[Free E–pub] The Fall of France The Nazi Invasion of 1940 By Julian T. Jackson

  • Paperback
  • 296
  • The Fall of France The Nazi Invasion of 1940
  • Julian T. Jackson
  • English
  • 18 February 2018
  • 9780192805508

Julian T. Jackson Ï 9 Review

Download ✓ The Fall of France The Nazi Invasion of 1940 109 Western Allies Using eyewitness accounts memoirs and diaries to bring the story to life Jackson not only recreates the intense atmosphere of the six weeks in May and June leading up to the establishment of the Vichy regime but he also unravels the historical evidence to produce a fresh answer to the perennial uestion was the fall of France inevitable Jackson's vivid narrative explores the errors of France's military leaders her inability to create stronger alliances the political infighting the lack o. An excellent study of the political social industrial and military reasons for the collapse of France in 1940 only let down in my humble opinion by the latter chapters detailing post war France

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Download ✓ The Fall of France The Nazi Invasion of 1940 109 The Fall of France in 1940 is one of the pivotal moments of the twentieth century If the German invasion of France had failed it is arguable that the war might have ended right there But the French suffered instead a dramatic and humiliating defeat a loss that ultimately drew the whole world into war This exciting new book by Julian Jackson a leading historian of twentieth century France charts the breathtakingly rapid events that led to the defeat and surrender of one of the greatest bastions of the. After two reads I can say that this is a mediocre effort The narrative weaves back and forth in time the first chapter for example covers the breakthrough at Sedan while the second goes backwards to inter war diplomacy the Phoney War and Norway Meanwhile Jackson attempts to put forth a fairly descriptive outline of events without really coming to terms with the key uestion of why France failedThis is the critical uestion in any book on this topic although Jackson spends a lot of prose covering other topics like the decision to surrender and a bottom up chapter that looks at the war through the eyes of ordinary French citizens and soldiers Jackson attempts an explanation to this uestion in the first chapter He relies heavily on Robert A Doughty s analysis in The Seeds of Disaster which is good for the most part but wrong I think in its final conclusions While France had tanks and may not have been fighting WWI in a strictly technical sense it was in a way it was aiming for a controlled battle that relied heavily on firepower and fortificationsJackson sums up this confusion in this paragraph which I cite in full to save you the time and money of reading this book if you wish In its two mindedness it ironically reads like something that one of Jackson s subjects General Gamelin could have writtenIn the end then while it would not be true to say that the French army in 1940 had learnt nothing and was planning to fight the last war again the French army of 1940 was very different from that of 1918 or that the military were not engaged in intensive discussions about the most appropriate ways of modernizing the army the changes which had occurred were basically incremental adjustments albeit important ones of a corpus of doctrine that had not fundamentally alteredThus Jackson repeats the same problem that I found in Doughty the French Army may not have been fighting exactly as they did in WWI However with only incremental changes based on the doctrine that won them that prior war they fundamentally were re fighting the last war albeit with small evolutions in methodIn any case if it is true that France really wasn t fighting the last war the same could be said for the Germans certainly So if historians are really going to get to the bottom of these doctrinal differences in June 1940 it s critical to understand why one doctrine prevailed over the other More S 35s aren t the answer or maybe they could have been if they had been properly organized While Jackson doesn t say so the French could have benefited from a defense in depth The fragility of French defenses is underscored by their leaders own mental collapse which Jackson freuently notes as the Germans crossed the Meuse Not only that but the French had few reserves to react to these German successes most of the best French units were in Belgium as Jackson notes Such counterattacks that did occur were haphazard and not concentrated similarly an attempt for a coordinated British and French attack to break the German encirclement never really got going which Jackson relatesThat some French units fought well at places like the Gembloux gap Stonne or around Dunkirk does point out that the entire French army wasn t bad to a man especially when well led Nevertheless in attempting to provide us with this balanced view Jackson misses the point when he writes of Stonne Hard fighting was still going on here when the Germans had reached the Channel French heroism and combat efficiency was the exception than the rule and when they occurred they occurred in the wrong places As much as these are held up here and elsewhere as examples that the French could and did no doubt at times fight well contrary to myth these also do nothing to explain why the Germans succeeded in spite of such resistance To that end Jackson does summarize well the fates of the 55DI and 71DI at Sedan the corrosive effect of ennui during the Phoney War and the pervasively poor leadership down to even the platoon and suad level in many units He observes that the spirit of such soldiers had less to do with the politicians at the top which may break another myth but it also raises uestions about why Jackson devoted an entire chapter to those very same politiciansMaybe the answer to understanding France in 1940 lies outside of France The French did not have either the time nor space in which to rapidly change course to learn their lessons and adapt The Soviets for example did and they fought a brilliant defensive battle at Kursk that benefited from a defense in depth ample and well located ard reserves and perhaps the most critical failing for France advance intelligence of where the Germans would attack In any event the Soviets had 2 years to learn these lessons and defeat German ard operational methods by 1943 the French did not in 1940 Jackson does acknowledge this in a way when he describes the improved hedgehog tactics adopted by Weygand in June If so France learned this lesson too late as the battle had largely already been decidedIt s also hard to see how France s allies or lack thereof could have helped Jackson establishes in the first chapter that Sedan and the Meuse crossings were the critical oversight and turning point in the campaign This was France s problem not Britain s surely as the BEF was deployed to the north Even so that doesn t stop Jackson from devoting most of the chapter on alliances to the downward spiral of French and English relations All of which seems superfluous in a way not only because of the entirely French failure at Sedan but also because many French troops escaped via the British evacuation at Dunkirk and because British forces later fought and died to liberate France And after the chapter reviewing France s attempts at alliances it s hard to see how Romania for example could have helped France very much militarily The USSR may have helped but as Jackson notes Poland would never allow Soviet troops on its soil even to attack Germany Of course the Soviets invaded Poland anyway to no benefit to Poland or France Jackson makes tenuous counterfactuals to WWI but France was allied to Great Britain in that war America joined later in both and Russia was an ally early in WWI but not WWII a crucial distinction that Jackson overlooksIndeed as France s own behavior during the Sudetenland crisis and invasion of Poland it wasn t France s allies that were the problem but rather France herself Poland and Czechoslovakia only proved to other countries that France was after all an unreliable partner And so if France had no allies this was France s fault none of which would have helped the French forces at Sedan or helped correct its fundamental failures in doctrine force composition or strategy In the end French diplomacy and security building was so bad that they were left castigating the unfortunate Belgians a scapegoat for all of France s failures And while Jackson discusses how French and British leaders loathed Belgium he overlooks the fact that Doyle Plan wasn t going to stop the Germans from crossing the MeusePerhaps it goes without saying because Jackson does not that France s problems with Germany in 1940 go back to the punitive Versailles Treaty after WWI This seems like a critical oversight as the origins of the Nazi regime and France s problems with Germany can be traced back to this starting point among others The irony of course is that France set up the conditions for its defeat in 1940 in 1919 and so it s difficult to to forgive Jackson for overlooking this Moreover remarkably absent in Jackson s review of French foreign policy between the wars is any substantive discussion of France s relations with Germany itself between the warsHaving established the military failure at Sedan it s difficult to make anything of Jackson s chapter on political leadership He doesn t have a thesis in this section and instead it tends to ramble on as we follow the changes from Blum to Daladier to Reynaud There was much bickering and in fighting but it s hard to know whether this contributed to the defeat or resulted from them the Third Reich when facing similar pressures comes to mind in this regard A chapter on the mindset on the populace is somewhat better because Jackson attempts to offer conclusions though these are undercut by his confusion and ambiguity For example on French pacifism he concludes France in 1939 was still a pacifist society but one which had accepted reluctantly the necessity of war While France may not have been purely pacifist it also didn t seem to have a do or die mindset either and the net effect of this reluctant attitude as far as the outcome in 1940 seems the same It s a parallel point to the mindset of the French military mentioned above when Jackson seems to be carefully taking a balanced view but in doing so really proves the thing he set out to disprove Or maybe he strikes a viewpoint so finely balanced that it could just as well be argued one way or the other It would be better if he could synthesize the two poles into something new singular and coherent In any event confusingly and somewhat contradictorily to his earlier assessment Jackson notes that It should be remembered also that the military were operating within the context of a thoroughly pacifist or at least peace loving society Was that what he was trying to say earlier or did I just misunderstand himAt times like these I was struck by the absence of any discussion of the other side even if only as a counterpoint or parallel to the French experience In failing to do so he misses some essential observations For example the central irony of 1940 is that while France was a victor in WWI and at the same time deeply scarred by it the same was not true for Germany which lost but wanted to re fight it this time with tanks This dichotomy sums up the two tracks the countries took France s military was rooted in its past success while contrarily its populace and landscapes were haunted by the negative aspects of the war Germany the opposite was true having lost it could pursue a blitzkrieg operational method and the desire to undo Versailles was strong even if public support for another world war was muted In any case the general lack of coverage of the German side is striking given that is about the German attack on France He does only briefly relying heavily on Karl Heinz Frieser s The Blitzkrieg Legend as well as Ernest R May s Strange VictoryNot having firmly established or perhaps fairly clearly communicated that he has a firm and incisive grasp on any aspect of his subject Jackson s chapters on counterfactuals about and post war reactions to 1940 seem all the out of place If anything these two chapters would have been nice to haves in a longer work instead they cover roughly 65 of 250 pages about 25% of the main narrative As a result I was left reading this book both times without any clearer understanding of this subject than when I started itSo while Jackson provides ample maps and photographs in his review of events the lack of thoughtful and critical analysis makes it a lackluster addition to the body of work on this topic It seems that he attempted to write a history of the fall of France for a general audience his haphazard footnoting and general bibliography are hallmarks of such a less than thoroughly academic approach This is odd given that he devotes a significant section to the historiography of the war which would be interesting to historians and history nerds like myself than general readers But as the narrative is hard to follow going back and forth in time and the analysis not that strong or probing the book doesn t provide a straightforward chronology or any meaningful takeaways for the reader Thus as a general history of France in 1940 Jackson s work is one of the least edifying that I ve read despite two attempts I regret to say

Review ✓ E-book, or Kindle E-pub Ï Julian T. Jackson

Download ✓ The Fall of France The Nazi Invasion of 1940 109 F morale even the decadence of the inter war years He debunks the vast superiority of the German army revealing that the experienced French troops did well in battle against the Germans Perhaps than anything else the cause of the defeat was the failure of the French to pinpoint where the main thrust of the German army would come a failure that led them to put their best soldiers up against a feint while their worst troops faced the heart of the German war machine An engaging and authoritative narrativ. Not a detailed narrative of the Battle of France but rather an analysis of one of the most shocking events of the 20th Century the collapse and surrender of France after six weeks of combat in 1940As makes sense of such a complex event there is no single cause but Jackson boils it down to a few problems1 France was unprepared Though war had been declared almost nine months previously the French military and government estimated that the Republic would not be ready for sustained military operations before 1941 French mobilization and production was beginning to bear fruit especially in warplanes in May 1940 but that proved to be too late2 French plans were deficient It s something of a cliche to argue that French commanders were preparing to re fight the First World War but that is not exactly correct French euipment was in some respects superior to the German tanks for example and the French Army was less dependent upon horse transport than the Germans The problem was the French were determined not to re fight World War I but rather wanted to ensure that the battles did not take place on French soil hence flinging its best forces to head off the Germans in Belgium In the meantime the Germans hurled their most mobile forces at France s weakest troops with catastrophic results for the latter3 French command and control broke down Mental paralysis set in as soon as the Germans reached Sedan and the French were never able to their mental euilibrium back Jackson offers multiple reports of French commanders suffering breakdowns as the enormity of the problem hit them The French were not alone in that the British under Lord Gort had similar problemsThe upshot is that the Allies were never able to offer timely or sufficient countermeasures and the battle spun out of control uickly4 Lack of effective political leadership France lacked a figure who could rally the people and command the military effectively French politics prior to WWII was a polarized see saw contest between left and right that made national unity difficult France needed a Churchill but did not have oneA very worthwhile and thought provoking study