For some reason the people of France simply can not let go of what happened in their nation during World War II when they were defeated and occupied by the German army. Life under an occupation produces confusion and ambiguity regarding how individuals conduct relation with the occupiers. After France was liberated from German rule in 1944, Charles de Gualle, head of the provisional government, confiscated the Renault company on grounds it had collaborated with the enemy and its president eventually died in jail.
Grandchildren of Louis Renault are suing the French government on grounds Renault was the only major business leader who was subject to confiscation although they argue others also collaborated. The key word is, “collaborate.” No doubt, most collaborated in one way or another, but there is also a line one should not cross. Historians agree Renault provided Germany motors, vehicles and technology. The issue is whether this was done willingly or under duress. Unfortunately, this question will probably never be completely answered.