France at that time was in a long economic stagnation. Despite the advanced equipment for metallurgical, electrical, chemical, metal, auto and other companies, it is very lagged behind Germany in terms of production. From favorite to dictate Germany in 1919, the conditions of the Versailles peace treaty, France turned into uncomplaining companion UK. In the spring of 1938 at the head of the country stood radical Edouard Daladier. Its government rose by 8% of all municipal taxes. Allowed to increase the duration of the working day or more than 40 hours a week, strikes were forbidden.
On the international arena, the overall position of the UK and France, has been called a "policy of appeasement". They supported the claim of Germany to Eastern European countries, hoping to secure makarom Western countries. In September 1938, in Munich, head of the French government of Daladier, British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain, Benito Mussolini and Adolf Hitler signed an agreement on the division of Czechoslovakia.
In late 1938, the United Kingdom and France procession enlist the German declarations of non-aggression and peaceful development of good neighborly relations. But just in case, in March 1939, France and the United Kingdom shared responsibilities for support in the event of war with Germany. Have developed a joint plan, with all this French military lozhili main hopes on an impregnable "Maginot Line".
After the occupation of Czechoslovakia by the Nazis in Britain rose sharply anti-Hitler sentiments. But the English government, in the interests of a narrow circle of monopoly, as previously kept the detrimental course. Under the pressure of public opinion in April 1939, Chamberlain was obliged to agree to negotiations on mutual assistance between the USSR, Britain and France. It began on August 12 in Moscow. The main stumbling block was a question on the resolution on the smooth passage of Russian troops through Poland.
The talks French diplomats behaved very surprising.
Response from the UK Government on all contentious issues was not followed because the negotiations came to nothing.
In the spring of 1939 held secret talks on cooperation between Britain, the USA and France. In the summer of the same year, the United States of America, the royal couple visited the UK. Burdening international situation led in May 1939 to sign the Franco-Polish agreement on mutual military assistance. But the agreement was omitted section to provide "automatic military assistance" to Poland. So Makar, the protocol does not oblige France, and as it should not have any value.
September 1, 1939 air strikes and attack the German Army marked the beginning of the war with Poland. Many historians consider this day the start of the second world war. Immediately, the United Kingdom and France declared war on Nazi Germany, but with all this, try to avoid any military action. On the German-French border not a single shot, no Allied aircraft got off the ground, no French or British ship did not come to the rescue. The Polish army was crushed in two weeks. And Britain and France until the May 1940 continued to lead this "phony war." Western countries still had hoped that Hitler will bring their attention to the USSR.
Since the beginning of September 1939 government France imposed martial law. Meetings were forbidden, strikes, rallies and demonstrations. Leave canceled, media censored. In March 1940, stood at the head of government, Paul Reynaud, succeeding Edouard Daladier.
In May 1940, German troops quickly marched through neutral countries — Belgium and the Netherlands. Then the Germans in the West Car broke through the front and in the rear were the Anglo-French army, surrounding it near Dunkirk. English expeditionary force with great effort had to be evacuated due to the Anglo-French fleet. The French, having lost the support, hastily retreated to the capital. June 10, German troops were already near Paris. June 16, Paul Reynaud, along with their government went into retirement. He was replaced by 84-year-old Philippe Petain, the follower of the alliance with Germany. He finished the resistance here and asked to say the peace. June 22 at Compiègne was signed humiliating Franco-German armistice. The French army and navy disarmed and disbanded. France has committed every day to pay a large occupational payment. Two-thirds of the country were occupied by Germans. Just south of France and the colonies remained under the control of the government of Petain. On the territory of the country were abolished all parties and trade unions. Petain declared the head of the country and the center of the executive and legislative branches. Propaganda is rapidly made him a halo of "savior of France", who returned the country peace and prosperity. In fact, the entire economy of the majestic Western powers worked to the needs of Germany. French workers in the sets were taken for forced labor.
England continued the war. Fearing that Hitler will take advantage of the French fleet for their own purposes, July 3, 1940 the British stormed the French squadron in the harbor of Mers-el-Kebir in Algeria. A huge number of ships were destroyed or damaged. In addition, the United Kingdom seized by the French courts that found themselves in the English ports, and blocked the French fleet in the Egyptian port of Alexandria.
With the defeat of France began a long and full
of dramatic history of resistance German invaders. His favorite was the outstanding military, political and municipal leader Charles de Gaulle airport.