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The Republic in Danger

The Republic in Danger
General Maurice Gamelin and the Politics of French Defence, 1933–1940


  • Date Published: November 2003
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9780521524292

£ 46.99

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About the Authors
  • This is the first full-length study in English of the career of one of France's most controversial military leaders, General Maurice Gamelin (1872–1958). Gamelin was reviled by many of his contemporaries and denigrated by historians as 'the man who lost the Battle of France'. Here Gamelin is re-appraised in the context of the unstable civil-military relations and national decline of the years 1933–40. Basing his account on hitherto inaccessible primary sources and on public and private archives. The evidence reviewed, including Gamelin's private headquarters' diary, provides the basis for a revision of the earlier hostile portraits of the general. The author argues that less attention should be paid to the campaign in France in 1940, by which time Gamelin's role was that of co-ordinator and adviser. Rather, he suggests that great credit is due to Gamelin for his success in holding together the pre-war civil-military consensus, and for re-arming France by 1939.

    Reviews & endorsements

    ' … immensely thorough, dispassionate and well written … This impressive volume, developing the themes of previous revisionist interpretations, throws new light on pre-1939 French politics and strategy and shows that Gamelin deserves considerable credit for the degree of preparedness and civil-military co-operation that was achieved.' The Times Literary Supplement

    'Martin has set himself the difficult task of salvaging Gamelin's reputation, and he marshals vast scholarship and admirable clarity of exposition to that end, making a major contribution to the grim history of appeasement and rearmament.' The Observer

    'Martin Alexander's book will long be a landmark in the political and military history of the 1930s.' European History Quarterly

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    Product details

    • Date Published: November 2003
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9780521524292
    • length: 588 pages
    • dimensions: 229 x 152 x 33 mm
    • weight: 0.85kg
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. The making of a republican general
    2. Gamelin and the rebirth of German power
    3. First responses: defence versus détente in the Laval era
    4. The Popular Front, the army and politics
    5. The road to rearmament: Gamelin, Daladier and Popular Front defence policy
    6. Gamelin and air support of the army
    7. Gamelin, the Maginot Line and Belgium
    8. Gamelin, Yugoslavia and the eastern alliances: assets or embarrassments?
    9. Men or material? Gamelin and British support for France
    10. Czechoslovakia, Poland, and Soviet Union: from appeasement to war
    11. Gamelin and the fall of Poland
    12. The Twilight War: military stagnation and political conflict

  • Author

    Martin S. Alexander, University of Southampton

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