Thursday, May 24, 2007

Fall of France - post V

The narrative comes to an end with you wondering just how things ended with Paris being captured and the rise of the Vichy government - there is a feeling that you just have to assume those things happened and fill in the blanks. It doesn't help to have unanswered questions but in fairness the scope of the book was confined to the defeat and that is covered.

Bullet points between pages 200 – 249

* Comparisons are made between the state of the British and the French from both a military and political view and in both cases there was not too much superiority on the British side of the channel

* Churchill was painted out with hindsight to be the popular leader but for the first period of his time as leader he struggled to get backing from his own party and the public and could not be considered to be much more popular than his French counterpart

* The difference for the French was that aside from indifferent polticial leadership there was poor intelligence and when the Germans did attack they were able to exploit the fog of misunderstanding that swamped the French

* Following 1940 the defeat was not talked about much but present in policies carried out by de Gaulle who leant on the Empire as some sort of consolation and ended up in wars in Vietnam and Algeria as a result

* The impact of the defeat lives on with historians continuing to see the political leadership of the time - the Third Republic - as decadent and architects of their own downfall despite the increasing amount of facts proving that view wrong

A review will follow soon...

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