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Balanced Fare: We Report, You Deride

Thursday, April 17, 2003



When TAPPED Declares A Winner, Play The Percentages

Put your money on the "loser". In the great debate about "What did France accomodate, and when did they accomodate it" between Mark Kleiman and Dr. Etzioni, TAPPED tipped Kleiman as the winner. Now, Mr. Kleiman had excellent posts on Tulia and soldiers operating out of uniform, so we will give him a "two out of three ain't bad" salute. Regrettably, on the question of French collaboration, he is lost. My rousing riposte will follow. Yeah, rebut that!

UPDATE: Links, comments, questions.

1. France had over a million men killed in WW I. The US lost about 50,000 men in Viet Nam. Would anyone attempt to discuss the attitude of the US public towards military action without mentioning Viet Nam? For the French, WWI was, proportionally, about 100 times worse (adjusting for population). What effect did it have on thier confidence in their political leadership or generals when rearmament and war became necessary in the 1930's?

2. Mr. Kleiman argues that the French effort in the Battle of France was not a disgrace. Charles De Gaulle made a career out of redeeming the honor of France, lost in 1940 and surrendered by Vichy. Who are you going to believe?

3. Mr. Kleiman tells us that some french joined Vichy, and some joined the resistance. Well, some folks voted for Nader, and some voted for Gore. Most of the French government opted to surrender; a military court sentenced De Gaulle to death; top officials such as Reynaud (one-time Prime Minister) and Daladier were arrested and eventually handed to the Germans. In fact, Reynaud met his future wife in a prison camp - when life hands you lemons....

4. Remember the Poles! Here is how they behaved after quickly losing to the Germans.

Polish Army in exile - THAT'S how to show some national pride.

POLISH ARMY IN EXILE

46. Polish Army in France
Very shortly after the cessation of organized fighting by Polish forces against the German invaders, a Polish army was formed in France by General Sikorski. This army consisted of 4 1/2 infantry divisions, an armored brigade and the Carpanthian brigade, some 100,000 men in all. The first and second divisions took part in the battle of France; the Carpathian Brigade fought in Norway and was the first to enter Narvik.

47. Polish Army in England

After the collapse of France, General Sikorski succeeded in evacuating a large part of the Polish troops to England, where Poland now has an army corps including an armored division, a rifle brigade, a parachute brigade , and other units.

48. Polish Army in the Middle East

When the Polish-Russian Treaty as signed in July, 1941, a number of Polish prisoners of war in Russia were released, and a new army was organized on Russian soil under General Anders. Before having been equipped it was transferred to the Middle East at the request of the Soviet Government. With the Carpathian Brigade now expanded to a Division, it forms separate army corps. Polish ground forces in the Middle East number some 75,000 men, fully trained and equipped with the most modern American and British armament.

49. Polish Air Force

After the fall of Poland, Polish fighter squadrons were set up in France, while bomber crews were training in Britain. When Hitler attacked in the West, 133 Polish fighter pilots, fighting with the British and French Air Forces faced his air armada. They won 55 victories, losing 15 men. Yet the most glorious achievement of the tiny Polish Air Force was in the Battle of Britain, when it destroyed 195 enemy machines out of the total of 2,366 brought down by the Royal Air Force....


France before the war: Unready and unwilling.

The Phony War - France and Britain declared war on Germany when it invaded Poland. The Pooes hoped that a French attack on Germany would draw German forces out of Poland. On the Franco-German border, over 100 French divisions confronted roughly forty German divisions. The French delivered the Saar "offensive":

French patrols cross the frontier into Germany near Saarbrucken, marking the beginning of the Saar offensive. A total of 11 divisions advance along a 32 km frontage. There is negligible German opposition. The French mobilization is too slow and their tactical system too inflexible to permit any grander offensive operation. These gentle probes continue until September 17th when a larger advance is supposed to be made but is in fact cancelled because the Polish collapse makes it pointless.

Battle of France

The Free French Army, at four thousand men, is somewhat smaller than its Polish counterpart.

The Vichy Government arrests the former Prime Minister and delivers him to the Germans.


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