The Fall of France : The History of Nazi Germany's Invasion and Conquest of France During World War II
*Includes pictures *Includes accounts of the fighting *Includes online resources and a bibliography for further reading *Includes a table of contents "My Luftwaffe is invincible...And so now we turn to England. How long will this one last - two, three weeks?" - Hermann Goering, June 1940 One of the most famous people in the world came to tour the city of Paris for the first time on June 28, 1940. Over the next three hours, he rode through the city's streets, stopping to tour L'Opera Paris. He rode down the Champs-Elysees toward the Trocadero and the Eiffel Tower, where he had his picture taken. After passing through the Arc de Triomphe, he toured the Pantheon and old medieval churches, though he did not manage to see the Louvre or the Palace of Justice. Heading back to the airport, he told his staff, "It was the dream of my life to be permitted to see Paris. I cannot say how happy I am to have that dream fulfilled today." Four years after his tour, Adolf Hitler would order the city's garrison commander, General Dietrich von Choltitz, to destroy Paris, warning his subordinate that the city "must not fall into the enemy's hand except lying in complete debris." Of course, Paris was not destroyed before the Allies liberated it, but it would take more than 4 years for them to wrest control of France from Nazi Germany after they took the country by storm in about a month in 1940. That said, it's widely overlooked today given how history played out that as the power of Nazi Germany grew alarmingly during the 1930s, the French sought means to defend their territory against the rising menace of the Thousand-Year Reich. As architects of the most punitive measures in the Treaty of Versailles following World War I, France was a natural target for Teutonic retribution, so the Maginot Line, a series of interconnected strongpoints and fortifications running along much of France's eastern border, helped allay French fears of invasion. The true flaw in French military strategy during the opening days of World War II lay not in reliance on the Maginot fortifications but in the army's neglect to exploit the military opportunities the Line created. In other words, the border defense performed as envisioned, but the other military arms supported it insufficiently to halt the Germans. The French Army squandered the opportunity not because the Maginot Line existed but because they failed to utilize their own defensive plan properly; the biggest problem was that the Germans simply skirted past the intricate defensive fortifications by invading neutral Belgium and swinging south, thereby avoiding the Maginot Line for the most part. The French had not expected the Germans would be able to move armored units through the Ardennes Forests, a heavily wooded region spanning parts of Belgium, France and the Netherlands. To the Allies' great surprise, the Germans had no trouble rolling across these lands in the span of weeks. And by invading France from the north, the Germans simply avoided the Maginot Line. The French surrendered in June 1940, and the British narrowly escaped disaster by transporting thousands of soldiers and equipment across the English Channel at Dunkirk. Thus, by the middle of 1940, the Axis powers and the Soviet Union had overrun nearly all of Western Europe. With France out of the war, and without active participation by the United States, Great Britain virtually stood alone. The Fall of France: The History of Nazi Germany's Invasion and Conquest of France During World War II chronicles the background and construction of the much maligned defensive fortifications. Along with pictures of important people, places, and events, you will learn about the fall of France like never before, in no time at all.
- Paperback | 64 pages
- 152.4 x 228.6 x 3.81mm | 149.68g
- 02 Jul 2015
- Createspace Independent Publishing Platform
- Illustrations, black and white