New PDF release: France 1940 : defending the republic

By Philip Nord

ISBN-10: 0300189877

ISBN-13: 9780300189872

In this revisionist account of France’s crushing defeat in 1940, a global authority on French historical past argues that the nation’s downfall has lengthy been misunderstood. Philip Nord assesses France’s diplomatic and army arrangements for conflict with Germany, its behavior of the battle as soon as the battling all started, and the political effects of defeat at the battlefield. He additionally tracks attitudes between French leaders as soon as defeat appeared a probability, picking who between them took good thing about the nation’s misfortunes to sabotage democratic associations and plot an authoritarian manner ahead. Nord reveals that the longstanding view that France’s cave in used to be as a result of army unpreparedeness and a decadent nationwide personality is unsupported via fact.
in its place, he finds that the 3rd Republic used to be no worse ready and its army failings no much less dramatic than these of the U.S. and different Allies within the early years of the battle. What was once specified in France was once the betrayal by way of army and political elites who deserted the Republic and supported the reprehensible Vichy takeover. Why then have historians and politicians ever when you consider that interpreted the defeat as a judgment at the kingdom as a complete? Why has the focal point been at the failings of the 3rd Republic and never on elite betrayal? the writer examines those questions in a desirable conclusion.

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One more thing: the Nazi-Soviet pact, as we have seen, defined spheres of influence, assigning a large swath of Eastern Europe to Soviet control. In an addendum to the pact, the Germans acknowledged a Soviet interest in Lithuania as well. In short order, Stalin translated “sphere of influence” into military occupation, marching into eastern Poland in September 1939. Things did not go so well in Finland. The Soviet dictator first attempted to blackmail the Finns into territorial concessions, but they refused to cooperate.

But then how did the Soviet Union’s putative anti-fascist partners, Britain and France, end up conducting themselves? They bargained with the Soviet Union but would not close the deal, all the while treating the Germans with an appeasing prudence. Stalin knew that capitalism meant war. The British and French had meddled in Russian affairs, and now there was Nazi Germany, which missed no chance to saber-rattle and threaten. A conflagration was coming, and Stalin did not want the Soviet Union to be the first target of attack.

No, the French government did not take the path of exile but transformed itself, step by step, into an authoritarian and collaborationist regime, Vichy. This was a unique outcome, one that requires a France-specific explanation, and I will advance just such an explanation at the end of the book. Suffice it to say for the moment that Vichy’s advent was not proof of French decadence but of another, no less consequential malaise whose diagnosis remains as yet to be worked out. Most discussions of 1940 stop with the armistice in June; this one will carry the story a month further to show how and why defeat ended in the Third Republic’s demise and its replacement by the Vichy government of Philippe Pétain.

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France 1940 : defending the republic by Philip Nord

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