Military history of France
The first major recorded wars in the territory of modern-day France itself revolved around the Gallo-Roman conflict that predominated from 60 BC to 50 BC. The Romans eventually emerged victorious through the campaigns of Julius Caesar, after the decline of the Roman Empire, a Germanic tribe known as the Franks took control of Gaul by defeating competing tribes. The land of Francia, from which France gets its name, had points of expansion under kings Clovis I and Charlemagne. In the Middle Ages, rivalries with England prompted major conflicts such as the Norman Conquest, the Wars of Religion crippled France in the late 16th century, but a major victory over Spain in the Thirty Years War made France the most powerful nation on the continent once more. In parallel, France developed its first colonial empire in Asia, resurgent French armies secured victories in dynastic conflicts against the Spanish and Austrian crowns. At the same time, France was fending off attacks on its colonies, as the 18th century advanced, global competition with Great Britain led to the Seven Years War, where France lost its North American holdings.
Internal political upheaval eventually led to 23 years of continuous conflict in the French Revolutionary Wars. France reached the zenith of its power during this period, dominating the European continent in an unprecedented fashion under Napoleon Bonaparte, by 1815, however, it had been restored to the same borders it controlled before the Revolution. The rest of the 19th century witnessed the growth of the Second French colonial empire as well as French interventions in Belgium, other major wars were fought against Russia in the Crimea, Austria in Italy, and Prussia within France itself. Following defeat in the Franco-Prussian War, Franco–German rivalry erupted again in the First World War and its allies were victorious this time. The Allies, including the Free French Forces led by a government in exile, as a result, France secured an occupation zone in Germany and a permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council. The imperative of avoiding a third Franco-German conflict on the scale of the first two world wars paved the way for European integration starting in the 1950s, France became a nuclear power and, since the late 20th century, has cooperated closely with NATO and its European partners.
Starting with Clovis,1,500 years of warfare and diplomacy has witnessed the accomplishment of most of these objectives and these periods of incessant conflict were characterized by their own standards and conventions, but all required strong central leadership in order to permit the extension of French rule. Important military rivalries in history have come about as a result of conflict between French peoples and other European powers. Anglo-French rivalry, for prestige in Europe and around the world, continued for centuries, starting in the early 16th century, much of Frances military efforts were dedicated to securing its overseas possessions and putting down dissent among both French colonists and native populations. French troops were all across its empire, primarily to deal with the local population. The French colonial empire ultimately disintegrated after the attempt to subdue Algerian nationalists in the late 1950s. Since World War II, Frances efforts have been directed at maintaining its status as a great power, for example, France withdrew from NATO in 1966 over complaints that its role in the organization was being subordinated to the demands of the United States