Last Updated on September 18, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 370
The Fall of France: The Nazi Invasion of 1940 by Julian Jackson sheds light on the many individuals who played a role in the defeat of France.
Charles de Gaulle (1890–1970)
Charles de Gaulle is covered in some depth. As a junior officer in 1940, de Gaulle cannot be blamed for the strategic mistakes of 1940. But his role before, during, and after the collapse is analyzed. In 1938, he published France and Her Army. In this book, he advocated using armored units or tanks in a more aggressive and independent way. At the time—and in 1940—French tanks were used merely to support infantry operations. Top French military leaders would not listen to him. As France collapsed in June 1940, de Gaulle urged his countrymen to fight on. Jackson also explores de Gaulle's important role in postwar France and states that de Gaulle was an effective national leader from 1958–1969. De Gaulle's actions as French president were influenced by the national humiliation of 1940.
Maurice Gamelin (1872–1958)
As commander in chief, Gamelin was ultimately responsible for France's military debacle in 1940. According to Jackson, Gamelin was an intelligent and complex figure. His strategy was too defensive and he was too slow to react during the hectic days of May 1940. Because of his indecision, he was relieved of command on May 19, but by then French defeat was practically inevitable.
Maxime Weygand (1867–1965)
Weygand, Gamelin's replacement, was also not able to save France. Weygand thought the military situation was untenable, so he advised the...
(The entire section contains 370 words.)
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