V: Deberny et Peignot, World War II

In spite of the themes of peace and progress that blanketed the 1937 Exposition, neither of these ideals would characterize the next chapter of world history. Hitler invaded Czechoslovakia and formed alliances with Italy and the Soviet Union early in 1939. Arts et Métiers Graphiques published its final issue on May 15, 1939.[55] Soon after in September 1939, Great Britain and France declared war on the Axis powers. The Nazis invaded France and the Low Countries approximately one year later. By June 16, 1940 Paris had fallen to the Germans and the Vichy collaborationist government was installed in the Southern half of France.[56]

It is unclear how Deberny et Peignot faired during this period of enemy occupation. The firm's entire operation base was located in the German-controlled Northern portion of the country the part that was not under the so-called "sovereign" Vichy government. However, it is apparent that during this time the Germans capitalized on the economic value of their occupied territories, viewing them as sources of raw and manufactured products and human labor. Often French companies would collaborate with their aggressors, rather than see their enterprises crumble in bankruptcy or have their assets confiscated.[57] It is not to be assumed that Deberny et Peignot fell into the category of collaborationist companies, but given their size, mechanical wealth, and real estate assets, collaboration on their part would not be astonishing.

55 Denoyelle, 16.
56 The History Place; World War Two in Europe Timeline. <www .historyplace.com/worldwar2/timeline/ww2time.htm>, 4 October 2000.
57 Tony McNeill, "State Collaboration," The University of Sunderland, 3 November 1998 <www .sunderland.ac.uk/~os0tmc/occupied/collab.htm>, 4 October 2000.