ALM Intelligence: Strategy Consulting’s Battle of France

The French medievalist, Marc Bloch, pioneered an approach to history that revered facts not theories, delved into the behaviors and mindsets that turned…

The French medievalist, Marc Bloch, pioneered an approach to history that revered facts not theories, delved into the behaviors and mindsets that turned the gears of cause and effect, and did not shy from revealing instances where sufficient facts lacked for drawing firm conclusions. He penned a volume on France’s experience in the Second World War, Strange Defeat, before a German firing squad executed him for his role in the Resistance. His critique of France’s military and political leadership traced the country’s defeat to a failure of ideas, or more precisely one idea. Armaments and infrastructure (the infamous Maginot Line) were not principally to blame for France’s dramatic defeat. Certainly, France’s soldiery was equal to its neighbor’s. The root was a paralysis engendered by the military leadership’s inability to appreciate the fundamental strategic implications of speed. 

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