When the German Army mounted its Western Offensive in 1940, it had 2.5 million men and 2,500 tanks. Whereas the French Army had the ability to mobilize 5 million men, the German army supported by motorized infantry units and aircraft easily secured victory.
Germany's subjugation of France took just six weeks, and on June 14, 1940 German troops marched into Paris. The shocking and ignoble surrender was made official when the French formally signed the infamous Second Compiegne Armistice on June 22, 1940. Under the terms of the armistice the Germans were to continue to occupy Northern France, while the southern unoccupied third of France was ostensibly left free to be governed by the French. A collaborationist Government was formed under the aged WWI War hero, Marshal Phillipe Petain, and its new capitol was to be in the small town of Vichy, in central France, a name forever to be associated with her dishonor.
Pétain and the Vichy regime willfully collaborated with the German occupation to a high degree. The French police and the state Milice (militia) organized raids to capture Jews and others considered "undesirables" by the Germans in both the northern and southern zones.
How could this have happened? How could a once strong, proud nation, a nation with a long and glorious military tradition, a nation with one of the most powerful armies in the world, totally cave in and capitulate in a matter of mere weeks?
In 1940 the world had witnessed the tragic results when an entire nation lost its nerve and resigned itself to failure. Dumbfounded, we watched a much larger army defeated by a much smaller army with a much larger will to win. Resignation, accommodation, capitulation. One inevitably following the other, until that final, unequivocal and inescapable humiliation.
Sorry France, we tried. Sorry Poland, we tried. Sorry Czechoslovakia, we tried. Sorry all you poor doomed Jews, we tried.
On September 23, 2008, a defiant Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad spoke to the United Nations General Assembly. Ever the showman, obviously enjoying the world's undivided attention, and obviously undeterred by those virtually toothless sanctions, the Evil Dwarf spewed out his usual defiant harangue of unrelenting hate and vicious lies. Iran, he promised, or warned, would continue on her steady course to fulfill her sacred destiny, whether we in the West liked it or not. Iran would neither be intimidated nor deterred by the machinations of the imperialistic Zionist powers.
The invincible righteous armies of God and Iran are fully prepared for this coming battle, this glorious Armageddon, and no amount of futile Western sanctions or threats would interfere with their noble mission.
Later that evening, on Fox News Live, in one of the most disturbing and disheartening summations I have ever had the misfortune to experience, the events of this fateful day were summed up by famed political commentator, Charles Krauthammer. It was to be, he proclaimed, complete and utter resignation. Unqualified, humiliating resignation. All the useless diplomatic initiatives had failed, the sanctions had had little or no effect. Neither the meaningless condemnations of the meaningless United Nations nor the pitiful attempts of an impotent IAEA to somehow monitor or discourage the steady escalation of the Iranian's nuclear program would have any effect. The present administration would not attack Iran. And most likely, he continued, no new administration would sanction such an attack, either. Israel probably doesn't possess the necessary military wherewithal to pull off a successful attack on Iran and avoid the certain devastating consequences.
So Iran would get the bomb. And what will be will be. Sorry world, we tried.
So that's it? That's all there is? Sorry world. Sorry poor little Israel. Sorry all you hapless future generations of Americans. Sorry, but we tried.
At seven o'clock I turned off the TV and tried not to think about the future.
Update: From Naomi Ragen "In 1940, we knew who we were, we knew who the enemy was, we knew thedangers and the issues.. It is different today. We don't know who we are. Wedon't know the issues, and we still do not understand the nature of theenemy." Bernard Lewis