The Republic in Danger: General Maurice Gamelin and the Politics of French Defence, 1933-1940

The Republic in Danger: General Maurice Gamelin and the Politics of French Defence, 1933-1940

by Martin S. Alexander
     
 

This is the first full-length study in English of the political and strategic influence of one of France's most controversial military leaders, General Maurice Gamelin (1872-1958). Gamelin was reviled by many of his contemporaries and denigrated by two generations of historians as 'the man who lost the Battle of France' in 1940. Here Gamelin is reappraised in the… See more details below

Overview

This is the first full-length study in English of the political and strategic influence of one of France's most controversial military leaders, General Maurice Gamelin (1872-1958). Gamelin was reviled by many of his contemporaries and denigrated by two generations of historians as 'the man who lost the Battle of France' in 1940. Here Gamelin is reappraised in the context of the unstable civil-military relations and national decline during 1935-1940 when he had major responsibility for French security. The author bases his account on hitherto inaccessible primary sources in France and Belgium, as well as on public and private archives in Britain and the USA. The evidence reviewed, including Gamelin's private headquarters' diary, provides the basis for a revision of the earlier hostile portraits of the general. The author argues that less attention should be paid to the campaign in France in 1940 by which time Gamelin's role was that of an inter-allied coordinator and senior adviser to the Franco-British Supreme War Council. Rather, he suggests that great credit is due to Gamelin for his success in holding together the pre-war civil-military consensus, and for rearming France by 1939.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780521524292
Publisher:
Cambridge University Press
Publication date:
10/31/2003
Pages:
587
Product dimensions:
5.98(w) x 8.98(h) x 1.30(d)

Table of Contents

Acknowledgements
Introduction: Maurice Gamelin, the defence of France and the decline of the Third Republic1
1The making of a republican general13
2Gamelin and the rebirth of German power34
3First responses: defence versus detente in the Laval era56
4The Popular Front, the army and politics80
5The road to rearmament: Gamelin, Daladier and Popular Front defence policy110
6Gamelin and air support of the army142
7Gamelin, the Maginot Line and Belgium172
8Gamelin, Yugoslavia and the eastern alliances: assets or embarrassments?210
9Men or material? Gamelin and British support for France236
10Czechoslovakia, Poland, the Soviet Union: from appeasement to war279
11Gamelin and the fall of Poland314
12The Twilight War: military stagnation and political conflict348
Conclusion378
App. (1) Diagrammatic organisation of the French high command404
App. (2) Distribution of the four-year armaments programme of September 1936 (Le programme de 14 milliards)406
Notes407
Bibliography518
Index557

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