[Epub] ➚ The Fall of France: The Nazi Invasion of 1940 Author Julian T. Jackson – Peakpopa.info
A fine attempt by historian Julian Jackson to explain the failure of France s politicians and military in the years leading up to and during Nazi Germany s invasion and the subsequent collapse of the French army in 1940 Jackson is a leading authority on 20th Century France and in less than 300 pages manages to gives the reader a fascinating insight into the machinations of French politicians and military leaders, desperately trying to form alliances throughout Europe while trying to avoid all out war with Nazi Germany He shows that Germany was far from being militarily superior to the French Army, which despite popular myth battled valiantly to prevent defeat against a German invader which had the advantage of major surprise attacking the weakest sector in France s defences through the forests of The Ardennes and even a good deal of luck French military leaders were partly to blame for the defeat but, given a littleluck and good judgement, they could have ended the 2nd World War before it really began. Very good insight into many different factors leading up to the fall. An interesting analysis of the fall of France in 1940 Jackson starts with 3 sections looking at the military, the politics and ordinary French people from 1930 to 1940 He then looks at some of the proposed explanations to see how they fit with the history hint most of them don t and provides his own conclusion The last section looks at the longer term consequences of the fall, both for the development of WWII and for the post war world. An excellent study of the political, social, industrial, and military reasons for the collapse of France in 1940, only let down in my humble opinion by the latter chapters detailing post war France. It s always been assumed that Nazi Germany s invasion of the Soviet Union in 1941, was the pivotal moment of World War Two Considering the losses in men, material, and prestige, suffered by the Wehrmacht, it s hard to argue against thatAnd yet, Jackson does just that For Jackson, the pivotal moment of WW2 is not June 1941, but the fall of France in 1940 Widely considered to have the world s most powerful army, the defeat of France changed forever the strategic balance, transforming a European conflict, into a global one With France knocked out, Hitler could then fight the only war he ever wanted one against the Soviet Union With France still in the conflict, Hitler would never have made the mistake of fighting on two fronts, as the Germans did in the Great War France s defeat left Britain up the proverbial creek without a paddle Emboldened, Mussolini launched a campaign against Britain s African empire, stretching Britain s resources thin, and pushing her into the arms of the USA, something Britain had taken pains to avoid On aglobal scale, Japan was able to acquire France s Asian possessions Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia without a shot being fired, and emboldened the Japanese to push for all the way to Pearl HarbourSo why did France fall Victims of hidebound defence strategy, or German brilliance The answer is neither Various opportunities presented themselves to halt the Germans dead in their tracks, but whether through lethargy, reluctance, or poor communications, France failed to capitalise The mistrust between the French and the British forever simmered beneath the surface, and it s typical of relations at the time, that Britain pulled the plug and headed for Dunkirk, without even to consulate the French On the German side, we see a military machine that was far from being the slick, ruthless weapon of supposed German superiority Traffic jams in Luxembourg presented a massive opportunity for the Allies to inflict a crippling blow, but fortunately for the Germans, the Allies never capitalised We see a nervous Hitler unwilling to push on and consolidate German gains, and finally, we see Guderian, disobeying orders, a move that was to have far reaching consequences of splitting the Allied army in two, and winning the day for the GermansFrench society is analysed, and to his credit, Jackson doesn t search for easy answers, but instead provides a complex picture of a divided society Jackson concludes that no one factor was responsible for France s defeat, be it Germans, French society, or the weakness of the French army, or lack of fighting spirit Rather, it was a perfect storm of all these conditions, and the book is all thebetter for it. Thorough but the writing is a little dry. The Fall Of France InIs One Of The Pivotal Moments Of The Twentieth Century If The German Invasion Of France Had Failed, It Is Arguable That The War Might Have Ended Right There But The French Suffered Instead A Dramatic And Humiliating Defeat, A Loss That Ultimately Drew The Whole World Into War This Exciting New Book By Julian Jackson, A Leading Historian Of Twentieth Century France, Charts The Breathtakingly Rapid Events That Led To The Defeat And Surrender Of One Of The Greatest Bastions Of The Western Allies Using Eyewitness Accounts, Memoirs, And Diaries To Bring The Story To Life, Jackson Not Only Recreates The Intense Atmosphere Of The Six Weeks In May And June Leading Up To The Establishment Of The Vichy Regime, But He Also Unravels The Historical Evidence To Produce A Fresh Answer To The Perennial Question Was The Fall Of France Inevitable Jackson S Vivid Narrative Explores The Errors Of France S Military Leaders, Her Inability To Create Stronger Alliances, The Political Infighting, The Lack Of Morale, Even The Decadence Of The Inter War Years He Debunks The Vast Superiority Of The German Army, Revealing That The Experienced French Troops Did Well In Battle Against The Germans Perhaps Than Anything Else, The Cause Of The Defeat Was The Failure Of The French To Pinpoint Where The Main Thrust Of The German Army Would Come, A Failure That Led Them To Put Their Best Soldiers Up Against A Feint, While Their Worst Troops Faced The Heart Of The German War Machine An Engaging And Authoritative Narrative, The Fall Of France Illuminates Six Weeks That Changed The Course Of Twentieth Century History Not a detailed narrative of the Battle of France, but rather an analysis of one of the most shocking events of the 20th Century the collapse and surrender of France after six weeks of combat in 1940.As makes sense of such a complex event, there is no single cause, but Jackson boils it down to a few problems 1 France was unprepared Though war had been declared almost nine months previously, the French military and government estimated that the Republic would not be ready for sustained military operations before 1941 French mobilization and production was beginning to bear fruit especially in warplanes in May 1940, but that proved to be too late.2 French plans were deficient It s something of a cliche to argue that French commanders were preparing to re fight the First World War, but that is not exactly correct French equipment was in some respects superior to the German tanks, for example and the French Army was less dependent upon horse transport than the Germans The problem was, the French were determined not to re fight World War I, but rather wanted to ensure that the battles did not take place on French soil hence flinging its best forces to head off the Germans in Belgium In the meantime, the Germans hurled their most mobile forces at France s weakest troops, with catastrophic results for the latter.3 French command and control broke down Mental paralysis set in as soon as the Germans reached Sedan, and the French were never able to their mental equilibrium back Jackson offers multiple reports of French commanders suffering breakdowns as the enormity of the problem hit them The French were not alone in that the British under Lord Gort had similar problems.The upshot is that the Allies were never able to offer timely or sufficient countermeasures, and the battle spun out of control quickly.4 Lack of effective political leadership France lacked a figure who could rally the people and command the military effectively French politics prior to WWII was a polarized see saw contest between left and right that made national unity difficult France needed a Churchill, but did not have one.A very worthwhile and thought provoking study. Read this about ten years ago and there are several excellent reviews Was the French army that bad, or were the Germans that good The answer to both questions is no Particular attention is paid here to the political environment in France between the wars Toxic is not an overstatement and you need only see political cartoons of the era for evidence France also suffered from a dearth of military leaders ready to take initiative Professor Jackson points out the vulnerability of the German flanks and how very few commanders made an effort to engage One of the few highlighted was Charles De Gaulle.A particular point in the book I found compelling was how a relative few number of men, fairly well organized, were able to hold the Germans up at Sedan Had mobile forces been available to reinforce them rather than in Belgium , Jackson gives you the sense that the German advance would have ended there.All in all, this book provides a much better understanding of how French resistance collapsed so quickly As Jackson relates in the book, the German officers, touring Paris, seemingly found it difficult to believe they were there It was a worthy read. Great book, covering the historiography of the French defeat in 1940 and the various explanations given for it Military Jackson shows that the strategic plan and response of the French High Command were deeply flawed, but that many units gave good account of themselves.Anglo French Alliance Very warm in 1940, but quickly deteriorated under the stress of defeatFrench defeatism overrated Mostly an immediate excuse for the failings of generals which served the Vichy governments retrenchment of the old order.French political division the French right was slow in recognising that Hitler was a greater danger than the left French governments from 1936 tried to catch up, but faced difficult balancing act.The defeat immediately became very much politicised under Vichy and remained so after the war, serving different interests in the postwar revival.