• Richard CarswellEmail author


This chapter poses the central question of the book: Why did France fall in 1940? Writers and historians have usually replied in one or more of four different ways: that France was decadent and defeat was inevitable; that France was burdened by numerous constraints that made the country vulnerable to collapse; that France’s policy-makers failed collectively and individually to prepare the country for war; and, lastly, that the fall was first and foremost a military defeat in which contingent factors played a deciding role. The book suggests that, nowadays, the academic consensus favours this last explanation. Yet this consensus has still to percolate into the French collective memory of 1940. The memory of the military defeat remains conflated with that of the demise of the Third Republic.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.RichmondUK

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