France 1940: Defending the Republic
From Nivedita Mallina
April 16, 2015
12 P.M. • Aaron Burr Hall, Room 219 In this revisionist account of France’s crushing defeat in 1940, Philip Nord argues in his book that the nation’s downfall has long been misunderstood. He assesses France’s diplomatic and military preparations for war with Germany, its conduct of the war once the fighting began, and the political consequences of defeat on the battlefield. He also tracks attitudes among French leaders once defeat seemed a likelihood, identifying who among them took advantage of the nation’s misfortunes to sabotage democratic institutions and plot an authoritarian way forward. In his book, Nord states that the longstanding view that France’s collapse was due to military unpreparedness and a decadent national character is unsupported by fact. He reveals that the Third Republic was no worse prepared and its military failings no less dramatic than those of the United States and other Allies in the early years of the war.
Co-sponsored by the Program in Contemporary European Politics and Society.