Cognition & Reality

Monday, 9 May 2011

Surrender Monkeys?

Filed under: Television,War & Statecraft — drtone @ 3:24 pm

I’ve been streaming “War and Remembrance,” the 80s miniseries based on Herman Wouk’s book of the same name, which I have also read. I had forgotten what a good job Wouk did of portraying the realities of the war. I’ve just gotten to the defeat of France. Fred Ikle’s Every War Must End gave me a new slant on the French surrender, portrayed as cowardice during the war, but clearly the only avenue open to them at the time. Wouk, who also wrote the screenplay for the miniseries, does a great job of showing the problem the French faced.

People tend to forget the connection between “the Miracle at Dunkirk” and the need for the French to surrender.

If the French situation was salvageable, as the propaganda has ever after claimed, why did the British withdraw from the Continent? The British had to leave because the Germans bagged the French army, and the French had to surrender because, without that army and without the British to help them, they had no means of carrying on the war. The French military and political leaders understood that to continue the war, at the cost of countless civilian casualties, would serve no purpose and lead to a more dishonorable surrender in the near future. Amazingly, the British, after having left the scene, were peeved at the French for not continuing the war from North Africa. I suppose it is they who afterward fostered the self-serving impression that the French surrender was an unnecessary, cowardly act.

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