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Sunday, February 15, 2004

Cataclysm

In early May of 1940, after the fall of Czechoslovakia and Poland, after the anschluss of Austria, France expected a German invasion. Here is a brief excerpt from William Manchester's excellent biography of Winston Churchill, The Last Lion:
On May 9, in the Berlin suburb of Zehlendorf, Colonel Oster of the Abwehr [and a Nazi mole] dined for the last time with his friend Colonel Sas, the Dutch military attaché. Oster once more confirmed that Fall Gelb [the plan to attack France] would be unleashed at daybreak. ...

At 10:20 that Thursday morning ... [Prime Minister] Paul Reynaud announced he would present the premiership of France to anyone who could form a government, unless the cabinet agreed with his indictment of Gamelin, commander in chief of the French army; supreme commander of the Allied forces, British as well as French; and the officer to presided over both the Conseil Supérieur de la Guerre and the Haut Comité Militaire. ...

Reynaud then read a lengthy indictment of Gamelin, after which he "appealed to the other ministers to speak up." Being timid men, they did not, for fear of "offending a powerful figure". Reynaud took their silence as a vote of no-confidence.
"I consider the government as having resigned." They were dismayed. None had thought he would actually dissolve the government. Now they were all ex-ministers, as he was an ex-premier.

During the afternoon Gamelin, glooming around in his Vincennes dungeon, learned of the bill of particulars Reynaud had drawn up against him. Indignant, he too resigned.

At 1:00 A.M. he was awakened. A French agent behind the German lines had sent an urgent signal: "Colonnes en marche vers l'ouest" -- "Columns marching westward."

Hitler was on his way.

France had no government. The French Army had no commander.

Parallels between this situation and that now facing the Dodgers and the hole that is the general manager position are drawn at your own peril. But.

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