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L'Homme du Destin by Steve Payne

Author says: what if petty rivalry stole his manifest destiny to lead the Free French to liberation?. Please note that the opinions expressed in this post do not necessarily reflect the views of the author(s).

June 16th 1944,

the Vichy France Regime moved quickly to end the war with Nazi Germany. General Maxime Weygand, in his very first act as Minister for National Defence arrested his predecessor Charles de Gaulle whilst the forty-nine year old General inauspiciously hid behind a column on the ground floor of the govenment building in Bordeaux, attempting to hail the British Ambassador, Ronald Campbell.

"Let us remember that De Gaulle then spent the rest of the war as a well fed and living in style under the protection of the Brits and only gave "support" to the Free French verbally. also never returned to France till after the Armistice so I ask "What is a hero or how to be treated as one?" - readers commentSince the publication of his military ideas in the book "France and Her Army", de Gaulle had been on bad terms with the Head of the Vichy Government, Henri-Philippe Petain who had accused the author of taking credit for work done by the staff of the French War College. Inevitably, this peacetime rivalry about military doctrine led to a major fracture in wartime when disagreement over tactics suddenly became a matter of life-or-death.

On the outbreak of the Second World War de Gaulle took over command of the 5th Army's tank force in Alsace. He soon became frustrated with the military hierarchy who had failed to grasp the importance of using tanks in mass-attacks with air support.

"Would de Gaulle go into the bag again? He spent a lot of WWI as a POW, IIRC" - readers commentWhen the German Army broke through at Sedan he was given command of the recently formed 4th Armoured Division. With 200 tanks, de Gaulle attacked the German panzers at Montcornet on 17th May, 1940. Lacking air support, de Gaulle made little impact on halting the German advance. De Gaulle was more successful at Caumont (28th May) when he became the only French commanding officer to force the Germans to retreat during the German Invasion of France.

As a result of the success of this action, on the 5th of June, the French prime minister, Paul Reynaud, sacked Edouard Daladier and appointed de Gaulle as his minister of war. De Gaulle also visited London but when he returned to France on 16th June he discovered that Henri-Philippe Petain had ousted Paul Reynaud as premier and was forming a government that would seek an armistice with Germany.

Author says original content has been repurposed to celebrate the author's genius Jonathan Fenby's biography, The General: De Gaulle and the France He Saved (June 2010) and also the Spartacus Schoolnet web site. To view guest historian's comments on this post please visit the Today in Alternate History web site.

Other Contemporary Stories

Last Anglo-French War 1940-1944 Last Throw of the Dice Crazy Heads

Steve Payne, Editor of Today in Alternate History, a Daily Updating Blog of Important Events In History That Never Occurred Today. Follow us on Facebook, Myspace and Twitter.

Imagine what would be, if history had occurred a bit differently. Who says it didn't, somewhere? These fictional news items explore that possibility. Possibilities such as America becoming a Marxist superpower, aliens influencing human history in the 18th century and Teddy Roosevelt winning his 3rd term as president abound in this interesting fictional blog.


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