If the German invasion of France in 1940 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.
The Nazi Invasion of 1940
Author: Julian Jackson
Publisher: Oxford University Press
This title provides an introduction to almost every aspect of the French experience during World War II by integrating political, diplomatic, military, social, cultural and economic history. It chronicles the battles and campaigns that stained French soil with blood.
Author: Thomas Rodney Christofferson,Michael Scott Christofferson
Publisher: Fordham Univ Press
*Includes pictures *Includes accounts of the fighting *Includes online resources and a bibliography for further reading *Includes a table of contents "My Luftwaffe is invincible...And so now we turn to England. How long will this one last - two, three weeks?" - Hermann Goering, June 1940 One of the most famous people in the world came to tour the city of Paris for the first time on June 28, 1940. Over the next three hours, he rode through the city's streets, stopping to tour L'Opera Paris. He rode down the Champs-Elysees toward the Trocadero and the Eiffel Tower, where he had his picture taken. After passing through the Arc de Triomphe, he toured the Pantheon and old medieval churches, though he did not manage to see the Louvre or the Palace of Justice. Heading back to the airport, he told his staff, "It was the dream of my life to be permitted to see Paris. I cannot say how happy I am to have that dream fulfilled today." Four years after his tour, Adolf Hitler would order the city's garrison commander, General Dietrich von Choltitz, to destroy Paris, warning his subordinate that the city "must not fall into the enemy's hand except lying in complete debris." Of course, Paris was not destroyed before the Allies liberated it, but it would take more than 4 years for them to wrest control of France from Nazi Germany after they took the country by storm in about a month in 1940. That said, it's widely overlooked today given how history played out that as the power of Nazi Germany grew alarmingly during the 1930s, the French sought means to defend their territory against the rising menace of the Thousand-Year Reich. As architects of the most punitive measures in the Treaty of Versailles following World War I, France was a natural target for Teutonic retribution, so the Maginot Line, a series of interconnected strongpoints and fortifications running along much of France's eastern border, helped allay French fears of invasion. The true flaw in French military strategy during the opening days of World War II lay not in reliance on the Maginot fortifications but in the army's neglect to exploit the military opportunities the Line created. In other words, the border defense performed as envisioned, but the other military arms supported it insufficiently to halt the Germans. The French Army squandered the opportunity not because the Maginot Line existed but because they failed to utilize their own defensive plan properly; the biggest problem was that the Germans simply skirted past the intricate defensive fortifications by invading neutral Belgium and swinging south, thereby avoiding the Maginot Line for the most part. The French had not expected the Germans would be able to move armored units through the Ardennes Forests, a heavily wooded region spanning parts of Belgium, France and the Netherlands. To the Allies' great surprise, the Germans had no trouble rolling across these lands in the span of weeks. And by invading France from the north, the Germans simply avoided the Maginot Line. The French surrendered in June 1940, and the British narrowly escaped disaster by transporting thousands of soldiers and equipment across the English Channel at Dunkirk. Thus, by the middle of 1940, the Axis powers and the Soviet Union had overrun nearly all of Western Europe. With France out of the war, and without active participation by the United States, Great Britain virtually stood alone. The Fall of France: The History of Nazi Germany's Invasion and Conquest of France During World War II chronicles the background and construction of the much maligned defensive fortifications. Along with pictures of important people, places, and events, you will learn about the fall of France like never before, in no time at all."
The History of Nazi Germany's Invasion and Conquest of France During World War II
Author: Charles River Charles River Editors
Even after the legendary evacuation from Dunkirk in June 1940 there were still large British formations fighting the Germans alongside their French allies. After mounting a vigorous counterattack at Abbeville and then conducting a tough defence along the Somme, the British were forced to conduct a second evacuation from the ports of Le Havre, Cherbourg, Brest and St Nazaire. While France was in its death throes, politicians and soldiers debated what to do – flee to England or North Africa, or to seek an armistice. Case Red captures the drama of the final three weeks of military operations in France in June 1940, and explains the great impact it had on the course of relations between Britain and France during the remainder of the war. It also addresses the military, political and human drama of France's collapse in June 1940, and how the windfall of captured military equipment, fuel and industrial resources enhanced the Third Reich's ability to attack its next foe – the Soviet Union.
The Collapse of France
Author: Robert Forczyk
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing
Here is an original and up-to-date account of a key period of military history, one that not only links the two World Wars but also anticipates the more complex nature of conflict following the Cold War. Black links the two World Wars, between the overcoming of trench warfare in the campaigns of 1918 and the fall of France in 1940. This was a period when militaries, governments and publics digested the lessons of the Great War and prepared for another major struggle. Black also locates the period in terms of long-term questions in military history, including the relationship between symmetrical and asymmetrical warfare, the tensions surrounding innovation, the pressures and possibilities created by technological change and the impact of ideology on the causes and conduct of war. Black's book devotes particular attention to the Far East as part of his worldwide coverage. He also assesses the role of the military in internal politics and establishes the importance of civil wars.
From the Great War to the Fall of France, 1918-40
Author: Jeremy Black
Publisher: A&C Black
Using eyewitness accounts, this is the first ever account of how the fall of France to the Germans in 1940 affected the lives of ordinary French people.
Author: Hanna Diamond
Publisher: Oxford University Press
A renowned historian and Resistance fighter -- later executed by the Nazis -- analyzes at first hand why France fell in 1940.
A Statement of Evidence Written in 1940
Author: Marc Bloch
Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company
In this revisionist account of France’s crushing defeat in 1940, a world authority on French history argues that the nation’s downfall has long been misunderstood. Philip Nord assesses France’s diplomatic and military preparations for war with Germany, its conduct of the war once the fighting began, and the political consequences of defeat on the battlefield. He also tracks attitudes among French leaders once defeat seemed a likelihood, identifying who among them took advantage of the nation’s misfortunes to sabotage democratic institutions and plot an authoritarian way forward. Nord finds that the longstanding view that France’s collapse was due to military unpreparedeness and a decadent national character is unsupported by fact. Instead, he reveals that the Third Republic was no worse prepared and its military failings no less dramatic than those of the United States and other Allies in the early years of the war. What was unique in France was the betrayal by military and political elites who abandoned the Republic and supported the reprehensible Vichy takeover. Why then have historians and politicians ever since interpreted the defeat as a judgment on the nation as a whole? Why has the focus been on the failings of the Third Republic and not on elite betrayal? The author examines these questions in a fascinating conclusion.
Defending the Republic
Author: Philip Nord
Publisher: Yale University Press
A history of the four decades leading up to the Vietnam War offers insights into how the U.S. became involved, identifying commonalities between the campaigns of French and American forces while discussing relevant political factors.
The Fall of an Empire and the Making of America's Vietnam
Author: Fredrik Logevall
Publisher: Random House Incorporated
'Macksey's blend of what actually happened and what might have been makes for a piece of writing comparable to Frederick Forsyth at his best.' Jack Higgins 'Convincingly described and excellently illustrated.' The Daily Telegraph In June 1940, German troops massed across the Channel, poised for the invasion of Britain. With France defeated and Britain cowed, Hitler seemed ready for his greatest gamble. In this brilliant and compelling alternate history the Germans launch the invasion that, in reality, was never more than a plan. Landing between Dover and Hythe, German troops push inland supported by the Luftwaffe and the impregnable panzers, and strike out towards London. The British, desperate to defeat the invaders, rally and prepare for a crucial confrontation – at Maidstone. Realistic, carefully researched and superbly written, this best-selling study is a classic of alternate history and a thought-provoking look at how Britain's war might have been.
The Alternative History of the German Invasion of England, July 1940
Author: Kenneth Macksey
Publisher: Frontline Books
A compelling history of Blitzkrieg: the ‘lightning war’ by which Hitler and his generals overwhelmed the Allied armies in Western Europe.
Author: Len Deighton
Publisher: HarperCollins UK
Here, for the first time in English, is an illuminating new German perspective on the decisive Blitzkrieg campaign of 1940. Karl-Heinz Frieser's account provides the definitive explanation for Germany's startling success and the equally surprising and rapid military collapse of France and Britain on the European continent. In a little over a month, Germany decisively defeated the Allies in battle, a task that had not been achieved in four years of brutal fighting during World War I. First published in 1995 as the official German history of the 1940 campaign in the west, the book goes beyond standard explanations to show that German victory was not inevitable and French defeat was not preordained. Contrary to the usual accounts of the campaign, Frieser illustrates that the military systems of both Germany and France were solid and that their campaign planning was sound. The key to victory or defeat, he argues, was the execution of operational plans—both preplanned and ad hoc—amid the eternal Clausewitzian combat factors of friction and the fog of war. Frieser shows why on the eve of the campaign the British and French leaders had good cause to be confident and why many German generals were understandably concerned that disaster was looming for them. This study explodes many of the myths concerning German Blitzkrieg warfare and the planning for the 1940 campaign. A groundbreaking new interpretation of a topic that has long interested students of military history, it is being published in cooperation with the Association of the U.S. Army
Author: Karl-Heinz Frieser
Publisher: Naval Institute Press
When the Third Reich fell, it fell swiftly. The Nazis had little time to cover up their memos, their letters, or their diaries. William L. Shirer’s definitive book on the Third Reich uses these unique sources. Combined with his personal experience with the Nazis, living through the war as an international correspondent, The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich not only earned Shirer a National Book Award but is recognized as one of the most important and authoritative books about the Third Reich and Nazi Germany ever written. The diaries of propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels as well as evidence and other testimony gained at the Nuremberg Trials could not have found more artful hands. Shirer gives a clear, detailed and well-documented account of how it was that Adolf Hitler almost succeeded in conquering the world. With millions of copies in print, The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich has become one of the most authoritative books on one of mankind’s darkest hours. Shirer focuses on 1933 to 1945 in clear detail. Here is a worldwide bestseller that also tells the true story of the Holocaust, often in the words of the men who helped plan and conduct it. It is a classic by any measure. The book has been translated into twelve languages and was adapted as a television miniseries, broadcast by ABC in 1968. This first ever e-book edition is published on the 50th anniversary of this iconic work.
Author: William L. Shirer
France was slow and somewhat ineffectual in organizing resistance movement. In Occupation Ian Ousby challenges the myth that France was liberated " by the whole of France." The author explores the Nazi occupation of France with superb detail and eyewitness accounts that range from famous figures like Simone de Beauvoir, Charles de Gaulle, Andre Gide, Jean-Paul Sartre and Gertrude Stein to ordinary citizens, forgotten heroes and traitors.
The Ordeal of France 1940-1944
Author: Ian Ousby
Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield
Provocative look at the battle for France in May and June 1940 Explains how the French were caught off guard, how the Germans swept into the country, and how the British battled the blitzkrieg Recounts the evacuation at Dunkirk Shows how the fall of France changed the course of World War II
Six Weeks that Changed the World
Author: Philip Warner
Publisher: Stackpole Books
In 1940 the world was on a knife-edge. The hurricane of events that marked the opening of the Second World War meant that anything could happen. For the aggressors there was no limit to their ambitions; for their victims a new Dark Age beckoned. Over the next few months their fates would be determined. In Fateful Choices Ian Kershaw re-creates the ten critical decisions taken between May 1940, when Britain chose not to surrender, and December 1941, when Hitler decided to destroy Europe’s Jews, showing how these choices would recast the entire course of history.
Ten Decisions that Changed the World, 1940-1941
Author: Ian Kershaw
Publisher: Penguin UK
*Includes pictures *Profiles the history of the occupation and what life and government was like in Vichy France *Includes online resources and a bibliography for further reading *Includes a table of contents Emerging from France's catastrophic 1940 defeat like a bedraggled and rather sinister phoenix, the French State - better known to history as "Vichy France" or the "Vichy Regime" after its spa-town capital - stands in history as a unique and bizarre creation of German Fuhrer Adolf Hitler's European conquests. A patchwork of paradoxes and contradictions, the Vichy Regime maintained a quasi-independent French nation for some time after the Third Reich invasion until the Germans decided to include it in their occupation zone. Headed by a French war hero of World War I, Marshal Philippe Petain, and his later Prime Minister Pierre Laval, Vichy France displayed strong right-wing, conservative, and authoritarian tendencies. Nevertheless, it never lapsed fully into fascism until the Germans arrived to reduce its role to little more than a mask over their own dominion. Petain carried out several major initiatives in an effort to counteract the alleged "decadence" of modern life and to restore the strength and "virtues" of the French "race." Accordingly, he received willing support from more conservative elements of society, even some factions within the Catholic Church. Following Case Anton - the takeover of the unoccupied area by the Germans - native French fascist elements also emerged. While the French later disowned the Vichy government with considerable vehemence, evidence such as fairly broad-based popular support prior to Case Anton suggests a somewhat different story. The Petain government expressed one facet of French culture and thought. Its conservative, imperialistic nature did not represent the widespread love of "liberty, fraternity, and equality" also deeply ingrained in French thinking, but neither did it constitute a complete divergence from a national history that produced such famous authoritarians as Louis XIV and Napoleon Bonaparte. Vichy France: The History of Nazi Germany's Occupation of France during World War II looks at France after its downfall and the occupation that lasted until late 1944. Along with pictures of important people, places, and events, you will learn about Vichy France like never before, in no time at all.
The History of Nazi Germany's Occupation of France During World War II
Author: Charles River Charles River Editors
Publisher: Createspace Independent Publishing Platform
An engaging narrative of the small-unit actions near Sedan during the 1940 campaign for France.
Sedan and the Fall of France, 1940
Author: Robert A. Doughty
Publisher: Stackpole Books
The Eighty-Day Struggle Between Churchill and Hitler
Author: John Lukacs
Publisher: Yale University Press