Military "Culture" and the Fall of France in 1940, A Review Essay
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On May 10, 1940, Germany’s panzers launched their westward assault on France. Attacking through the thick forests of the Ardennes, German forces rapidly breached French defenses near Sedan, then swept west to envelop the main French and British armies that had advanced to meet what French Commander in Chief Maurice Gamelin had expected to be the main German attack in Belgium. Adolf Hitler’s legions marched into Paris on June 12, 1940. A shattered French government, overwhelmed by the magnitude of its defeat, sued for peace and signed an armistice at Compiègne on June 22, 1940. The British Expeditionary Force ºed across the English Channel, abandoning its equipment on the beaches of Dunkirk. Few defeats in military history have been as rapid, decisive, and unexpected.