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Grandeur And Misery: France's Bid for Power in Europe, 1914-1940 (Hodder Arnold Publication) Paperback – November 17, 1995

ISBN-13: 978-0713165760 ISBN-10: 0713165766

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Product Details

  • Series: Hodder Arnold Publication
  • Paperback: 296 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Academic (November 17, 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0713165766
  • ISBN-13: 978-0713165760
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.7 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,604,987 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


"Adamthwaite skillfully mixes narrative with analysis, and integrates diplomatic history with political, economic, social, cultural and individual influences that ultimately shaped foreign relations. An excellent addition to undergraduate collections."--Choice

"Here is a responsible but absorbing account of a troubled moment in French history. This book richly deserves the broad readership which it seeks."--The Historian

"There are delightful pen portraits of politicians and diplomats such as Briand, Laval, Leger and Berthelot, and a gift for the witty phrase that makes the book a pleasure to read."--Military and Naval History Journal

About the Author

Anthony Adamthwaite is Professor of History at the University of California, Berkeley, USA.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Patrick Yeung on July 3, 2009
Format: Paperback
The interwar years were marked by the wrangling over the Paris Peace Conference and the book evaluated France's successive bids for security leading up to the fall of the Third Republic. Traditional narrative depicted the collapse as a culmination of rapid political and societal disintegration. Professor Adamthwaite argued that although the actions of the political elite and disorganization of the government machinery contributed to French diplomatic weakness, the 1940 defeat was not imminent and should be viewed primarily as a military failure.

Chronologically organized, the book surveyed major overtures to craft a French Europe in the early 20s to ensure collective security. The central theme of the book is the dysfunction of the ruling elite and the government machinery, such as the Quai. Personalities and statesmanship attributed to the failure to `impose a European settlement' and later `propose one' on a position of strength. Clemenceau's slapdash organization style let an opportunity slipped to bargain for an Anglo-Saxon security guarantee. Poincare's failure to stop and bargain during the Ruhr occupation and explore bilateral talk with Germany negated French advantages. Being swept into power ill-prepared, Herriot retreated prematurely into an international initiative, where `decisions on all substantive points went against the French.'

Leaders after leaders seemed to suffer inescapably from pactomania and a fixation on an Anglo-Saxon guarantee. The narrative demonstrated the myopia of the Americans and British and a meanness of spirit - `both powers want influence without responsibility.' Consequently, the three powers never agreed substantially on disarmament, reparations, inter-allied debts and continental security.
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