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A history-defining moment in World War II, when the allied nations of England and France stood on the precipice of betrayal—and war with each other.
After the forces of Nazi Germany launched their Blitzkrieg assault on Holland, Belgium, and Northern France, the tentative relationship between Great Britain and France was strained to the limit. For when the Vichy regime surrendered, the British had grave fears that the Germans would force the French naval fleet—the fourth largest in the world—to turn against their former ally, while in fact their orders were to scuttle should the Germans attempt to seize them.
‘Sink the French!’ examines the precursors to the fall of France and its consequences, most particularly the way the French Navy was dealt with. It examines the confused situation that France’s defeat created, including the rise of a relatively junior French general, Charles de Gaulle, who was smuggled out of France by the RAF.
Elsewhere French ships were boarded and seized by the British, and at Oran, Algeria, their fleet was bombarded by the Royal Navy—just as there were other incidents including French aircraft bombing Gibraltar.
This insightful exploration of a world sinking into chaos—and the mistrust war can breed between allies—is a must-read for anyone interested in this pivotal moment in history, when opposition to the Nazis was almost broken.