Remilitarization of the Rhineland

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ljadw
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Re: Remilitarization of the Rhineland

Post by ljadw » 13 Apr 2015 20:28

Sid Guttridge wrote:Hi Guys,



It would have required very limited military efforts by France to secure the Rhine and bring the whole of the remaining Rhineland to its east within artillery range.



Cheers,

Sid.

This would not help France,besides,a return to the statu quo was impossible :an intervention would result in an occupation of Germany or in a retreat to France,and both were out of the question .

CNE503
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Re: Remilitarization of the Rhineland

Post by CNE503 » 13 Apr 2015 20:34

That's why I compared what can be compared: to the German 29 divisions and whatever the Germans could mustered with their WWI veterans and depleted military stocks and armaments, the French could bring on the battlefield on a one-month-timeframe around 80 divisions with full support (not adding Czech, Polish and Belgian contributions, if any).

They lacked only one thing: the will to fight. They lacked will because the country was deeply affected by economic and political domestic crises, doomed by a largely-shared pacifism. So you're right in a sense: France could not win a battle that it didn't want to fight at all, in spite of its military superiority at this time.

CNE503
"Sicut Aquila" / "Ils s'instruisent pour vaincre" / "par l'exemple, le coeur et la raison" / "Labor Omnia Vincit"

Sid Guttridge
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Re: Remilitarization of the Rhineland

Post by Sid Guttridge » 14 Apr 2015 13:10

Hi ljadw,

The following is part of the talk Hitler gave to his service chiefs on 22 August 1939, as reported in evidence at the Nuremberg after the war:

"The founding of Greater Germany was a great achievement politically: on the military side it was questionable as it was attained by bluff on the part of the political leaders...."

Cheers,

Sid.

ljadw
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Re: Remilitarization of the Rhineland

Post by ljadw » 14 Apr 2015 17:53

Hitler had a big interest to say this : it would enable him to pose as the man with the iron will who dared to take risks .A French proverb is saying :à vaincre sans péril,on triomphe sans gloire,which Shakespeare would translate as :victory without danger is triomph without glory .
OTOH,did he say this ? There were no official reports of the 2 speeches from Hitler on 22 august,all we have are notes from some generals ,who are the last to be trusted,as they had all interest to let Hitler say this : it would enable them to blame the Allies for the outbreak of the war .They did it concerning the Rhineland (1936),concerning Münich (1938),inventing the story that they were ready to arrest Hitler,but that the "capitulation" of Chamberlain/Daladier prevented this .They also said that in september 1939,the Allies (meaning:the French) could have advanced unhindered to Berlin .

The problem is that no one knows what Hitler said on 22 august(there were at least 5 contradictory versions of his speech,one was claiming that Hitler was mentionning the Armenian genocide).Hitler was a man who liked to talk,and to talk a lot :the word concisity did not appear in his dictionary,thus,how could some one who was present later remember what Hitler had said ?

Reality is that at the end of the twenties,the FRench army had lost the power to operate offensively east of the Rhine (in the assumption that it ever had that power)

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Re: Remilitarization of the Rhineland

Post by Sid Guttridge » 15 Apr 2015 11:22

Hi ljadw,

You seem to be lined up against both the German political and military leaderships on this one. I am afraid I must lean towards them.

Cheers,

Sid.

ljadw
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Re: Remilitarization of the Rhineland

Post by ljadw » 15 Apr 2015 12:07

CNE503 wrote:That's why I compared what can be compared: to the German 29 divisions and whatever the Germans could mustered with their WWI veterans and depleted military stocks and armaments, the French could bring on the battlefield on a one-month-timeframe around 80 divisions with full support (not adding Czech, Polish and Belgian contributions, if any).



CNE503
I don't see the relevance of this :the comparison of French and German available divisions is overlooking the different missions of both forces : the mission of the WM would be a defensive one,while the French strategy would be an offensive one :chase away the Germans AND remain in Germany :the occupation of the German territories west of the Rhine AND establish garrisons east of the Rhine;this would be the minimum,probably the French would need to go to Berlin and occupy the whole of Germany .(Besides:80 divisions is to high,much to high :the fortress divisions of the ML would be unable to play a role in an offensive) .

There is an interesting comparison with the 2nd Iraq war :the US forces who invaded Iraq were limited to 250000 (if I am not wrong) .Why ? Not because of the strength of the opponent (Iraq) ,but because more was not possible :Rumsfeld said : 250000 men,and you have to do with it .The result was that these 250000 were sufficient to defeat the Iraqi army,but insufficient to occupy and pacify the country .

It was the same for France in 1936:maybe/probably they were strong enough to expel the Germans (although it is questionable,given the small forces who were available for the Saar offensive in 1939) but it was out of the question for France to occupy and pacify the whole of Germany .The occupation of the Ruhr had served as an exemple :when Germany failed to fulfil its obligations from Versailles, France sent 150000 men (not 80 divisions) to occupy the Ruhr (not the whole of Germany),and when Germany promised to behave,the French were going home ,where there was a financial debacle and where government lost the elections .

The same would happen in 1936.France was condemned to cooperate with Germany .

ljadw
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Re: Remilitarization of the Rhineland

Post by ljadw » 15 Apr 2015 12:11

Sid Guttridge wrote:Hi ljadw,

You seem to be lined up against both the German political and military leaderships on this one. I am afraid I must lean towards them.

Cheers,

Sid.
IMHO,it is not correct to limit the whole question to the German POV:what the Germans did,why they did it,what they would have done if France reacted .The important thing is to look at Paris : why did the French what they did ,could they have done something else .

CNE503
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Re: Remilitarization of the Rhineland

Post by CNE503 » 15 Apr 2015 16:59

The estimate 80 divisions comes from a comparison with French avalaible forces in September 1939 after the end of the mobilization : 88 divisions WITHOUT fortress troops. So it seems to me perfectly accurate in April 1936.

CNE503
"Sicut Aquila" / "Ils s'instruisent pour vaincre" / "par l'exemple, le coeur et la raison" / "Labor Omnia Vincit"

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Denim Demon
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Re: Remilitarization of the Rhineland

Post by Denim Demon » 15 Apr 2015 22:48

It would make an interesting "what if". How would a french military respons to the german reoccupation play out? militarily, economicly and regarding the international community?

Many believe that nazi- germany and ww2 could have been "nipped in the bud" if the french had gone to war over the remillitarization, but this tred questions this as such very interesstingly.
Thx
DD

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BDV
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Re: Remilitarization of the Rhineland

Post by BDV » 16 Apr 2015 13:11

My question does stand. What was achieved for Germany, militarily, and politically by this act? In which way, exposing French helplessness assisted in furthering of German goals? On the contrary, fighting bolshevism in Spain (in about the same timeframe) did more to boost German standing in the world.
Nobody expects the Fallschirm! Our chief weapon is surprise; surprise and fear; fear and surprise. Our 2 weapons are fear and surprise; and ruthless efficiency. Our *3* weapons are fear, surprise, and ruthless efficiency; and almost fanatical devotion

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Re: Remilitarization of the Rhineland

Post by Alixanther » 16 Apr 2015 20:02

BDV wrote:My question does stand. What was achieved for Germany, militarily, and politically by this act? In which way, exposing French helplessness assisted in furthering of German goals? On the contrary, fighting bolshevism in Spain (in about the same timeframe) did more to boost German standing in the world.
The decision of French defeatism is not Germany's to make. Maybe we don't express the right question: "why France lacked the will to fight"?

When we start asking this question maybe we'll get a bigger picture about WW2 than today.

My 2 cents on the matter would say that France was plagued by 2 defeatist mindsets: a rightist conservative one and a leftist, statu-quo challenging one.

The rightist conservative mindset feared the bolscheviks more than the Germans and was willing to avoid any losses in a meaningless war.
The leftist, bolschevik-friendly mindset saw Germany as an ally of the Soviet Union against Western Powers and welcomed German occupation. French communists only became hostile to the Germans in 1941, after German attack on Soviet Union. Until then, they were simply in love with the Germans being in France.

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BDV
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Re: Remilitarization of the Rhineland

Post by BDV » 16 Apr 2015 21:26

Alixanther wrote: The decision of French defeatism is not Germany's to make. Maybe we don't express the right question: "why France lacked the will to fight"?

But the German decision to shove France's face in it, is. To what benefit? Military none, as France is not willing to fight, and politically disastrous as it means a major loss of face for the French - from where a direct line can be drawn to 1939 face-saving guarantees to apetyt-hyena Poland
Nobody expects the Fallschirm! Our chief weapon is surprise; surprise and fear; fear and surprise. Our 2 weapons are fear and surprise; and ruthless efficiency. Our *3* weapons are fear, surprise, and ruthless efficiency; and almost fanatical devotion

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Re: Remilitarization of the Rhineland

Post by Alixanther » 16 Apr 2015 22:34

BDV wrote:
Alixanther wrote: The decision of French defeatism is not Germany's to make. Maybe we don't express the right question: "why France lacked the will to fight"?

But the German decision to shove France's face in it, is. To what benefit? Military none, as France is not willing to fight, and politically disastrous as it means a major loss of face for the French - from where a direct line can be drawn to 1939 face-saving guarantees to apetyt-hyena Poland
I'm sorry, but I think that there are 2 culprits on this specific matter (as usually always in history) : Germany and Great Britain. On a geopolitical scale, then Britain was even more interested in a France' defeat than Germany was. Britain historically always inherited the colonial remnants of fallen European empires. (and for a short while enjoyed the status of "parenting" the "Free French" colonies after Vichy)
Both countries (Germany and Britain) "shoved France's face in it". France wanted to have none of it (as it has been shown earlier by France' reaction beginning with - well, the title of the thread - the remilitarisation of Rhineland). As far as that they realized that antagonising Germany was and always will be a wrong political move for France.
So, there are 2 strong-willed European actors, Germany and Great Britain, who want to impose their weltanschauung on the continent. There cannot be a third option for a neutral France. Not to mention that earlier, when France showed an ounce of political agressiveness, Britain backed the Reich - putting France in an awkward position. Where should (or could) they go? So, this "passive-agressive" political attitude was right for France. As de Gaulle put it, "our friends are our enemies and our enemies are our friends".

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Re: Remilitarization of the Rhineland

Post by Sid Guttridge » 17 Apr 2015 11:39

Hi Alixanther,

You write, "On a geopolitical scale, then Britain was even more interested in a France' defeat than Germany was. Britain historically always inherited the colonial remnants of fallen European empires."

This is nonsense. For example, Britain did not gain any new colonies off Germany after WWI. They were League of Nations Mandates.

Furthermore, the interwar period saw the UK begin to retreat from empire. For example, Ireland went in 1923, the India Act began the process of Indianization in the 1930s, and part of Kenya was ceded to Italian Somaliland.

By WWII the UK was more interested in beginning to divesti itself of colonial responsibilities than burdening itself with even more. In WWII it occupied no Free French colonies, only Vichy ones on behalf of the Free French, who took over their administration.

Cheers,

Sid.

Alixanther
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Re: Remilitarization of the Rhineland

Post by Alixanther » 17 Apr 2015 17:18

Sid Guttridge wrote:Hi Alixanther,

You write, "On a geopolitical scale, then Britain was even more interested in a France' defeat than Germany was. Britain historically always inherited the colonial remnants of fallen European empires."

This is nonsense. For example, Britain did not gain any new colonies off Germany after WWI. They were League of Nations Mandates.

Furthermore, the interwar period saw the UK begin to retreat from empire. For example, Ireland went in 1923, the India Act began the process of Indianization in the 1930s, and part of Kenya was ceded to Italian Somaliland.

By WWII the UK was more interested in beginning to divesti itself of colonial responsibilities than burdening itself with even more. In WWII it occupied no Free French colonies, only Vichy ones on behalf of the Free French, who took over their administration.

Cheers,

Sid.
It's quite far from nonsense. Whose interests do you think League of Nations upheld? It was a commonly-held protectorate of the Great Powers, so they won't bleed mindlessly against each other. And you cannot compare the tiny interwar period with the most of the time of the British Empire. If I'm dead wrong because ommiting a 25 years period, how wrong would you be, for not taking into account the other years?
Also, I never said they annexed Free French colonies. I said "parenting" which is a totally different thing altogether. Same as Vichy France was parented by Berlin, "Free French" was far from free - economically and politically. Don't believe me? Ask Charles de Gaulle. :)

Britain only gave up colonies and responsibilites when counterproductive. Otherwise, no. Look Eden's policy against Egypt, AFTER word war 2. He almost put Britain and France in a war against USSR, if left unchecked.

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