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Defeat and Division


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Table of Contents

Introduction; 1. 'Missed Opportunity Mythology'; 2. From Phoney Peace to Phoney War, 1938–1940; 3. Case Yellow; 4. 'Stand and Fight...'; 5. “The War is Over for Us”; 6. “The Wisdom of a Great Leader.”; 7. La France libre; 8. 'Grandi soldati'; 9. France's North African Hinterland; 10. TORCH; Epilogue.

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A definitive new history of the France at war from the war's outbreak to the invasion of North Africa in late 1942.

About the Author

Douglas Porch is Distinguished Professor Emeritus and former Chair of the Department of National Security Affairs at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California. His previous books include Counterinsurgency: Exposing the Myths of the New Way of War (2013), The Path to Victory: The Mediterranean Theater in World War II (2004; published in Britain as Hitler's Mediterranean Gamble), The French Secret Services: From the Dreyfus Affair to the Gulf War (1995), The French Foreign Legion: A Complete History of the Legendary Fighting Force (1991), The Conquest of the Sahara (1984), The Conquest of Morocco (1982), The March to the Marne: The French Army 1871–1914 (1981), The Portuguese Armed Forces and the Revolution (1977), and Army and Revolution: France 1815–1848 (1974).


'A clear-eyed, ambitious and myth-busting account that places the Fall of France in 1940 and De Gaulle's Free French in a wider scenario that sees Vichy France and its colonial empire as a serious military player down to 1942. A tour de force by a historian who is a master of his craft.' Robert Gildea, author of Fighters in the Shadows: A New History of the French Resistance

'This superb and ambitious book will fill a very substantial gap (and puzzling) in the massive literature on the history of the Second World War. Douglas Porch has mastered an impressively diverse literature on the military, imperial, diplomatic, cultural and social history of France at war. This material is synthesised and combined with extensive work in the French archives to produce an important and original reinterpretation of France's wartime experience that will serve as a standard work for years to come.' Peter Jackson, author of Beyond the Balance of Power: France and the Politics of National Security in the Era of the First World War

'Comprehensive and encyclopaedic in its coverage, Defeat and Division is destined to become an invaluable resource for understanding the war in Europe. Porch has given us new lenses through which to see and understand the French war.' Michael Neiberg, author of When France Fell: Vichy and the Fate of the Anglo-American Alliance

'Douglas Porch has produced an important and much-needed new look at the darkest period in French history. Defeat and Division is a deeply researched, robustly argued and entertainingly written history of a France destroyed by the weaknesses of its own leadership. This is a book that anyone interested in the Second World War or modern French history should read.' Phillips O'Brien, author of How the War was Won: Air-Sea Power and Allied Victory in World War II

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