5. Lessons Learned
6. Works Cited
In the spring of 1940 Europe was enveloped in war. The German military machine had already conquered Poland, Denmark, and Norway. However, not content with northern and eastern expansion, Adolf Hitler wanted to control the western countries in Europe. Hitler had long been obsessed with attacking and controlling France. After their defeat in World War I, the German people, government, and military were humiliated by the enormous post war sanctions leveraged against them from the Treaty of Versailles. Hitler wanted to defeat and humiliate the French people in the same way that his country had to experience. For him, revenge was necessary. The German plan was to swing into France using a new tactic know as Blitzkrieg or “Lightning War”. Blitzkrieg used speed and surprise along with highly concentrated tank corps, supported by mechanized infantry and airplanes.
Warfare was in a state of transition. Older commanders and generals in the French and British militaries were very cavalry and infantry focused. These commanders believed that cavalry, infantry, and artillery would assure victory in any circumstance, against any foe. They clung to the static tactics of the bygone World War I era. World War I had been fought primarily on French soil, and the military as well as the government never wanted that to happen again, therefore they wanted to reinforce their main border against any future German. Little did they know that only twenty two years later they would be bested by German forces in a way that would shock the world. This research will be analyzing many important assumptions, oversights,...
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... many French commanders not even knowing where their own subordinate units were located.11 The French placed their defense in old, outdated tactics of static warfare. Gone were the days of two sides slugging it out against prepared reinforced defense structures. Closely integrating concentrated armor, infantry, and closely supported by aviation assets all combined to crush France in a matter of only six weeks. France was simply not prepared for this new age of warfare.
Horne, Alistair. To Lose a Battle: France 1940. New York: Penguin, 1990.
Jackson, Julian. The Fall of France: The Nazi Invasion of 1940. New York: Oxford University Press, 2003.
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. “The Holocaust.” Holocaust Encyclopedia, last modified June 10, 2013, http://www.ushmm.org/wlc/en/article.php?ModuleId=10005425.
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