France during World War II
France was the largest military power to come under occupation as part of the Western Front in World War II. The Western Front was a military theatre of World War II encompassing Denmark, Norway, Luxembourg, Belgium, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, France, Italy, and Germany. The Western Front was marked by two phases of large-scale combat operations.
The first phase saw the capitulation of the Netherlands, Belgium, and France during May and June 1940 after their defeat in the Low Countries and the northern half of France, and continued into an air war between Germany and Britain that climaxed with the Battle of Britain.
After capitulation, France was governed as Vichy France headed by Marshal Philippe Pétain. From 1940 to 1942, while the Vichy regime was the nominal government of all of France except for Alsace-Lorraine, the Germans and Italians militarily occupied northern and south-eastern France.
The following are articles about the topic of France during World War II:
- Maginot Line and Alpine Line of fortifications and defences along the borders with Germany and Italy
- France declaration of war on Germany—17:00 on 3 September 1939
- Phoney War, or drôle de guerre ("strange war"), the name given to the period of time in Western Europe from September 1939 to April 1940 when, after the blitzkrieg attack on Poland in September 1939, there was almost no fighting, and no bombs were dropped.
- The Battle of France, in which the German victory led to the fall of the Third Republic in May and June 1940.
- Vichy France, the German client state established in June 1940 under in the non-occupied Zone libre, officially neutral and independent until invaded by the Axis in November 1942
- Axis occupation of France:
- Charles de Gaulle, the main leader
- Free France (La France Libre), the provisional government in London who controlled unoccupied and liberated territories, and the forces under its control (Forces françaises libres or FFL), fighting on the Allies' side after the Appeal of 18 June of its leader, General de Gaulle.
- French Liberation Army (Armée française de la Libération) formed on 1 August 1943 by the merger of the FFL and all other Free French units, principally the Army of Africa
- French Forces of the Interior (Forces françaises de l'intérieur) elements of the Resistance loyal to London and under its operational military command
- Free French Air Force
- Free French Naval Forces
- French Resistance and the National Council of the Resistance which coordinated the various groups that made up the resistance
- Japanese and Thai occupation of French Indochina - beginning with the Japanese invasion in September 1940 and with the Franco-Thai War which started in October 1940
- Liberation of France
- Allied advance from Paris to the Rhine - advance (as the right flank of the western front) into Alsace-Lorraine in 1944
- Western Allied invasion of Germany - invasion (as the right flank of the western front) of Baden-Württemberg in 1945
- Kedward, Roderick. "France" in I.C.B. Dear and M.R.D. Foot, eds. The Oxford Companion to World War II (2003) pp 391–408. online at Oxford Reference.