After using search, I found nothing to which this could be apropos so I figured I would simply start a new thread and ask the "powers that be" to move it is it doesn't belong here. I ran across this old file and figured I would share it here. This was posted by a fellow named James Quinn, back in 1999 on the now lame History Channel forum. He moved on for his PhD. studies after posting this, and is (to the best of my knowledge) teaching at the university level somewhere. To an observer in 1940; the French nation seemed well defended. The French army was large, equipped with modern small arms. French industry was constructing the best tanks in the world. Older French armor was plentiful and equal to most tanks it would encounter in battle. French artillery was the envy of the world. The French air force had stumbled badly between the wars but was now rapidly equipping itself with modern aircraft, both from internal and external sources. The French officer corps was lead by men with extensive combat experience and a life time of training and excursive. General Maurice Gamelin, supreme commander of the French military, was considered a brilliant combat tactician and an excellent administrator, even the German general staff shared this view of the aging but vigorous leader. Couple this French force with the Belgian, Dutch and BEF, a rapid collapse on the Western front from a brisk German attack seemed unlikely. A catastrophe on the level of what occurred in May/June 1940 seemed remote. How did it happen? I started asking myself this question years ago, and finally seriously tackled it this year. Over the several months I have read 13 books on the battle of France and on Allied inter-war defense planning. I feel I have answered my original question and have arrived at some very solid beliefs. Some beliefs that I originally held have been dispelled by my education, chief among these; that the French collapse could largely be contributed to lack of spirit within the French nation. The French soldiers were just as brave and willing to sacrifice in 1940 as they were in 1914. During the inter-war years the French people disagreed about much, their shifting and unstable government displays this, however they never reached the point of finding France a place not worth defending. Accounts of communist members of the French military spreading dissent and encouraging their units not to resist the German invasion were never substantiated. When French solders faced German soldiers in a battle of a form that they had been trained for, they accounted for themselves adequately. Large scale surrender only occurred when French units found themselves cut off from supply and command and were forced to fight in battles of encounter, something the solders had not been prepared for. The French defeat of 1940 was a military defeat. Not a moral defeat. The French were defeated because their military tactics were not able to match the German tactics. The military situation deteriorated so rapidly after the German breakthrough in Sedan that the French were dazed and paralyzed by the blow. They were unable to recover in time to adjust their tactics and defend themselves. Criticism of the French military is wholly justified. In the end they did not accomplish their task. However the German blitzkrieg also swept up many other opponents in similar fashion. The Poles, The Belgians, The Dutch, The Serbs, The Greeks, and The Soviets, all fell victim to the German onslaught initially. It was not until 1942 that the German offense was effectively parried. It is unreasonable to single out the French alone for their failings. No force, including the BEF, proved more effective then the French during the early years of the war. After the battle a myth was started that the French defeat was not the military’s fault but the fault of the corrupt and leftist government. That the French people had gone soft under Socialist governments and lacked the stomach for the upcoming fight. This interpretation was started by the Vichy government because it was a government largely formed by conservative members of government and by military leaders. To accept the blame themselves these leaders would be invalidating their own efforts. Finger-pointing in an unfortunate trait common to the French. The creation of this myth is not a conspiracy. I believe that the Vichy government leaders and other member of French society truly believed they were seeing the situation correctly. However history has not supported their argument. History can be written in many ways but in the end the truth finally succeeds. The French prepared themselves for war. They armed themselves as well as they felt they could. They fully mobilized all manpower. The socialist government of Blum appropriated more money to the military then even the army had asked for. They lost the battle but they did not loose for lack of trying to win. To belittle the French military effort is ridiculous. In 1940 the French stood up to aggression and entered into a total war situation with Nazi Germany. Comparatively, England sent a small expeditionary force to France and attempted to fight a cut-rate war on the peripheries. America cocooned itself in denial. The Soviets bought time with French blood. If any nation should be proud of itself in 1940 it should be France. If you have interest in this aspect of World War II I would recommend Seeds of Disaster by Daugherty and Republic in Danger by Alexander. Two excellent books that will dispel (some) myths. How can some one defend the French military's performance in 1940. It would be an impossible task. How could someone say the French taught their soldier proper tactics to use in a moble fluid battlefield. no one. But how I want to punctuate this response is this; "who can say the French laid down and didn't attempt to vigorously defend themselves in 1940" ( no one). "Who can say the French military was ineffective due to the French people's changing character" (no one). Those are the often repeated myths that I am trying to do my small part in dispelling. (me again) In most respects I agree with Mr. J. Quinn, in a least one other not so much. I myself find the appointment of Gamelin after Weygand to be the crux of the problem for the French. He may have been a brave and worthy soldier/commander in the past, but by 1940 he was still fighting a static war in a fast moving tactical situation. He should have altered his battle plans to more closely reflect the now known "Blitzkrieg" tactics of the German forces. How does Mr. Quinn's position hold up on this forum?