Nazi Lauck NSDAP/AO
THE FIVE INVASIONS OF FRENCH TERRITORY
- including one by Germany)
As the D-Day carnival draws to an end it is a good moment to reflect that between 1940 and 1945 French territory was attacked and invaded no less than five times, with just one of these invasions courtesy of the German nation.
The first invasion of French territory was by invitation only and occurred when Germany invaded in May 1940. In fairness to the German leader he did so only eight months after France’s declaration of war against his own country, throughout which time France had constantly attacked Germany’s borders. This retaliatory action by the German armies served the added purpose of forestalling Britain’s plans to invade Europe. A habit it refused to shake off.
Within a few weeks the German Army numbering just 100,000 defeated the French Army consisting of 6 million men.
Generally speaking the German Army was welcomed in the Low Countries and there was much collaboration not only in France but in Holland and Belgium were people were glad to be rid of the British and French standing armies.
The behavior of German troops in France was impeccable and Jewish author William L. Shirer (Rise and Fall of the Third Reich) conceded as much. In his Berlin Diary he writes: "I noticed open fraternizing between German troops and the inhabitants. Most of the Germans act like naïve tourists, and this has proved a pleasant surprise to the Parisians. It seems funny – every German carries a camera."
Adolf Hitler even allowed the French to keep its own Navy, saying France needed it to defend her empire.
THE SECOND INVASION
The British carried out the second invasion of French interests. Churchill demanded that the French surrender their liberated fleet to the British. When the French made it plain that they had no intention of doing so the British attacked the French fleet which was then based at the Algerian port Mers-el-Kebir. During the battle 1,200 French sailors were killed. Survivors were machine-gunned in the water by RAF pilots.
THE DAKAR DEBACLE
The third attack on French territory was against the French Navy based at Dakar, Senegal. This included the battleship Richelieu, which was carrying £60 million of Belgian and Polish gold. Charles deGaulle who had fled to Britain with the remnants of his defeated army, wanted to lead the invasion of Dakar, but the French in Senegal made it quite clear that the renegade general would be repulsed.
However, on September 23, 1940 as dawn broke, the Royal Navy attacked the port of Dakar. David Irving the noted historian takes up the story. "It was a humiliating fiasco. The British assault forces never got off their troopships. Charles deGaulle’s aviators landed on the airfield and were promptly arrested by the gendarmerie. His emissaries were fired upon as their boat entered the port, and were turned back.
The Richelieu opened fire through the gathering fog with her new 15-inch guns, as did the Dakar fortress batteries, which hit the cruiser Cumberland amidships and put her out of action.
The next day’s brawling off Dakar was equally messy. The British sank a French submarine; the shore guns savaged the Barham. On the day after that, General Spears accompanying de Gaulle, radioed that the latter had thrown in the sponge and would proceed to Bathurst (Gambia), a British colony 100 miles further down the coast.
At 9.00 am a French submarine slapped a torpedo into the battleship Resolution and she too beat an undignified retreat. Morale among the French defenders was high. Churchill dithered whilst his ministers demanded that they cut their losses.
The fourth invasion was the D-Day June 6th 1944 allied invasion at which point the French could be forgiven for echoing the sentiments of the Czech people. They had rued that they could stand another war but not another liberation.
In point of fact this was largely an American invasion with a British-supporting cast. Back home in the U.S.A. the incredulous public was given the impression that their sons were a band of angels. (so what’s new?)
Covering these events much later NBC anchorman Tom Brokaw fell into line with real history and said, ‘The bloodied landscape of France (and) Belgium was American made. The crimes committed by individual American soldiers – rape, thievery and murder – surpassed the crimes of the ‘Nazis’ in every respect. Even American generals were stealing from French civilians. During one period over 500 rapes a month were being reported. It got so bad that General Eisenhower threatened hangings, but it was an empty threat.
Before this fourth invasion the Allies dropped over 590,000 tons of bombs on France – equal to almost half the amount of bombs dropped on Germany during the entire course of the war. Over 1 million French homes were destroyed by Allied bombing attacks and some cities such as Caen, Saint-Lo, Carentan, Montbourg and Valgnes ceased to exist.
For every German who lost his life resisting the American invasion of Europe, the lives of four Frenchmen were taken. Whereas German troops had wandered at will during their occupation of France, the British and the Americans were repeatedly confined to barracks or had their movements restricted because of the French resistance to their presence on French soil.
AND THEN THERE WAS THE FIFTH INVASION
Finally there was the fifth invasion of France; this time an invasion by the vengeful led by Charles De Gaulle. As soon as the American forces had made it safe for the ousted French general, now supported by brigands and Communist gangs, they sought revenge for their humiliation.
The most appalling massacres of civilians began to take place whilst American troops stood idly by. Generally the British media ignored these awful events but one English journalist among others of various nationalities, recorded these desperate tragedies.
"There has never been, in the history of France, a bloodier period than that which followed the liberation of 1944-1945. The massacres of 1944 were no less savage than the massacres of Jacquerie, of St. Bartholomew, of the revolutionary terror, of the commune, and they were certainly more numerous and on a wider scale.
The American services put the figures of ‘summary executions’ in France in the first months of the liberation at 80,000. A former French Minister, Adrien Tixier, later placed the figure at 105,000." – Huddleston, op. Cit., 243 & 245-46. Note: (Under the Reign of Terror 18,000 fell in the frightful butchery that followed the war and insurrection of 1870 – 71).
Footnote: Fewer than 1% of the French people had anything to do with the ‘resistance’. From this we can deduce that 99% accepted or supported the German occupation, which in any case was confined only to those territories that precluded Allied invasion.
"We are without exception the greatest robbers and marauders that ever existed on the face of the globe. We are worse than other countries because we are hypocrites also, for we plunder and always pretend to do so for other peoples’ good." -- Henry Labouchere, Liberal MP and journalist.
A Michael Walsh Contribution to the War Effort
Source: ‘Steady as She Sinks’ currently being compiled
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