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Old 11-09-2017, 01:13 AM
 
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French and Germans had been at each other off and on for centuries. It was the marriage of the young Dauphin (later Louis XVI) to Maria-Antoina of Austria (later queen Marie-Antoinette of France), that was supposed to smooth those ruffled feathers (ok Austria isn't Germany, but still); and we know how well that went.


Before WWI memories in France were still fresh of the Franco-Prussian war which left France pushed aside as the dominate power in Europe, and replaced by a newly unified Germany. Not willing to let that slap go unchallenged, France bided her time and waited for a chance to get her own back. Well they didn't have to wait long as events unfolded into WWI.


Post WWI France's economy was a wreck with massive inflation, huge debts and costs associated with keeping her military armed for she dared not disarm for fear of Germany. This piled on to the human misery including loss of manpower (France lost around six million (dead) and about four million wounded/disabled, had devastating effects not just on the economy but French society as well.


France's birth rate had been falling post Franco-Prussian war and dropped off more post WII. French women simply didn't want to have children they feared would only be sent off to fight "useless" wars.


So when a bit over twenty years later it was deja-vue all over again (another war with Germany), you can't really blame some French for wanting to sit that one out.
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Old 11-09-2017, 01:37 AM
 
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Originally Posted by LilyMae521 View Post
On a lighter note, because the French "would rather eat and make love with their faces than fight."


A line from some Hollywood movie I saw a long time ago, forgot the movie, but that line stuck with me.
Last of the Mohicans. Good one.
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Old 11-09-2017, 06:33 AM
 
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I always heard they didn't give up easily. It was the French army digging in that let the allies evacuate at Dunkirk. As far as the German breakout at Sedan, the French fought hard but were outfought by the Germans. It was heavy fighting on both sides and the French just go the worst of it.

Once the Germans broke through though defeat became almost inevitable. The allied armies were split, in a position they never anticipated and to which they had no counter.

I also heard the French built the Maginot Line because they knew by the 1930's they would face a huge deficit in fighting age men relative to Germany. Defense was the only posture open to them.
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Old 11-09-2017, 10:51 AM
 
Location: On the Great South Bay
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Originally Posted by Troyfan View Post
I always heard they didn't give up easily. It was the French army digging in that let the allies evacuate at Dunkirk. As far as the German breakout at Sedan, the French fought hard but were outfought by the Germans. It was heavy fighting on both sides and the French just go the worst of it.

Once the Germans broke through though defeat became almost inevitable. The allied armies were split, in a position they never anticipated and to which they had no counter.

I also heard the French built the Maginot Line because they knew by the 1930's they would face a huge deficit in fighting age men relative to Germany. Defense was the only posture open to them.
You are right, the French did fight in 1940. They did not fight like they had fought in years past but they did fight.

When discussing the Fall of France, many histories seem to go from the Dunkirk evacuation right to the French surrender with Hitler and the railway car. They seem to ignore some less known facts, for instance after Dunkirk,

- Even after the disaster in Belgium and Northern France, the French still had 64 divisions to face the German 140+ divisions. They began to form new defensive positions along the interior river lines in France.
- 100,000+ of the French that were evacuated at Dunkirk returned to France to help bolster the French defense.
- The British also relanded the BEF to help the French (this is after Dunkirk).
- The French were looking to turn the Brittany peninsula into a National Redoubt, where the outnumbered French army might be able to hold off the Germans with Allied assistance.
- There was also proposals about evacuating the French government, Navy, Air Force and as much of the Army as possible to French North Africa to continue the war.
- Even with France collapsing, the French army was able to easily fight off the Italian invasion.
- There were pleas of help to the Americans. Granted it was unlikely due to strong feeling of neutrality, but had the USA responded at this time to the downfall of her oldest ally, it is very possible that France would not have given up but instead continued the war based in North Africa.
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Old 11-09-2017, 11:53 AM
 
Location: Grosse Ile Michigan
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I am sure someone will correct me if I am wrong, but I do not think the French people were armed the way the American People were armed. Once the French army was defeated, there was no way for the citizenry to fight even if they had the will to do so. I suppose they could throw rocks and baguettes at the tanks, but that seems pretty stupid.
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Old 11-09-2017, 02:03 PM
 
Location: Proxima Centauri
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The Germans would have had a rougher time if the Maginot line extended to the Channel. The Germans went trough Belgium and the extension of the Maginot line was much less effective. The French became demoralized and blitzkrieg was very effective.
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Old 11-09-2017, 05:00 PM
 
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Originally Posted by hunterseat View Post
Because... France. Duh
Quote:
Originally Posted by mike1003 View Post
Because that's what the French do
We are inching toward the usual cheese eating surrender monkeys bit

So how do you two explain WWI and how valiantly they fought at Verdun or the Marne and countless other places a mere generation before the debacle in 1940
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Old 11-09-2017, 06:02 PM
 
Location: 912 feet above sea level
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Originally Posted by Coldjensens View Post
I am sure someone will correct me if I am wrong, but I do not think the French people were armed the way the American People were armed. Once the French army was defeated, there was no way for the citizenry to fight even if they had the will to do so. I suppose they could throw rocks and baguettes at the tanks, but that seems pretty stupid.
France - today, in 2017 - places in the top quarter of all nations for per capita private firearm ownership. However, as of 2005 the per capita rate was twice what it is now. Shotguns and hunting rifles were very common in 1940 in France, especially in rural areas (and the country was certainly less urban then than now).

Guns in France

At any rate, Pierre and Julien with their hunting rifles were probably well down the list of things that concerned the occupying German forces.

The French Resistance generally used firearms for defensive purposes only when necessary, not for attacking. Sabotage with explosives was much preferred, and more effective. Where firearms were used, it was generally for assassinations of individuals, not for engaging military units. Later in the war, from 1943 on, direct guerrilla attacks on larger groups of soldiers became more common, using weapons dropped in from the UK - STEN guns, Bren guns, PIAT, and so forth. But machine guns and anti-tank weapons weren't examples of being armed 'the way the American people were armed'.
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Old 11-10-2017, 02:56 AM
 
Location: SE UK
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Coldjensens View Post
I am sure someone will correct me if I am wrong, but I do not think the French people were armed the way the American People were armed. Once the French army was defeated, there was no way for the citizenry to fight even if they had the will to do so. I suppose they could throw rocks and baguettes at the tanks, but that seems pretty stupid.
You reckon armed citizens would have fought off the German army!!! Yeah right.
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Old 11-10-2017, 07:08 AM
 
Location: State Fire and Ice
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Originally Posted by Brandono View Post
In WWI they went 4 1/2 whole years sending hundreds of thousands to die to fight off Germany, yet when Germany came rolling in during WWII they hardly put up any resistance. Why did they not definitely oppose Germany and send out a message to every part of France that every man, woman and child should fight to the death to defend France? Make it so the Germans have no one within that will cooperate or talk to them in anyway shape or form, that every single man, woman and child in France is an enemy that will kill any invading German?
Firstly, during the first world war, France began to push back Germany, with the arrival of Russian units, who, with their example, showed how to fight. Example: the attack of the dead, in which only about 100 half-dead gas-poisoned Russian soldiers forced 16,000 German soldiers to flee. As for the second world. Europeans are only able to talk about their patriotism and love their country, but they do not want to die for it.

So the Western world is arranged. Only words and nothing is more. France cooperated with Germany throughout the war, and only thanks to Charles de Gaulle and Stalin, France did not stand next to Germany on the of the Newberg Process. In Russia the USSR, what is worth only one of the houses of Pavlov (there were thousands of such examples) that the Germans could not seize, (and they did not eventually capture it.) At that time, whole European countries surrendered for days and weeks. At the same time, France was defending itself, only from Germany, at a time when the USSR was already fighting with all the might of Europe. The Germans could not take one's house, at the time when the whole of Europe was giving up, there is something to think about, is not it?
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