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Old 02-10-2020, 06:21 PM
 
321 posts, read 128,826 times
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Given what happened to them in WWI, you'd think the French would have put as much time, effort and money into not just defenses but greatly beefing up all of their military forces as well as have lots of spies in Germany to try to find out what they were up to.

And had they done that, do you think they could've kept Germany from invading, at least until allied reinforcements came?
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Old 02-10-2020, 07:58 PM
 
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Firstly, almost 1.4 million French soldiers & sailors were killed in WWI.
The French Army barely hung on until the end of the war, and may not have done so if the American army had not played a major role in the last year of the war.
The French army sacrifices in the first weeks of the war, at Verdun, the failed Nivelle offensive in 1917, which caused mutiny in some units, and many other vast bloodbaths left the army a mere shell of itself by 1918.
The country was exhausted after the war and a number of governments postwar were left wing and not supportive of the military, especially the Front Populaire, which held powe for much of the 1930's , when Germany was rearming.
Too much faith was of course placed upon the Maginot Line, and the 1940 invasion occurred where the line did not exist.
France's population of military age men, thanks to all of the deaths in WWI, was also lower than that of Germany.
The government and the people had little enthusiasm for another war; Marshal Foch was right when he commented on the Treaty of Versailles, saying it was not peace, but a 20 year armistice.
I suggest reading "To Lose a Battle" by Alastair Horn, for a fine account of the French government & military in the 30''s & the 1940 campaign.
The French army was not prepared for German blitzkrieg tactics, even though their tanks were actually superior to those of the Germans; they just weren't used correctly. The Luftwaffe also gained air superiority rather quickly, even with heavy losses.
Incompetent army leadership at the top, especially Marechal Gamelin, the CinC, was also to blame.
With better leadership, more audacity, and better tactics, the Germans could have been defeated, but once they crossed the
Meuse at Sedan, all went downhill very fast for the French.
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Old 02-21-2020, 11:46 AM
 
Location: Boston
3,945 posts, read 1,622,551 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Azureth View Post
Given what happened to them in WWI, you'd think the French would have put as much time, effort and money into not just defenses but greatly beefing up all of their military forces as well as have lots of spies in Germany to try to find out what they were up to.

And had they done that, do you think they could've kept Germany from invading, at least until allied reinforcements came?
Staying prepared for war is the path to peace.
The same fools in England caused a catastrophy, they called Churchill a warmonger but he was right.
And those same fools today have a found a simpler way, just invite the enemy in with open arms.

Evil men don't wake up and say I will do evil today, they say today I will make the world a better place.

And todays Europe proves they cannot learn because cannot lives on willnot street.
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Old 02-21-2020, 01:49 PM
 
12,901 posts, read 19,133,486 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Azureth View Post
Given what happened to them in WWI, you'd think the French would have put as much time, effort and money into not just defenses but greatly beefing up all of their military forces as well as have lots of spies in Germany to try to find out what they were up to.

And had they done that, do you think they could've kept Germany from invading, at least until allied reinforcements came?
They did indeed spend lot of time, money, and effort. But they laid their bet on defense - The Maginot Line (which was simply bypassed and flanked by Germany). They also had tanks, lots of them, and they were actually stronger than German tanks.
The problem was the French military leadership, which was still thinking it would be faught like WW1, with the same tactics and strategy. Germany had moved on to new tactics - blitzkrieg.
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Old 02-21-2020, 04:37 PM
 
9,812 posts, read 9,790,892 times
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Its a complicated question.

But what many don't grasp was the damage done to not only the French people, but much of European society by World War I. Millions died in these countries and the public treasuries were drained. There was little mood or desire to spend the limited resources that were left on building up the military and preparing for another bloodbath.

The war created an enormous upheaval. The Russian Empire was ended. The Ottoman Empire was ended. The Austrian Empire was ended. The German Empire was brought down. Much of the Treaty of Versailles in 1919 involved splitting up territories from these empires and allocating them to new countries or other countries. Countries like France and Great Britain were intact, but were struggling to deal with the new world that had been created. They also had war debts they were paying to the USA.

The French did find the money to invest in the Maginot Line fortifications. But, doing so was a disaster. The generals failed to grasp that the next war would be far more mobile and would depend on tanks and airplanes with a front line that was constantly changing. Also, the investment in the Maginot Line took away money that could have better spent on developing first rate tanks and aircraft.

Finally, France was a country torn internally. The wealthy elite wanted to remain in control and found sympathy among the ranks of the French general staff. There was a movement trying to bring about a socialist nation that had much popular support. There was a center too. However, French centrist politicians like President Daladier were being pulled in many directions. In short, after the conflagration of World War I, France was simply in no position to fight another such conflict a mere 22 years later. Much of the reason for the quick collapse of the French Army was that the rank and file and junior grade officers had no stomach for a fight. They were willing to surrender to avoid a repeat of World War I.
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Old 02-21-2020, 04:55 PM
 
Location: Seattle
3,761 posts, read 829,800 times
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France remained among the top 6 spenders on military capital during the interwar years.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cw2Wm8T6tio

They just got blown away by Germany's defense budget after 1933, as did every other country in the world.
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Old 02-21-2020, 05:10 PM
 
Location: New Mexico
4,140 posts, read 1,832,997 times
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Default It's all Greek to me

Quote:
Originally Posted by Azureth View Post
Given what happened to them in WWI, you'd think the French would have put as much time, effort and money into not just defenses but greatly beefing up all of their military forces as well as have lots of spies in Germany to try to find out what they were up to.

And had they done that, do you think they could've kept Germany from invading, at least until allied reinforcements came?
Had France & UK invaded Germany from the West while the Reich was haring off after Poland, they could have wrapped up the war right then & there. But they wanted to mobilize first, & there were lots of reasons that they couldn't or wouldn't go - until the timing & choice was out of their hands. & then it was too late for a bold stroke to end the war.

French intelligence did quite well in the runup & during WWII - they penetrated the Enigma ciphering device, got hold of prototypes, instruction manuals, & routed the Polish codebreakers & their trailblazing deciphering work & workarounds to the UK. It was the Polish who actually provided copies of the Enigma from the field. See Code girls : the untold story of the American women code breakers of World War II / Liza Mundy, 1960- , c2017, Hachette Books, 940.5486 MUND.

& Enigma : the battle for the code [book] / Hugh Sebag-Montefiore, c2000, 940.5485, Seba
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Old Today, 06:42 AM
 
Location: The Driftless Area, WI
3,401 posts, read 1,332,173 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rjshae View Post
France remained among the top 6 spenders on military capital during the interwar years.




They just got blown away by Germany's defense budget after 1933, as did every other country in the world.


Exactly.... Churchill told Parliament "Thank God for the French Army." https://link.springer.com/chapter/10...781137367822_8
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