Date of Award


Document Type

Union College Only

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


French and Francophone Studies

First Advisor

Michelle Chilcoat




French Army, First World War, Second World War, Command and Control Systems



Les racines de l’effondrement :

L’Armée de terre dans la période de la Troisième République

By Ryan Clemente

March, 2019. Union College, Schenectady, New York.

This thesis seeks to uncover the military reasons behind France’s defeat and capitulation in the first year of the Second World War. The paper begins with the reforms of the French Army after the humiliation of the Franco-Prussian War. Developments in the military culture of the Republican army are traced in the wider context of an evolving French society. Evolving military thought in both France and abroad is also discussed in detail with a special consideration for the clash between the French and German styles of leadership. The effects of the First World War on French military preparations are also an important part of this paper. In the study of the French army at the beginning of the Second World War French forces around the seemingly ordinary city of Sedan in Eastern France are given particular attention in this paper as this city was not only the site of a major battle in the Franco-Prussian war whose outcome led to the foundation of the Third Republic, but it was also the site of a critical battle in the Second World War whose fallout led to the military collapse of the French Army and the subsequent disintegration of the Third Republic.



Rights Statement

No Known Copyright