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Although Vichy's “Armistice Army” was disbanded, thus diminishing Vichy's independence, the abolition of the line of demarcation made civil administration easier.
While Pétain collaborated with the Germans, Charles de Gaulle claimed to incarnate the legitimacy and the continuity of France.
The Vichy government's claim to be the de jure French government was challenged by the Free French Forces of Charles de Gaulle, based first in London and later in Algiers, and French governments ever since have held that the Vichy regime was an illegal government run by traitors.
Historians in particular have debated the circumstances of the vote of full powers to Pétain on July 10, 1940.
While this debate continued, the government was forced to relocate several times, finally reaching Bordeaux, in order to avoid capture by advancing German forces.
Communications were poor and thousands of civilian refugees clogged the roads.
Others, particularly the vice-premier Henri Philippe Pétain and the commander-in-chief, General Maxime Weygand, insisted that the responsibility of the government was to remain in France and share the misfortune of its people.