France 1940

France 1940

Defending the Republic

Book - 2015
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Yale University
A new perspective on the calamitous fall of France in 1940 and why blame has been misplaced ever since

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.


Baker & Taylor
Re-examines the crushing defeat France suffered in 1940, arguing that there is no factual support for the view that France's military unpreparedness and decadent character caused the country's downfall.

Publisher: New Haven : Yale University Press, [2015]
ISBN: 9780300189872
Branch Call Number: 940.54214 N752f 2015
Characteristics: xviii, 189 pages ; 23 cm

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