Thread: France: WWII
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Old 8 April 2020, 16:52
Armitage12 Armitage12 is offline
Confronting the Reckoning
Join Date: Jan 2013
Location: Old North West
Posts: 1,921
If you have some spare time, you should check out Marc Bloch's Strange Defeat, which is an account by a famous French historian who was in the middle of it and who attempted to make sense of it. A lot of his conclusions (based on his observations, not archival research) bore out. The French public was unwilling to sustain what they thought would be another long, drawn out war where a significant percentage of the adult male population would be killed or maimed for life. Additionally, the Germans were operating differently than the French had planned for, and the French high command could not redirect itself.

We often make fun of the Maginot Line, but the French had intended for it to continue north and contain Germany further than it did. The political problem they faced was either (a) building it with and for the Belgians (who had attempted to fortify their border but who had far less resources -- all parachutists know of Fort Eben-Emael), or (b) leave the Belgians to their fate and build it along the Franco-Belgian border. The French never solved that political question after the 1936 end of the Franco-Belgian alliance.

Another good account is Ernie May's Strange Victory: Hitler's Conquest of France.
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