L'Homme du Destin by Steve Payne
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.
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
Schoolnet web site. To view guest historian's comments on this post
please visit the
Today in Alternate History web site.
Other Contemporary Stories
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
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