• Richard CarswellEmail author


This chapter concludes that the modern academic emphasis on the military and contingent factors leading to the defeat of France and the collapse of the Third Republic remains contested. While the notion of decadence as an explanation of the collapse is not dead, it is on its last legs. The two other explanations, failure and constraint, remain part of the story. In history, failure and its counterpart success are perennial factors. So is constraint. No actor, whether individual or collective, is entirely free from constraints. The challenge facing historians who emphasise contingency in the Fall of France is to balance the relative weights of failure and success, of constraint and freedom, in order to present a well-rounded picture.


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© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.RichmondUK

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