As I write this, two friends and I are watching a DVD series on a Friday morning as to the political and military decisions of 1940.
Moreover in recent years there have been a number of books and videos published on the reasons why France fell quite so quickly and easily in 1940 to the onslaught of the German military.
Now, eighty one years later with the fog of political niceties well and truly over, the innocent and not so innocent French military and political ditherers long gone, we might look afresh at what was in the mesh at that time.
This is a cursory list
Once Poland had been squashed in record time, some 4 weeks of blitzkrieg (lightning war) with aeroplanes (Stukas) a precise and radical form of moving forward artillery, Hitler set his sights on France.
Case Yellow, the attack on France, due to inclement weather and winter, was postponed 29 times (another source has it 19 times), whatever, it provided a number of unusual situations.
It gave time for German military armour and personnel to be moved from Poland to the west. It gave rise to General von Manstein's idea of a major thrust through the Arden forest to be aired and approved.
This delay gave the French an opportunity to congratulate themselves on their belief that Germany could not attack a well constructed wall of underground defences from Switzerland to Belgium.
The French gladly and blindly received a commissioned military report that a blitzkrieg attack on France was impossible militarily or geographically. France had more tanks and better equipped ones and a much larger army, boots on the ground.
Their thinking was firmly that of 20 years earlier with stationary battle lines and deep trenches and a static war. The Allies had not taken seriously some of the strategic war fare books that the Germans had written. Rommel was on such author of a fast moving panzer war.
The French retained an authoritarian military governance without room for initiate or giving people on the ground freedom to counter fast moving strategic changes. The French still prized parade ground sharpness of uniforms and beautifully groomed horses.
Lightning war was the furtherest thing from the French military high command although brilliant young offices such as Charles de Gaulle in the end took decisions on their own as communications broke down – High Command was connected by motor cyclists taking messages – there was no phones.
Moreover France was a highly divided society. Several Governments fell all within 18 months. The day France was attached the Government fell and the French Premier only had care-taker authority, military actions was not one of them.
The workers on the most part did not want a war which was essentially in their view, a war for the capitalists. They resented themselves being used as pawns.
The French aristocracy and the upper classes blamed Britain and particularly its Prime Minister Winston Churchill for leading France into a war she did not want or need or saw as being necessary. They would have accommodated the Germans without too much interference to their life style, position or wealth.
Moreover the entire French nation, for all sorts of reasons, remembered the slaughter of of its people in WWI, a little over 20 years previously. An entire generation of French blood was spilt and all for what?
But the Germans were baying for blood, largely from the Versailles Treaty of 1919 where a largely undefeated military were forced into a humiliating surrender and had been paying for this injustice ever since.
The French were half hearted for another war. The Germans only had one thing in mind.
The lessons learned from such analysis apply to Missions 101. Any mission enterprise follows Jesus teaching about the wise man who builds his house upon the rock as opposed to a foolish man upon the sand.
Sound planning, sustainability, purposeful direction, determined vision, unwavering leadership .... all these things go hand in hand with a faith finance model that the Victory belongs to the Lord of all.
"Never touch the Glory, it belongs exclusively to Him" is a saying given by then OMS Director Rev Harry Munro ..... at the 2002 Around the Tables Missions Conference in Sydney. The focus is clear, the mission is sound, the goals are clarified and the foundation has been well prepared with prayer and development.
Mission requires all these working in unison in order that the outcome with the Holy Spirit's touch is open for all to witness. There is a great truth in the prophets claim that they need to see how mighty is our God.
As I look back on the Sports and Leisure Ministry and those foundations 1982-2000 (now Sports Chaplaincy Australia), all these were in place. Likewise the athletes respite. Likewise the young writer ministry. Likewise the mission respite. Likewise our Country Town Tours.
You too can name innumerable missions and works of the Lord that have followed these same principles.
Similarly like the French - many a good work has been bought down - by internal conflicts – the 1940 French politic was a perfect example. So too many a mission without such foundations.
Dr Mark Tronson - a 4 min video
Chairman – Well-Being Australia
Baptist Minister 44 years
- 1984 - Australian cricket team chaplain 17 years (Ret)
- 2001 - Life After Cricket (18 years Ret)
- 2009 - Olympic Ministry Medal – presented by Carl Lewis
- 2019 - The Gutenberg - (ARPA Christian Media premier award)
Gutenberg video - 2min 14sec
Married to Delma for 44 years with 4 children and 5 grand children