Louis XIV of France
Louis XIV, known as Louis the Great or the Sun King, was a monarch of the House of Bourbon who reigned as King of France from 1643 until his death in 1715. Starting on 14 May 1643 when Louis was 4 years old, his reign of 72 years and 110 days is the longest recorded of any monarch of a sovereign country in European history. In the age of absolutism in Europe, Louis XIV's France was a leader in the growing centralisation of power. Louis began his personal rule of France in 1661, after the death of his chief minister, the Italian Cardinal Mazarin. An adherent of the concept of the divine right of kings, Louis continued his predecessors' work of creating a centralised state governed from the capital, he sought to eliminate the remnants of feudalism persisting in parts of France and, by compelling many members of the nobility to inhabit his lavish Palace of Versailles, succeeded in pacifying the aristocracy, many members of which had participated in the Fronde rebellion during Louis' minority. By these means he became one of the most powerful French monarchs and consolidated a system of absolute monarchical rule in France that endured until the French Revolution.
Louis encouraged and benefited from the work of prominent political and cultural figures such as Mazarin, Louvois, the Grand Condé, Turenne, Sébastien Le Prestre de Vauban, André Charles Boulle, Molière, Boileau, La Fontaine, Marais, Le Brun, Bossuet, Le Vau, Charles, Claude Perrault, Le Nôtre. Under his rule, the Edict of Nantes, which granted rights to Huguenots, was abolished; the revocation forced Huguenots to emigrate or convert in a wave of dragonnades, which managed to destroy the French Protestant minority. During Louis' long reign, France was the leading European power, it fought three major wars: the Franco-Dutch War, the War of the League of Augsburg, the War of the Spanish Succession. There were two lesser conflicts: the War of Devolution and the War of the Reunions. Warfare defined the foreign policy of Louis XIV, his personality shaped his approach. Impelled "by a mix of commerce and pique", Louis sensed that warfare was the ideal way to enhance his glory. In peacetime he concentrated on preparing for the next war.
He taught his diplomats that their job was to create tactical and strategic advantages for the French military. Louis XIV was born on 5 September 1638 in the Château de Saint-Germain-en-Laye, to Louis XIII and Anne of Austria, he was named Louis Dieudonné and bore the traditional title of French heirs apparent: Dauphin. At the time of his birth, his parents had been married for 23 years, his mother had experienced four stillbirths between 1619 and 1631. Leading contemporaries thus regarded him as his birth a miracle of God. Sensing imminent death, Louis XIII decided to put his affairs in order in the spring of 1643, when Louis XIV was four years old. In defiance of custom, which would have made Queen Anne the sole Regent of France, the king decreed that a regency council would rule on his son's behalf, his lack of faith in Queen Anne's political abilities was his primary rationale. He did, make the concession of appointing her head of the council. Louis' relationship with his mother was uncommonly affectionate for the time.
Contemporaries and eyewitnesses claimed. Both were interested in food and theatre, it is likely that Louis developed these interests through his close relationship with his mother; this long-lasting and loving relationship can be evidenced by excerpts in Louis' journal entries, such as: "Nature was responsible for the first knots which tied me to my mother. But attachments formed by shared qualities of the spirit are far more difficult to break than those formed by blood." It was his mother who gave Louis his belief in the absolute and divine power of his monarchical rule. During his childhood, he was taken care of by the governesses Françoise de Lansac and Marie-Catherine de Senecey. In 1646, Nicolas V de Villeroy became the young king's tutor. Louis XIV became friends with Villeroy's young children François de Villeroy, divided his time between the Palais-Royal and the nearby Hotel de Villeroy. On 14 May 1643, with Louis XIII dead, Queen Anne had her husband's will annulled by the Parlement de Paris.
This action made Anne sole Regent of France. Anne exiled some of her husband's ministers, she nominated Brienne as her minister of foreign affairs. Anne nominated Saint Vincent de Paul as her spiritual adviser, which helped her deal with religious policy and the Jansenism question. Anne kept the direction of religious policy in her hand until 1661. Anne wanted to give her son a victorious kingdom, her rationales for choosing Mazarin were his ability and his total dependence on her, at least until 1653 when she was no longer regent. Anne protected Mazarin by arresting and exiling her followers who conspired against him in 1643: the Duke of Beaufort and Marie de Rohan, she left the direction of the daily administration of policy to Cardinal Mazarin. The best example of Anne's statesmanship and the partial change in her heart towards her native Spain is seen in her keeping of one of Richelieu's men, the Chancellor of France Pierre Séguier, in his post. Séguier was the pers
Mysticism is the practice of religious ecstasies, together with whatever ideologies, rites, myths and magic may be related to them. It may refer to the attainment of insight in ultimate or hidden truths, to human transformation supported by various practices and experiences; the term "mysticism" has Ancient Greek origins with various determined meanings. Derived from the Greek word μύω, meaning "to close" or "to conceal", mysticism referred to the biblical liturgical and contemplative dimensions of early and medieval Christianity. During the early modern period, the definition of mysticism grew to include a broad range of beliefs and ideologies related to "extraordinary experiences and states of mind". In modern times, "mysticism" has acquired a limited definition, with broad applications, as meaning the aim at the "union with the Absolute, the Infinite, or God"; this limited definition has been applied to a wide range of religious traditions and practices, valuing "mystical experience" as a key element of mysticism.
Broadly defined, mysticism can be found in all religious traditions, from indigenous religions and folk religions like shamanism, to organised religions like the Abrahamic faiths and Indian religions, modern spirituality, New Age and New Religious Movements. Since the 1960s scholars have debated the merits of perennial and constructionist approaches in the scientific research of "mystical experiences"; the perennial position is now "largely dismissed by scholars", most scholars using a contextualist approach, which takes the cultural and historical context into consideration. "Mysticism" is derived from the Greek μυω, meaning "I conceal", its derivative μυστικός, meaning'an initiate'. The verb μυώ has received a quite different meaning in the Greek language; the primary meanings it has are "induct" and "initiate". Secondary meanings include "introduce", "make someone aware of something", "train", "familiarize", "give first experience of something"; the related form of the verb μυέω appears in the New Testament.
As explained in Strong's Concordance, it properly means shutting the eyes and mouth to experience mystery. Its figurative meaning is to be initiated into the "mystery revelation"; the meaning derives from the initiatory rites of the pagan mysteries. Appearing in the New Testament is the related noun μυστήριον, the root word of the English term "mystery"; the term means a mystery or secret, of which initiation is necessary. In the New Testament it takes the meaning of the counsels of God, once hidden but now revealed in the Gospel or some fact thereof, the Christian revelation and/or particular truths or details of the Christian revelation. According to Thayer's Greek Lexicon, the term μυστήριον in classical Greek meant "a hidden thing", "secret". A particular meaning it took in Classical antiquity was a religious secret or religious secrets, confided only to the initiated and not to be communicated by them to ordinary mortals. In the Septuagint and the New Testament the meaning it took was that of a hidden purpose or counsel, a secret will.
It is sometimes used for the hidden wills of humans, but is more used for the hidden will of God. Elsewhere in the Bible it takes the meaning of the hidden sense of things, it is used behind images seen in visions and dreams. The Vulgate translates the Greek term to the Latin sacramentum; the related noun μύστης means the person initiated to the mysteries. According to Ana Jiménez San Cristobal in her study of Greco-Roman mysteries and Orphism, the singular form μύστης and the plural form μύσται are used in ancient Greek texts to mean the person or persons initiated to religious mysteries; these followers of mystery religions belonged to a select group, where access was only gained through an initiation. She finds that the terms were associated with the term βάκχος, used for a special class of initiates of the Orphic mysteries; the terms are first found connected in the writings of Heraclitus. Such initiates are identified in texts with the persons who have been purified and have performed certain rites.
A passage of the Cretans by Euripides seems to explain that the μύστης who devotes himself to an ascetic life, renounces sexual activities, avoids contact with the dead becomes known as βάκχος. Such initiates were believers in the god Dionysus Bacchus who took on the name of their god and sought an identification with their deity; until the sixth century the practice of what is now called mysticism was referred to by the term contemplatio, c.q. theoria. According to Johnson, "oth contemplation and mysticism speak of the eye of love, looking at, gazing at, aware of divine realities." According to Peter Moore, the term "mysticism" is "problematic but indispensable." It is a generic term which joins together into one concept separate practices and ideas which developed separately, According to Dupré, "mysticism" has been defined in many ways, Merkur notes that the definition, or meaning, of the term "mysticism" has changed through the ages. Moore further notes that the term "mysticism" has become a popular label for "anything nebulous, occult, or supernatural."Parsons warns that "what might at times seem to be a straightforward phenomenon exhibiting an unambiguous commonality has become, at least within the academic study of religion and controversial on multiple levels".
Because of its Christian overtones, the lack of similar terms in other cultures, some scholars regard the term "mysticism" to be inadequ
The North Atlantic Treaty Organization called the North Atlantic Alliance, is an intergovernmental military alliance between 29 North American and European countries. The organization implements the North Atlantic Treaty, signed on 4 April 1949. NATO constitutes a system of collective defence whereby its independent member states agree to mutual defence in response to an attack by any external party. NATO's Headquarters are located in Haren, Belgium, while the headquarters of Allied Command Operations is near Mons, Belgium. Since its founding, the admission of new member states has increased the alliance from the original 12 countries to 29; the most recent member state to be added to NATO is Montenegro on 5 June 2017. NATO recognizes Bosnia and Herzegovina, North Macedonia and Ukraine as aspiring members. An additional 21 countries participate in NATO's Partnership for Peace program, with 15 other countries involved in institutionalized dialogue programs; the combined military spending of all NATO members constitutes over 70% of the global total.
Members have committed to reach or maintain defense spending of at least 2% of GDP by 2024. On 4 March 1947 the Treaty of Dunkirk was signed by France and the United Kingdom as a Treaty of Alliance and Mutual Assistance in the event of a possible attack by Germany or the Soviet Union in the aftermath of World War II. In 1948, this alliance was expanded to include the Benelux countries, in the form of the Western Union referred to as the Brussels Treaty Organization, established by the Treaty of Brussels. Talks for a new military alliance which could include North America resulted in the signature of the North Atlantic Treaty on 4 April 1949 by the member states of the Western Union plus the United States, Portugal, Norway and Iceland; the North Atlantic Treaty was dormant until the Korean War initiated the establishment of NATO to implement it, by means of an integrated military structure: This included the formation of Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe in 1951, which adopted the Western Union's military structures and plans.
In 1952 the post of Secretary General of NATO was established as the organization's chief civilian. That year saw the first major NATO maritime exercises, Exercise Mainbrace and the accession of Greece and Turkey to the organization. Following the London and Paris Conferences, West Germany was permitted to rearm militarily, as they joined NATO in May 1955, in turn a major factor in the creation of the Soviet-dominated Warsaw Pact, delineating the two opposing sides of the Cold War. Doubts over the strength of the relationship between the European states and the United States ebbed and flowed, along with doubts over the credibility of the NATO defense against a prospective Soviet invasion – doubts that led to the development of the independent French nuclear deterrent and the withdrawal of France from NATO's military structure in 1966. In 1982 the newly democratic Spain joined the alliance; the collapse of the Warsaw Pact in 1989–1991 removed the de facto main adversary of NATO and caused a strategic re-evaluation of NATO's purpose, nature and focus on the continent of Europe.
This shift started with the 1990 signing in Paris of the Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe between NATO and the Soviet Union, which mandated specific military reductions across the continent that continued after the dissolution of the Soviet Union in December 1991. At that time, European countries accounted for 34 percent of NATO's military spending. NATO began a gradual expansion to include newly autonomous Central and Eastern European nations, extended its activities into political and humanitarian situations that had not been NATO concerns. After the fall of the Berlin Wall in Germany in 1989, the organization conducted its first military interventions in Bosnia from 1992 to 1995 and Yugoslavia in 1999 during the breakup of Yugoslavia. Politically, the organization sought better relations with former Warsaw Pact countries, most of which joined the alliance in 1999 and 2004. Article 5 of the North Atlantic treaty, requiring member states to come to the aid of any member state subject to an armed attack, was invoked for the first and only time after the September 11 attacks, after which troops were deployed to Afghanistan under the NATO-led ISAF.
The organization has operated a range of additional roles since including sending trainers to Iraq, assisting in counter-piracy operations and in 2011 enforcing a no-fly zone over Libya in accordance with UN Security Council Resolution 1973. The less potent Article 4, which invokes consultation among NATO members, has been invoked five times following incidents in the Iraq War, Syrian Civil War, annexation of Crimea; the first post-Cold War expansion of NATO came with German reunification on 3 October 1990, when the former East Germany became part of the Federal Republic of Germany and the alliance. As part of post-Cold War restructuring, NATO's military structure was cut back and reorganized, with new forces such as the Headquarters Allied Command Europe Rapid Reaction Corps established; the changes brought about by the collapse of the Soviet Union on the military balance in Europe were recognized in the Adapted Conventional Armed Forces in Europe Treaty, signed in 1999. The policies of French President Nicolas Sarkozy resulted in a major reform of France's military position, culminating with the return to full membership on 4 April 2009, which included France rejoining the NATO Military Command Structure, while maintaining an independent nuclear deterrent.
Between 1994 and 1997, wider forums for regional co
François Maurice Adrien Marie Mitterrand was a French statesman who served as President of France from 1981 to 1995, the longest time in office in French history. As First Secretary of the Socialist Party, he was the first left-wing politician to be elected President of France under the Fifth Republic. Reflecting family influences, Mitterrand started political life on the Catholic nationalist right, he served under the Vichy Regime during its earlier years. Subsequently he joined the Resistance, moved to the left, held ministerial office several times under the Fourth Republic, he opposed de Gaulle's establishment of the Fifth Republic. Although at times a politically isolated figure, Mitterrand outmanoeuvered rivals to become the left's standard bearer at every presidential election from 1965–88. Mitterrand was elected President at the 1981 presidential election, he was re-elected in 1988 and remained in office until 1995. Mitterrand invited the Communist Party into his first government, a controversial decision at the time.
In the event, the Communists were boxed in as junior partners and, rather than taking advantage, saw their support erode. They left the cabinet in 1984. Early in his first term, Mitterrand followed a radical left-wing economic agenda, including nationalisation of key firms, but after two years, with the economy in crisis, he reversed course, he pushed a liberal agenda with reforms such as the abolition of the death penalty, the 39-hour work week, the end of a government monopoly in radio and television broadcasting. His foreign and defense policies built on those of his Gaullist predecessors, his partnership with German Chancellor Helmut Kohl advanced European integration via the Maastricht Treaty, but he reluctantly accepted German reunification. During his time in office, he was a strong promoter of culture and implemented a range of costly "Grands Projets", he is the only French President to have named a female Prime Minister, Édith Cresson, in 1991. He was twice forced by the loss of a parliamentary majority into "cohabitation governments" with conservative cabinets led by Jacques Chirac, Édouard Balladur.
Less than eight months after leaving office, Mitterrand died from the prostate cancer he had concealed for most of his presidency. Beyond making the French left electable, Mitterrand presided over the rise of the Socialist Party to dominance of the left, the decline of the once-mighty Communist Party, he is known for his Mitterrand doctrine, a policy of not extraditing convicted far-left terrorists of the years of lead such as Cesare Battisti to Italy, due to the alleged non-conformity of Italian legislation to European standards of rule of law, in particular the anti-terrorism laws passed by Italy in the 1970s and 1980s. When the European Court of Human Rights ruled against the Mitterrand doctrine, the policy had led to most of the criminals never being punished for their crimes. Mitterrand was born in Jarnac and baptized François Maurice Adrien Marie Mitterrand, the son of Joseph Mitterrand and Yvonne Lorrain, his family was devoutly Roman conservative. His father worked as an engineer for the Compagnie Paris Orléans railway.
He had three brothers, Robert and Philippe, four sisters, Marie-Josèphe and Geneviève. Mitterrand's wife, Danielle Mitterrand, came from a socialist background and worked for various left-wing causes, they married on 24 October 1944 and had three sons: Pascal, Jean-Christophe, born in 1946, Gilbert, born on 4 February 1949. He had two children as results of extra-marital affairs: an acknowledged daughter, with his mistress Anne Pingeot, an unacknowledged son, Hravn Forsne, with Swedish journalist Christina Forsne. Mitterrand's nephew Frédéric Mitterrand is a journalist, Minister of Culture and Communications under Nicolas Sarkozy, his wife's brother-in-law Roger Hanin was a well-known French actor. Mitterrand studied from 1925 to 1934 in the Collège Saint-Paul in Angoulême, where he became a member of the Jeunesse Etudiante Chrétienne, the student organisation of Action catholique. Arriving in Paris in autumn 1934, he went to the École Libre des Sciences Politiques until 1937, where he obtained his diploma in July of that year.
Mitterrand took membership for about a year in the Volontaires nationaux, an organisation related to François de la Rocque's far-right league, the Croix de Feu. Contrary to some reports, Mitterrand never became a formal member of the Parti Social Français, the successor to the Croix de Feu and may be considered the first French right-wing mass party. However, he did write news articles in the L'Echo de Paris newspaper, close to the PSF, he participated in the demonstrations against the "métèque invasion" in February 1935 and in those against law teacher Gaston Jèze, nominated as juridical counsellor of Ethiopia's Negus, in January 1936. When Mitterrand's involvement in these conservative nationalist movements was revealed in the 1990s, he attributed his actions to the milieu of his youth. Mitterrand furthermore had some personal and family relations with members of the Cagoule, a far-right terrorist group in the 1930s. Mitterrand serv
President of the French Republic
The President of the French Republic is the executive head of state of France in the French Fifth Republic. In French terms, the presidency is the supreme magistracy of the country; the powers and duties of prior presidential offices, as well as their relation with the Prime Minister and Government of France, have over time differed with the various constitutional documents since 1848. The President of the French Republic is the ex officio Co-Prince of Andorra, Grand Master of the Legion of Honour and the National Order of Merit; the officeholder is honorary proto-canon of the Basilica of St. John Lateran in Rome, although some have rejected the title in the past; the current President of the French Republic is Emmanuel Macron, who succeeded François Hollande on 14 May 2017. The presidency of France was first publicly proposed during the July Revolution of 1830, when it was offered to the Marquis de Lafayette, he demurred in favor of Prince Louis Phillipe. Eighteen years during the opening phases of the Second Republic, the title was created for a popularly elected head of state, the first of whom was Louis-Napoléon Bonaparte, nephew of Emperor Napoleon.
Bonaparte served in that role until he staged an auto coup against the republic, proclaiming himself Napoleon III, Emperor of the French. Under the Third Republic and Fourth Republic, which were parliamentary systems, the office of President of the Republic was a ceremonial and powerless one; the Constitution of the Fifth Republic increased the President's powers. A 1962 referendum changed the constitution, so that the President would be directly elected by universal suffrage and not by the Parliament. In 2000, a referendum shortened the presidential term from seven years to five years. A maximum of two consecutive terms was imposed after the 2008 constitutional reform. Since the referendum on the direct election of the President of the French Republic in 1962, the officeholder has been directly elected by universal suffrage. After the referendum on the reduction of the mandate of the President of the French Republic, 2000, the length of the term was reduced to five years from the previous seven.
President Jacques Chirac was first elected in 1995 and again in 2002. At that time, there was no limit on the number of terms, so Chirac could have run again, but chose not to, he was succeeded by Nicolas Sarkozy on 16 May 2007. Following a further change, the constitutional law on the modernisation of the institutions of the Fifth Republic, 2008, a President cannot serve more than two consecutive terms. François Mitterrand and Jacques Chirac are the only Presidents to date who have served a full two terms. In order to be admitted as an official candidate, potential candidates must receive signed nominations from more than 500 elected officials mayors; these officials must be from at least 30 départements or overseas collectivities, no more than 10% of them should be from the same département or collectivity. Furthermore, each official may nominate only one candidate. There are 45,543 elected officials, including 33,872 mayors. Spending and financing of campaigns and political parties are regulated.
There is a cap on spending, at 20 million euros, government public financing of 50% of spending if the candidate scores more than 5%. If the candidate receives less than 5% of the vote, the government funds €8,000,000 to the party. Advertising on TV is forbidden, but official time is given to candidates on public TV. An independent agency regulates party financing. French presidential elections are conducted via run-off voting, which ensures that the elected president always obtains a majority: if no candidate receives a majority of votes in the first round of voting, the two highest-scoring candidates arrive at a run-off. After the president is elected, he or she goes through a solemn investiture ceremony called a "passation des pouvoirs"; the French Fifth Republic is a semi-presidential system. Unlike many other European presidents, the French President is quite powerful. Although it is the Prime Minister of France, the Government as well as the Parliament that oversee much of the nation's actual day-to-day affairs in domestic issues, the French President wields significant influence and authority in the fields of national security and foreign policy.
The President's greatest power is his/her ability to choose the Prime Minister. However, since the French National Assembly has the sole power to dismiss the Prime Minister's government, the President is forced to name a Prime Minister who can command the support of a majority in the assembly, he or she has the duty of abritrating the well-functioning of governmental authorities for efficient service, as the Head of State of France. When the majority of the Assembly has opposite political views to that of the President, this leads to political cohabitation. In that case, the President's power is diminished, since much of the de facto power relies on a supportive Prime Minister and National Assembly, is not directly attributed to the post of President; when the majority of the Assembly sides with them, the President can take a more active role and may, in effect, direct government policy. The Prime Minister is the personal choice of the President, can be replaced if the administration becomes unpopular.
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Free France and its Free French Forces were the government-in-exile led by Charles de Gaulle during the Second World War and its military forces, that continued to fight against the Axis powers as one of the Allies after the fall of France. Set up in London in June 1940, it supported the Resistance in occupied France. Charles de Gaulle, a French government minister who rejected the armistice concluded by Marshal Philippe Pétain and who had escaped to Britain, exhorted the French to resist in his BBC broadcast "Appeal of 18 June", which had a stirring effect on morale throughout France and its colonies, although relatively few French forces responded to de Gaulle's call for resistance. On 27 October 1940, the Empire Defense Council was constituted to organise the rule of the territories in central Africa and Oceania that had heeded the 18 June call, it was replaced on 24 September 1941 by the French National Committee. On 13 July 1942, "Free France" was renamed France combattante, to mark that the struggle against the Axis was conducted both externally by the FFF and internally by the French Forces of the Interior.
After the reconquest of North Africa, this was in turn formally merged with de Gaulle's rival general Henri Giraud's command in Algiers to form the French Committee of National Liberation. Exile ended with the liberation of Paris by the 2nd Armoured Free French Division and Resistance forces on 25 August 1944, ushering in the Provisional Government of the French Republic, it ruled France until the end of the war and afterwards to 1946, when the Fourth Republic was established, thus ending the series of interim regimes that had succeeded the Third Republic after its fall in 1940. The Free French fought Axis and Vichy regime troops and served on battlefronts everywhere from the Middle East to Indochina and North Africa; the Free French Navy operated as an auxiliary force to the Royal Navy and, in the North Atlantic, to the Royal Canadian Navy. Free French units served in the Royal Air Force, Soviet Air Force, British SAS, before larger commands were established directly under the control of the government-in-exile.
From colonial outposts in Africa and the Pacific, Free France took over more and more Vichy possessions, until after the Allied landings in North Africa in November 1942 Vichy only ruled over the zone libre in southern France and a few possessions in the West Indies. The French Army of Africa switched allegiance to Free France, this caused the Axis to occupy Vichy in reaction. On August 1, 1943, L'Armée d'Afrique was formally united with the Free French Forces to form L'Armée française de la Liberation. By mid-1944, the forces of this army numbered more than 400,000, they participated in the Normandy landings and the invasion of southern France leading the drive on Paris. Soon they were fighting in Alsace, the Alps and Brittany, by the end of the war in Europe, they were 1,300,000 strong—the fourth-largest Allied army in Europe—and took part in the Allied advance through France and invasion of Germany; the Free French government re-established a provisional republic after the liberation, preparing the ground for the Fourth Republic in 1946.
An individual became "Free French" by enlisting in the military units organised by the CFN or by employment by the civilian arm of the Committee. On 1 August 1943 after the merger of CFN and representatives of the former Vichy regime in North Africa to form the CFLN earlier in June, the FFF and the Armée d'Afrique were merged to form the French Liberation Army, Armée française de la Libération, all subsequent enlistments were in this combined force. In many sources, Free French describes any French individual or unit that fought against Axis forces after the June 1940 armistice. Postwar, to settle disputes over the Free French heritage, the French government issued an official definition of the term. Under this "ministerial instruction of July 1953", only those who served with the Allies after the Franco-German armistice in 1940 and before 1 August 1943 may be called "Free French". On 10 May 1940, Nazi Germany invaded France and the Low Countries defeating the Dutch and Belgians, while armoured units attacking through the Ardennes cut off the Franco-British strike force in Belgium.
By the end of May, the British and French northern armies were trapped in a series of pockets, including Dunkirk, Boulogne, Saint-Valery-en-Caux and Lille. The Dunkirk evacuation was only made possible by the resistance of these troops the French army divisions at Lille. From 27 May to 4 June, over 200,000 members of the British Expeditionary Force and 140,000 French troops were evacuated from Dunkirk. Neither side viewed this as the end of the battle. After being evacuated from Dunkirk, Alanbrooke landed in Cherbourg on 2 June to reform the BEF, along with the 1st Canadian Division, the only remaining armoured unit in Britain. Contrary to what is assumed, French morale was higher in June than May and they repulsed an attack in the south by Fascist Italy. A defensive line was re-established along the Somme but much of the armour was lost in Northern France.
World War II
World War II known as the Second World War, was a global war that lasted from 1939 to 1945. The vast majority of the world's countries—including all the great powers—eventually formed two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis. A state of total war emerged, directly involving more than 100 million people from over 30 countries; the major participants threw their entire economic and scientific capabilities behind the war effort, blurring the distinction between civilian and military resources. World War II was the deadliest conflict in human history, marked by 50 to 85 million fatalities, most of whom were civilians in the Soviet Union and China, it included massacres, the genocide of the Holocaust, strategic bombing, premeditated death from starvation and disease, the only use of nuclear weapons in war. Japan, which aimed to dominate Asia and the Pacific, was at war with China by 1937, though neither side had declared war on the other. World War II is said to have begun on 1 September 1939, with the invasion of Poland by Germany and subsequent declarations of war on Germany by France and the United Kingdom.
From late 1939 to early 1941, in a series of campaigns and treaties, Germany conquered or controlled much of continental Europe, formed the Axis alliance with Italy and Japan. Under the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact of August 1939, Germany and the Soviet Union partitioned and annexed territories of their European neighbours, Finland and the Baltic states. Following the onset of campaigns in North Africa and East Africa, the fall of France in mid 1940, the war continued between the European Axis powers and the British Empire. War in the Balkans, the aerial Battle of Britain, the Blitz, the long Battle of the Atlantic followed. On 22 June 1941, the European Axis powers launched an invasion of the Soviet Union, opening the largest land theatre of war in history; this Eastern Front trapped most crucially the German Wehrmacht, into a war of attrition. In December 1941, Japan launched a surprise attack on the United States as well as European colonies in the Pacific. Following an immediate U. S. declaration of war against Japan, supported by one from Great Britain, the European Axis powers declared war on the U.
S. in solidarity with their Japanese ally. Rapid Japanese conquests over much of the Western Pacific ensued, perceived by many in Asia as liberation from Western dominance and resulting in the support of several armies from defeated territories; the Axis advance in the Pacific halted in 1942. Key setbacks in 1943, which included a series of German defeats on the Eastern Front, the Allied invasions of Sicily and Italy, Allied victories in the Pacific, cost the Axis its initiative and forced it into strategic retreat on all fronts. In 1944, the Western Allies invaded German-occupied France, while the Soviet Union regained its territorial losses and turned toward Germany and its allies. During 1944 and 1945 the Japanese suffered major reverses in mainland Asia in Central China, South China and Burma, while the Allies crippled the Japanese Navy and captured key Western Pacific islands; the war in Europe concluded with an invasion of Germany by the Western Allies and the Soviet Union, culminating in the capture of Berlin by Soviet troops, the suicide of Adolf Hitler and the German unconditional surrender on 8 May 1945.
Following the Potsdam Declaration by the Allies on 26 July 1945 and the refusal of Japan to surrender under its terms, the United States dropped atomic bombs on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki on 6 and 9 August respectively. With an invasion of the Japanese archipelago imminent, the possibility of additional atomic bombings, the Soviet entry into the war against Japan and its invasion of Manchuria, Japan announced its intention to surrender on 15 August 1945, cementing total victory in Asia for the Allies. Tribunals were set up by fiat by the Allies and war crimes trials were conducted in the wake of the war both against the Germans and the Japanese. World War II changed the political social structure of the globe; the United Nations was established to foster international co-operation and prevent future conflicts. The Soviet Union and United States emerged as rival superpowers, setting the stage for the nearly half-century long Cold War. In the wake of European devastation, the influence of its great powers waned, triggering the decolonisation of Africa and Asia.
Most countries whose industries had been damaged moved towards economic expansion. Political integration in Europe, emerged as an effort to end pre-war enmities and create a common identity; the start of the war in Europe is held to be 1 September 1939, beginning with the German invasion of Poland. The dates for the beginning of war in the Pacific include the start of the Second Sino-Japanese War on 7 July 1937, or the Japanese invasion of Manchuria on 19 September 1931. Others follow the British historian A. J. P. Taylor, who held that the Sino-Japanese War and war in Europe and its colonies occurred and the two wars merged in 1941; this article uses the conventional dating. Other starting dates sometimes used for World War II include the Italian invasion of Abyssinia on 3 October 1935; the British historian Antony Beevor views the beginning of World War II as the Battles of Khalkhin Gol fought between Japan and the fo