France's lack of preparation for World War II led to 4 years of harsh occupation and memories that rather be forgotten. The French were ignorant in the years leading up to the war and the result was a quick victory by the Germans. The speed and ease in which the French were conquered and the shockwave it caused led to the failure of the Vichy government. The two failures of France which were to provide an adequate defense and a protective interim government for its people dramatically marred the legacy of the once great France. The French's shortcomings of World War II were apparent but each played a role in causing the other. A domino effect occurred and it started years before the war broke out.
[...] I think the reality of the events that took place in France allowed the country to address their short comings. Major change has taken place since the occupation and hopefully France will learn from past mistakes. France lost even before the fighting started. They were out gunned, their strategy was useless and they weren't willing to fight. France was not prepared for the oncoming German storm that approached and it showed. With France's unbelievably quick exit from the fighting came many more hardships. [...]
[...] A country whose government flees and power falls into the hands of an incredibly old veteran of World War I who was not fit for the job. There is a definite correlation between the historic French defeat and Vichy's failure. The members of the Vichy government who witnessed the awe inspiring German might first handed were intimated by their occupiers. I believe they felt they no longer should count on the allies and hopefully if they win the favor of the Germans they will look favorable when the conquest of Europe is complete. [...]
[...] French had one of the world's best air forces in World War I. They excelled in plane designed and challenged the United States for the best aircrafts in the world. With such incredible technology at their disposal and proven air superiority in World War they let their military aircraft become ineffective and outdated. Planes were not seen by the French as a crucial military asset. The Maginot line became all they needed for a successful defense. This failure to recognize airpower's usefulness let the Luftwaffe own the skies over France making the fight easy for the German army. [...]
[...] With the horrors of World War I fresh in the minds of many, another war was the last thing the French people wanted and it showed. The majority of the population was pacifist and it played into the hands of the Germans. If the public was not behind the war effort there could not be a war. Morale is extremely important to any army and to have such a distain for fighting how it could be expected to achieve victory. [...]
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