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The Collapse of the Third Republic: An…

The Collapse of the Third Republic: An Inquiry into the Fall of France in…

by William L. Shirer

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In one of his outbursts, Hitler is described by diplomats as stating Czechoslovakia was not worth a pfennig.
What a contrast with the rushed billions from the IMS towards Ukraine, 74 years later, assuming the fourteen millions of native Russian speakers of 2014 Ukraine - not an insignificant minority, could be compared to the three millions Sudeten Germans.

In view of the current boot noises in the East and muscled debates over who controls the world's sources of energy, Shirer captivating account of failed diplomacy, military betrayals and vain hopes for peace is worth revisiting.
A mosaic of testimonies of how the world failed to stop the armed conquest of the West by a handful of dictators is offered to the reader's consideration. The Munich crisis, the Czechoslovakian deception, the Polish conquest and the Fall of France are given multifaceted view points through speeches, letters, memoranda, conversations, secret or not, some of which the author was a witness of during his stay in Europe.

Some eery incidents are chosen with acumen; how democracies chose to send "volunteers" during the Norwegian / Finnish attempts using the same method as Putin is likely to have used in Ukraine during the Summer of 2014; how the French High Command staff was preparing an invasion of the oil fields of Baku! during the 1939 Phoney war which would have ultimately conquered Moscow with the help of the Finns! Obsessed with anti-communism, individuals like Weygand who had observed Pilsudski's campaing in 1920 Poland, would cancel counter punches to the advancing tank columns of Rommel and Guderian, and would end up as collaborators of the Vichy regime.

Note that this plan was developed while Poland was expected to hold six months against the Wehrmacht while it was finished in 8 days. Such efforts gave German Generals ample time to then move the armored divisions and aviation from the East to the West with the disastrous end results we know.

For those who are desperate to find one common denominating factor to the Fall of France described by Shirer, I recommend reading again the eighth volume of the Adventures of Tintin: "Ottokar Sceptre" by HERGE. ( )
1 vote Artymedon | Sep 2, 2014 |
1240. The Collapse of the Third Republic: An Inquiry into the Fall of France in 1940, by William L. Shirer (7 Sep 1973) This book is not very well-written, and of course it has a depressing subject. I was too familiar with most of it to enjoy it. I had hoped the events of the 1930s with which I am not too familiar would be interesting but the treatment of them was rather superficial. Shirer is a newspaperman, not a historian. ( )
  Schmerguls | Mar 30, 2009 |
Impressive account of the turbulent history of France in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. The weeks immediately before the outbreak of war in 1939 and of the invasion of France the following year are covered in great detail, and it makes for gripping, if exasperating reading. One is left with the impression that the Vichy era was a logical consequence to the social unrest of the 1930s rather than the aberration that it was for so long claimed to be. Shirer still packs a punch, even after nearly forty years. ( )
  cappybear | Mar 1, 2009 |
definitive story of the Fall of France in 1940 from a war correspondant's perspective. a complete review of the European social and political world from the Peace of Versailles to the German lightning victory ( )
  robertg69 | Dec 19, 2006 |
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Dov'è la Francia? Che ne è dei francesi?
al tempo dell'affare Dreyfus
Quasiasi forma possa assumere il trionfo finale, ci vorranno molti anni prima che l'onta del 1940 possa essere cancellata.
... È stata la più terribile disfattta di tutta la nostra lunga storia nazionale.
prima di esssere fucilato dai tedeschi nel 1944
Lo stato maggiore nel 1914 era pronto per la guerra del 1870, e nel 1940 per quella del 1914.
ministro dell'Aeronautica, 1938040
La nostra storia è divenuta una sorta di guerra civile permante. Ci insegna a odiarci l'un l'altro.
È giunto il giorno fatale in cui non siamo di sostenere né i nostri vizi né i loro rimedi.
Alla memoria di mio fratello John
morto improvvisamente
nel momento in cui stavo per terminare questo libro
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Il crollo della Terza Repubblica francese nella dolce primavera-estate del 1940 fu uno spettacolo terribile.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0671203371, Hardcover)

On June 17, 1940 William L. Shirer stood in the streets of Paris and watched the unending flow of gray German uniforms along its boulevards. In just six lovely weeks in the spring and summer of 1940 a single battle brought down in total military defeat one of the world's oldest, greatest, and most civilized powers—the second mightiest empire on earth and the possessor of one of the finest military machines ever assembled. How did it happen? After nearly a decade of research in the massive archives left from World War II and after hundreds of conversations with the Third Republic’s leaders, generals, diplomats, and ordinary citizens, Shirer presents the definitive answer in his stunning re-creation of why and how France fell before Hitler's armies in 1940. His book is also a devastating examination of the confusion, corruption, and cynicism that drained the strength and toughness of a democracy which Thomas Jefferson once called "every man's second country." This book complements and completes the dramatic story of The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich and continues to rank as one of the most important works of history of our time.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:17:02 -0400)

After setting the stage with a look at the founding of the Republic in 1871, describes the political, social, and religious divisions in the country, the "Maginot Line complex" growing out of military trust in a defensive war, and the deleterious effect of the tragedy of World War I.… (more)

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