AHC: France liberated from Nazis by Soviet, not western, forces

raharris1973

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What it says on the tin.

In WWII of course.

Not easy, but if the Soviets are the ones liberating as far into France as greater Lorraine and Champagne, Dijon and Lyon, that is good enough.
 
It would probably have to happen spontaneously, like in a situation where for whatever reason Barbarossa never happens but the Red Army then later bulldozes the Wehrmacht in a surprise offensive and the PCF leads an uprising. A bit difficult in that the PCF only took on their powerful role in the French Resistance because of Barbarossa.
 
A stand-alone article from an earlier version of French Wikipedia: https://web.archive.org/web/20150521161620/https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paris,_secteur_soviétique

Google Translator:

"On June 6, 1944, an unprecedented storm rises as the Allies attempt to land on the beaches of Normandy. In a few hours, the failure is total. The great offensive against Nazi Germany left three months later the coast of Provence but the Allies are bogged down around Lyon, leaving Stalin's Red Army the opportunity to cross the Rhine and liberate Paris. After the capitulation of the Reich in 1946, France was cut in two at the height of the Seine. France (allied zone) and the French People's Republic (Russian zone) are created and Paris is divided into two sectors; the river serves as a dividing line.

"A few years later, the spies of the two blocks face each other when, in December 1951, a mysterious serial killer rages and threatens the precarious balance of the cold war. Captain Saint-Elme, as former cop of the vice squad, is sent to the Russian side to help them apprehend the criminal. He has the opportunity to enter the Soviet sector and is helped ("guarded") by Comrade Captain Donnadieu. But was not this luck rather a trap set by Donnadieu and the communist police to discover the prostitute spying network set up by Saint Elme himself?"

***

Other details: De Gaulle died in a helicopter crash over the Mediterranean (no date given).

Thorez leads the French People's Republic.

The sinister Marcel Petiot https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marcel_Petiot is Medical Examiner for the Communist regime...
 
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raharris1973

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It would probably have to happen spontaneously, like in a situation where for whatever reason Barbarossa never happens but the Red Army then later bulldozes the Wehrmacht in a surprise offensive and the PCF leads an uprising. A bit difficult in that the PCF only took on their powerful role in the French Resistance because of Barbarossa.
I see a couple ways to get around this. Perhaps Barbarossa gets flubbed up earlier with a more competent Soviet response that means the Soviets lose less territory and people and are able to take to the offensive in central Europe earlier than OTL. Or the Soviets attack the Germans, but not in a lightning surprise at the very end of the war, but when there is still more than a year of war left and so the PCF has time to become resistance heroes.

Maurice Thorez is put in charge of the portion of France liberated by the Soviets.

I have a couple questions about knock-on effects. How are relations between the Communist administered French metropole and the overseas French Union territories going to develop?

The easy answer is to say that all of the French Union territories outside the metropole would become the refuge and and preserve of anticommunist Frenchmen.

But that is not guaranteed.

The maritime powers US and UK would ultimately have an advantage in those areas away from Europe, but it would not be instant. They would not have unlimited forces, most colonial areas would be non-priority (with key exceptions like North Africa), so at first the political sympathies of the local French administration, local French community, and native population would matter. Probably in some French Union areas Communist sympathizers, or people not wanting to split with the metropole despite its Communist dominance may be in power. Even among people not committed to the Communist cause, or going along with it, there may be French sentiment to not simply become puppetized by the Anglo-Americans.

Other non-communist French in the colonies, even with some wariness, would probably seek western ties for protection and sustenance.

However, where the French are pro-communist, local non-communist nationalists may be definitely up for regime change supported by Anglo-Americans, while the Soviets (though not able to invest much effort) would be supportive of continuity with France.

However, metropolitan French Communist authorities, and some of their loyalists in the colonies, may be ready to offer some key concessions and positions to natives. They would certainly authorize and encourage it in areas where the local French administration is anti-communist or Anglo-American backed.

In Indochina, how does Ho Chi Minh react to events in France? He’s the strongest player in postwar Indochina, and a Communist. Can Thorez and Ho work out a Confederation arrangement? Or a legal evolution from dependency status to a Franco-Vietnamese alliance of formal equals? Or will he split formally from Moscow and Paris and start seeking US, British and ChiNat support for an independent Vietnam calling its ideology something other than Marxism-Leninism?
 
Whilst making for interesting reading, I do wonder though if it would even be the Red Army which liberates France under any scenario. For the sake of argument, let's assume that the western Allies aren't able to invade France for some reason or are pushed back (lots of potential problems with those scenarios, but again for the sake of discussion) and that the Germans are mainly facing the Soviets.....

But once the Soviet armies reach the French border they have essentially conquered all of Germany anyway, at which point wouldn't Germany have already surrendered or wouldn't the German armies in France have no more motivation to fight on? The French could end up liberating themselves as the German armies withdrew.
 

Khanzeer

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logistics my friends
does the red army have the means to transport two million men to paris ? while encountering fierce german resistance from vistula to rhine ?
 
I think it's tough. If the Soviets get into Germany would WAllies support, the US and UK would be rushing into France to save it, and that might be a red line for the US. The US would certainly stop land-lease entirely, and then the Soviets aren't moving as fast.

Also, the German reaction would be to surrender to the West entirely, and put everything into stopping the Russians. It's clear the Germans would rather lose to US/UK than Russians.

The only scenario where I could see this happening is if the invasion of Italy and D-Day are both disasters.

If the Soviets did end up liberating France- I think the French would be a pain to them. They'd be more likely to resist/cause headaches than the defeated Germans, and more likely to get western support if they did rise up , starting a WWIII, especially if the US still has a nuclear monopoly.
 
Whilst making for interesting reading, I do wonder though if it would even be the Red Army which liberates France under any scenario. For the sake of argument, let's assume that the western Allies aren't able to invade France for some reason or are pushed back (lots of potential problems with those scenarios, but again for the sake of discussion) and that the Germans are mainly facing the Soviets.....

But once the Soviet armies reach the French border they have essentially conquered all of Germany anyway, at which point wouldn't Germany have already surrendered or wouldn't the German armies in France have no more motivation to fight on? The French could end up liberating themselves as the German armies withdrew.
Yes

The Red Army would need to arrive from another direction, maybe through Italy or Spain.

A campaign through the Balkans that then goes into Italy.

A campaign through Iran / Turkey that goes towards Egypt and then towards Spanish controlled Morocco and then up into Spain.
 
Yes

The Red Army would need to arrive from another direction, maybe through Italy or Spain.

A campaign through the Balkans that then goes into Italy.

A campaign through Iran / Turkey that goes towards Egypt and then towards Spanish controlled Morocco and then up into Spain.
Hmm..true, but that means going around Germany, which seems like a waste of resources if the aim is to defeat Germany. So it seems less likely now.
 

raharris1973

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But once the Soviet armies reach the French border they have essentially conquered all of Germany anyway, at which point wouldn't Germany have already surrendered or wouldn't the German armies in France have no more motivation to fight on? The French could end up liberating themselves as the German armies withdrew.
A scenario like this does not lead to a Soviet liberation/occupation of France comparable to what happened in Poland, that's true. Nevertheless, I would imagine that in the scenario as you described it, the Soviets conquering all Germany, Soviet and Communist global prestige will be quite high, and this could be quite advantageous for the French Communist Party politically. Even noncommunist French politicians will probably judge that good postwar relations with the Soviet Union will be important for France.

Even if there are not enough German troops left in France by the time is Germany is conquered to really require or justify a Soviet invasion of France, I could imagine there may be some holdouts or pockets and the Soviets could send a military mission for liaison and advisory purposes and equipment to help assist the post-uprising French government. I imagine the Soviets would demand the right to send "investigators" into auto-liberated France to chase Nazi fugitives, recover imprisoned Soviet citizens, etc.


If the we open things up to a range of scenarios, for example, possibly the US not being in the war, the remaining western forces may not be equipped for a firm containment policy.

The Red Army would need to arrive from another direction, maybe through Italy or Spain.

A campaign through the Balkans that then goes into Italy.

A campaign through Iran / Turkey that goes towards Egypt and then towards Spanish controlled Morocco and then up into Spain.
This sounds fun - I'd be interested in hearing more of your ideas on how this would go. Both directions are quite roundabout, especially the "round the southern shores of the Mediterranean way
 
I'm trying to think of a war where one side totally conquered and occupied the enemy country but then still had to proceed to fight the army of the conquered/occupied country in a third country and I'm drawing blank. Can anyone think of examples?

Unless we are looking at liberation in the same vein as in most of Norway and Denmark in OTL after WWII where they were liberated by the western Allies without any fighting (or rather much fighting) as western Allied troops came in to effect the surrender of German forces. In which case, perhaps France could be liberated by the Red Army in that event, but it would likely require that the western Allies have no means or motivation to land their own soldiers into France to do the same after the Red Army defeated Germany.....perhaps it might require that America stays out of the war (but only supplies lend-lease) and the UK is conquered by Germany (Sealion)? Then the only allied force opposing the Germans is just the Red Army....
 
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