In June 1944, there were about 100,000 recorded members of the French Resistance.
The number increased rapidly after Overlord, but those figures may be considered as irrelevant as a part of them were obvious "25th hour resistants". Many of them however joined the French regular Army that accounted for about 500,000 soldiers in May 45 in Germany.
Those "recorded" resistants were helped by quite a number of people who never fought but provided intelligence, shelter, food and that sort of things. Number unknown.
Thanks to the action of Jean Moulin, the Charles de Gaulle representative in France, all the various organisations of the Resistance were unified under the umbrella of the CNR (National Resistance Council) created on May 27, 1943. Moulin paid that success with his life and died from the Gestapo tortures.
Aside from Moulin and his two assistants, Pierre Meunier and Robert Chambeiron, there were representatives of eight other French resistance movements, members of six of France's major political parties and two trade unions present at the conference. Pierre Villon of the Front National, Roger Coquoin of Ceux de la Libération, Jacques Lecompte-Boinet (Ceux de la Résistance), Charles Laurent (Liberation-Nord), Pascal Copeau of Liberation-Sud, Jacques-Henri Simon of Organisation Civile et Militaire, Claude Bourdet of Combat, and Eugène Claudius-Petit of Franc-Tireur were all present, as well as representatives of the two large pre-war trade unions, Louis Saillant for the Confédération générale du travail and Gaston Tessier for the Confédération Française des Travailleurs Chrétiens.
In addition to these men were representatives from the six main political parties of the French Third Republic: André Mercier of the French Communist Party, André Le Troquer of the Section française de l'Internationale ouvrière (Socialists), Marc Rucart for the Radical-Socialists, Georges Bidault of the Parti démocrate populaire (the Christian Democrats, Bidault was the successor of Moulin after his death), Joseph Laniel for l'Alliance démocratique, and Jacques Debu-Bridel of the Fédération républicaine.
Those men, for a while, put aside their political differences and remained united, under the unanymously accepted leadership of Charles de Gaulle. The political fights started back immediately after the Liberation.
Concerning the fighting units, they were (Globally) members of 2 main units : The FTP (Francs Tireurs et Partisans, headed by the communists) and the AS (Secret Army, grouping more or less everybody else), both under the umbrella of the FFI (French Forces of the Interior), the fighting arm of the CNR.
There are no recorded instances of intra-resistance armed fights.
In the other camp, about the same number of men and women joined the armed collaboration forces.
For details about them:
In french, but much more complete:
http://www.histoquiz-contemporain.com/H ... ssiers.htm
So about 100,000 each side. But considering the volunteers who joined the Free French forces outside France, also roughly 100,000 in June 44, the Resistance outnumbered the Collaboration as far as armed forces are concerned.
Concerning the way Charles de Gaulle "took power" in Paris in August 1944, one should know that:
- The GPRF (Provisional French Republic Government) formed in Algiers in 1943 was recognized by all
the Allied countries as the representative of France, including, very late but including, the USA.
- The GPRF was recognised in 1943 by the FFL and the FFI, i.e 100% of the French who stood up to fight the Germans.
- The GRPF was recognised by the French Colonial Army stationed in Africa and North Africa, they were all burning to go back to France and fight the Germans.
Now, the exagerations of the number of resistance after war wasn't created by some sort of French arrogance. Only the people who totally lack of historical knowledge or have some sort of agenda can state such things.
Immediately afyer the Liberation, Charles de Gaulle started to do what was to be done: Put back France at work in a unified atmosphere, turn the page and go ahead.
- He stopped the "epuration sauvage" (Wild political cleansing of the collaborators).
- He expedited as fast as possible the legal epuration.
- He disarmed the Communists resistance group and sent them back home or into the regular army.
- He, on purpose, pushed for the French Unity propaganda that generated the image of "40 millions Resistants" the replaced the previous one of "40 millions Petainists".
And it was a success, the wound of the cvil war were healed rather quickly.
Today, the "How and why" of those exagerations are well known to any one who take the pain to read the works of contemporary historians. Unfortunatley, most of them are in French and I can understand why some foreigners are still mirred into post-war legends.