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Franco - British Union in 1940

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  • Franco - British Union in 1940

    As an alternative to surrender in June 1940 there was a proposal supported by Churchill, Reynaud and De Gaulle for Britain and France to merge and form one unified country. Unfortunately most of the French cabinet preferred to surrender to the Nazis.

    But what if there had been more support for the unification? How would it have changed the war?

    Presumably the French colonies would have continued the war, the French navy would have joined the RN. There would have been a very different North African campaign. Without the collaboration of Vichy the Germans would have had to keep more troops in France.

    Also assuming ultimate victory what differences would there be post war? Would the union be dissolved as soon as he war ended or would there be a longer term union?
    "To be free is better than to be unfree - always."

  • #2
    As it was historically presented, no - no chance in hell. I'm quite busy at work right now, will explain a bit later later! ciao!
    You'll live, only the best get killed.

    -General Charles de Gaulle

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    • #3
      One is inclined to agree with Monsieur Asterix - I don't think it makes much strategic sense for either state and could certainly only encourage a counterweight power.
      ------
      'I would rather be exposed to the inconveniencies attending too much liberty than those attending too small a degree of it.' - Thomas Jefferson

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      • #4
        On the face of it, Weygand's L'Armee d'Afrique takes Libya before Rommel arrives (he gets a Corps. on the Steppe instead), and Bismarck gets pounded by Prince of Wales and Richelieu...
        "I am Groot"
        - Groot

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        • #5
          The idea behind the Franco-British Union (Anglo-French...depending how you prefer to say it), was in itself not a bad idea at all, and had great potential, at least in principal. A sort of non-treaty agreement of close mutual cooperation so to speak.

          What was bad about it, was it's impeccably horrible bad timing - it was an act of desperation at the very last minute with very little clout as it was only offered in it's most vague form, and caused only more suspicion on the part of Petain and Co. of British intentions.

          The agreement as it was, had a very good idea behind it but was very hastily put together in less than a few days by ambassadors and ministers acting on theory, mainly Frenchman Jean Monnet and his British counterpart Arthur Salter. Even when WC was presented with it, he was pessimistic. De Gaulle himself thought the idea was an "illusion based on a myth". Both men nevertheless went along with it in some vain hope something could be salvaged. It was delayed further when, in order to follow protocol, it had to pass through a few clerical hurdles which was made difficult because the Foreign Office was closed and the clerks were absent. This made for a rather comical in which Generals, ministers, ambassadors and attachés digging through files for the proper paperwork.

          To make the following as short as possible, when de Gaulle phone PM Reynaud, he had to repeat himself a few times as Reynaud was in disbelief of what he was hearing. De Gaulle handed to the phone to WC who told Reynaud himself it was true. It lifted the French PM considerably, but by now the French cabinet was in no mood. The cabinet was split into thirds, with one third opting to fight on (led by Reynaud), one third wanting an armistice (led by Petain), and the last third undecided. As time went on, this undecided group slowly sided with the pro-armistice group.

          When Reynaud presented the affair to the cabinet, they sat in stunned silence. After a few moments, it was clear even them the whole things was only just conceived from a figment of someone's imagination. By then, Petain had already convinced President Lebrun to send out peace feeler. Some declared that France would not become a British dominion, or should have any control of any French possessions. Another minister declared, in that very harsh sense of realism, even fatalism that only a French politician could give, that "We know what an armistice with germany means....we have no idea what this Franco-British Union means.". They decided to ask what Hitler's terms would be first, before agreeing to anything like this Union. If the terms were unacceptable, they would leave for Algiers. Unfortunately, it would be Petain who would be the final arbiter of what was acceptable or not.

          It was simply way too late for such a profound agreement. Now...had such an agreement been made during the early to mid 1930s, this could have possibly worked as it would have given people time to properly define it, work out details, and set protocols. As it was presented at literally the last hour, it sounded more like the lofty preamble to a constitution that hadn't yet been written.

          Originally posted by Marmat View Post
          On the face of it, Weygand's L'Armee d'Afrique takes Libya before Rommel arrives
          Unfortunately, General Weygand was firmly in Petain's camp at the above meeting, so not very feasible. It didn't help matters that he absolutely hated Reynaud and Lebrun and at that point would have gladly allowed the worst to happen to see them go.
          Last edited by asterix; 29 May 14, 20:13.
          You'll live, only the best get killed.

          -General Charles de Gaulle

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