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"Fall of France 1940"
Fall of France 1940
Carlos Hernandez

What accounts for the defeat of France in 1940? What factors played the most decisive role in the allied defeat: faulty strategy, inferior technology, numbers,…? Was the fall of France inevitable in 1940?


On 10 May 1940, nearly six months after Hitler gave the original order for his army's to advance towards France, the Blitzkrieg began. With-in six weeks time France had fallen and the face of the civilized world had suddenly changed. Some believe that the defeat of France was due to a lack of will, low morale and defeatism among politicians, and ineptitude with-in the ranks of the allied military. Other's feel that it was the German Army's operational and tactical skill along with superior strategic planning that was responsible for the breakthrough at Sedan and the rapid advance to the coast of the English Channel. It is my opinion though that it was a combination of multiple errors made by the French and endless German luck that enabled the advance of the Germans to go nearly unscathed.

It can be argued that the initial problems leading up to the fall of France can be traced back to 1936 when Belgium, understanding that it had no way of defending itself from a German assault from the north further isolated itself from their southern French allies and declared neutrality in all European affairs. With Belgium's neutrality declaration regarding all actions in Europe the French military was no longer able to count on a preliminary defense from the northern Belgium Army and had to defend a border that now stretched from the English Channel clear to the Mediterranean. The infamous Maginot Line had already been established along the French-German border just for the purpose of defending against the probable German attack, but to stretch it further west along the Belgium border would...

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