Vichy France join the Axis 1940

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: After 1900' started by Noscoper, Jan 10, 2019.

  1. Noscoper Well-Known Member

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    Could Vichy France join the Axis after the attack on Mers-el-Kébir

    what would be the impact of this

    How would this effect France post war
     
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  2. Carl Schwamberger Well-Known Member

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    A lot more would have to be offered Petains government than was offered OTL, which was basically nothing. Unlike OTL the nazi government would need to start negotiations swiftly, vs pstphining them indefinitely. Second the French would have to be allowed to resist Japanese occupation of French Indo China. When the nazi government green lighted the Japanese move into Indochina it pretty much killed any further hope of favorable policy from Germany.

    Some of the French would start resistance sooner. Some of the colonial governors would cease cooperation with the central government. Just because Petains government signed a armistice all Frenchmen did not automatically fall in love with the Germans.

    Britain would start picking off the distant French colonies as needed. The US would look for excuses to take the French colonies in the western hemisphere into protective custody. After the US enters the war there is less hesitation to capture other French colonies and form a viable Allied French government sooner.

    More former French leaders arrested, convicted, and some shot or guillotined.
     
  3. Noscoper Well-Known Member

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    What would have to be offered
     
  4. sitalkes Well-Known Member

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    France could be offered the Channel Islands, French Switzerland, maybe British possessions in the Middle East and Africa and other colonies of European powers such as the Belgian Congo but the major sticking point would be Morocco and those areas claimed by Spain and Italy. So you have to come up with a scheme that sorts out claims to various parts of Africa and the Middle East and Asia that gives France a prominent role. Maybe Italy gets East Africa while France gets Egypt and South Africa; Germany gets back its former African colonies. France and Spain get the various colonies in West Africa; Both France and Spain have claims to Morocco; I suppose that if France joined the Axis, then so would Spain so that Spain can assert its claims to British and African territory. Italy gets Malta, Libya, East Africa, and bits of Yugoslavia and Greece.
     
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  5. Carl Schwamberger Well-Known Member

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    I'm unable to guess. Petains government was popular 1940 - early 1941 because it promised peace and a reasonable end to German occupation. The refusal of Hitler to negotiate a peace treaty and the continued occupation eroded much of the goodwill in the spring and summer of 1941. The majority of the French population wanted peace and neutrality & Petains group understood this. Its difficult to imagine what the nazis could have offered that would turn the French into effective Axis warriors.
     
    Last edited: Jan 29, 2019
  6. ivanotter Well-Known Member

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    One of the major things was the internment of French solidiers.

    If they were immediately returned and a vote conducted, there is a chance that Petain could have scored a decisive electoral victory.

    If immediately backed by a peace treaty (also encompassing occupied France) France might just have been 'neutral'.

    It would be a bit tricky to fly bombing missions on Germany and an invasion would be even more tricky.

    Ivan
     
  7. NOMISYRRUC Putting a banging donk on it!

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    IIRC one of the British official histories said that it was touch and go whether Vichy France would declare war on Great Britain for the week after Mers-el-Kébir but I won't be able to look for the page reference until this evening.
     
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  8. Seandineen Member

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    Hess offered colonial readjustment as part of his peace plan.
     
  9. AdA Well-Known Member

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    French Magazine Guerres et Histoire did à spécial on Mers El Kebir. It as lots of information on the French discussions. War was apparently closer than is usually assumed. It would have started with retaliation and escalated from there. The biggest butterfly is the impact of the French Air Force on Bob.
    A French/Italian/German coalition on the Med would change everything, and it would be a lot more tempting for Spain to join the war.
     
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2019
  10. GarethC Well-Known Member

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    Not really. The Spanish discussion starts and ends with "can joining the Axis provide more food than we import by sea when the RN blockades all our ports? No, it cannot."
     
  11. AdA Well-Known Member

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    Not Really. That is the one minor aspect of the OTL discussion. This TL discussion starts with the French conducting large scale retaliatory action after the Mers El Kebir attack, leading to escalation and France in the Axis, leading to Germany promoting a "Lets divide the Med after we defeat Britain" conference with France and Italy and asking Spain if they want to be left out.
    France in the war in July 1940 changes a lot. Way too much for assumptions such as RN blockades to hold.
    Of course in OTL Germany still believed it would reach an agreement with Britain, so that would also have to change.
     
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  12. thaddeus Well-Known Member

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    think the Vichy regime was a perfect barometer of German success, (maybe) ready to strike a deal in May of '41, but evasive after June '41? (wonder why?)

    IF Germany decided they wanted to retrench prior to invasion of USSR? they have simple solution of fortifying themselves in the Low Countries (and a reoriented Maginot Line) in exchange for monies and materials?

    do not think either side wanted French in the Axis? certainly France would not surrender and Germany could not operate their fleet.

    the most plausible military benefit, preserving appearances of neutrality, might be a large number of merchant ships (yes, some could be those already converted to raiders) and importantly transport aircraft?
     
  13. NOMISYRRUC Putting a banging donk on it!

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    This isn't the quote I was looking for, but it is nevertheless interesting. It's from Pages 215 and 216 of The Mediterranean and Middle East Volume I
     
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  14. Clandango Disestablishmentarianist

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    This would make it difficult to dangle offers of French territory to Italy and Spain, but Spain didn't want to join the war anyways and asked for too much, while Italy would be fine with Tunisia and French Somaliland. If Vichy France joined the war... Hmmm, I suppose they would want back the one or two hundred thousand POWs the Germans held. Also read somewhere there was a proposal to offer Nigeria to France.
     
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  15. NOMISYRRUC Putting a banging donk on it!

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    Again this is not the quotation that I am looking for. However, it is a British assessment of the consequences of Mers-el-Kébir driving France into war against them. It is from Page 141 of the Mediterranean and Middle East Volume I
    The "First Happy Time" lasted roughly from June 1940 to May 1941. During that time a few score of operational Kriegsmarine submarines were able to sink hundreds of thousands of tons of merchant shipping a month.

    How many more would have been sunk if the 70 Vichy controlled submarines had joined in? AFAIK the submarines weren't as good as the German Types VII and IX, but they were much better than the Italian submarines that operated in the Atlantic and AFAIK they had better trained crews.
     
  16. NOMISYRRUC Putting a banging donk on it!

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    Talking of Nigeria...

    AFIAK the French maintained stronger land and air forces in French West Africa than the British did in it's West African territories. Therefore (subject to logistics) there's a realistic chance for the French to occupy The Gambia, Sierra Leone, The Gold Coast and Nigeria in the second half of 1940.

    Freetown in Sierra Leone was an important naval and air base for the British in the South Atlantic.

    The British were unloading aircraft at the deep water port of Takoradi in The Gold Coast and then flying them to Egypt via the West Africa branch of the Cape Town to Cairo Imperial Air Route.

    At the very least the British would have to strengthen the garrisons of their West African colonies by delaying the transfer of troops from West Africa to East Africa. IOTL the southern advance into Italian East Africa was made by 3 divisions - one from South Africa and two made up of West and East African troops.
     
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2019
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  17. thaddeus Well-Known Member

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    still think there is the issue that Germany does not want France to commence large scale military production, thus there is a finite level of equipment to defend their colonial empire (the primary interest of Germany AND France)

    IF Nazi regime decided to disentangle themselves from France, make some concessions to hopefully preserve the Vichy regime? the benefit that would accrue to them would be French neutrality (and antipathy to UK)

    per a prior post, acquiring the merchant cruisers and some of the smaller, armed merchant ships would be HUGE benefit to KM https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_auxiliary_and_merchant_cruisers#French_Navy_(Marine_Nationale)

    the bigger benefit would be if they could gain some large number of modern aircraft, my suggestion would be for transports.
     
  18. AdA Well-Known Member

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    France fully in the Axis is a nightmare scenario for Britain.
    It's not a likely one, for it would requires the Petain administration to "sell" the French people a narrative that both blamed Britain for the defeat and for provoking an unjustified war.
    But if it happened, it would give the axis four things it badly needed in 1940/41.
    First, a few hundred extra fighters and bombers for BoB, with trained crews.
    Second, it would double the submarine force for the Atlantic and give axis naval superiority on the Med.
    Thirdly, it would provide large forces both for out of Europe théâtres and critically an extra armored army for Barbarossa.
    Finally, it would rewrite the political narrative of the whole war, making the possibility of a negotiated end much more tempting.
    That's why the attack on Mers El Kebir was such a stupid gamble. Not because the risk of an all out war with France was high (it wasn't) but because the consequences if that happened were so out of proportion with the risk the French ships posed.
    France joins the Axis in July 1940 is probably the easiest way to write an Axis wins TL. Churchill was really bad at risk evaluation.
     
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2019
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  19. thaddeus Well-Known Member

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    it you want a scenario to bring Vichy regime into the war, have the British operation succeed, they sunk Bretagne with great loss of life, came back with aircraft to further damage or destroy Dunkerque, Provence, and hunted Strasbourg.

    what if they sunk all four? they have removed the threat of the capital ships but as you point out enlisted the use of the French submarine force.
     
  20. Noscoper Well-Known Member

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    Could France be forced to grant independence to Indo-China along with being denied an occupation zone in Germany or a seat at the UN permanent seat security council