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The Czech crisis


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#51 LJAd

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Posted 04 May 2016 - 08:13 PM

LJAD, the French were eager for war against Germany in 1914, which is why their plan 17 called for an immediate invasion of Germany.   

Oh no : plan 17  was an offensive plan, but  did not call for an immediate invasion of Germany :it was a concentration plan ,in function of the German attack . And the French were not eager to fight in 1914:when Germany declared war on Russia  , the French looked the other way .A war limited to Germany and Russia would have been a good thing for France : a lot of Boches killed and Germany broken . 



#52 Belasar

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Posted 04 May 2016 - 10:33 PM

Oh no : plan 17  was an offensive plan, but  did not call for an immediate invasion of Germany :it was a concentration plan ,in function of the German attack . And the French were not eager to fight in 1914:when Germany declared war on Russia  , the French looked the other way .A war limited to Germany and Russia would have been a good thing for France : a lot of Boches killed and Germany broken . 

 

A classic newbie mistake.

 

Deep in the Pentagon there are plans to deploy troops just about everywhere. It's what General Staff's do between wars to keep busy. France did want a chance to exact revenge for 1870 and reclaim her lost territories.


Wars are rarely fought in black and white, but in infinite shades of grey

(Poppy is occasionaly correct, or so I hear)


#53 LJAd

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Posted 05 May 2016 - 03:58 AM

France did want a chance to exact revenge for 1870 and reclaim her lost territories.

A classic mistake : revanchism was dead in 1914 : the results of the elections in 1914 was a clear victory for the anti army and anti Russian parties : the big winners were the socialists;Jaurès was ruling ,and if he had to choose, he would choose Germany, not Russia ..Germany was the leader of the socialist international movement,the French socialists could only dream of the concessions the SPD had exorted from the German establishment,while in France the answer was always to use the army against strikers . And Russia ... was considered as the enemy of progress ,the czar was Saddam Hussein, Assad, Putin , Trump.....

 

And the right -wingers ? Poincaré was a moderate, not hostile to Germany and very suspicious of Russia...



#54 lwd

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Posted 05 May 2016 - 10:57 AM

... .A war limited to Germany and Russia would have been a good thing for France : a lot of Boches killed and Germany broken . 

 

Some may have thought so in 1914 but history pretty clearly shows that this would not have been the case.  It was Russia that was broken in WWI and without the Western Front the odds are Germany would have emerged stronger than it went into the conflict.
 



#55 steverodgers801

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Posted 05 May 2016 - 05:11 PM

so the fact that French troops were to march into German held Alsace-Lorraine is not an invasion plan?????.  The French rally cry at the start of the war was "a Berlin"  onto Berlin.      here are some quotes from the French army under Foch in 1914, Offensive with out hesitation and to the maximum. The offensive alone leads to result



#56 LJAd

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Posted 05 May 2016 - 06:09 PM

And the German cry at the start of the war was : Nach Paris .

 

The Germans wanted war with France, they declared war on France inventing French air attacks on German cities and they invaded France BEFORE their declaration of war .

 

The French OTOH did nothing when Germany declared war on Russia (also using lies) ,the French did nothing when the Germans invaded Luxemburg and Belgium, they did even nothing when the Germans invaded France before their declaration of war . When general mobilisation was ordered, the French government ordered the French forces to retreat some 10 km from the border . 

 

The Germans had an invasion plan : the infamous Schlieffen/Moltke plan .



#57 LJAd

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Posted 05 May 2016 - 06:17 PM

And about the French alliances with Poland and Cz :they had as meaning  1 ) to preserve peace  2) to help France if it was yet invaded by Germany . But what was the use of these alliances if they  would involve France in a war for something no one in France was interested ? =the Sudeten .

 

At the end of the twenties,the French decided that the Maginot Line was better than an alliance with CZ and Poland, and, given the French position,this was a reasonable attitude . Of course, the result would be that Poland and CZ would be endangered by the Germans, but this was not the problem of the French ..These alliances were a millstone around the neck of France . France could not help its allies and these could not help France . 



#58 steverodgers801

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Posted 06 May 2016 - 07:48 PM

LJAD, France could very easily have defeated Germany in 1938, but they had no will and they sat with their tails between their legs. The reason for the alliance between France and the Czechs was to prevent France having to fight with out allies, which is what they ended up doing.  Do you seriously believe Germany could have fought a two front war???  IF the British had not been so willingly bamboozled by the Germans into believing that the JU 52 would wipe Britain off the face of the earth, they gave the French the excuse they needed to cower in fear.  The tragedy is the allies gave Germany the time and resources to do exactly what they were trying to avoid doing.  Their cowardice also convinced Stalin that it was pointless to work with the allies and thus he signed his treaty with Germany. I mean if Germany was so powerful in 1938 why not tuck and run in 1939,



#59 LJAd

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Posted 07 May 2016 - 11:04 AM

No : the only thing the French were able to do in september 1939 (when they were stronger than in 1938) was the small Saar offensive,and the Germans had a numerical superiority .there was no cowardice from the French/British : if Germany had invaded CZ, there would have been a war .

 

And the reason for the alliance with the Czechs was to prevent France having to fight . 

 

The respective strenght of France and Germany was NOT a determining factor in the non DoW in 1938 and the DoW in 1939:the reason of the 1939 DoW was that Germany invaded an other country which accidentally happened to be Poland, but if it had been Denmark, the French reaction would have been the same . 

 

And it is not so that the British were stopping the French in 1938;the British attitude was only a pretext that the French used when the Czechs blamed them .



#60 steverodgers801

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Posted 08 May 2016 - 09:17 PM

Balony, the Germans did not have numerical superiority in 1939, Von Leeb said the French could have walked right through if they had wanted to.  If the German army was attacking the Czechs what forces would they have to fight the French???   IF Germany was that strong why not attack France at the same time?????



#61 LJAd

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Posted 09 May 2016 - 05:33 AM

I thought you would say this :it is not wise to believe statements from defeated German generals who were blaming the Allies (!) for the war : Leeb said that it was the fault of the French:if they had attacked in september 1939, Auschwitz would not have happened, thus, Auschwitz was the fault of the Allies,not of the Germans . 

 

But sadly for Leeb, the figures give an other picture ;

 

AGC (commander : the same Leeb) : on 1 september 1939

 

Reserves : 9 divisions

 

5th Army :6 divisions

 

1st Army :13 divisions

 

7th Army : 6 divisions 

 

Total : 34 divisions 

 

The French could not oppose more than 34 divisions against these 34 German divisions on 1 september 1939, and already after 2 weeks of fighting in Poland, German units were transferred to the West . 

 

The only thing the French could do was the small Saar offensive ,which started on 15 september .



#62 steverodgers801

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Posted 09 May 2016 - 04:57 PM

None of those German divisions were first rate, they lacked equipment and training. They were composed of men deemed not capable of normal front line service.  I don't know why you think the French could not bring more units up, they did 6 months later.  



#63 LJAd

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Posted 09 May 2016 - 06:09 PM

12 of these divisions were   active  divisions .And the French units were not better .

 

Scheduled French mobilisation plan (including France, NA, Levant )

 

Day of mobilisation + 7 : 41 divisions

 

 M  + 12 63 divisions .

 

Thus after 10 september the French had a total of 61 divisions for North Africa, the Levant, the Alpes ,the Pyrenees,the interior ,the border with Belgium and the Maginot Line .Only a small part was available for an attack against Germany . 



#64 steverodgers801

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Posted 10 May 2016 - 07:04 PM

12 first line divisions is better then none for the Germans, The French didn't need to guard Belgium because the Germans didn't have the forces to invade there. Germany was already mobilized .   Plus so if Germany was so much better why not invade France  at the same time and then invade Britain for good measure???



#65 LJAd

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Posted 11 May 2016 - 04:59 AM

 The French didn't need to guard Belgium because the Germans didn't have the forces to invade there. 

Which the French didn't know . Neither did the Belgians .

 

Gamelin had said that he would start an attack with  (the French text is : le gros de mes forces,which means : the relative majority of my available forces).He didn't specify the number of divisions who would be committed,because he didn't know the number that would be available .

 

Poland also did not ask how many divisions would be committed in the Saar offensive, thus they had no reason to say later that they were abandoned . 11 divisions were committed on a total of 61 that were mobilising,not that were mobilised. If the French had more divisions available, more would be committed.

 

And, there is also the geographic problem : the Saar offensive was undertaken on a narrow front,because the existence of the Maginot Line prevented an attack on a broad front;and an attack on a narrow front implied a limited number of divisions .

 

A Desert Storm style offensive in september 1939 was impossible .And only a Desert Style offensive could have helped the French .


Edited by LJAd, 11 May 2016 - 05:00 AM.


#66 steverodgers801

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Posted 11 May 2016 - 05:33 PM

How exactly did the Maginot line prevent a broad front offence??   You touched on the exact problem of the allies, they imagined that no matter how many troops the allies had the Germans had to have more.  Ignore the fact that Germany had only expanded a few years ago and would still be suffering from the problems of rapid expansion. This numbers fear also is shown by magnifying ones own problems 100 times and ignoring any problems the Germans may be having, while exaggerating their strengths.  This clearly demonstrated in the British belief that Germany had thousands of bombers capable of reaching England and sinking the island, when Germany had no bomber capable of reaching the island.



#67 LJAd

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Posted 11 May 2016 - 06:33 PM

How exactly did the Maginot line prevent a broad front offence??   

The meaning of the ML was to be a barrier for the attacking Germans, it was also a barrier for the attacking French,if they attacked : an attacking army needs a lot of space : there was no space for more than 11 divisions and there were not more than 11 divisions .



#68 TiredOldSoldier

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Posted 11 May 2016 - 08:08 PM

Once you fully man the Maginot, that required large numbers of "interval troops" besides the fort's garrisons, create a strategic reserve, put troops behind the Belgian frontier and the Alps, have a large  colonial army in Morocco / Algeria and , why not, send a couple of divisions to Vietnam to keep an eye on the Japanese you will likely be left with just 11 divisions for what was little more than a token effort.  But there were different choices that could be made. The whole French strategy was defensive, and aimed at reducing French losses rather than maximizing German ones, they believed they could win the war without fighting a major land battle, the "drole de guerre" was the result, unfortunately for the French it stopped being funny in May 1940.

 

I believe the Ju 52 could make it to the British Isles and back,  but Bulldogs and Gladiators would be more than enough to make operations by unescorted Ju 52 short lived, the Germans would run out of them pretty fast..  

The more modern bombers, Do 17, He 111 and even the Ju 86 would be harder for biplanes to catch, but they were available in very limited numbers in 1938.

Short story, the 1938 Luftwaffe was a bluff.


Truth is the first victim of conflict

#69 LJAd

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Posted 12 May 2016 - 04:52 AM

The French strategy was defensive for several reasons  as

 

 

France was a democracy and a democracy does not invade other countries

 

France could not afford WWI scale losses

 

France would wait on the arrival of a big British army  before starting a big offensive

 

Every one in France knew what happened in august/september 1914 when an offensive French strategy had resulted in more than 100000 deaths

 

There was NO military convention between France and CZ  obliging France to start a big offensive if CZ was attacked .

 

 

 

AND  the reason why France would fight  (in 1938 and 1939 ) was moral,not strategic : the loss of CZ and Poland would not be fatal ,thus no reason to sacrifice the most valuable possessions of France : its young men .

 

The French would fight if THEY were attacked, but why take risks if other people,far away and of whom they knew nothing (and thus did not care about) were attacked .?

 

The French had also a treaty with Romania to help this country if it was attacked by the SU, or by Hungary, or by Bulgaria,but it was obvious that France could and would do nothing . 

 

And,most important point : there was NO war, because the Czechs decided to yield to Hitler's demands :reality was that war or peace did NOT depend on Chamberlain or Daladier,but on Hitler/Benesj and that NOT Chamberlain saved peace, but Benesj .

 

There was a conflict between CZ and Germany: those two countries had to solve the problem . The problem was not the problem of France .Only a few  people cared about the problem of the SD Germans,and most of them argued that they had the right to secede from CZ .In 1945 the Czechs said that the SD Germans had to leave, in 1938 they (and their allies ) said that they had not the right to leave .An inconsistent attitude  .



#70 lwd

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Posted 12 May 2016 - 11:00 AM

History has shown that democracies do indeed invade other countries on numerous occasions.

Germany couldn't afford WWI scale of losses either.

There was no "big Brig British army" at least scheduled to arrive in France any time soon.

France acted both for moral and self interest reasons.  Germany getting too strong was both a short term and a long term threat to France, perhaps not a fatal one but certainly a threat and not an insignificant one.

When one country embarks on an expansionistic policy it's a problem for all countries but especially their neighbors.



#71 Belasar

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Posted 12 May 2016 - 10:38 PM

 

 

 

AND  the reason why France would fight  (in 1938 and 1939 ) was moral,not strategic : the loss of CZ and Poland would not be fatal ,thus no reason to sacrifice the most valuable possessions of France : its young men .

 

The French would fight if THEY were attacked, but why take risks if other people,far away and of whom they knew nothing (and thus did not care about) were attacked .?

 

The French had also a treaty with Romania to help this country if it was attacked by the SU, or by Hungary, or by Bulgaria,but it was obvious that France could and would do nothing . 

 

And,most important point : there was NO war, because the Czechs decided to yield to Hitler's demands :reality was that war or peace did NOT depend on Chamberlain or Daladier,but on Hitler/Benesj and that NOT Chamberlain saved peace, but Benesj .

 

There was a conflict between CZ and Germany: those two countries had to solve the problem . The problem was not the problem of France .Only a few  people cared about the problem of the SD Germans,and most of them argued that they had the right to secede from CZ .In 1945 the Czechs said that the SD Germans had to leave, in 1938 they (and their allies ) said that they had not the right to leave .An inconsistent attitude  .

 

i can agree with the beginning of your post (which I deleted) except for the part already addressed by lwd. democracy's do invade countries when they find justification. Iran and Vichy North Africa come to mind in WWII.

 

As for the rest, normally i would simply comment 'nonsensical and incomprehensible' but in this case (while true) it is predominately self contradictory. 

 

France would fight in 1939, but not in 1938 unless forced, and they (and Britain), were going to do as much as they could NOT to be forced. Hence a international conference at Munich that conveniently forgot to invite one of the two parties to any agreement, while inviting a Italy who had no dog in the fight. As it happened the loss of Czechoslovakia and Poland was fatal to the Third Republic.

 

They fought in 1939 without any direct attack upon the Anglo-French. They were also very keen to get involved in a conflict between Finland and the Soviet Union despite 'not knowing much about them' or playing any significant part in the creation of Finland and of course no 'military convention' existed between the Anglo-French and Finland. This of course does not take into account of the foolhardiness of seeking out new enemies when you were 'too weak' to engage a enemy with whom you actually shared a border.

 

The purpose of a treaty with Romania, despite its difficulty to actually implement, was to discourage the target of the treaty from acting aggressively or at least acting as a distraction to that target. The agreement with Poland has the same flaws and benefit's as that with Romania. Czechoslovakia could have acted in the same manner had she gotten the same diplomatic cover offered Poland and Romania, possibly putting off WWII longer than the 11 months that Munich did. Point being, France was willing to engage into such treaties with nation's both distant and 'unknown' to them.

 

There was merely a delay of a war, not 'no war'. Benes was forced to accept the Munich Agreement because everything publicly and privately stated by the Anglo-French was that either accept the Diktat or fight alone. There was no third option, no indication that if attacked the Anglo-French, however reluctantly, would declare war.  Benes had the metaphorical option of either having his arm amputated or shot in the head, not unreasonably he chose the former thinking/hoping  he would not still be shot later.

 

The Anglo-French were the inconsistent players, not Czechoslovakia. Further there was a vast difference between the Czech's of 1938 and those of 1945. 6 years of brutal occupation, including the eradication of a entire town for the death of a single high ranking Nazi will do that to you. It must also be remembered that a totalitarian Communist government expelled the Sudeten Germans, not the pre war democracy. A act done by more than one post war Communist government.


Wars are rarely fought in black and white, but in infinite shades of grey

(Poppy is occasionaly correct, or so I hear)


#72 TiredOldSoldier

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Posted 13 May 2016 - 05:16 AM


France would fight in 1939, but not in 1938 unless forced, and they (and Britain), were going to do as much as they could NOT to be forced. Hence a international conference at Munich that conveniently forgot to invite one of the two parties to any agreement, while inviting a Italy who had no dog in the fight. As it happened the loss of Czechoslovakia and Poland was fatal to the Third Republic.

 

Italy had quite a lot more "dog to the fight" than the British Empire did, 1938 politicians had no way to know if Hitler's next step would be the Danzig corridor, Alsace Lorraine or South Tirol, the first attempt at annexing Austria was stopped mostly due to Mussolini making loud enough noises to convince Hitler to back off, he would likely have done the same later had not the sanctions made cooperation with France and Britain very difficult at that point and Italy could not take on Germany by itself after the rearmament programme had gotten in its stride.

Italy had no interest in having a Germany dominated central Europe  Not inviting the Czech themselves was not likely to bring a "good" agreement but then we had the precedent of Versailles where the USSR was not invited despite the thousands if Russian deaths that had contibuted to the entente victory.


Edited by TiredOldSoldier, 13 May 2016 - 05:16 AM.

Truth is the first victim of conflict

#73 LJAd

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Posted 13 May 2016 - 06:20 AM

i can agree with the beginning of your post (which I deleted) except for the part already addressed by lwd. democracy's do invade countries when they find justification. Iran and Vichy North Africa come to mind in WWII.

 

As for the rest, normally i would simply comment 'nonsensical and incomprehensible' but in this case (while true) it is predominately self contradictory. 

 

France would fight in 1939, but not in 1938 unless forced, and they (and Britain), were going to do as much as they could NOT to be forced. Hence a international conference at Munich that conveniently forgot to invite one of the two parties to any agreement, while inviting a Italy who had no dog in the fight. As it happened the loss of Czechoslovakia and Poland was fatal to the Third Republic.

 

They fought in 1939 without any direct attack upon the Anglo-French. They were also very keen to get involved in a conflict between Finland and the Soviet Union despite 'not knowing much about them' or playing any significant part in the creation of Finland and of course no 'military convention' existed between the Anglo-French and Finland. This of course does not take into account of the foolhardiness of seeking out new enemies when you were 'too weak' to engage a enemy with whom you actually shared a border.

 

The purpose of a treaty with Romania, despite its difficulty to actually implement, was to discourage the target of the treaty from acting aggressively or at least acting as a distraction to that target. The agreement with Poland has the same flaws and benefit's as that with Romania. Czechoslovakia could have acted in the same manner had she gotten the same diplomatic cover offered Poland and Romania, possibly putting off WWII longer than the 11 months that Munich did. Point being, France was willing to engage into such treaties with nation's both distant and 'unknown' to them.

 

There was merely a delay of a war, not 'no war'. Benes was forced to accept the Munich Agreement because everything publicly and privately stated by the Anglo-French was that either accept the Diktat or fight alone. There was no third option, no indication that if attacked the Anglo-French, however reluctantly, would declare war.  Benes had the metaphorical option of either having his arm amputated or shot in the head, not unreasonably he chose the former thinking/hoping  he would not still be shot later.

 

The Anglo-French were the inconsistent players, not Czechoslovakia. Further there was a vast difference between the Czech's of 1938 and those of 1945. 6 years of brutal occupation, including the eradication of a entire town for the death of a single high ranking Nazi will do that to you. It must also be remembered that a totalitarian Communist government expelled the Sudeten Germans, not the pre war democracy. A act done by more than one post war Communist government.

There were clear indications that Britain and France would fight if Germany attacked CZ : both countries mobilized and Chamberlain warned the public that there would be probably a war .

 

It is also not so that the SD Germans were expelled by the communists: they were expelled in 1945,by Benesj: the communists took power only in 1948 .



#74 LJAd

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Posted 13 May 2016 - 07:58 AM

France would fight in 1938 and in 1939 if it was forced, and of course it did everything not to be forced . 

 

It is also not so that the fall of Poland and CZ was fatal for France and even if it was,it is not an argument but hindsight .

 

There was no fighting during the Anschluss ,thus France did not move . Neither did CZ, a neighbour of Austria .

 

There was no fighting about the SD Germans,thus France did not move. Neither did Poland a neighbour of CZ.

 

There was no fighting in march 1939, thus France did not move.Neither did Poland a neighbour of CZ.

 

There was fighting in september 1939,thus France moved .

 

 

Only a war would trigger a French intervention , but the choice between war and peace never lay in the hands of France : if Benesj chose not to fight, why should France fight ?



#75 steverodgers801

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Posted 13 May 2016 - 06:56 PM

LJAD, the loss of Poland and the Czechs most certainly was fatal for France because it eliminated two allies and their armies, and convinced the Soviets to sign a treaty with Germany, freeing up her rear to attack France with all forces. The Czech industry supplied valuable equipment to the German army which helped beat France. France signed the Munich treaty because they would not fight no matter what happened to the Czechs. The French figured out too late that if you don't help your allies when you have them, you wont have them when you need them. Hitler understood the French were cowards, unable to act in their own self interest, which is why he was acting like he had a vastly more powerful army and airforce then he did.






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