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hi8ha
09-27-2008, 04:49 PM
What was France contribution to WWII?

The only thing I can think of is the Maquies, cheeses, wines (including champagne) and French food.
Ooops, almost forgot, a place to land in order to reach Germany/Berlin.

kamehouse
09-27-2008, 07:40 PM
Way to start in a WW2 forum.Well done you!

Nickdfresh
09-27-2008, 07:43 PM
What was France contribution to WWII?

The only thing I can think of is the Maquies, cheeses, wines (including champagne) and French food.
Ooops, almost forgot, a place to land in order to reach Germany/Berlin.


Why don't you do some reading on it, and get back to us. I guess their contribution would be the blood of their 190,000 soldiers killed in combat, and absorbing the first blows of the German "schwerpunkt" effectively waking the world the hell up! Including the US, which would likely have been destroyed wholesale in 1940 had we not had an ocean to buffer us from the panzers and Luftwaffe...

kamehouse
09-27-2008, 07:50 PM
They also made a good rearguard to help the British in Dunkirk.

Nickdfresh
09-27-2008, 07:54 PM
They also made a good rearguard to help the British in Dunkirk.

Don't forget letting Hitler take them over, so he could take all of the unreliable French Army trucks to the USSR, where they broke down wholesale, causing a severe disruption in Wehrmacht logistics by the beginning of 1942. And force the Boshe back to the horse and wagon...

Sort of an automotive "Montezuma's Revenge!" ;)

aly j
09-28-2008, 05:16 AM
What was France contribution to WWII?

The only thing I can think of is the Maquies, cheeses, wines (including champagne) and French food.
Ooops, almost forgot, a place to land in order to reach Germany/Berlin.

France took the full brunt first, meaning that the German War Machine was fully loaded and not weaken at any point.what the french conribution too ww2 ,i think the underground and resistance fighters,and i think that help the allies. :shock:

Adrian Wainer
09-28-2008, 07:31 AM
Bir Hakeim anyone ?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Bir_Hakeim

and of course it would be impolite of me to go in to detail about how the Liner the St Louis with Jewish refugees from the Third Reich was refused permission to land at an American port, so I won't other than to say it might be an idea Hi8ha to draw a distinction between the patriotic Free French then and now and the likes of Vichistes and their modern equivalent in Les Collaboratuers d'Intifada Francaise in the same way I would draw a distinction between those in the USA who thought Herr Hitler was regularly sort of guy with good ideas on race and a healthy lifesytle and those who thought he was a fascist scumbag.

Best and Warm Regards
Adrian Wainer

flamethrowerguy
09-28-2008, 09:02 AM
Ironically not to forget the french to fight with the "Charlemagne" division in besieged Berlin till the very end. Henri-Joseph Fenet and Eugene Vaulot (Voulot?) earned their Knight's Crosses there on April 29, 1945.

aly j
09-28-2008, 09:56 AM
France took the full brunt first, meaning that the German War Machine was fully loaded and not weaken at any point.what the french conribution too ww2 ,i think the underground and resistance fighters,and i think that help the allies. :shock:

Im correcting myself here:shock:
It was poland that took the full brunt first.

Adrian Wainer
09-28-2008, 03:26 PM
Ironically not to forget the french to fight with the "Charlemagne" division in besieged Berlin till the very end. Henri-Joseph Fenet and Eugene Vaulot (Voulot?) earned their Knight's Crosses there on April 29, 1945.

Fighting for a Third Reich that did what it did at Oradour Sur Glane is in my view at the least a mistake. That any honour should be at attached to it, is questionable.

Best and Warm Regards
Adrian Wainer

flamethrowerguy
09-28-2008, 03:33 PM
Fighting for a Third Reich that did what it did at Oradour Sur Glane is in my view at the least a mistake. That any honour should be at attached to it, is questionable.

Best and Warm Regards
Adrian Wainer

Adrian, what's up? You're on the warpath tonight?
BTW, "Oradour" was an excess crime committed by one company (military term for a group of about 60 to 250 soldiers). A little side-fact: most members of that company were from Alsace-Lorraine.
Anyway, an inexcusable excess crime but one must consider all circumstances to lead to the incident.

mike M.
09-28-2008, 04:00 PM
it would be impolite of me to go in to detail about how the Liner the St Louis with Jewish refugees from the Third Reich was refused permission to land at an American port,
Best and Warm Regards
Adrian Wainer

Interesting ...I didn't know much about this and reading about it, its something I'm not proud of but hind sight is 20/20. Remember the year was 1939, as far as I know, we knew nothing about the death camps. The ship was bound for Cuba and because the passengers couldn't pay $500 each, they were turned away and only then tried for the united states. We had strict immigration laws and quotas back then.



http://www.ushmm.org/wlc/article.php?ModuleId=10005267

"Quotas set out in the 1924 Immigration Act strictly limited the number of immigrants who could be admitted to the United States each year. In 1939, the annual combined German-Austrian immigration quota was 27,370 and was quickly filled. In fact, there was a waiting list of at least several years. Visas could have been granted to the passengers only by denying them to the thousands of German Jews who had already applied for them. President Roosevelt could have issued an executive order to admit additional refugees, but chose not to do so for a variety of political reasons.

American public opinion, although ostensibly sympathetic to the plight of refugees and critical of Hitler's policies, still favored immigration restrictions. The Great Depression had left millions of Americans unemployed and fearful of economic competition for the scarce few jobs available. It also fueled antisemitism, xenophobia, nativism, and isolationism. A Fortune Magazine poll at the time indicated that 83 percent of Americans opposed relaxing restrictions on immigration."

Nickdfresh
09-28-2008, 04:09 PM
Interesting ...I didn't know much about this and reading about it, its something I'm not proud of but hind sight is 20/20. Remember the year was 1939, as far as I know, we knew nothing about the death camps. The ship was bound for Cuba and because the passengers couldn't pay $500 each, they were turned away and only then tried for the united states. We had strict immigration laws and quotas back then.



http://www.ushmm.org/wlc/article.php?ModuleId=10005267

"Quotas set out in the 1924 Immigration Act strictly limited the number of immigrants who could be admitted to the United States each year. In 1939, the annual combined German-Austrian immigration quota was 27,370 and was quickly filled. In fact, there was a waiting list of at least several years. Visas could have been granted to the passengers only by denying them to the thousands of German Jews who had already applied for them. President Roosevelt could have issued an executive order to admit additional refugees, but chose not to do so for a variety of political reasons.

American public opinion, although ostensibly sympathetic to the plight of refugees and critical of Hitler's policies, still favored immigration restrictions. The Great Depression had left millions of Americans unemployed and fearful of economic competition for the scarce few jobs available. It also fueled antisemitism, xenophobia, nativism, and isolationism. A Fortune Magazine poll at the time indicated that 83 percent of Americans opposed relaxing restrictions on immigration."

The "death camps" didn't really ramp up until much later, early 1942. It was America's entry in the War that was the final signing of the implicit, if unmentionable, death warrant of the Third Reich from a Nazi-German point of view...Hence, they were to insure that their perceived enemies, the Jews, would never survive...

See the film "Conspiracy." Extremely well done and an encapsulation of the meeting "minutes" of the "Wannsee Conference."

hi8ha
09-28-2008, 06:34 PM
To all:


Please accept my apologies for the politically incorrect comments I posted.
It was not my intention to neither offend nor disrespect the French, the members of this forum or start a fight. I could, should, must have avoided the sarcasm, word it differently and avoid putting my foot in my mouth.
Once again please accept my apologies.


P.S. Thanks pdf27

Adrian Wainer
09-28-2008, 07:46 PM
Adrian, what's up? You're on the warpath tonight?
BTW, "Oradour" was an excess crime committed by one company (military term for a group of about 60 to 250 soldiers). A little side-fact: most members of that company were from Alsace-Lorraine.
Anyway, an inexcusable excess crime but one must consider all circumstances to lead to the incident.

Nothing personal against yourself, like really I have never particularly interested myself in the Waffen SS but at the same time I certainly can concede the possability that individuals and individual units could have fought in a honourable manner themselves, even if the regime they were fighting far was thoroughly repelent and I certainly do not accept the concept of Waffen SS bad, German Army good. That said, whilst not knowing much about the French element of the SS, it would seem to me that there would be a lot less justification for a French person to join the SS than say an Estonian, a Latvian or Lithuanian as those countries had been part of the Russian Empire, had only a few short years of independence and in came the Russians again and occupied them and as far as many people in those countries were concerned the Third Reich was not seen as a Nazi state but as the continuation of Imperial Germany, which was seen as progressive and liberal compared to Russia. On the other hand, France had never been occupied by Russia but had been at War with Germany three times in a relatively short period and in the last conflict the Germans had resorted to poison gas and the Nazis were hardly invading France to bring democracy, so I find it difficult to come up with a rationale as to why a French person would think they would be doing the right thing in joining the SS.

Best and Warm Regards
Adrian Wainer

Adrian Wainer
09-28-2008, 08:14 PM
To all:


Please accept my apologies for the politically incorrect comments I posted.
It was not my intention to neither offend nor disrespect the French, the members of this forum or start a fight. I could, should, must have avoided the sarcasm, word it differently and avoid putting my foot in my mouth.
Once again please accept my apologies.


P.S. Thanks pdf27

Hi everybody makes mistakes e.g. Winston Churchill made lots of mistakes so you are in some pretty prestige company and really I would not worry about the "politically correct" thing too much like there are folks here that stick up for the Waffen SS, which is about as politically incorrect as you can get. Personally speaking I have a big problem with certain French elites but that of course is not the whole Country and there are all sorts of French people with all sort of opinions, more than few of them think the political establishment and establishment media have let the country go to the dogs.

and on the off chance you have not come accross it before, the following site is great resource for the ridicule of French establishment faux pas such as mindless anti-Americanism

http://no-pasaran.blogspot.com/2008_09_21_archive.html

Best and Warm Regards
Adrian Wainer

flamethrowerguy
09-29-2008, 06:58 AM
Nothing personal against yourself, like really I have never particularly interested myself in the Waffen SS but at the same time I certainly can concede the possability that individuals and individual units could have fought in a honourable manner themselves, even if the regime they were fighting far was thoroughly repelent and I certainly do not accept the concept of Waffen SS bad, German Army good. That said, whilst not knowing much about the French element of the SS, it would seem to me that there would be a lot less justification for a French person to join the SS than say an Estonian, a Latvian or Lithuanian as those countries had been part of the Russian Empire, had only a few short years of independence and in came the Russians again and occupied them and as far as many people in those countries were concerned the Third Reich was not seen as a Nazi state but as the continuation of Imperial Germany, which was seen as progressive and liberal compared to Russia. On the other hand, France had never been occupied by Russia but had been at War with Germany three times in a relatively short period and in the last conflict the Germans had resorted to poison gas and the Nazis were hardly invading France to bring democracy, so I find it difficult to come up with a rationale as to why a French person would think they would be doing the right thing in joining the SS.

Best and Warm Regards
Adrian Wainer

So what's your opinion why they joined?
Actually the Soviet Union was seen as a threat for Central respectively Northern Europe's freedom by many (ten thousands of Dutch, Flemings, Walloones, Scandinavians). That's not only my opinion to this but surely this of most volunteers according to the many printed personal stories.

kamehouse
09-29-2008, 08:29 AM
Ahhh the Charlemagne division and its controversies.In Mabire's books they are often portrayed as more against Bolchevism than anything else.The reality is more complicated as always.The Charlemagne was made up of three different kind of soldiers,first was the Legion des Volontaires Francais (LVF) in the Heer which consisted of mainly military soldiers trying to redeem themselves of the defeat of 1940.Then the Brigade Frankreich in the Waffen-SS filled by young Vichyiste(sp?) full of hate for the Communists.Both were added together to form the core of the division.They were later joined by some reinforcements from fleeing French collaborationists who'd rather fight in the Eastern Front than get shot in their country.They were always some rivalry between the LVF and Frankreich but at the end they all died together in Berlin.
A little side story as well,all soldiers that fought in Berlin were volunteers.They did have the choice to leave the last regiment (the other one was decimated in Pomerania)and return to France.Some of them did and 12 soldiers were captured by Leclerc 2nd Division Blindee while in their journey back.
When Leclerc asked them why they were wearing some German uniform,one of them replied:Why do you wear American ones?(the 2eme DB was equipped by the US army) They were all shot except one whose father was a high ranked officer and a personal friend of Leclerc.
What the Division Charlemagne proves is that a French soldier is as good as any other soldiers as long the officer is on par with their duty.

B5N2KATE
09-29-2008, 12:00 PM
Gentlemen....

Comments of the ups and downs of French participation in WW2 have come from other quarters, in addition to the poster above, and I might add, it was a mighty amusing post!

But he is not the only one to feel a little let down....

This is what German historian GERHARD L. WEINBERG, has to say....from a piece he wrote for an American wargamer's magazine I used to subscribe to, COMMAND (Issue 22, page 53)....

FRANCE

Next, it's France's turn. And here I would like to take up an entirely different kind of topic. It is a puzzle to which someone ought to provide a satisfactory answer. As yet, no-one as far as I know has even formulated the question. The puzzle is the following:

Why was the army of Vichy France willing and able to fight everyone on the face of the earth EXCEPT for the Germans, the Italians, and the Japanese?

In 1940, at the same time as the army at Dakar was fighting off the British and Free French, the army in northern Indo-China was not called on to defend that French Colony against Japan. In the summer of 1941, the French army in Syria fought desperately against the British, the Australians, and the Free French; at the same time, there was no resistance to the Japanese occupation of southern Indo-China. In early 1942, the Vichy government urged the Germans to agree to joint efforts to try to get the Japanese to land on Madagascar. When, with strong U.S. endorsement, British forces landed at the northern end of Madagascar, the French army fought. When American soldiers landed in North West Africa, hundreds of them were killed by French bullets, but not one German or Italian soldier was as much as scratched when they landed in Tunisia or took over the unoccupied portion of France.

The literature on Vichy deals with each of those incidents in isolation without ever putting them together, without looking at the pattern.

The French forces in all these events were commanded by leaders who made their way up the promotions ladder in the pre-war years. They had carefully weeded out all the Jewish officers in a delayed reaction to the Dreyfus Affair. This was then what it's leaders saw as the true army of France, and it would fight only the friends, but never the enemies, of the country.
It is my hope that someone will address this problem. Now that the French archives for those years are beginning to open, we may learn more about these issues.

Comments?

If you think this is controversial, I will gladly type out the rest of this thought provoking piece.

I, myself, have often wondered why France was so full of "Maquisades" at the fall of Paris when the occupation by the Germans had been rather cordial and willing co-operation from the general French populace quite widespread.....

B5N2KATE
09-29-2008, 12:37 PM
As for Oradour-Sur-Glane, the man responsible for ordering Das Reich Division to carry out this atrocity (Heinz Lammerding) is still wanted and has been sentenced to death in absentia for his orders.

The massacre was a reprisal for the murder of one of Das Reich's officers by local maquis..

Case of "tit-for-tat", wouldn't you say?

flamethrowerguy
09-29-2008, 12:49 PM
As for Oradour-Sur-Glane, the man responsible for ordering Das Reich Division to carry out this atrocity (Heinz Lammerding) is still wanted and has been sentenced to death in absentia for his orders.

The massacre was a reprisal for the murder of one of Das Reich's officers by local maquis..

Case of "tit-for-tat", wouldn't you say?

Uhm, former SS-Gruppenführer (Lieutenant General) Heinz Lammerding died on January 13, 1971 in Bad Tölz/Bavaria.
The officer murdered by the Marquis was Obersturmbannführer Helmut Kämpfe (CO of 3rd armoured battalion/Regiment "Der Führer" of 2nd SS "Das Reich).
Lammerding was indeed sentenced to death (in absentia) by a french court but he was never handed over by Germany.

Adrian Wainer
09-29-2008, 01:26 PM
This is what German historian GERHARD L. WEINBERG, has to say....from a piece he wrote for an American wargamer's magazine I used to subscribe to, COMMAND (Issue 22, page 53)....


Fascinating would love to see more, if you have the time and other folks here don't mind.

Best and Warm Regards
Adrian Wainer

flamethrowerguy
09-29-2008, 01:36 PM
Very interesting indeed, just Gerhard Ludwig Weinberg isn't a german but a US-american historian of german-jewish origin. Just a note in the margin.

B5N2KATE
09-29-2008, 01:43 PM
Comimg right up....just let me have a short break, and I'll give you the entire thing!

kamehouse
09-29-2008, 02:48 PM
Comments?

Here's mine:
Are you actually surprised that the Vichy government and its army was shooting at the British and the Americans and not at the German and Italians?
Here's a clue:the Vichy government was actually a collaborationist state and enjoyed its friendship with other fascists regime and even if they weren't,they had to show their support or Germany would control the rest of the country.The "rafle du Vel d'hiv" being one example of collaboration and the most shameful event of French history.
As to the attitude towards Jews in France, well let's put it that way:Before the holocaust became known and proven,hating Jewish people was actually politically correct in most of European countries and not only in Germany.Anything goes wrong in your country?Blame the Jews! A plague?The Jews!Economic disaster?Guess who?
It was like a tradition from older times that carried on until 1945.
It's only after the war that people's view and opinion towards the Jewish community changed to the point they gave them a country.

Adrian Wainer
09-29-2008, 03:09 PM
It's only after the war that people's view and opinion towards the Jewish community changed to the point they gave them a country.

Well I think, the phraseology "gave them a country" might be pushing things a bit far in that for instance, the British in the 1940s early post war period had so much military kit on hand they were doing things like burning aircraft on airfields and digging pits and dumping them in to them to clear out the surplus to requirements equipment and Britain was chronically short of foreign exchange and yet the only aircraft the Israeli airforce could get hold of were a few Czech built Me Bf 109s which agravated the allready serious problems arising from this design's narrow track undercarriage through the new engine prop combination. Meanwhile the newly emergent State was theatened by attack by several regularly equipped and established Armed forces of a number of Arab states such as for example Jordan's Arab Legion.

Best and Warm Regards
Adrian Wainer

kamehouse
09-29-2008, 05:31 PM
What I meant is that Israel would have taken far more years to exist if it wasn't for the suffering of the Jewish people during the Holocaust.

B5N2KATE
09-30-2008, 04:50 AM
Germany ended up occupying Vichy anyway, and as Mr. Weinberg points out, NOT A SHOT FIRED IN ANGER...

Vichy troops, in every engagement that I'm aware of in Trans-Jordan were given ample opportunity to lay down their arms peacefully, or to switch sides and become "Free French"....There are not many examples of wholesale switching of sides....NONE, in fact.

You wonder why Churchill had no time for co-operation with Germany? Well, the Vichy experience proved him correct in his assumptions....too bad that the general populace of Vichy did not agree.....and what ever happened to the celebrated French pechant for standing up against oppression? Examine the record of the Maquis and you won't find much in the way of activity inside the border of Vichy France. I have even discussed this issue with French people that I know very well who were alive at the time and residing in France, and Mr Gohier informs me that David Irving's assertion that "German occupation was, in the main, very cordial and correct," was in fact, true.
John further stated that the Germans had some kind of respect for French culture and the French people....and that when the Americans arrived, "they simply flattened EVERYTHING.."

John wondered, as I do, why France's performance in WW2 did not show far more grit and substance. They blamed the English for the fiasco in 1940, and a popular uprising of the Slovakian type or the wide and terrible partisan actions in the Ukraine were just unheard of.
France's post-war posturing, a lot of it anti-American, can be traced directly to this period. De Gaulle went out of his way to distance France from their American allies during his tenure as President....do you want me to go on?

The story of France in WW2 has yet to be told, and Weinberg is like others in hoping that the opening of French archives will shed some light on the entire issue....

I will give you the rest of his article soon....but meantime, ponder and hold on to your seats....You should see what he has to say about GERMANY and ENGLAND! (diabolical laughter!!!!)

B5N2KATE
09-30-2008, 04:56 AM
Furthermore, your comments regarding the rest of Europe being quite anti-Semitic are not lone statements...

I have heard this from others, and read the same...

It seems that the history of the Holocaust, it's causes and reasons, has yet to be fully written as well. World War 2 still has many uncovered secrets to ponder over. The next 10-15 years could see a total revolution in the way we look at this conflict....

Exciting time to be interested in the historical record of the period....

Adrian Wainer
09-30-2008, 06:17 AM
Hi B5N2KATE, what I think gets most people confused about France is that they assume, that France and the United Kingdom are natural allies, where as the natural alliance in Europe is between Germany and the United Kingdom. Off hand I can't remember when the alliance between Germany and Britain broke down but at a guess, it would have been on Germany's insistence on competing with the Royal Navy prior to WW1. Furthermore, whilst France did give strong support to the United States in the early days of the formation of that country, once the United States becomes a major player in its own right, it then gets lumped in to the generalized threats and competition to French interests as an Anglo-Saxon English speaking state. All that said, in respect of individual French and their dealings with the Third Reich, one must be careful to remember just what the ordinary French people were dealing with in making criticism of their behaviour during the occupation, as the example of Oradour sur glane graphically illustrates and one should draw a sharp distinction between the active collaboration with the Third Reich of many French citizens and the unspoken sullen resentment at being occupied by the Third Reich felt by many other French citizens.

Best and Warm Regards
Adrian Wainer

pdf27
09-30-2008, 07:12 AM
Couple of comments:
1) If you want to know why France did so poorly in WW2, go into any French church and read the names on the WW1 memorial. If you're in a rural area, the chances are the number of names on the list will be greater than the total population currently living there. France had the heart ripped out of it in WW1, with the male population of military age being decimated in the literal, classical sense. UK ground troops often fought poorly for the same reason.
2) De Gaulle's estrangement from the US has a postwar cause - Suez. They felt deeply betrayed by the US over it (justifiably, IMHO), and ever since French foreign/industrial policy has been such as to ensure that no foreign power ever has a veto over them again. The UK felt equally badly used about Suez, but the reaction there was instead to ensure that it was never seperated from the US on anything important again.

Nickdfresh
09-30-2008, 07:28 AM
And the idea that the French were inherently cowardly is pretty absurd. They suffered heavy casualties in the Battle for France, and tended to do well when the shock of the Schwerpunkt was softened by the wearing down of the panzer arm. Specifically, ironically after the battle had been decided and the French gov't was on the verge of collapse, did the French offer serious resistance in the hedgerows of Normandy when the Germans were forced to rely on conventional infantry and artillery battles.

The French military system, just as the Soviets, was seriously flawed and unable to cope with the Wehrmacht's fast moving command and control because they simply moved at a much slower pace. Add to that critical errors that the French and BEF commands made such as leaping into Belgium and refusing to recognize the potential of the technology that they themselves possessed. Once "Sickle Cut" went through the Ardennes, there was little that could have been done.

Adrian Wainer
09-30-2008, 09:00 AM
Vercors is a very different sort of France to that of the Paris elites

http://www.resistance-drome.org/uk/index.html

http://books.google.co.uk/books?q=drome+resistance+&btnG=Search+Books

Best and Warm Regards
Adrian Wainer