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Old August 10th, 2011, 01:59 AM
Tank Cdr Tank Cdr is offline
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France After World War I Loss

I have been reading some threads on WWI, and it got me to thinking. What if Germany inflicted a quick, decisive defeat on France, along the lines of 1871? What would happen to France if this were to happen? It would be clear that France would be dealt a hard blow by this type of defeat. They would lose another war to Germany, as well as most likely lose territory and colonies. Would the rest of Europe and the world see France as a country rapidly losing prestige and influence? More importantly, how are the French going to view themselves, their government and the rest of the world?

Secondly what of Germany? Today, despite losing two world wars, the Treaty of Versailles, the loss of all their colonies, massive territorial losses in Europe, being divided for over 50 years and having to carry the stigma of Nazism, Germany is still the most powerful economy in Europe. If they win WWI quickly, and decisively are they on their way to becoming a superpower?

What are your thoughts and opinions?
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Old August 10th, 2011, 02:09 AM
Paul V McNutt Paul V McNutt is offline
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I think the interesting question is what happens to the anger and desire for revenge in France. Does it inspire the rise of a militaristic strongman as it did in Germany.
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Old August 10th, 2011, 02:14 AM
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Originally Posted by Paul V McNutt View Post
I think the interesting question is what happens to the anger and desire for revenge in France. Does it inspire the rise of a militaristic strongman as it did in Germany.
Good question, but France would never be able to inflict a defeat on Germany at that point given the population and industrial imbalance. Perhaps they lash out at weaker nations, perhaps Spain in an effort to gain some measure of prestige?!?
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Old August 10th, 2011, 02:18 AM
Kooluk Swordsman Kooluk Swordsman is offline
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Maybe they get their stuff together and try to build a good country, instead of an unstable mess of an empire.
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Old August 10th, 2011, 03:14 AM
Tank Cdr Tank Cdr is offline
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I may be verbally assaulted for this, but here goes. It is my impression that France and the French people have a need to be relevant and a need to be recognized as a great power. The French do seem to believe in French exceptionalism. What would such a loss in WWI do to this fundamental belief system? Is the French psyche be damaged to such an extent that radical violent change is inevitable, and what is the finished product going to look like?

I intend no insult to the French, so please do not take my comments as such!
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Old August 10th, 2011, 07:35 AM
Xgentis Xgentis is offline
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Originally Posted by Kooluk Swordsman View Post
Maybe they get their stuff together and try to build a good country, instead of an unstable mess of an empire.
Francophobia comment already?
Anyway a quick defeat seems rather unlikely.
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Old August 10th, 2011, 07:59 AM
Cook Cook is offline
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instead of an unstable mess of an empire.
An unstable mess that outlasted the British Empire.
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Old August 10th, 2011, 08:03 AM
wolf_brother wolf_brother is offline
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Shit hits the fan essentially. Most threads have France going Fascist-analogue, and for good reason. France already has a history of authoritarian strong men either seizing power or being on the edges of it. Some of the crucial elements to 'Fascism' may be missing, but it'll likely be the closest analogue you'll get ITTL.
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Old August 10th, 2011, 08:07 AM
Xgentis Xgentis is offline
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But why peoples think France can be easily defeated? I yes the French are cheese eating surrender monkeys my bad.
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Old August 10th, 2011, 08:15 AM
Chengar Qordath Chengar Qordath is offline
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Originally Posted by Paul V McNutt View Post
I think the interesting question is what happens to the anger and desire for revenge in France. Does it inspire the rise of a militaristic strongman as it did in Germany.
The one potential issue I see is that was France had already been angry and revanchist ever since Franco-Prussian War. IMO, a second loss to Germany is just as likely to leave the French feeling beaten, burnt-out, and blaming all the revanchist ultra-nationalists for their defeat. The fact that France would have a much harder time manufacturing any stab-in-the-back myth would also hurt the reputation of the militarists.

A lot is going to depend on exactly what kind of terms France gets after being beaten by Germany; a France that gets a relatively lenient peace is better off than one that Germany guts.
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Old August 10th, 2011, 08:18 AM
The Ubbergeek The Ubbergeek is offline
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A radical turn to the left then may ensues?
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Old August 10th, 2011, 08:34 AM
SavoyTruffle SavoyTruffle is offline
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Originally Posted by wolf_brother View Post
Shit hits the fan essentially. Most threads have France going Fascist-analogue, and for good reason. France already has a history of authoritarian strong men either seizing power or being on the edges of it. Some of the crucial elements to 'Fascism' may be missing, but it'll likely be the closest analogue you'll get ITTL.
With Boulanger being oh-so-awfully-close to it in OTL.
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Old August 10th, 2011, 08:55 AM
Mikestone8 Mikestone8 is offline
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I don't see a really quick defeat. Even if beaten at FBotM, the French will hang on south of the Loire, and probably in a besieged Paris, in the hope that the Russian Steam Roller will come to their rescue. That hope probably won't be finally dashed until Spring 1915. So we're talking the best part of a year at least.

If defeated that early, they may still look for revenge. If defeated later, in 1917/18, they may well resign themselves to German ascendancy for a very long time. After all, OTL's WW1 left them too knackered even to enforce a victory, much less reverse a defeat.

Fascism is possible but not inevitable. They may well still muddle along much as OTL.
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Old August 10th, 2011, 10:20 AM
Tank Cdr Tank Cdr is offline
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Originally Posted by Chengar Qordath View Post
The one potential issue I see is that was France had already been angry and revanchist ever since Franco-Prussian War. IMO, a second loss to Germany is just as likely to leave the French feeling beaten, burnt-out, and blaming all the revanchist ultra-nationalists for their defeat. The fact that France would have a much harder time manufacturing any stab-in-the-back myth would also hurt the reputation of the militarists.

A lot is going to depend on exactly what kind of terms France gets after being beaten by Germany; a France that gets a relatively lenient peace is better off than one that Germany guts.
So you are saying that France may turn isolationist?

Would it be too much for France to turn into a German client state, with Berlin pulling the strings of power in Paris? Germany is going to be scary powerful after a decisive victory!
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Old August 10th, 2011, 12:25 PM
Derek Pullem Derek Pullem is offline
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So you are saying that France may turn isolationist?

Would it be too much for France to turn into a German client state, with Berlin pulling the strings of power in Paris? Germany is going to be scary powerful after a decisive victory!
To be frank - yes it would be too much.

Germany (or more correctly the Germans) had a much more conclusive victory in 1871 and the French did not yield.

If we imagine a Spring 1915 defeat then Paris may have fallen / be threaten with obliteration if it doesn't surrender but unlikely that French Field Armies are destroyed as per 1871. Thus Germany's ability to impose a peace will depend on offering one that the French can accept (and the British and the Russians)

The best the CP will get in the East is a status quo ante in Spring 15 and an acceptance of Austrian "influence" in Serbia (which will probably end badly).

In the West, Britain will never accept any loss of Belgium sovereignty (well actually it won't accept German occupation of the Channel ports) so expect Germany to annex Luxembourg and some small amounts of Belgium territory in the South.

The French will lose small amounts of land - be required to pay reparations demilitarise some of their fortresses (Verdun, Sedan etc.) and lose some some colonies (Dahomey? Ivory Coast?) but don't expect a Versaille style treaty

The UK may try for a white peace but maty cede Zanzibar back to the Germans and possible Gold Coast too. I'd expect some "understanding" on German fleet size too.

All in all Germany won't be a "superpower". It's stronger, more prestigious but not a world dominating giant. The defeat would also drive Britian and France int oa closer economic bloc I would suggest (plus Russia if it avoids an immediate revolution). The French won't be versailled or the peace won't be made in 1915.

Last edited by Derek Pullem; August 10th, 2011 at 03:40 PM..
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Old August 10th, 2011, 03:16 PM
Thalyr Thalyr is offline
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A lot of the 'negative vibes' in Germany after WW1 were because of the Versaille Treaty, which aimed to punish Germany for the long and costly war. If the war was short the peace treaty would not have been so cruel, and the losers would be alot less traumatized by it.

I agree with Derek Pullem: loss of colonies and some strips of land near the border. It would just be the newest, but not the last, of so many conflicts between Germany and France.
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Old August 10th, 2011, 03:36 PM
Tank Cdr Tank Cdr is offline
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Originally Posted by Thalyr View Post
A lot of the 'negative vibes' in Germany after WW1 were because of the Versaille Treaty, which aimed to punish Germany for the long and costly war. If the war was short the peace treaty would not have been so cruel, and the losers would be alot less traumatized by it.

I agree with Derek Pullem: loss of colonies and some strips of land near the border. It would just be the newest, but not the last, of so many conflicts between Germany and France.
Are the French even going to want to take on the Germans again after a WWI loss? Germany will only be stronger and France will only be weaker. Unless Germany commits some serious blunders, and they may under Wilhelm II, then France's chances for victory are slim in a future conflict. Perhaps a French government will come to power that attempts to build a lasting peace with Germany!?!
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Old August 10th, 2011, 03:43 PM
Derek Pullem Derek Pullem is offline
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Originally Posted by Tank Cdr View Post
Are the French even going to want to take on the Germans again after a WWI loss? Germany will only be stronger and France will only be weaker. Unless Germany commits some serious blunders, and they may under Wilhelm II, then France's chances for victory are slim in a future conflict. Perhaps a French government will come to power that attempts to build a lasting peace with Germany!?!
Germans will have been in Paris three times inside a century. The french are not cheese eating surrender monkeys despite what popular myth may have us believe.

The EU came about becuase France and Germany were beaten and battered - only then will you get a discussion based on mutual rather than one sided benefits.
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Old August 10th, 2011, 03:50 PM
Giysqun Wilde Giysqun Wilde is offline
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The Germans would occupy half the country again, make the French pay a several billion marks, empty their museums of art looted by Napoleon, and get back to fighting Russia like planned.
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Old August 10th, 2011, 03:53 PM
Derek Pullem Derek Pullem is offline
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Originally Posted by Giysqun Wilde View Post
The Germans would occupy half the country again, make the French pay a several billion marks, empty their museums of art looted by Napoleon, and get back to fighting Russia like planned.
......and fail to secure a peace treaty with anyone.
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