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Strange Victory: Hitler's Conquest of France

4.03 of 5 stars 4.03  ·  rating details  ·  77 ratings  ·  7 reviews
"Strange Victory" is a riveting book about France and Germany in the years leading up to World War II. Why did Hitler turn against France in the Spring of 1940 and not before? And why were his poor judgement and inadequate intelligence about the Allies nonetheless correct? Why didn't France take the offensive earlier, when it might have led to victory? What explains France ...more
Paperback, 608 pages
Published October 3rd 2009 by Hill & Wang (first published January 1st 2000)
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Steve
As a warning, this book probably is of the most interest to a serious student of WWII or European politics. It is a book written in response to the prevailing accounts of the fall of France in 1940.

May presents a revisionist account that challenges the idea that France was rotten and bound to be defeated in 1940. By contrast, France felt much stronger than Germany and was in fact more powerful at that time. While Germany was a larger nation, France could mass her entire army on the border with G
...more
Dave
4 stars for important insights, but 2 stars for being about 150 pages too long.

The book essentially overthrows most of my previous conceptions about why France lost so quickly. All of the old ideas of a defeatist France, an irresistible Germany, etc. are swept away. This is really too bad, as it will alter my lesson plans, and I guess I will have to scrap showing my students Vol. 3 of the video series, 'The World at War.' This is also a sad casualty of this book, as it was always fun to have L.
...more
John
Extremely detailed and with convincing analysis. Its is overwhelmingly about the pre-invasion plans involving Hitler's thinking, intelligence, strategy, pre-war content than actual war waging (which is understandable seeing as Nazi Germany effectively won in 10 days.)
Mcgyver5
Sep 28, 2009 Mcgyver5 marked it as to-read
Shelves: history
I'm just at the very beginning but it is so awesome. Until now, in my mind, the fall of France at the beginning of WWII deserved one sentence. "France surrendered". But, as with most subjects, drilling down into the details yields big complexities.
Alex
Good little revisionist WWII history. May argues that from a military standpoint, Germany should have been defeated by the Allies in 1940, and then lays out the reasons that it did not come to pass. Focuses surprisingly little on the Battle for France, and more on the political and military preparations by Germany that led up to the war and the invasion itself.
Michael Romo
I found this to be an excellent book about the surprising and earth-shattering defeat of France and Britain in May of 1940. Allied misjudgements, excellent German planning, and a lot of luck were the culprits of France's defeat. Even so it was a very close thing and this book reveals just how close a victory for the Germans it was.
Ketsugami
Very good. Interesting thesis, well argued. Could have used more and better maps.
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Ernest Richard May was an American historian of international relations whose 14 published books include analyses of American involvement in World War I and the causes of the fall of France during World War II. His 1997 book The Kennedy Tapes: Inside the White House During the Cuban Missile Crisis became the primary sources of the 2000 film Thirteen Days that viewed the crisis from the perspective ...more
More about Ernest R. May...
The Kennedy Tapes: Inside the White House During the Cuban Missile Crisis The 9/11 Commission Report with Related Documents American Cold War Strategy: Interpreting NSC 68 "Lessons" of the Past: The Use and Misuse of History in American Foreign Policy The Making of the Monroe Doctrine: ,

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