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Endurance and WarThe National Sources of Military Cohesion$
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Jasen J. Castillo

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780804789103

Published to Stanford Scholarship Online: September 2014

DOI: 10.11126/stanford/9780804789103.001.0001

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France, 1940

France, 1940

(p.94) 4 France, 1940
Endurance and War

Jasen J. Castillo

Stanford University Press

Chapter four uses cohesion theory to explain why France lost quickly and decisively in 1940. According to the theory, domestic political disputes created an apathetic military by undermining its autonomy and ability to train. As a result, the French military lacked the cohesion to recover from Germany's clever strategy. This chapter first compares the French Army of 1940 with its messianic German opponent and then with the professional French Army of World War I. Cohesion theory can explain differences between the French performance in the two World Wars. Before both wars, the Third Republic experienced great domestic turmoil. Nonetheless, they endeavored to create a first-class military organization with strong internal bonds. On the eve of World War I, these efforts created a French Army that proved capable of recovering from the early defeats of 1914 and enduring a war of attrition with Germany.

Keywords:   cohesion theory, military cohesion, France, World War II, apathetic military, Third Republic, World War I, professional military

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