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Full Name 10 French Republic
Alliance Allies - Minor Member Nation or Possession
Entry into WW2 3 Sep 1939
Population in 1939 41,700,000
Military Deaths in WW2 212,000
Civilian Deaths in WW2 260,000
 - Civ Deaths from Holocaust 100,000


ww2dbaseWith 1.4 million people dead and countless acres of land lay in ruins at the end of World War I, France suffered dearly. When she eventually emerged victorious, she sought revenge on Germany after the eventual victory. In addition to placing an immense reparation on Germany, France also occupied the industrious Saarland, dictated Rhineland as a military-free buffer zone, and successfully argued for limiting German military in the post-WW1 era. What the French leaders, along with many contemporary leaders of other European nations, did not realize was that by placing Germany in such a shameful position, they were brewing for the next major conflict instead of ending the current one.

ww2dbaseTo prevent Germany from easily invading again, France established an elaborate system of defenses along the Rhine river christened the Maginot Line after Minister of Defense André Maginot. At the cost of 3 billion French Francs, the series of strong points, anti-tank obstacles, cement positions for machine gunners and grenadiers, heavy artillery positions, and other defense structures connected by tunnels and railroads made the eastern border "impenetrable". At least so the French believed. With such a strong defense, the French Army could easily hold any German invasion in the future, and use the line as a pivot for a counter offensive.

ww2dbasePolitically, France made intricate moves in the diplomatic arena. By entering in mutual defense pacts with Poland and Czechoslovakia, the French leaders thought they had Germany surrounded.

ww2dbaseThe plans did not turn out so well for France. Czechoslovakia fell as European leaders, including those in Paris, appeased Adolf Hitler by doing nothing. When Germany invaded Poland, the French debated for days before enacting the mutual defense pact, but even then they failed to attack Germany when the Germany military was preoccupied in the east. The final test came in May 1940 when Germany finally turned her military might on France, and the Maginot Line failed. French military leaders failed to prepare for modern warfare involving fast moving armor and aircraft, while having the bulk of the French Army pinned down at the Maginot Line made effective reaction with the main Germany attack through Belgium impossible. On 24 Jun 1940, France surrendered. The Vichy-French government was formed and cooperated with the Germans until its end, fighting against Allied forces particularly early in the war in battles at Mers-el-Kébir and Dakar.

ww2dbaseThat was not to say that the French people as a whole collaborated with Nazi Germany, however. The small number of those fled out of the country formed Free French forces that eventually all came under the command of Charles de Gaulle, fighting in several major campaigns. Many remained in France, too, fought the Germans by forming cells of saboteurs that were collectively as the French Resistance.

ww2dbaseThe liberation of France began in Jun 1944 when the Allied cross-channel invasion of Normandy commenced. General Philippe Leclerc entered Paris on 25 Aug 1944, dramatically boosting the morale of Frenchmen in the resistance against the German occupation.

ww2dbaseWhen the European War ended, France once again demanded a large reparation for lives lost, infrastructure damaged in battles, and industrial capacity pillaged by Nazi Germany.

ww2dbaseSource: Wikipedia.

Last Major Update: Apr 2007

Albert, MarcelGamelin, MauriceMuselier, Émile
Albrecht, BertheGensoul, Marcel-BrunoPeshkov, Zinovy
Auphan, GabrielGiraud, HenriPétain, Philippe
Baker, JosephineGodfroy, René-ÉmileRue, Joseph
Barjot, PierreHenry-Haye, GastonSegouin, Simone
Baudouin, PaulHuntziger, CharlesTravers, Susan
Bloch, DeniseKahn, Louis-LazareVirot, Andrée
Daladier, ÉdouardKœnig, PierreWeygand, Maxime
Darlan, FrançoisLaval, Pierrede Gaulle, Charles
Decoux, JeanLe Gloan, Pierrede Hautecloque, Philippe
Dentz, HenriMarquis, Andréde Laborde, Jean
Deschamps, HélèneMeynier, Katioude Lattre de Tassigny, Jean
Flohic, FrançoisMeynier, Robert

Events Taken Place in France
The Treaty of Versailles28 Jun 1919
Hoare-Laval Pact10 Dec 1935
Churchill's Tour of the Maginot Line16 Aug 1939
Invasion of France and the Low Countries10 May 1940 - 22 Jun 1940
The French Resistance22 Jun 1940 - 28 Aug 1944
Bombing of Cities in France and Low Countries1 Jul 1940 - 7 May 1945
Meeting at Hendaye23 Oct 1940
Raid on Saint-Nazaire28 Mar 1942
Attack on Dieppe18 Aug 1942 - 19 Aug 1942
Scuttling of the French Fleet27 Nov 1942
Normandy Campaign, Phase 16 Jun 1944 - 24 Jul 1944
V-Weapons Campaign13 Jun 1944 - 30 Mar 1945
Discovery of Concentration Camps and the Holocaust24 Jul 1944 - 29 Apr 1945
Normandy Campaign, Phase 225 Jul 1944 - 22 Aug 1944
Brittany Campaign1 Aug 1944 - 11 May 1945
Operation Aphrodite and Operation Anvil4 Aug 1944 - 1 Jan 1945
Invasion of Southern France15 Aug 1944 - 15 Sep 1944
Liberation of Paris25 Aug 1944
Battle of the Bulge16 Dec 1944 - 28 Jan 1945
Advance to the Rhine20 Jan 1945 - 25 Mar 1945
Paris Peace Conference29 Jul 1946 - 15 Oct 1946

130Bre.521 BizerteGL-812 HYMB.150Potez 630
143D.500GL-832 HYMB.200
351/354D.520Latécoère 298MB.210
Bre.19F.220LeO 451MS.406

BretagneDunkerqueJean BartMarseillaiseSuffren
BéarnDupleixJean de VienneMontcalmTourville
CasabiancaDuquesneJeanne d'ArcPrimauguetÉmile Bertin
ColbertFochLa GalissonnièreProvence
De GrasseGeorges LeyguesLa Motte-PicquetRichelieu

37LChar D1
AMC 35 SFT-17
AMC 35H35
AMR 33Panhard Type 178
AMR 35R35
Canon de 194 modèle GPFUE
Char B1

155 mm GPF Field GunCanon de 75 modèle 1897 Field Gun
25 mm Hotchkiss Anti-Aircraft GunCanon de 85 modèle 1927 Schneider Field Gun
Berthier RifleFM 24/29 Machine Gun
Canon de 105 modèle 1930 Schneider Field GunHotchkiss 13.2 mm Machine Gun
Canon de 155 C modèle 1917 Schneider Field GunLebel M1892 Handgun
Canon de 75 CA modèle 1940 Schneider Anti-Aircraft GunMAS M1935A Handgun
Canon de 75 M modèle 1919 Schneider Field GunMAS M1935S Handgun
Canon de 75 M modèle 1928 Field GunSt. Étienne Mle 1907 Machine Gun

Territories, Possessions, and Nations Under the Influence of France
AlgeriaFrench MoroccoMadagascar
French AntillesFrench PolynesiaNew Caledonia
French CamerounFrench SomalilandTunisia
French Equatorial AfricaFrench Syria and Lebanon
French IndochinaFrench West Africa

Arsenal de BrestShipyard, Navy Base
Drancy Concentration CampPrison Camp
Fresnes PrisonPrison Camp
La CoupoleOther
Maginot LineFortification
Merville Gun BatteryFortification
Toulon Military PortNavy Base


WW2-Era Weather Data for France


Tsar Nicholas II of Russia inspecting a 75mm field gun of th French Army, 1901Polish troops cleaning their Berthier rifles in France, 1907-1915
See all 486 photographs of France in World War II


Map of Normandy assault routes1944 United States Army map of the Army Rangers’ attack plan for Pointe du Hoc on the Normandy beaches set for 6 Jun 1944. Note the misspelling of Pointe du Hoc.
See all 8 maps of France in World War II

France in World War II Interactive Map

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Visitor Submitted Comments

1. Anonymous says:
29 Feb 2012 08:01:11 AM

horible little information
2. Mike Embrey says:
22 Oct 2013 05:59:25 AM

My Father PFC Carl Embrey of Patton,s 3rd was involved in a battle in Brette France. Unfortunately due to a fire in 1971 at the archive Headquarters all his and other Military service records were distroyed. Upon his death I discovered he was awarded the Silver Star Award for saving 2 Comrads under intense fire. I would love to know any info available and perhaps trace his steps. The Embreys adopted me in 45 from a Childrens Home in Illinois. Dad was a fantastic family man and wonderful Father, very modest, and rarely spoke of the war. I know very little. Any info would be appreciated. respectfully, Mike Embrey Glenwood IN 46133
3. Anonymous says:
9 Nov 2015 01:14:40 PM

Please include how many casualties there were on French lines and German lines.
4. Anonymous says:
23 May 2016 07:44:50 AM

What were the reasons behind this being a just war for France to enter. Besides the invasion of Poland.
5. Rosie Buckley says:
19 Feb 2017 09:28:58 AM

My father was part of the Allied Occupation with the French Military of Southern Germany - specifically in the region around Saulgau, Herbertingen, Ertingen, Sigmaringen beginning May or June 1945. I'm trying to find which Army unit he served under. Any information you can provide or reference to would be greatly appreciated
6. Ben Gosling says:
8 Aug 2018 09:01:58 AM

After years of bombing, British civilian deaths were 67,000. Why were so many more French civilians killed?
7. Anonymous says:
18 Oct 2018 10:34:25 AM

You say that the French troops under the Vichy government fought against the allies at Mars-el-Kebir. What do you base that on? The British opened fire on the French troops because they refused to surrender their warships. They destroyed many but some remained intact. When the German army finally came to requisition these battle ships the French Navy, as they had promised to the British, scuttled their ships.
8. Anonymous says:
25 Oct 2018 12:26:50 AM

DeGaullle fled France and sought refuge in England. He abused his power of the French Underground command to his personal advantage. This man was a disgrace to all the French men and women of the Resistance who risk everything while he made deals at his leisure. He put himself above his country.
9. Anonymous says:
7 Nov 2018 11:21:02 AM

This helped with my french homework, Thanks!
10. Anonymous says:
25 Nov 2021 01:18:07 AM

the civilian deaths and military deaths dont lead to the total deaths. i dont know what to think?
11. John W Egan says:
27 Nov 2021 09:59:06 PM

The Treaty of Versailles that the Allies required Germany to accept was a Sunday school picnic compared to the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk that Germany forced upon Russia a year earlier - - or what Germany planned for the Allies had it have won. Please, stop repeating the canard that Germany was so mistreated. The territories lost were all majority non-German. The reparations were mild considering that more recently released archival materials indicate that Germany encouraged Austria to pursue war against Serbia.

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France in World War II Photo Gallery
Tsar Nicholas II of Russia inspecting a 75mm field gun of th French Army, 1901Polish troops cleaning their Berthier rifles in France, 1907-1915
See all 486 photographs of France in World War II

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"No bastard ever won a war by dying for his country. You win the war by making the other poor dumb bastard die for his country!"

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