The Phoney War: The History of the Uneasy Calm along the Western Front at the Start of World War II, Charles River Editors
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The Phoney War: The History of the Uneasy Calm along the Western Front at the Start of World War II

Author: Charles River Editors

Narrator: Steve Knupp

Unabridged: 1 hr 48 min

Format: Digital Audiobook

Publisher: Findaway Voices

Published: 03/29/2023

Genre: History - Military - World War Ii

Synopsis

Though the French would be decisively defeated soon after the Nazi invasion of Belgium and France in early 1940, they had not sat on their hands. As the power of Nazi Germany grew alarmingly during the 1930s, the French sought means to defend their territory against the rising menace of the Thousand Year Reich. As architects of the most punitive measures in the Treaty of Versailles following World War I, France was the most natural target for German retribution, so the Maginot Line, a series of interconnected strongpoints and fortifications running along much of France's eastern border, helped allay French fears of invasion.

The popular legend of the Maginot Line portrays the frontier defenses as a useless “white elephant” project that was prompted by a gross misapprehension of warfare's new realities in the mid-20th century and quickly overwhelmed by the forceful advance of the German blitzkrieg. English idiom today invokes this vision of the Maginot Line as a metaphor for any defensive measure strongly believed in but actually useless. Indeed, usages such as “Maginot Line mentality,” describing an overly defensive, reactive mindset, perpetuate the legend. As a French author and military liaison with the British, Andre Maurois, wrote about his disillusionment with the defensive line he originally enthusiastically supported: “We know now that the Maginot line-complex was a dangerous disease of the mind; but I publish this as it was written in January, 1940.”

This was what brought about the stasis along the Western Front near the end of 1939, a short period of time now referred to as the Phoney War, during which the Western Allies awaited some sort of action by the Nazis. Ultimately, the Allies had not expected the Germans would be able to move armored units through the Ardennes Forests, a heavily wooded region spanning parts of Belgium, France and the Netherlands. 

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