Saturday, October 14, 2006

Political Generals

General Weygand had been for some days convinced that all further resistance was vain. He therefore wished to force the French Government to ask for an armistice while the French Army still retained enough discipline and strength to maintain internal order on the morrow of defeat. He had a profound lifelong dislike of the Parliamentary regime of the Third Republic. As an ardently religious Catholic, he saw in the ruin which had overwhelmed his country the chastisement of God for its abandonment of the Christian faith.He therefore used the power of his supreme military position far beyond the limits which his professional responsibilities, great as they were, justified or required. He confronted the Prime Minister with declarations that the French Army could fight no more, and that it was time to stop a horrible and useless massacre before general anarchy supervened ...

Weygand's position that because the army under his orders would in his opinion fight no more the French Republic must give in and order his armed forces to obey an order which he was certainly willing to carry out finds no foundation in the law and practice of civilised States or in the professional honour of a soldier. In theory at least the Prime Minister had his remedy. He could have replied: "You are affronting the constitution of the Republic. You are dismissed from this moment from your command. I will obtain the necessary sanction from the President."


Churchill, The Second World War, Volume II
.

5 comments:

Voyager said...

Sorry that doesn't wash - read up on Weygand and find out that he was not a good general. He was useless in 1920 in The Battle of Warsaw and Pilsudski saved the day; he was useless when recalled to active service in August 1939 and messed up Gamelin's strategy which might have held the German Army.

As for Political Generals - rather than MacArthur or Eisenhower, Sharon or De Gaulle, Wellington or Napoleon - I prefer Oliver Cromwell

Sam Tarran said...

^ What do you mean it "doesn't wash"? The extract doesn't say Weygand was a great or good general at any point.

Voyager said...

Sam Tarran...........read up on Weygand

Sam Tarran said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Sam Tarran said...

^ Sorry, let me get this straight: in your first comment on this post you said that Weygand was a bad general, yes?

The extract from Churchill's memoirs says the same thing, I believe.