In this revisionist account of France's crushing defeat in 1940, Philip Nord argues that the nation's downfall has long been misunderstood. Nord 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. Ultimately, he finds that the longstanding view that France's collapse was due to military unpreparedness and a decadent national character is unsupported by fact.
Nord 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. What was unique in France was the betrayal by military and political elites who abandoned the Republic and supported the reprehensible Vichy takeover. Why then have historians and politicians ever since interpreted the defeat as a judgment on the nation as a whole? Why has the focus been on the failings of the Third Republic and not on elite betrayal? The author examines these questions in a fascinating conclusion.
©2015 Philip Nord (P)2015 Tantor
Show More Show Less

Critic reviews

"A well thought-out and well-presented book on a thorny problem of European history." (Robert Gildea, author of Marianne in Chains)
Show More Show Less

Regular price: £19.39

Free with 30-day trial
Membership details Membership details
  • A 30-day trial plus your first audiobook, free
  • 1 credit/month after trial – choose any book, any price
  • Easy exchanges – swap any book you don’t love
  • Keep your audiobooks, even if you cancel
  • Free, unlimited access to Audio Shows
  • After your trial, Audible is just £7.99/month
Select or Add a new payment method

Buy Now with 1 Credit

By completing your purchase, you agree to Audible's Conditions of Use and Privacy Notice.

Buy Now for £19.39

Pay using card ending in
By completing your purchase, you agree to Audible's Conditions of Use and Privacy Notice.
No Reviews are Available

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Keanu Heydari on 11-02-16

A much needed revision to oversimplified, partisan historiography

Nord's prose is worthy of congratulation alone. Were it not also for his piercing analysis, one could end the review here. For the sake of the interested reader, it's my pleasure to add that Nord handles the Laval administration and the Reynaud ministry with a balanced, nuanced deconstructive hammer. He demystifies and clarifies how exactly Paris fell in 1940. Gently and respectfully pushing back against Bloch's decline-ist narrative, Nord paints a picture of ruthless fascists taking advantage of a faltering Third Republic.

Read more Hide me
See all reviews