Despite being neutral, France was subjected to nuclear strikes to deny its port and oil refining facilities to NATO. Damage was generally confined to coastal areas, but casualties were severe. Riots and civil confusion caused by the war and the influx of refugees forced the government to close France's borders, then occupy all territories west of the Rhine. A free-fire zone (commonly called La Zone Morte - the Dead Zone) has been established within 50km (31 miles) east of the Rhine. Officially, the border is closed to non-French citizens, but the guards are generally open to bribes. The border with Spain is closed, but often crossed by smugglers. The Union Corse (Corsican criminal underworld) dominate a thriving black market in the region. The government is increasingly repressive, but life in most areas is tolerable.
Some areas, particularly the mountains, are in open rebellion, and martial law is in effect. The government in the southern areas is corrupt and dominated by the Union Corse. Marseilles is the largest undamaged city in the country, though it is in a bad state compared to its pre-war condition. Some trade between Europe and the eastern Mediterranean passes through the city, which is entirely run by the Union Corse.
Most of France is organised (by the French government and military in most areas, by the Union Corse in some southern areas). A few areas in the mountains are disputed or independent. The area between the old border and the Rhine is a combination of terrorised, insular and cantonments. La Zone Morte is devastated.