1940 No Vichy: France joins the Axis

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Von Schadewald
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1940 No Vichy: France joins the Axis

Post by Von Schadewald » 05 Dec 2012 18:27

The French raised enough Milice and SS volunteers to show that there was considerable support for Germany after the defeat.

What if De Gaulle is killed or captured in May 1940. An Henriot/Degrelle figure emerges who gets no Vichy Republic, but rather France to actually officially join the Axis.

Initially with little relish, but quickly increasing, the Armee de l'Air participates in the Battle of Britain, in skirmishing in Syria and Palestine, are pro-active with the Italians in the Mediterranean and rather than just waiting at Oran, they intercept the RN outside of Oran and sink Hood. Surcouf flees Portsmouth and soon starts taking a nasty toll of lone British merchant ships with its 8 inchers, Anglo invasions of Senegal and Magdagascar become untenable, French N.African forces stiffen the Italians who stave off total defeat in 1941, and even French Canadians start acting up, destabilizing the Dominion. France joining the Axis in 1940 may well be a war winner.
Last edited by Von Schadewald on 05 Dec 2012 23:30, edited 1 time in total.

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LWD
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Re: 1940 No Vichy: France joins the Axis

Post by LWD » 05 Dec 2012 18:37

I suspect in a case like this there's a good chance the French fleet defects to Britain and most of the French colonies either go Free French or independent. Remember that there was a last minute proposal that the French almost went for where by the UK and France would become one country. At the very least I would expect what amounted to a civil war in France proper.

I should also point out that this may be somewhat deficient in regards to the posting regs for this forum.

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Re: 1940 No Vichy: France joins the Axis

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 07 Dec 2012 00:22

LWD wrote:I suspect in a case like this there's a good chance the French fleet defects to Britain and most of the French colonies either go Free French or independent. ... ... At the very least I would expect what amounted to a civil war in France proper.
From 22 June 41 the left got on board the anti facist/German movement. That creates a very large uncooperative or actively hostile portion of the French population from mid 1941. Most of the folks who voted for the Popular Front Cadidates back in the 1930s would be out of sympathy to a anti Soviet crusade.
Von Schadewald wrote: ... An Henriot/Degrelle figure emerges who gets no Vichy Republic, but rather France to actually officially join the Axis.
Petains government managed to keep a lid on things for a while by attempting a nuetralist policy, promising the voters peace. Anyone who tries to continue France as a active participant is likely to have a lot more difficulty as the support of the various groups evaporates. Petains government lost support slowly over three years, this proposed 'Axis French' government is liable to lose support inside a year, if not in weeks.

In March 1941 a US naval force occupied Iceland. WI a group of French leaders in Martinique, or Madagascar,or Noumea.. Dakar.. , or even Morroco and Algeria revolt, declare nuetrality, and invite the nuetral US to send a naval squadron and Marines to help ensure their 'nuetrality''? In the autum of 1940 the Japanese began demanding the French govenor of Indo China allow Japanese naval & army units to enter the French colony. WI that govenor preempts the Japanese by inviting the US to land a few companies of Marines and post a cruiser or two there? Would Japan back off or start the Pacific war a year early?

In those years France served Germany better as a nuetral shield. Trying to turn the French nation and Empire into a active Axis Ally ens a large Pandoras Box of all sorts of things that are not good for the Axis.

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Re: 1940 No Vichy: France joins the Axis

Post by phylo_roadking » 07 Dec 2012 16:17

What if De Gaulle is killed or captured in May 1940. An Henriot/Degrelle figure emerges who gets no Vichy Republic, but rather France to actually officially join the Axis.

Initially with little relish, but quickly increasing, the Armee de l'Air participates in the Battle of Britain...
Might be worth taking a look at a few threads oover the years relating to where the Armee De L'Air actually WAS by the time of the Armistice ;)
in skirmishing in Syria and Palestine, are pro-active with the Italians in the Mediterranean and rather than just waiting at Oran, they intercept the RN outside of Oran and sink Hood.


There wouldn't BE a CATAPAULT, so the RN wouldn't BE outside Oran :roll:
Surcouf flees Portsmouth and soon starts taking a nasty toll of lone British merchant ships with its 8 inchers
...but rather France to actually officially join the Axis
Thinks she's going to get away??? An ENEMY warship tied up inside an RN anchorage??? :lol:
Anglo invasions of Senegal and Magdagascar become untenable
Things might just have changed by those respective dates! In fact - with a fully Axis-aligned Madagascar, the timetable for invasion would move up, to prevent it being used as a friendly U-boat anchorage...
French N.African forces stiffen the Italians who stave off total defeat in 1941, and even French Canadians start acting up, destabilizing the Dominion.
I think you need to do some more research on how French colonialism actually worked. Colonial governments had far more independence of action than might be realised when compared to, say, British Imperial colonies (not Dominions like Canada, Australia etc.) It isn't impossible that if metropolitan France turns wholly to the Axis in June 1940...that more colonial governments come over to the British! 8O Happy to be Neutral is one thing...wanting to be an individual French colonial possession at war with the British Empire is another!!! :wink:

For example - French Indo-China's position immediately becomes WHOLLY untenable!!!
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Re: 1940 No Vichy: France joins the Axis

Post by ljadw » 07 Dec 2012 16:58

The infinitesimal number of SS Volunteers and Milice members shows the opposite :that after the defeat there was no support at all for Germany ;Déat an Doriot were only fantasts who represented themselves .
Besides,membership of the Milice did not indicate a willingness to collaborate with the Germans .There were a lot of motives to join the Milice,and some would have joined the Resistance if they could .

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phylo_roadking
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Re: 1940 No Vichy: France joins the Axis

Post by phylo_roadking » 07 Dec 2012 17:03

There were a lot of motives to join the Milice,and some would have joined the Resistance if they could.
Given Vichy's covert attempts to re-arm...some of them probably hoped they were joining the Resistance!
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Re: 1940 No Vichy: France joins the Axis

Post by Orwell1984 » 07 Dec 2012 17:50

Von Schadewald wrote: and even French Canadians start acting up, destabilizing the Dominion.
I'll leave it up to others to deal with some of your other suppositions (like the Surcouf becoming the terror of the seas. You need to do a little more research on how successful a design it was. More like a white elephant) but you are showing a lack of knowledge of how French Canadians related to France. Just because they spoke a variant of the same language (Québécois French is like American English. It varies in word usage and speaking it you can find yourself teased in France for not speaking proper French) doesn't mean they were locked in step with France.

Looking at the French Canadians relations to France in World War One might enlighten you as to how French Canadians thought of France:
http://www.warmuseum.ca/education/onlin ... world-war/
Following the nation-wide outbursts of patriotism in August 1914, French-Canadian support for the war began to decline. There existed among French Canadians a tradition of suspicion and even hostility towards the British Empire, and, while sympathetic to France, Britain’s ally, few French Canadians were willing to risk their lives in its defence either. After all, for over a century following the British conquest of New France in 1760, France showed no interest in the welfare of French Canadians. In North America, les Canadiens had survived and grown, remaining culturally vibrant without French support. By 1914, while an educated élite in French Canada professed some cultural affinity, most French Canadians did not identify with anti-clerical and scandal-ridden France.

When a French government propaganda mission toured Québec in 1918, Bourassa spoke for French Canada when he wrote of the irony of the French “trying to have us offer the kinds of sacrifices for France which France never thought of troubling itself with to defend French Canada”. In short, neither France nor Britain was “a mother country” retaining the allegiance of French Canadians. The “patriotic” call to arms rang hollow.
Similiar views continued in the Second World War so to think of French Canadians rising up because France proper goes Axis is far fetched to say the least.

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Re: 1940 No Vichy: France joins the Axis

Post by Loïc » 08 Dec 2012 03:27

Von Schadewald wrote:The French raised enough Milice and SS volunteers to show that there was considerable support for Germany after the defeat.

.
8O What ???

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Re: 1940 No Vichy: France joins the Axis

Post by amcl » 08 Dec 2012 03:32

Von Schadewald wrote:What if De Gaulle is killed or captured in May 1940. An Henriot/Degrelle figure emerges who gets no Vichy Republic, but rather France to actually officially join the Axis.
In what way would the death of a minor figure like De Gaulle alter the military and political situation in Metropolitan France which led to the armistice and the Vichy regime? Yes, it would have some implications for the future of any Free French analogue, but the consequences of that are far off in the future in the summer of 1940.

Killing Petain rather than De Gaulle would achieve something, but precisely what that something would be depends very much on who you choose to have picked out by the finger of fate to head up a post-Reynaud regime. From a German perspective, Petain may have represented an almost ideal replacement for Reynaud, at least to begin with. Other candidates are, in one or more respects, less satisfactory. They are all lacking in moral authority compared to Petain making it harder to have the armistice stick in the Empire, some are even insufficiently defeatist to sign an armistice in the second half of June 1940, some are unlikely to establish a Vichy-analogue as they are more Republican-by-conviction than Petain, and so on. The poor old geezer was very much the wrong man in the wrong place at the wrong time in June 1940. If he had had the good fortune to die in May he'd have had tanks or ships named after him by now.

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Re: 1940 No Vichy: France joins the Axis

Post by revans618 » 08 Dec 2012 17:01

Is there any evidence to even suppose that the Nazis would've let the French military fight on their side? I would imagine that trust would be very lacking.

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Re: 1940 No Vichy: France joins the Axis

Post by Von Schadewald » 08 Dec 2012 17:04

Would a different Oran in July 1940, with a steamed-up storming-out French fleet finding Hood's glass-jaw and sinking both her and Ark Royal, and chasing off Valiant & Resolution ie c3000 British dead for no French losses, have changed anything about Vichy's neutrality or Churchill's respect of it?

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Re: 1940 No Vichy: France joins the Axis

Post by Tim Smith » 08 Dec 2012 19:25

Von Schadewald wrote:Would a different Oran in July 1940, with a steamed-up storming-out French fleet finding Hood's glass-jaw and sinking both her and Ark Royal, and chasing off Valiant & Resolution ie c3000 British dead for no French losses, have changed anything about Vichy's neutrality or Churchill's respect of it?
Yes, but that scenario is a practical impossibility, so not worth discussing.

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Re: 1940 No Vichy: France joins the Axis

Post by pugsville » 09 Dec 2012 02:00

The Vichy reigeime was a otached up co-alition of variuus interests groups, their support was possible for neutrality for Beliginace for the Axis the support would be vanishingly small. It's just pretty unthinkable.

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Re: 1940 No Vichy: France joins the Axis

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 09 Dec 2012 02:19

revans618 wrote:Is there any evidence to even suppose that the Nazis would've let the French military fight on their side? I would imagine that trust would be very lacking.
1. The Armistice specified if French territory were invaded by Germanys enemies the French were both obligated to repel them, and to allow German militiary forces to join in. (Sorry I dont have the exact text here.) In November 1942 the Germans expected the French to execute that agreement and both resist the Allied invasion of Algeria and Morroco, and to aid German forces entering Tunisia to help defend it. There were a series of messages between Berlin/Vichy and various German/French officials elsewhere concerning this. The Germans were quite put out over the French cease fire with the Allies in Africa, and lack of French assistance in both Tunisia and France in the movement of German & Italian forces.

2. French volunteers were actively recruited for the "Charlemagne" unit to fight in the east. That unit was kept in existance until the end.

3. From November 1942 Germany actively recruited for French volunteers to fight the Allies in Tunisia. tho recruitment was very weak the unit (a large company) was kept active in combat until the Axis position in Africa collapsed in April 1943.

I dont see it so much as a matter or trust, but as finding many French truly willing to fight for the Axis.

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Re: 1940 No Vichy: France joins the Axis

Post by Von Schadewald » 09 Dec 2012 02:32

Orwell1984 wrote: (like the Surcouf becoming the terror of the seas. You need to do a little more research on how successful a design it was. More like a white elephant)
Has the theory that the Surcouf sank Allied ships & was fleeing to Vichy territory been 100% discounted?
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Who-Sank-Surcou ... 0712639756
Last edited by Von Schadewald on 09 Dec 2012 12:28, edited 1 time in total.

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