A few of my students were making fun of France's surrender to Germany during WW2. So this made me wonder why France would surrender only after a week. They had a pretty good army. They could have put up more of a fight, but why not?
closed as off-topic by John Dallman, justCal, Tom Au, Steve Bird, Bregalad Nov 23 '17 at 6:59
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In key areas, the German army was better. After Versailles, Germany was limited to 100,000 troops, and they were prohibited from cycling lots and lots of conscripts through basic training (that was a lesson of WWI and the Napoleonic wars).
- When rearmament came, the German army had a solid core of long-service professionals who could become NCOs and officers.
- During the 1920s, the general staff thought long and hard how to fight and win outnumbered. Beating France with 100,000 troops was not in the cards, but there were potential enemies in central Europe.
- Having lost, they took a hard view at what went wrong and what needed to be improved. Auftragstaktik, the general-purpose machine gun, close air support tactics.
Meanwhile the French built the Maginot line. Contrary to public perception, they did not expect to hunker behind those bunkers. It was supposed to defend their right flank while the mobile forces assembled on the left flank, for a battle through Belgium and the Netherlands.
(Side note -- one could say that the same factors contributed to the German defeat by the Soviet Union. Germany was prepared for short, decisive campaigns, but not for the long run.)