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Old December 21st, 2015, 04:18 PM   #51

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On balance why large scale resistance was relatively late to kick off in France in WWII isn't that hard to explain. It's just that it was a very special case. The Germans wanted a situation with as manageable a France as could be found, and had the great fortune of being able to enlist someone like Pétain to do it for them. And it wasn't just the French public that was taken in by the deception of Vichy — the US government for the longest time in WWII was as well.

The explanations are all there in the quite peculiar French situation in WWII, but certainly not as an effect of some kind of mystic deficit of character due to general "Frenchness".
Sorry but I find those "excuses" extremely weak. You have to understand that there's a lot damage control by French historians on this issue.

If they imprisoned French people and gave French people hardly any food that's just another reason to fight. What kind of deception could Vichy possible pull of, it was very clear that it was a puppet state and it didn't even encompass entire France. Furthermore, Germany was the biggest rival of France and French people had bitter wars with them in the past.

Don't you think that Germans didn't want other countries they occupied to be as manageable as possible? They didn't exactly order local population to fight against them. Collaborators with good reputation from pre-war times existed everywhere, as did all kinds of dirty tactics to try to prevent full scale rebellion. The reason why France was so "manageable" was because there was no significant resistance, unlike in Eastern Europe.

Last edited by Order of the Dragon; December 21st, 2015 at 05:23 PM.
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Old December 21st, 2015, 05:06 PM   #52
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Originally Posted by zwolf1215 View Post
...to be fair here is the other side of it

Lost, but preformed well/Won

Thirty years war
Nine years war
War of Austrian succession
Napoleonic wars
Crimean war
WW1

France largely won during its phase of the Thirty Years War - defeating Spain (previously the most powerful military country in Europe/the world) at the battle of Rocroi
Perhaps it wasn't total victory but it set France up as the leading nation in Europe under the boy king Louis XIV

The Napoleonic Wars were a total defeat for France - in which enemy troops invaded and occupied France twice
The French republic was destroyed and monarchy restored (albeit only for a few decades)

WWI was a terrible event for France - its army mutinied and its losses were very high
The war was really a defeat for them


The only war where France has actually been on the winning side since the days of Louis XIV was the Crimean war where France had the British to help them

Oh and France lost three colonial wars in Mexico, Indochina and Algeria
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Old December 21st, 2015, 05:23 PM   #53

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WWI was a terrible event for France - its army mutinied and its losses were very high
It was a hard war, and yes the French army mutinied... but they didn't revolt against government authority and the mutineers stated that they would still defend French lines. They just wouldn't attack...

And once Petain was in charge of the French Army, the mutiny was rapidly ended and order was restored. In fact the French had gotten control over the mutiny and it was OVER by the fall of 1917 and had launched successful attacks in which they inflicted greater losses on the Germans than they took in the area.

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The war was really a defeat for them
Tell that to Foch...

If anything... the French probably did the MOST of any of the Western Allies to win WWI...

The British army was too small in 1914 and the Americans were too green in 1918.
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Old December 21st, 2015, 05:27 PM   #54

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The Napoleonic Wars were a total defeat for France - in which enemy troops invaded and occupied France twice
The Napoleonic Wars were a series of wars, and up until the invasion of Russia in 1812, the French won them. In fact if you look at all the wars that made up the Napoleonic Wars, the French had a winning record...

The issue was that the British kept the wars going and Napoleon's diplomacy was so poor that Austria, Prussia, and Russia were willing to fight Napoleon.
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Old December 21st, 2015, 06:20 PM   #55

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WWI was a terrible event for France - its army mutinied and its losses were very high

The war was really a defeat for them
France, more than any other nation, was responsible for Allied victory in the First World War. It was French troops that stopped the Germans at the Marne, and 1914 was really the only time that Germany had a realistic shot of winning the war.

France also bore the brunt of the fighting on the Western Front for the first two years of the war. Prior to that the British contribution on the Western Front was comparatively small.
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Old December 21st, 2015, 11:38 PM   #56
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Sorry but I find those "excuses" extremely weak. You have to understand that there's a lot damage control by French historians on this issue.
But you understand them, which is the point. If you then still want to be judgemental and dismissive of the French, that's your prerogative.

The Germans played to French internal political divisions, which were huge since the beginning of the 20th c. All societies have those. The Germans were just successful in generating a relatively cooperative France by creating a situation of unclarity for the French — being hugely helped by a figure like Pétain making himself disposable to them.

The key is that the Germans recognised in 1940 that it would be troublesome to hold France by force alone, and they had the opportunity of comig with a sufficiently impressive "Ersatz" to an actually still independent France, i.e. Vichy. It was successful enough to not only fool enough Frenchmen for long enough, but the US as well. Gradullay it became apparent how Vichy really was no such thing however, and by at the latest 1943 the jig was up.

It's all perfectly possible to understand. You understand it. You just might not like it. No one said it was a heroic story. It is damnably human however.

And resistance does depend on how hard or "soft" occupations turn out. Poland got a very hard occupation, or Yugoslavia. France got relatively a soft option. Very politically and culturally close Denmark and Norway got very different occupations — the Danes a soft one, the Norwegian a hard (and that despite the Nazi ideology celebrating how "Aryan" the Norwegians were, while the Danes since the 19th c. have always been suspected of being bastardised Celts or something by German Aryanists).

The "soft" occupation options occurred when there were political conditions around that could be used. And having that option available tended to mean a delay in large scale resistance — in France or in Denmark etc. Hard occupations meant more or less fierce resistance from its inception. But then for the Poles fx WWII was always about national survival as soon as the Germans and Soviets turned up. It wasn't for the French, bad as the defeat in 1940 was. Not even the German Nazis even DREAMED of a future without France. Hitler is on record pointing out that the European future under German leadership would require a powerfil anti-French bloc, to counter French aspirations of revanchism (as Hitler put it: No nation that can field 100 divisions can ever be discounbted.)

So in the French case it was also a matter of the Germans actually treating France as a special case, really as a great nation still, fortunately defeated more easily than expected by the Germans — and the Germans in 1940 were signally not particularly dimsissive of the effort of their French adversary, just happy it turned out so well. I.e. the Germans during WWII held France in higher regard as a military nation than many British or Americans did, and subsequently apparently often still do.

But then, the Germans had actually FOUGHT the French and could gauge their mettle so to speak, unlike those others.

Last edited by Larrey; December 22nd, 2015 at 12:00 AM.
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Old December 21st, 2015, 11:57 PM   #57
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The Napoleonic Wars were a total defeat for France - in which enemy troops invaded and occupied France twice
And it made France's reputation as a Great Military Nation for a century.
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Old December 22nd, 2015, 06:19 AM   #58

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But you understand them, which is the point. If you then still want to be judgemental and dismissive of the French, that's your prerogative.
You're now twisting what I said. I didn't say that I "understand" these excuses (as in it's understandable what the French did), I said that I understand the reasons why they're pushed so hard and those reasons are pathetic. Totally different thing.

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The key is that the Germans recognised in 1940 that it would be troublesome to hold France by force alone, and they had the opportunity of comig with a sufficiently impressive "Ersatz" to an actually still independent France, i.e. Vichy
Vichy didn't even cover more than half of France. It was a clear occupation from the first day and everyone with a brain could understand what's going on.

The Nazis also created a puppet state in Croatia which was actually the first (nominally) independent modern Croatian state, yet there was a lot of resistance against it by Croats themselves.

Serbia had a puppet state too, lead by a reputed general.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Govern...onal_Salvation

It didn't prevent the resistance.

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The Germans played to French internal political divisions, which were huge since the beginning of the 20th c. All societies have those. The Germans were just successful in generating a relatively cooperative France by creating a situation of unclarity for the French — being hugely helped by a figure like Pétain making himself disposable to them.
All societies have those, as you say. Therefore it should be no excuse. Yugoslavia and Soviet union not only had political divisions but ethnic ones too which actually led to large collaboration with the Nazis by a part of the population. It didn't discourage national resistance.

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And resistance does depend on how hard or "soft" occupations turn out. Poland got a very hard occupation, or Yugoslavia. France got relatively a soft option. Very politically and culturally close Denmark and Norway got very different occupations — the Danes a soft one, the Norwegian a hard (and that despite the Nazi ideology celebrating how "Aryan" the Norwegians were, while the Danes since the 19th c. have always been suspected of being bastardised Celts or something by German Aryanists).
Yugoslavia had a soft occupation until the resistance started. Resistance was the reason for hard occupation and not the other way around. Also, in the beginning your excuses were about occupation actually being too harsh with all those imprisoned French soldiers and French being put on "starvation diets".

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And it made France's reputation as a Great Military Nation for a century.
Maybe until 1871.

Last edited by Order of the Dragon; December 22nd, 2015 at 06:22 AM.
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Old December 22nd, 2015, 06:42 AM   #59

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And it made France's reputation as a Great Military Nation for a century.
Like defeating African and Asian empires and tribes, who had no machines guns or rifles? To be fair, the British did too, so France is not alone.
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Old December 22nd, 2015, 10:36 AM   #60

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Like defeating African and Asian empires and tribes, who had no machines guns or rifles? To be fair, the British did too, so France is not alone.
Allow me to remind You the discussion :

Quote:
Originally Posted by Poly
The Napoleonic Wars were a total defeat for France - in which enemy troops invaded and occupied France twice
Quote:
Originally Posted by Larrey View Post
And it made France's reputation as a Great Military Nation for a century.
Noone talked in this thread about reputation referring to crushing some poorly armed tribes. Well, except You.

Having convictions, defending them, it's one thing. Bashing is another.
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