption that Germany's new western border would be determined in peace negotiations that would be attended by all of the Western Allies, thus producing a frontier that would be recognized by all of the major powers.

Since Adolf Hitler's overall territorial ambitions were not limited to recovering Alsace-Lorraine, and since Britain was never brought to terms, these peace negotiations never took place.

German troops guarding the boundary line of the northeastern Zone interdite were withdrawn on the night of 17–18 December 1941 although the line remained in place on paper for the remainder of the occupation.

Nevertheless, effectively Alsace-Lorraine was annexed: German law applied to the region, its inhabitants were conscripted into the Wehrmacht and pointedly the customs posts separating France from Germany were placed back where they had been between 1871-1918.

The territory under the control of the Vichy government was the unoccupied, southern portion of France south of the Line of Demarcation, as established by the Armistice of 22 June 1940, and the overseas French territories, such as French North Africa, which was "an integral part of Vichy", and where all antisemitic Vichy's laws were also implemented.

This was called the Unbesetztes Gebiet (Unoccupied zone) by the Germans, and known as the Zone libre (Free Zone) in France, or less formally as the "southern zone" (zone du sud) especially after Operation Anton, the invasion of the Zone libre by German forces in November 1942.

Thousands of collaborators were summarily executed by local communists and the Resistance in so-called "savage purges" (épuration sauvage).

The last of the French state exiles were captured in the Sigmaringen enclave by de Gaulle's French 1st Armoured Division in April 1945.

They were hostages to ensure that Vichy would reduce its military forces and pay a heavy tribute in gold, food, and supplies to Germany.

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