french surrender a strategy?

pugsville

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Oct 2010
9,799
France surrendered because it lost faith in herself ... after 15 years of socialism ... society was morally sunk since 1918 ... intoxicated with an understandable pacifism (after 1.393.000 dead in 1914 - 1918) ... but suicidal.
France lost more soldiers in few days in the Battles of the Frontier in August 1914... than in 1939 - 1945 period!

It was not strategic decision.. it was demoralization .. mental paralysis .. collective cowardice ... collapse of a society that had turned its back on reality ...
Between 1919 - 1939.. France lived in a kind of neutralisation psychologique (psychological neutralization).
I disagree the demoralization and surrender followed comprehensive military defeat but one where the French army generally fought well.
 
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Larrey

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Sep 2011
5,932
I can't say I've seriously researched the subject, but William Shirer, no gallophobe, seems to share Martin's assessment in his Collapse of the Third Republic - although he places more blame on the Catholic reaction than the liberals themselves.
Depends on what you mean. You have to discern between the military situation and the political situation.

There's no issue that France was comprehensively defeated in 1940. The issue is whether it was because it was in fact outmanouvered and outfought, or if it was demoralized beforehand and so defeated because of that?
 

pugsville

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Oct 2010
9,799
There were many problems the defeat of may 1940 was a perfect storm.

The response of the German army and French army from their analysis of the First World War were pretty polar opposites. The Germans developed mission tactics and emphasis on quick action, the French methodological battle, slow set piece doctrine.

The Germans viewed communications an essential, and focus of their development, the French did not.

The French had two competing HQs communicating by dispatch rider.

The French were going to take longer to react to a dynamically changing situation.

The French strategic plan, kept no reserves and pushed their best and most mobile units deep into Belgium and some on to Holland,
The German sickle cut strategy made the French plan the worst possible counter plan.

The Germans benefited from recent experience in Spain and Poland.
 

Isleifson

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Aug 2013
4,124
Lorraine tudesque
A relative which was a soldier in the battle of France wrote a book about it : not a nice story.

1575223754726.png
 

MG1962a

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Mar 2019
2,211
Kansas
I disagree the demoralization and surrender followed comprehensive military defeat but one where the French army generally fought well.
Well the demoralization was really a top down situation. Churchill noted during his May 16th visit to Paris that French officials had already started burning archives and seemed completely clueless on what to do next.

De Gaulle who proved he could go toe to toe with the Germans in tactics and operational needs, was opposed every time he made a suggestion to the government about how to conduct operations in the second half of the campaign. I dont think ultimately the French could have realistically won given the overwhelming air superiority the Germans now enjoyed. But I think the French still could have still landed some nice throat punches before going down.
 

deaf tuner

Ad Honoris
Oct 2013
14,675
Europix
France surrendered because it lost faith in herself ... after 15 years of socialism ... society was morally sunk since 1918 ... intoxicated with an understandable pacifism (after 1.393.000 dead in 1914 - 1918) ... but suicidal.
France lost more soldiers in few days in the Battles of the Frontier in August 1914... than in 1939 - 1945 period!

It was not strategic decision.. it was demoralization .. mental paralysis .. collective cowardice ... collapse of a society that had turned its back on reality ...
Between 1919 - 1939.. France lived in a kind of neutralisation psychologique (psychological neutralization).
That's toro mierda, Caballero.

France surrender because it's army was annihilated. Not because some psiho-pu-pou-collectictive-IDW.

A nation that suffers of all "Freudian-Socialistic-ilnesses" You suggest doesn't see it's soldiers marching dozens of miles by night and fighting by day, and for weeks. It doesn't rebuilt an army outside its lost territory, an army that fights bare-footed as its allies don't believe in them any longer, it doesn't rise from dead up to being one of the victors.


España es la mejor ... no significa que Francia sea una mierda ...
 
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MG1962a

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Mar 2019
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Kansas
A nation that suffers of all "Freudian-Socialistic-ilnesses" You suggest doesn't see it's soldiers marching dozens of miles by night and fighting by day, and for weeks. It doesn't rebuilt an army outside its lost territory, an army that fights bare-footed as its allies don't believe in them any longer, it doesn't rise from dead up to being one of the victors.
Yes we really only need to research the efforts of the French resistance movement through the occupation to see how much of a pacifist the average Frenchmen became :)
 

deaf tuner

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Oct 2013
14,675
Europix
Yes we really only need to research the efforts of the French resistance movement through the occupation to see how much of a pacifist the average Frenchmen became :)
There are couple of guys that marched more than 100 km in two days, entered directly in battle in Belgium, orderly retreated (as I said, keeping their positions the day and retreating to the new ones by night), ended encircled in Lille, where from they managed to escape and make it to Dunkerque (where they saw a third of them sunken dead by German planes), departure from Britain back for France, only to be encircled again, somehow escaped it, crossed all France and Spain down to Morocco were they joined de Gaule's new army.

Some of them lived enough to participate to the Liberation of France.

Just a random example of some small people doing not what they're expected to but much more. But small people have small stories, and that doesn't interest many.
 

MG1962a

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Mar 2019
2,211
Kansas
Just a random example of some small people doing not what they're expected to but much more. But small people have small stories, and that doesn't interest many.
I could not agree more. I recall seeing footage of Parisians (when the Germans were evacuating Paris) Dropping burning mattresses from upper story windows of houses as the open top German trucks full of troops were driving by. I will never know any of those peoples names, their fate after the camera stopped rolling. But boy what a great way to extract a little revenge using no more than old mattress and a lite cigarette.

I think it can be a fatal mistake to underestimate anybody when you threaten their home. No matter what nation or culture they may belong to!
 
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betgo

Ad Honorem
Jul 2011
6,530
The "surrender" was the best move at that point. Continuing the war would just have resulted in more casualties. If France was completely conquered, that would further weaken France's power whether or not Germany won the war eventually.