TO LOSE A BATTLE: France, 1940 by Alistair Horne

TO LOSE A BATTLE: France, 1940

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Hitler's High Command--and indeed the Fuehrer himself--never looked so good as in their brief confrontation with the antiquated and ill-directed French army, whose demise in the 1940 Battle of France is chronicled here. Horne, a British Journalist responsible for two other histories of Franco-German conflict, offers a convincing analysis of the French defeat, stressing the incompetence of the French military leaders deluded into complacent unreadiness by their precarious success in 1918. He notes also the morale-destroying effects of a generation of socio-political strife, which undermined the public's faith in the Third Republic. Mr. Horne's sources are impeccable, and his knowledge of military machinery and tactics impressive. The chapters describing the internecine struggles within the German General Staff are particularly fascinating. Occasionally, Horne's brisk treatment of military maneuvers will confuse the non-expert; occasionally, he leaves threads dangling, as when he inexplicably introduces the German generals' revolt of 1944 into this tale of 1940. A more serious flaw is the failure to deal fully with the British role in the fall of France. Despite its weaknesses, the book is sustained by the drama of events as they move toward their dark conclusion. Wisely the author rarely attempts to add extra color to this tense and almost inevitable tragedy.

Pub Date: May 26th, 1969
ISBN: 0141030658
Publisher: Little, Brown