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Old 11-08-2017, 12:50 AM
 
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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?
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Old 11-08-2017, 01:42 AM
 
Location: On the Great South Bay
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Quote:
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?
I can think of three major reasons.

First, morale was bad because of what happened in WW1, such as the huge death toll in soldiers and it had negative effects on the major western powers; the French, British and Americans in different ways.

Second, in WW2 the Germans achieved surprise and a major breakthrough in the Ardennes with their armored units, something that they were not able to do in WW1.

Third, there was no Eastern front in 1940 like there was in WW1. So the Germans were able to concentrate most of their army against France in 1940. After Dunkirk the French did try to reestablish defensive positions like the Weygand line but they were to weak to hold them and with most of the German army against them, it was just a matter of time before all of France was conquered.
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Old 11-08-2017, 02:46 AM
 
Location: Southern New England
1,202 posts, read 606,637 times
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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.
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Old 11-08-2017, 03:47 AM
 
Location: Monnem Germany/ from San Diego
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I wonder how much of the German success in France can be attributed to Meth.
Without Pervitin how would the push through the Ardennes have worked out.
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Old 11-08-2017, 03:57 AM
 
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Because French were treasoned by leadership, by pacifists, progressives...just as German people were treasoned by Von Papen, aging Bismarck, industrialists and so many others.

Many french were more terrorised of Popular Front than of Germans.
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Old 11-08-2017, 05:10 AM
 
Location: 912 feet above sea level
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Quote:
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?
Why on Earth do you think that every - or most, or even all that many - person in France would decide to pointlessly throw away their lives in such a manner? Just because Paris said so? Basically, France and the French people behaved rationally. They chose survival. They chose to regroup. So do most societies. So did every other power in the west that Germany invaded and defeated (the calculus was somewhat different in the east, as Germany clearly had different designs for those people and their lands). So did the Confederacy. Even most of eastern Europe decided that enduring communism for some indefinitely-long period was preferable to dying at the hands of the Red Army. It's the same choice made by every soldier who ultimately decides that becoming a POW is preferable to fighting until dead (which is to say, the vast majority of soldiers who have to chose one or the other).

And in the end? French society emerged from the war intact, if dinged. Losses were nothing like what they'd have been had the French people decided to fight to the last baguette.

War is not about making the plot interesting and dramatic and heroic for future readers of history. It's about goals, and those goals vary with individuals and with the shifting fortunes of the participants. And in the end, "Let's survive!" is almost always chosen instead of "Let's die!".
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Old 11-08-2017, 06:13 AM
 
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If you are really interested suggest you watch Une Village, a mHz tv series.

I had wondered the same thing but the why's unraveled with the show. And they had historians and those who lived through it comment after each show.

1. The enemy to the French establishment was Communism secondarialy anything different from the established order. The leader selected, GEN Petain, a WW1 war hero preferred Fascism anyway and was more than willing to collaborate with the Germans to that end upon surrender to the Germans. Power is pleasurable

2. The Vichy zone was aryanized , that is the Germans took over businesses , law enforcement , city leadership etc and German friendly French took everything over and ran the zone taking their orders from the Nazi overlords. There was a line in the show where a business owner was being chastised for collaborating and he responded "they won". As far as most were concerned that was the case. What is the point of fighting it when they won and your side lost and your leaders say cooperation is expected. there was no future and survival is key

3. German strategy was great. Hitler's smaller occupation force ruled through the locals who were much harder on the neighbors and were vicious with their own people than the Germans could afford to be. Also the local law enforcement knew who the potential trouble makers we're and eliminated them.

4. French local leaders had a local perspective. There was their own people and transients and refugees were at risk. The Nazis said 'give me 20 Jews to send to the camp or we will take 20 of our choosing' the mayor would select 20 Jews who were refugees or passing through. After all they weren't 'our Jews'. Eventually it became our Jews, then a way to get rid of our troublemakers, then our marginals.etc

5. My opinion, but the mind set of Paris was to protect the city, the arts, the lifstyle. Not the individuals. If you are a dancer does it matter who is in the audience ? IMO after living in Europe, it seemed to me our American spirit of Independence, individual freedom, self determination, was unlike Europe's spirit of the greater good. Keep Paris or France intact and the people focus on survival until the state reasserted itself. I can't see an Alamo in Paris.

6. Opposition to the regime and the Nazis was mostly not cohesive. I think the communists were the strongest and most effective and were fighting for an ideaology. Militias were probably next but fighting against the power system. French Resistance was fragmented by nature being based upon individual cells maintaining secrecy. There was no opposition cohesion and would not know who was who in another town. Couldn't work together

Then you had those collaborators who agreed with the Germans and it was a good time to get rid of lesser beings and competition.

That is my take anyway.
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Old 11-08-2017, 07:05 AM
 
Location: Texas
38,055 posts, read 21,152,231 times
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Default Why did France give up so easily when Germany invaded in WWII?

Quote:
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?

Short answer: poor leadership.

After being devastated in WW1, France built their military to be a strong defense against a replay of that war. Along comes WW2 with its blitzkrieg and those defenses proved completely inadequate against mobile armored forces.

Don't make the mistake of underestimating the will of the French to oppose the Nazi invaders, though. Because their resistance movement was very effective in aiding the allied invasions in Normandy and the south of France. Also, French military units that evacuated at Dunkirk in 1940 returned in 1944 and fought well in expelling the Krauts from their country.
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Old 11-08-2017, 07:36 AM
Yac
 
6,017 posts, read 6,807,004 times
Just fyi, OP was banned, and not for the first time. The topic is valid (well, excluding some of the bs details in the op) so I won't close it, just a word out that you don't have to actually help the op to contribute here
Yac.
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Old 11-08-2017, 08:59 AM
 
13,429 posts, read 19,551,220 times
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Quote:
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.
I remember that - I think it was "Last of the Mohicans". We can also add General Patton's quip "I would rather have a German division in front of me than a French division behind me" and a whole bunch of other jokes.

But most of that is unfair, the truth of that is as Gringo said - poor leadership and strategy, and inferior training. Along with bad intellegence and superior German air power. The fixed defenses they had were outflanked and the strategies they had could not defeat the highly mobile type of warfare that they Germans perfected. Ironically the French had the better tanks at the time, and more of them. What they didn't have were radios to communicate with each other and they were also slower. Basically the Germans mastered the Operational Arts of War.
Let's not forget the Germans also defeated the British Expeditionary Forces in France.
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