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Edwin P.

What if....France Became Neutral

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I propose a set of "What If" semi-historically plausible options that players could turn on or off.

During the course of the game popups would occur linked to specific events that would give players a choice of options to select from.

1.0 France (Popup When Paris Surrenders)

1.1 Historical Vichy

1.2 Conquer France (No Vichy, French Overseas Departments and Navy join the Allies)

1.3 Convince France to Ally with Germany ( France becomes Axis Major Country, No Plunder)

2.0 USA Prewar Options (Popup in June 1941)

2.1 American Oil Embargo of Japan > leads to war no latter than Dec 7,1941 but resources diverted to fight Japan.

OR for a more unpredictable result:

----80% Japan Attacks USA on Dec 7

----20% Japan; on Dec 7, 1941, agreees to USA terms and USA war readiness declines by 20%.

2.2 No Oil Embargo vs Japan > More forces available to fight Germany but no guarantee of USA entry by Dec 7, 1941.

3.0 USA At War Options (Popup when USA Readies for War)

3.1 Historical Europe First Strategy

3.2 Japan First Strategy = Early Siberian Transfer + Reduced USA Production

3.3 Peace with Japan = No Soviet Siberian Transfer + Greater US Production

4.0 German Ukrainian Option (Popup when Axis controls all (3?) cities in Ukraine)

4.1 Historical Income from Captured Cities in Ukraine

4.2 Ukraine Independence - No Income From Ukrainian Cities and reduced chance for partisans in Ukraine

5.0 UK Partisan Support (popup in Jan 1942)

Mr Prime Minister, should we support partisans (for a cost of 100MPP) in

5.1 Greece or

5.2 Norway

5.3 Neither

This option activates post surrender partisans in one of the listed countries for a cost in MPPs.

6.0 Soviet Post Surrender Option (Popup when Moscow falls to Axis if Russia has 200MPP)

Premier, should we prepare for a guerrilla war, like our communist brothers in China?

6.1 Yes - Cost 200MPP, Activates Post Surrender Soviet Partisans

6.2 No

7.0 Siberian Transfer Option

Should we delay the Siberian transfer until German Forces are sent West to fight the Americans and British?

Yes - Reinforced Siberian Transfer occurs 5 to 15 turns after Russia Surrenders

No - Siberian transfer occurs normally

[ May 03, 2005, 02:13 PM: Message edited by: Edwin P. ]

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Just to point out, fun idea, but you're going to totally unbalance the game.

France goes Axis in 1940, you'll have made up any lost plunder in 1-2 years. You'll be getting the extra for Marsielle, Syria, and Tunisia. Plus the Armies, Air Fleet, and Fleets (no way they'd go to Britain, see Oran). After 1942-43, you're money ahead every turn.

And the real kicker is you'll have another nation working on tech advances.

Who'd pick plunder with that option?

Might be fun to see what would happen, I suppose. But I think it'll just lead to an early Axis Victory. At bare minimum, the Med becomes an Axis lake.

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Lars,

RE: France goes Axis 1940

Excellent point, so what can be done to balance this option?

- Keep in mind that Germany does not receive the MPPS from French production. This limits Germany's ability to purchase new units and finance research. Taking this into account, may give you a relatively balanced option.

To finetune this you could,

- reduce production of French cities from 10 to 8 to reflect reparations to Germany.

- Keep French Force limits low to reflect reduced availablity of manpower from WWI losses.

Any other ideas?

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I understand the Germans don't get their cut, but you got to balance that against whatever's left of the armies, one air fleet, and four fleets. That's a lot of mpp's right there. And at some point, you're ahead of the game with the French production added to the German. I see no valid reason to reduce the French mpps.

To balance it, I think you'd have start the Soviet war clock ticking. That's the only thing that would scare the Germans.

Of course, Spain and Turkey would probably jump in under this scenario on the Axis side, so you'd have to take that into account too.

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Starting the Soviet war clock ticking is a good idea.

Or, if France allies with the Axis then does the UK seize French Indochina and gain more MPPs via Merchant Shipping?

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I doubt the British could have seized French IndoChina, they were spread thin in the Pacific after the European war began. Prior to sending the Prince of Wales and Repulse to Singapore (where they were promptly sunk), Britain didn't have a single capital ship in the threater. So, after ravaging the US fleet at Pearl, the Japanese were largely unopposed except for Dutch Admiral Dorman's Destroyers, which were also sunk a bit later (Battle of the Java Sea).

In terms of land troops, the British gradually assembled a large force on the Malay Penninsula, principally at Singapore, but I don't think they could have successfully invaded Indochina with them.

-- I agree with the premise that France, as a German Ally, would have been something along the lines of Italy. I also like the idea that the French would have conducting their own war research and their MPPs would go to themselves and not to Germany.

Lars statement about it leading to a short game / war has something in it I like historically. It helps shut up those who still claim Vichy France became an Axis Ally. The British were so afraid of this they seized Syria, sank the French fleet at Mirs El Kabir and attempted to take Dakir, all blatant acts of war yet Vichy remained neutral, even after American troops attacked and killed Frenchmen at Casablanca. Some great Axis partner!

-- Getting back to the original premise, I think Germany might have found enough sympathetic French officials to pull it off instead of forcing that humiliating peace and Vichy partician upon them. Hitler didn't really know what he wanted of France -- the Atlantic corridor to Spain was deliberate, of course. But even then he had no idea how to induce Spain into the Axis.

The shortened USSR fuse seems good except there would have to be something to reflect the state of unreadiness Russia would have been in if forced to go to war early. This is one of my complaints with SC-1, if the USSR goes to war against Germany it doesn't have the support it did in actual life when it was a matter of saving Mother Russia. This is never reflected in games.

-- How would Spain and Turkey be more inclined to join the Axis if (defeated) France did so? I'd like to have a better idea of the reasoning involved there.

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errrrrr too much what if

The only effect of a 'France joins the Axis' option, will that players will disband their fleets/airfleets to make it unpalatable to the Axis player

The only reason the 'France joins the Axis' option to be used after that would be for novelty or punish an allied player that managed to move half the French army to England

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Er, Vichy France was an Axis partner pretty much. They gave a LOT of help to the Germans, just not military help. Even improved their economy during the war. They played their own game.

I think Spain and Turkey would have come in on the Axis side because the writing would be on the wall for Britain. And with Britain out, Spain would get Gilbralter back, and you could buy off Turkey with parts of Russia and/or their old possesions in Arabia.

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Korut Zelva,

Good point, but what if the Axis player manages to take Paris before he can do so. Its a tough balancing act. Disband your units too soon and France falls early. And there are costs to selecting France as an ally. Germany loses access to the Plunder and the increased MPPs don't benefit their economy.

[ May 03, 2005, 07:11 PM: Message edited by: Edwin P. ]

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Lars,

The thing is Vichy France had to cooperate with Germany as it was the weakened remnant of a defeated nation. Certainly the smarter move after the British strikes against it (before US and Soviet participation in the war) would have been to throw in completely with Germany. That it didn't debunks much of the things said against it.

There wasn't a nation in Europe not actually involved in the war that didn't deal with Germany. They all had to play a gain for survival, Vichy was much worse off than most.

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And there are costs to selecting France as an ally. Germany loses access to the Plunder and the increased MPPs don't benefit their economy.

Yes Edwin P. that is true in that sense.

The other side of the equation is that in the '1st place', Germany can then reduce the number of forces it uses to garrison and defend France...thereby immediately releasing more forces for other operations.

In the '2nd place'...since there may be maximum-limits as to how many forces any country can raise or support in SC2.

This alone could make a French-Axis option something worthwhile considering. Not only that...but now, the French would bear the Expense and maintenance of Armies to defend France and also FOR EXAMPLE for illustration purposes... Anti-Aircraft and Coastal Fortification defenses.

To make this alternate history selection more interesting,... a condition could be included such as making the conquest of Britain a necessity 1st!.

The Germans would then in this situation opt to gamble on this option with the caveat that in order for France to become an Axis partner...Britain would have to be conquered 1st!.

Until that is successuffly accomplished...Germany would be soley responsible for defending France at their own expense without any MPP Loot or regular income other than only... say 1/4 of the regular Monthly MPP's until Britain is conquered.

If the German's fail to conquer Britain by an alloted time frame...then what-ever French resolve that could have been for becoming a parter in the Axis coalition...would then be a non-possibility.

The Germans could then again look at the Plunder option for France...and proceed to now collect the MPP's as well as the FULL regular monthly income.

France would no-longer be avaialable as an AXIS parter after that.

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Jon_j_rambo ... yes you have a point there!.

However to make a long story short...the French forces preformed very well otherwise such as when DeGaulle was finally in charge at the end. They put up a superb fight against the Germans...but it was too late by then.

Old Generals...Old ideas...and believing that the Germans would never come in FORCE through the Ardenne were but a few of the problems.

Not following DeGualles advice to form Armoured Divisions or Regiments...as well as not creating a larger Armoured force were more of the problems.

The French also did not have plans in place to supply large Armoured formations. Infact...during the Battle For France...many French tanks that would have otherwise and were capable-wise to perform well...couldn't...as they did not have the supply machine in place to keep refueling these tanks. Many tanks had no fuel and so were abandoned or aswell... these units had no other option than to surrender!.

There is more to your reply than i can think of at the moment...maybey someone else can fill you in on more of it!.

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I think he meant "what happened to their army?" quite literally, as in, where did all those men and materials go to after the swift defeat by the Germans. I know the Germans took a lot of stuff (plunder), but what about the men? Just sent home to cause trouble?

Another thing, if France goes full Axis, how about instead of "starting the Soviet clock", how about just ratcheting up Russia's pre-war war readiness? So when the Germans do finally invade, the Russians are much better prepared...

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The overwhelming majority of French POWs from 1940 served as laborers in Germany.

They were used as a bargaining chip to assure cooperation from the Vichy French and from time to time some of them were released, mainly men in poor health who were useless as laborers.

This is one of the reasons the Petain government did things like cooperate with the Gestapo in finding French Jews. I'm not trying to justify things like that, but there are many reasons why the French cooperated, they didn't simply roll over and die and become collaborators.

Brother Rambo, you might want to read William L. Shirer's book,

The Collapse of The Third Republic An Inquiry into the Fall of France in 1940. -- [1969.]

it starts with France emerging among the victors of WWI (forgetting that they were on the brink of defeat) and traces the path of corruption and incompetence right up to the defeat in 1940. After reading it you'll have a different view of what happened to them.

Among other things, during the 1920s and 1930s, senile French generals serving even in their 80s, pushed for the replacement of 'unreliable' mechanization with 'reliable' horses! They advised that France had the finest riding horses on earth and that it would be a national disgrace to neglect the cavalry arm. In other words, the men who suffered through the First World War failed to learn any of it's lessons.

Even Petain, while in Spain as the Germans entered Paris, said, "This is the natural result of twenty years of socialism." In other words, absolving himself and his colleagues of all hint that they'd failed militarily.

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Free French regarding the complaint that came up about French units that were already evacuated before France surrendered and suddenly vanished with France turning into a minor Axis Ally ...

It's very simple.

Did the French send armies, fleets or air units across the channel or over to Egypt so they could serve with Britain after they were defeated?

NO!

That system is used in SC-1 and is downright wrong so the point brought up here is totally invalid.

Free French, Poles and others who made it to England should be represented as a sort of reverse plunder added to the UK totals, not as a French Army, corps, HQ etc suddenly becoming British with the French surrender.

The game representation is nonsensical and lends itself to ludicrous situations such as mass flights of French units out of France even while the Germans are still in the Low Countries!

At what point does a country have greater need for it's army than at the time it's capital is being attacked? Yet, in SC, that's the last call to pull French armies across to the UK.

Totally unrealistic and many of us said that from the first day the game was issued!

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One should keep in mind that initially the French viewed the German occupation as temporary. There would be no major changes except for reparations and minor loss of territory. This was based on the previous history of conflict between the two nations over the last 200 years.

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Did the French send armies, fleets or air units across the channel or over to Egypt so they could serve with Britain after they were defeated?
regarding that, in order to prevent this maybe SC2 could prevent French unit from operating once germans control some hex in France. You know, to simulate having all the roads jammed with fleeing refugee

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Yeah, my point was exactly,"Where did the French Armymen go?". The Germans smashed thru the Ardennes & took Paris, but what ratio of the French fighting men were killed?

Something was fishy with the whole situation. They rolled over, like a fixed bettor's sporting event. After the liberation of France by the USA/UK/Canada, where were all the French Armymen? I don't get it, the population of France was probably the same as Germany, you telling me some of the French dudes couldn't fight for their own country? Too many good people got waxed on Omaha, Utah, Sword, & Gold for nothing.

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No, they didn't roll over!

The campaign was fought in two stages.

The move through the Ardennes to Sedan and then straight west to the Channel cut off the French in Belgium and the BEF.

The Germans had to stop there to resupply, move prisoners to the rear and relocate air squadrons.

The second stage was what remained of the French Army forming a defensive line at their borders. They had no reserves at all -- they'd just had a shattering defeat in Belgium, losing most of their best trained and equiped divisions, and no, they didn't roll over, they were cut off and unsupplied after fighting hard to try and break out. The French complaint was that if the British hadn't gone to Dunkirk and instead helped push south they all would have made it back to France and might even have cut off a couple of Panzer Divisions that were on the coast.

Instead the French were left with three fewer armies (counting the B. E. F.) than they started out with.

The Germans resumed the offensive and suffered heavy losses. Once they broke through the French had no way to either counter attack or set up secondary lines, as I said, they had no reserves at all. None!

Some units in the Maginot Line continued fighting right up to the surrender and had to be convinced by the appearance of French generals carrying white flags that they had to surrender.

The French troops who were captured by the Germans were not released back into the population, they were taken to Germany instead and used as slave laborers.

Some of those prisoners and some civilians who hadn't served, volunteered to fight with the Germans and many of them were the most fanatical troops the Germans had.

After the war many of those Frenchmen were returned and executed by the restored French government.

The take on this, that the French rolled over and their armies mass deserted or whatever the insinuation is, is completely incorrect.

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JerseyJohn, a long read, but you might find it interesting.

La collaboration d'état

I'll just post the conclusion,

One justification for collaboration put forward by Vichy ministers during and after the war was that it reduced the damage the occupiers might potentially inflict on France. After the war, Pétain used this argument at his trial. His defence claimed that Pétain and Vichy had formed un bouclier, a shield that had protected France against the worst excesses of Nazi domination. Historians call this defense the `shield' philosophy.

Although plausible as a theory, it doesn't stand up against the evidence. Firstly, protecting France against the full barbarity of Nazi rule implies an awareness on the part of Vichy of Nazi policy. It is possible to argue that Vichy's understanding of Nazi policy was limited. The actions of Vichy, predicated on the victory of Germany in an essentially European war, expresses a blinkered view of the dynamics of Nazism. The Germany of 1940, thought many in Vichy, was little different to the Germay with whom they had agreed an armistice in 1918.

Moreover, the argument that Vichy collaboration prevented France from becoming another Poland is similarly unfounded. The `polonization' of certain sections of the French community took place, and took place, more importantly, with the complicity of the French authorities. The deportation of 75,000-80,000 Jews, the forced dispatch of 750,000 Frenchmen and Frenchwomen to work in Germany, the trials of 135,000 French people, the internment of 70,000 `enemies of the state', the complicity of the French police and the Milice in suppressing resistance are all examples of this. There was no shielding or moderating influence here.

Comparisons with other occupied countries in Europe underline the specificity of the French experience. In the Netherlands, for example, civil servants were only expected to ensure the proper functionning of essential services and not to provide any other assistance to the occupying forces.

Vichy not only facilitated and assisted in Nazi atrocities, but it also exploited France's military defeat to construct its own internal political revolution. This makes Vichy France, with the possible exception of Croatia and Slovakia, newly created states, a specific case in occupied Europe.

I shall leave the last word to Gerhard Hirschfeld;

Collaboration had not prevented the worst from happening but rather had made it possible and in any case paved the road to Auschwitz (Hirschfeld: 1989 p.13).

The evidence was pretty clear. They weren't called collaborators for nothing.

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Lars,interesting.

It really demonstrates the value of the Vichy France option to the Germans and leads me to think that the 2 key diplomatic decisions that had the most impact on the war and could be modeled in SC2 are;

1. The German decision on how to handle a defeated France.

----- Vichy Option: Plunder, Income and Increase in Limit of Units or Bonus to Industrial Production Tech Level due to French labor force contributions. In fact the increase to Axis force pool limits or the increase to the Industrial Production Tech might be the balancing factor needed to make this option superior, if not equal to the other proposed options.

2. The USA decision to embargo the sale of oil to Japan.

For me, this is the critical factor that resulted in the USA entering the war in Euriope in Dec 1941. Without the oil embargo, Japan would not have attacked the USA and American entry into the war would have been delayed.

HC, any chance of including event scripts that would allow players to choose between 2 options?

[ May 04, 2005, 10:19 AM: Message edited by: Edwin P. ]

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Lars,

Reinhard Heidrich, if he hadn't been assassinated in Czhechoslovakia, would have been sent to govern occupied France, which indicates the German administration would have been vastly more brutal than it was historically.

I'm very hesitant to judge the French role in terms of collaboration with nazi Germany. For one thing, that excerpt -- and thanks for presenting it -- combines elements of occupied and Vichy France. Yes, the French did assist the Gestapo in rounding up and transporting Jews to certain death -- it did not help create Auschwitz, that statement is nonsensical!

Basically each country did what it had to continue esisting. All historians are guilty of assessing real situations with hindsight. They aren't truly seeing it from the eyes of those involved because that would be impossible to do after the fact. Vichy was filled with traitors, yes, but it was also filled with patriots who wanted to preserve their country, or some semblance of it, regardless of what it took.

A haunting look at this quiet sort of cooperation can be glimpsed in the excellent Arthur Miller play, An Incident at Vichy, where French police help German Gestapo to hunt for innocent civilians, including a child and the discussion narrows to a wounded German officer and a wounded former French officer. These are situations that test human behavior to the extreme.

I don't think any of us can judge those involved from afar. Petain, certainly, gained nothing personally by leading Vichy and didn't seek it. It would have been easier for him to flee and pose as a patriotic symbol from afar. I'm sure he felt his proper role was to remain with the population.

But the irony of this material, to me anyway, is it shows there would certainly have been many Frenchmen willing to go all the way right and throw in with the Germans. There was one thing above all that Petain and Hitler agreed upon, their hatred of socialism, which might have served as a common cause if handled properly.

Regarding the Vichy imprisoning of Frenchmen who didn't agree with their views. It reminds me of a remark Churchill made in Algiers after Torch had come ashore. Allen Dulles, sent by FDR to get the territories organized, went far out of his way to cover for and continue using the same Vichy officials who supposedly were being removed by the occupying troops. Dulles complained to Churchill that he couldn't find anyone capable of running the place. Churhill's response was a droll, "Oh? Have you tried looking in the prisons?" Tragic humor and not quite the sort of thing to be laughed at even sixty years later.

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JerseyJohn, the crucial difference is that the Vichy French government actively assisted and went out of their way to assist, while the other occupied governments did not. It wasn't just the Jews. It was the workers, the contracts, suppression of dissent, etc. In fact, after the D-Day invasion, Petain started a Vichy French government in exile. They didn't give Petain, Leval and Dernand a death sentence for nothing.

They were closet fascists in that they preferred a reactionary government to a republican one. Heck, the Cagoule were attempting to overthrow the French Republican government pre-war. France had more than it's share of problems, that's for sure. Do a little digging and you'll be surprised at the names that turn up.

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