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Old March 20th, 2017, 02:09 PM   #1

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Question Why did the french give up while the poles fought to the end?


The French had a modern army and allies fighting side by side with the French, and still they gave up within a month.

The Poles on the other hand, had an obsolete army were attacked on two fronts and still managed to hold off their enemies for a month.

Was it the morale that made a difference or politics?
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Old March 20th, 2017, 04:29 PM   #2

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Could it have anything to do with the French having lost their appetite for war following their horrendous losses in WWI?
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Old March 20th, 2017, 04:40 PM   #3

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Remember the French and the Germans had been fighting each other for centuries. Sometimes the French won and sometimes the Germans won. It would have been easy for the French to think, " OK this round goes to the Germans, let us prepare for the next one."
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Old March 20th, 2017, 05:01 PM   #4

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I assume the OP refers to WWII. While making no value statement regarding the French efforts, as I am really not proficient in their defense, keep in mind the Poles suffered thoroughly during the First World War:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Histor...ng_World_War_I

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_War_I_casualties

Of course, during WW2 Poland suffered significantly more.
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Old March 20th, 2017, 05:24 PM   #5
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The Germans never offered the Poles terms. Hitler was out to outright annex Poland, with Soviet collusion. Somehow trying something similar to France was too much even for him.

Fighting to the bitter end is considerably simplified if your adversary will only accept unconditional surrender. When the fighting ended in 1940, there was still a France, of sorts, but no Poland.
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Old March 20th, 2017, 05:54 PM   #6

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Magnate View Post
The French had a modern army and allies fighting side by side with the French, and still they gave up within a month.

The Poles on the other hand, had an obsolete army were attacked on two fronts and still managed to hold off their enemies for a month.

Was it the morale that made a difference or politics?
Politics and morale of politics.
Allies got away "hastily", the French military leader was completely incompetent (Gamelin),in only 2 weeks the 2 main French Armies were destroyed, in 1 month Paris was occupied, millions refugees were on the roads and the French government was weak, divided, left alone and desperate.
Petain was able to enjoy it and to give the "coup de grace" to the agonising Third republic.
Actually all the allied system collapsed as a "sand castle" very quickly despite an initial balance of power rather in their favour.
The shock was too hard.
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Old March 20th, 2017, 09:14 PM   #7

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Menshevik View Post
Could it have anything to do with the French having lost their appetite for war following their horrendous losses in WWI?
I think it certainly played a part. WW1 devastated France and France was in no mood to repeat it. That's why they favored a more defensive approach. I mean, they didn't attack Germany while Hitler's attention was turned to Poland. There are other reasons of course, such as German tactics but WW1 losses certainly soured French perception of war.
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Old March 20th, 2017, 09:18 PM   #8

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Didn't french troops flee to England to form the Free French army?
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Old March 20th, 2017, 09:33 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Maki View Post
I think it certainly played a part. WW1 devastated France and France was in no mood to repeat it. That's why they favored a more defensive approach. I mean, they didn't attack Germany while Hitler's attention was turned to Poland. There are other reasons of course, such as German tactics but WW1 losses certainly soured French perception of war.
The Fear of devastation cities form the air was also a large factor. There was a widespread belief that cities could be levelled from the air, thatch bomber always gets through. The Allies also believed german propaganda about the strength the Luftwaffe, both the French air force and the RAF were playing catchup getting their modern monoplane designs into large scale use, part of the reluctance was to start a shooting war was the fear that many civilians would be killed. They were trying desperately to improve their air defences and air forces. (there were enormous problems getting aircraft built and into service in the French air force that were way sub optimal that it took way to long)
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Old March 20th, 2017, 09:40 PM   #10

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Originally Posted by pugsville View Post
The Fear of devastation cities form the air was also a large factor. There was a widespread belief that cities could be levelled from the air, thatch bomber always gets through. The Allies also believed german propaganda about the strength the Luftwaffe, both the French air force and the RAF were playing catchup getting their modern monoplane designs into large scale use, part of the reluctance was to start a shooting war was the fear that many civilians would be killed. They were trying desperately to improve their air defences and air forces. (there were enormous problems getting aircraft built and into service in the French air force that were way sub optimal that it took way to long)
It was a reasonable fear. We know that widespread bombings took place (Rotterdam, London etc). Even in WW1 Britain was attacked from the air by Zeppelins, and France suffered as well, Paris was attacked by Zeppelins and by Paris Gun.
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