Blitzkrieg: How Germany Invaded and Overwhelmed France

Germany’s swift and decisive conquest of France.

May 12, 1940
Fighting a two-front war

The concept of Blitzkrieg

The concept of Blitzkrieg, or lightning war, was a new approach to warfare developed by the German military in the 1930s. It was based on the idea of using a combination of speed, surprise, and overwhelming force to achieve victory. The goal was to quickly penetrate enemy lines, disrupt their command and control, and then exploit the resulting chaos. This strategy was used to great effect in the invasion of France in 1940.

The Blitzkrieg strategy was based on the idea of using mobile forces to quickly penetrate enemy lines and then exploit the resulting chaos. This was done by using tanks, aircraft, and motorized infantry to quickly overwhelm the enemy. The strategy also relied on the use of surprise and speed to achieve victory. The Germans were able to quickly penetrate the French lines and then exploit the resulting confusion to achieve victory.

Preparing for France

In the years leading up to the invasion of France, the German military was meticulously planning for the operation. The German High Command had identified the weaknesses of the French forces and had developed strategies to exploit them.

They had also developed a new form of warfare, Blitzkrieg, which combined the use of tanks and air power to quickly overwhelm their enemies. The plan was to use the speed and surprise of Blitzkrieg to quickly penetrate the French defenses and capture Paris before the French had time to regroup and counterattack.

The German High Command had also taken into account the terrain of France and the logistical challenges that would be faced in the invasion. They had studied the French railway system and had developed plans to use it to their advantage. They had also planned for the use of air power to support the ground forces and to disrupt the French lines of communication and supply. All of these preparations were essential for the success of the invasion of France.

The initial German advance into France

The German advance into France began on May 10th, 1940. The German forces, led by General Heinz Guderian, crossed the border with a massive force of tanks, infantry, and artillery. The speed and ferocity of the attack caught the French off guard, and the Germans quickly advanced deep into French territory. The French forces were unable to respond effectively, and the Germans were able to break through the French lines and make their way to the coast.

The Germans were also aided by their air superiority. The Luftwaffe was able to provide air cover for the advancing German forces, allowing them to move quickly and with impunity. The French air force was unable to respond effectively, and the Germans were able to gain air superiority quickly. The Germans were able to make their way to the coast and cut off the French forces in the north, leading to the eventual surrender of the French forces.

Encircling the allies

The Battle of Sedan, which began on May 12, 1940, was a decisive moment in the German invasion of France. The German forces, led by General Heinz Guderian, had broken through the French lines and were now in a position to encircle the Allies.


The French, who had been expecting a German attack from the north, were taken by surprise and were unable to prevent the German advance. The result was that the German forces were able to capture the city of Sedan and the surrounding area, cutting off the Allies from the rest of France.

The capture of Calais, which occurred on May 27, 1940, was the final nail in the coffin for the Allies. The German forces had now completely encircled the Allies, cutting off their access to the sea and trapping them in France.

With the Allies now completely surrounded, the Germans were able to launch a devastating attack on them, resulting in the surrender of the French forces on June 22, 1940. This marked the end of the Battle of France and the beginning of the German occupation of the country.

Trapping the British Expeditionary Force

The German army had been successful in trapping the British Expeditionary Force (BEF) in the northern French port of Dunkirk. The BEF was surrounded by the German forces and had no choice but to evacuate the port.

In a remarkable feat of organization and logistics, the British managed to evacuate over 338,000 troops in just nine days. The evacuation was made possible by the Royal Navy, which provided the bulk of the vessels, and by the small ships of the British public, which answered the call for help.


While the evacuation of Dunkirk was a loss for Britain – it was a retreat, after all – it was perceived by many as a success. Against the odds, the British had succesfully saved a large part of their armed forces, and this would be hugely important to their ability to defend themselves for the rest of the war.

The fall of Paris

The German forces had been advancing quickly, and on June 14th, 1940, they reached the outskirts of Paris. The French government had already fled the city, and the German army was met with little resistance. The German forces quickly seized control of the city, and the Parisians were left in shock. The fall of Paris marked the end of the French government’s resistance to the German forces, and the beginning of the occupation of France.

The occupation of Paris was a major blow to the morale of the French people. The city had been a symbol of French culture and pride. The occupation of Paris also marked the end of the French government’s attempts to resist the German forces. The French people were now subject to the rule of the German occupiers, and the future of France was uncertain.

The Vichy Regime

The fall of Paris in June 1940 marked the end of the French Third Republic and the beginning of the Vichy Regime. This puppet government was led by Marshal Philippe Pétain, a hero of World War I, who had been appointed Prime Minister of France by President Albert Lebrun.

The Vichy Regime was a collaborationist government that had been established to administer the parts of France that had been occupied by the Germans. It was a government that was heavily influenced by Nazi Germany and its policies, and it was widely seen as a puppet of the Third Reich.

The Vichy Regime was a controversial government, as it was seen by many as a betrayal of the French Republic and its ideals. It was a government that was widely seen as illegitimate, and it was met with widespread opposition from the French people.

The Vichy Regime was eventually overthrown in 1944, when the Allies liberated France from German occupation. However, the legacy of the Vichy Regime still lingers in France to this day, and it is a reminder of the dark days of Nazi occupation.

Repercussions of the fall of France

The fall of France to Germany in 1940 had far-reaching consequences for the course of the war. The German victory had a profound impact on the Allied powers and their strategies.

It was a major blow to the French, who had been a major player in the war effort, and it was a major boost to Germany’s confidence. The German victory also allowed them to expand their control over Europe, and to gain access to resources and materials that were essential to their war effort.

The fall of France also had a major impact on the Allies. It was a major setback for the British, who had been counting on the French to help them in their fight against the Germans.

It also meant that the Allies had to rethink their strategies and tactics, and to focus more on the air war and the naval war. The fall of France also meant that the Allies had to focus more on the Eastern Front, as the Germans were now in control of much of Europe.

The French Resistance and Charles de Gaulle

While France was officially taken by Germany in 1940, many in France were unwilling to accept their new occupiers.

The French Resistance, also known as the Maquis, was a diverse collection of resistance groups that formed in occupied France during World War II. These groups, which included communists, socialists, and Gaullists, were united in their opposition to the German occupation and their desire to liberate France. They carried out acts of sabotage, intelligence gathering, and guerrilla warfare against the German occupiers.

The Free France movement, led by General Charles De Gaulle, was another important aspect of the resistance. Based in London, De Gaulle and his followers worked to rally French forces and civilians to the cause of resistance and to keep the spirit of French nationalism alive. De Gaulle’s speeches, broadcast over the BBC, were an important morale boost for the French people and helped to unite them against the occupation.

De Gaulle himself would come to play a major role in the French resistance and the liberation of France. He was appointed as the leader of the Free France movement and later as the head of the provisional government of the French Republic.

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