France carries out a full offensive in 1939

Larrey

Ad Honorem
Sep 2011
5,421
#11
Versailles Treaty should've been much harsher than it already was , if France wanted to neutralize Germany as a threat. You either utterly destroy Germany and ensure that it won't get back up or make the original treaty not as bad.
Yeah, either the Great Powers manage to somehow listen to their better selves, enact a stunningly mild peace on Germany and make a REAL go of the League of Nations – something essentially like the post-1945 UN.

Or they go "Vae vicits!" and the French, or whomever, is allowed to get seriously punitive with Germany. And that would likely have been pretty horrific. It's only that hindsight tells us whatever it would have been, for it to top Nazi Germany and WWII it would have had quite some ground of nasty to cover.
 
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pugsville

Ad Honorem
Oct 2010
9,084
#12
It's after all. In 1939 they knew the German on the other side had a 12% numerical advantage. (94 French divisions, of which 74 were reservists, to 102 German.) Just like they knew the Germans had a numerical advantage in 1914. Except pre-1914 the French had already gone hell-for-leather towards super-aggressive offensive mindedness, to push sheer will and aggression as the means to overcome numerical and fire-power inferiority. And then they paid for it – in particular in 1915.
A small quibble in the first moths of the war 1914 the French lost 300,000 they did lose more in 1915 some 350,000 but that was a full year rather than a few months. The very first months of the war were the bloodiest for the French army.
 

Larrey

Ad Honorem
Sep 2011
5,421
#13
A small quibble in the first moths of the war 1914 the French lost 300,000 they did lose more in 1915 some 350,000 but that was a full year rather than a few months. The very first months of the war were the bloodiest for the French army.
Yes, I know, but that was mostly fighting defensively. In 1915 the French attacked, and damn near beat their own army to death in the process. The action in 1914 was fought as a matter of necessity. 1915 is important for the French army because those losses were largely a matter of choice.
 

pugsville

Ad Honorem
Oct 2010
9,084
#14
Yes, I know, but that was mostly fighting defensively. In 1915 the French attacked, and damn near beat their own army to death in the process. The action in 1914 was fought as a matter of necessity. 1915 is important for the French army because those losses were largely a matter of choice.
A lot of the French casualties in 1914 were the attacks France launched.
 

Larrey

Ad Honorem
Sep 2011
5,421
#16
A lot of the French casualties in 1914 were the attacks France launched.
Yes, you get both. I'd say for the French wartime perception of the advantages and disadvantages of attack and defense however, 1915 still matters more than 1914.

Joffre was the saviour of France in 1914, and then got the boot in 1915 after nearly destroying the army.
 
Likes: Gvelion
Jul 2017
292
Srpska
#18
If France carried full offensive on Germany it would had meant two things: they had superior production power to Germany, higher GDP; and needed and wanted to protect their interests in Poland and Russia. France had neither, nowhere near production capacity as Germany, and no interest in Drang nach Osten.
 
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deaf tuner

Ad Honoris
Oct 2013
14,297
Europix
#19
A resolute/strong French offensive would have affected (possibly/probably) a lot the south and east of Europe:

Italy entered the war only when it became clear France would be defeated , in 1940. It isn't that far fetched to believe Italy remaining out of the war, maybe even enter the allied side, if offered something (and theoretically, it's possible: allies did it with URSS).

Romania remained neutral, Poland choose to not trigger the alliance treaty it had with Romania in the hope to keep Romania intact, as a bridgehead for allied troops. If I remember well, part of the Polish army was ordered to hold it's position at the Romanian border.

Romania basculated into the Axis camp after it became clear that Allied will not/are not able to take resolute action against Germany.

That makes two Axis allies that most probably, wouldn't have been Axis allies with a full French offensive in September 1939.

There's also the question of URSS reaction: would it have had jumped on the boat with Germans attacked by French, an Italy totally on the side, with possibly Poland being able to hold better and Romania less keen to cede at German-Soviet preassure ?
 
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