RF wrote:This argument about manpower particulary applied in WW1, as from 1916 onwards it was the British (plus in 1918 the Americans) who kept France in the war.
The manpower problem exists with or without the Maginot Line. What I have been arguing is that the Maginot Line wasn't the best solution to that problem, becuase it tied up too much manpower into fixed position defences.
At the start of WW2 the disparity in manpower was actually less so than that in 1914, for while Germany had a bigger population from digesting Austria, Bohemia and Moravia, Germany was not as heavily armed on the same scale as it was for the launch of the Schlieffen Plan, which involved forces totalling five million men. In 1939/1940 Germany was not mobilised for total war. Poland was invaded with a totally inadequate defence force covering the incomplete Siegfried Line. France would have been in a winning position if its army had been updated and re-equipped/retrained with modern armoured and motorised infantry divisions, together with a stronger air force.
The real problem with France was not so much manpower as defeatism. Andre Maginot built the Line named after him in an attempt to keep the Germans off French soil. It wasn't about attacking the Germans or invading Germany, it was to prevent the destruction of French land by enemy invasion and of the huge manpower losses on the scale of the 1914/18 conflict.
Much the same argument about inadequate manpower and the alleged need for fixed fortifications applied to Germany from 1942 onwards, because it was fighting the combined might of the USSR, USA and the British Empire. Hitler greatly embraced such fortifications - and they did him no good at all, because in having such fortifications the Heer lost one of its biggest assets - its mobility. As Runstedt observed, it simply made whole divisions defending fixed positions sitting targets for Allied firepower.
..... RF, you are all over the landscape with your arguments. The manpower inadequacy issue I raised was the STRATEGIC inference drawn by France when the pre-WW2 difference between the French and German populations was taken into consideration. It is an utterly incontestable fact that the population advantage enjoyed by Germany over France was VERY MUCH greater on the eve of WW2 than it had been on the eve of WW1. That simple and inescapable fact of life is what drove France to build the Maginot Line AS A STRATEGIC MEASURE. France required some means of securing a lengthy border frontage with a minimum number of troops and the ONLY option was the use of heavy fortifications as a force multiplier. I really cannot fathom your fixation about the Maginot Line as demanding an excessive commitment of troops. How many troops do you think it would take to defend 150 miles of frontage against a major offensive thrust? The Maginot defenses took approximately 400,000 men. HOWEVER, half or more of those 400,000 were fully equipped field formations that were immediately committed as maneuver elements against the German offensive. That left approximately 200,000 men (about 15 divisions) to defend a 150 mile front versus Germany plus a small additional increment of other fixed defenses covering the border with Italy in the south.
The other points you mention about poor French doctrine, deficient command and control and communications, outmoded tactics, defeatism, political disunity (one may add a fatally lamed industrial base), etc, etc, etc, are all true. I have already mentioned most of them in previous posts and IMHO they represent the true causes of the French collapse.
You might wish to consult Jacques Benoist-Mechin's "Sixty Days that Shook the West - The Fall of France 1940". I think you would find it illuminating in several respects.
I really think we have exhausted this matter. Enjoy your weekend.