Britain and Vichy: The Dilemma of Anglo-French Relations by R. T. Thomas

By R. T. Thomas

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Extra info for Britain and Vichy: The Dilemma of Anglo-French Relations 1940–42

Example text

6 As the British ambassador remarked, this 'diabolically clever' provision brought about the collapse of all further resistance at Bordeaux. 7 It enabled the government to sign the Armistice without having to reverse the prior decision that the surrender of the Fleet would be an unacceptable condition. At the same time, it drove a neat wedge between Britain and France by enabling the French government to argue that it had given full satisfaction to the British. If they continued to insist on further guarantees, it could only be because they doubted the good faith of the French government.

Even so, however much the British action was resented, the French Cabinet did reaffirm that negotiations would be broken off if the Germans demanded the surrender of the Fleet. Campbell was told that it had been decided as a 26 BRITAIN AND VICHY matter of honour that the terms should be received while the Fleet was still fighting, but that its ships would sail to Britain when the capitulation on land occurred. If this proved impossible, the Fleet would be scuttled. 70 In the late afternoon of I8 June the First Sea Lord, Sir Dudley Pound, and the First Lord of the Admiralty, A.

Hitler was not Wilhelm I; he was Genghis Khan. 22 The way in which the Armistice was signed, a set piece designed to feed Hitler's desire to humiliate France, should have made it clear from the outset that, as Chautemps ruefully admitted, one does not negotiate an Armistice. 23 The only French counter-proposal to be accepted concerned the handing over of the Air Force-a provision which it would have proved impossible to enforce. The Germans conceded nothing of substance. Under Article 2 of the Armistice, about three-fifths of France was placed under German occupation.

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