10th July 1940 - Pétain grabs power

Futurist

Ad Honoris
May 2014
24,516
SoCal
For a some would have been difficult to join the Free French. They were sent back in France, only to end as POW.

Also, one should keep in mind they were soldiers, while de Gaulle, Free French were deserters (de Gaulle had it's French nationality redrawn and had been sentenced to death ... ). It wasn't that straightforward to break your oath and join traitors.

De Gaulle was officially recognised as legitimate representative of France quite late, and it was firstly recognised by the Belgian Government in exile (and this part is even less known) inspite of the opposition and pressure against of UK and US governments.
Excellent points, DT! :)

As for recognition of De Gaulle's government, I seem to recall that Michael Mills previously argued somewhere either on this forum or on another forum that the Western Allies were initially hoping to get Vichy France to change sides and that it was only once it became clear that this wasn't actually going to happen that the Western Allies actually (and perhaps reluctantly) recognized De Gaulle's government as being the legitimate government of France.
 

deaf tuner

Ad Honoris
Oct 2013
15,022
Europix
Excellent points, DT! :)

As for recognition of De Gaulle's government, I seem to recall that Michael Mills previously argued somewhere either on this forum or on another forum that the Western Allies were initially hoping to get Vichy France to change sides and that it was only once it became clear that this wasn't actually going to happen that the Western Allies actually (and perhaps reluctantly) recognized De Gaulle's government as being the legitimate government of France.
For FDR, it was very reluctantly. The year was 1943 ...
 
Dec 2011
1,388
Belgium
... For a some would have been difficult to join the Free French. They were sent back in France, only to end as POW.

Also, one should keep in mind they were soldiers, while de Gaulle, Free French were deserters (de Gaulle had its French nationality redrawn and had been sentenced to death ... ). It wasn't that straightforward to break your oath and join traitors.

De Gaulle was officially recognised as legitimate representative of France quite late, and it was firstly recognised by the Belgian Government in exile (and this part is even less known) inspite of the opposition and pressure against of UK and US governments.
Deaftuner, I explained it already several times as you overhere, but they don't read perhaps all the posts. And didn't say Frog it too?

Kind regards, Paul.
 

deaf tuner

Ad Honoris
Oct 2013
15,022
Europix
Deaftuner, I explained it already several times as you overhere, but they don't read perhaps all the posts. And didn't say Frog it too?

Kind regards, Paul.
Avond, old friend!

Yes, it's been told. But there are a lot of "common places" that lot of us inherited and never questioned, as "evident truth".

So, to re-establish the truth is a recurring thing.
 
Nov 2010
1,340
Bordeaux
That's actually a good point--specifically that the French were the ones who actually made Dunkirk possible in the first place.

Also, here's an interesting fact that I previously read somewhere--out of the 120,000 French troops who were evacuated from Dunkirk in 1940, only about 3,000 of them actually joined the Free French--at least initially.
By the time the moment of choice came up for them, very few French troops remained in Britain as the vast majority had been sent back to France already.
This detail is often ignored in France by those whose intent is to derile De Gaulle by trying to prove that he had little to no support.
And for some reason, this detail is also rarely mentioned by historians as a whole.
 
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Nov 2010
1,340
Bordeaux
I confess to not understanding the command structure of the French army at the time - is it absolutely subordinate to civilian control? How was it possible to “form” a government in the absence of any enabling legislation just be ignoring it?
Under French law, the army should be totally subordinate to political control.
Yet, the 1930's et especially the late 30's saw a recurrent flaw in the system: the fact that members of the military high command fiddled with politics far too much while at the same time despising Republican politicians and Republican insitutions.

The Command Structure of the French army was a mess and probably the most cumbersome and ill-designed system one could ever devise.
When I get the time, I'll summerise it for you in this thread.
 
Nov 2010
1,340
Bordeaux
Well, I’d be interested in seeing a French treatment of the same subject, but I doubt there’s a great deal interest in France for that. There were a large number of French poilus evacuated to Britain in the same operation, but most, if not all, were sent back to France.
Me too, but French cinema is rarely interested in making war films, especially about WW2, or even films simply set during the war depicting specifically French events. Not to mention the fact that the military re-assessment of the period is fairly recent, so few film makers have had the opportunity to use material that could depict the French army other than as losers. Most people here simply don't know and have relied on foreign depictions of the period to build their representation of themselves.

There are a few films set in WW1 (Capitaine Conan) , there are a few tv series set during WW2 such as "Un village Français", a rather good one protraying the life of a village during the occupation until the end of the war, with a very objective and honest treatment of this delicate topic. Of course the technical quality of the production is nowhere near as good as what the BBC can produce, but for a French production it is surprisingly good and convincing.
 
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