In July 1941 Joseph Darnand established the right-wing military group, Service d'Ordre Legionnaire. The organization supported Henri-Philippe Petain and the Vichy government and offered its help to round up Jews and to fight against the French Resistance.
In January 1943 the Service d'Ordre Legionnaire was transformed into the Milice the secret police in Vichy. Darnand was given the Waffen SS rank of Sturmbannfuehrer and took a personal oath of loyalty to Adolf Hitler.
Darnand expanded the Milice and by 1944 it had over 35,000 members. The organization played an important role in investigating the French Resistance. Like the Gestapo, the Miliciens were willing to use torture to gain information.