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|Faction = None(1936), Allies(1939)
'''France''' is a [[Countries#Major|major power]] in 1936, one of the winners of the Great War, and in control of a globe-spanning empire. Their heartland in Europe is rich; almost half of Africa is under their control, and they have colonies in Indochina, Syria and Guyana, not to mention direct control of islands in all the oceans of the world. However, their government is divided, with Communist influences threatening to weaken it further.  The memory of the Great War is also very much alive, and the people of France are reluctant to fight another major war in Europe. Should an aggressive adversary like Germany threaten its heartland, France is unlikely to be willing to sustain defensive efforts that could see the entire country devastated. On top of that, the French military leadership is made up of old guards who are inexperienced with modern warfare and dangerously complacent regarding the intentions of their enemies. That being said, if a player takes control of France and is able to iron out all of the country's internal problems and strengthen the military-industrial complex enough before war breaks out, they are in a good position to repulse and defeat both Germany and Italy and annex both countries, thus ending those threats for good.  If played correctly, the Second World War (and any other conflicts before 1948) could very well see France reborn and reshaped and emerge from the crucible of war as the far bigger and stronger {{flag|European Union}}. If allied with the {{flag|United Kingdom}} (which can annex all of its dominions and even the {{flag|United States}} to form the '''Imperial Federation'''), these two titans can easily become the dominant superpowers of the post-war world order.
==Historical Background==
{{flag|France}}, along with the {{flag|United Kingdom}}, guaranteed the independence of {{flag|Poland}} prior to its invasion by {{flag|Germany}}. Feeling secured by the Maginot Line in the Eastern provinces of Alsace-Lorraine, France declared war against Germany with the United Kingdomin 1939 after Germany's invasion of Poland. However, around a year later, in 1940, when actual combat ensued between all three powers, the Allied armies were defeated in just six weeks during the Battle of France against Germany and {{flag|Italy}}, in contrast to the years-long campaign expectation by both sides. Thinking their chances poor regardless, Germany gambled on a decisive victory by sending Panzer divisions through {{flag|Luxembourg}} and the Ardennes' forested hills, terrain which the French supreme commander Gamelin thought unable to sustain tank movements. The Panzers then drove—without waiting for infantry to secure their supply lines—through France to the English Channel, surrounding the bulk of the Allied forces which had been sent to {{flag|Belgium}}'s border with Germany aiming to deny them room for mobile warfare and overconfident that their main thrust would be through Belgium as in WWI's Schlieffen Plan.  Threatened with annihilation, the British evacuated their expeditionary forces and what Allied units they could until Dunkirk fell. Soon thereafter, the french front collapsed and Germany begun an offensive southwards capturing Paris completely unopposed on the 14th of June and occupying the northern half of France (with the frontline going from Bordeaux to Grenoble) by the 24th of June. The French military completely disintegrated and the French government agreed to an armistice on the 25th of June—effectively surrendering the whole country—in a defeat which caused great astonishment to the rest of the world, as up until that point, France was a leading world power (both economically and militarily) that only 20 years earlier had won the Great War.
Threatened with annihilation, After the British evacuated their expeditionary forces crushing and what Allied units they could until Dunkirk fell. Soon thereafterhumiliating defeat, Germany and Italy annexed territories of eastern France agreed to an armistice—effectively surrendering—in a defeat which caused great astonishment (equivalent to the states of Alsace-Lorraine, Nord-Pas-de-Calais, Savoy, Nice and Corsica in-game) while the rest of metropolitan France was placed under the worldjurisdiction of {{flag|Vichy France}}, as a German client state led by Marshal Philippe Pétain with its ''de facto'' capital in the french town of Vichy. France 's colonial empire on the other hand, was a leading world power that only 20 years earlier had won either occupied by the United Kingdom and the Free French forces under general Charles de Gaulle or conquered by the Great WarAxis powers (Primarily Italy and Japan).
== Events ==
=== Decisions ===
France can form the {{flag|European Union}} through a decision if it is {{icon|democratic}}democratic and controls the requisite territories (those being all of its own starting core states a well as the starting core states of {{flag|Germany}}, {{flag|Italy}}, the {{flag|Netherlands}}, {{flag|Belgium}} and {{flag|Luxemburg}}.
=== Staff and Designers ===
These are choices of ministers and design companies for France.
| style="width: 33%" | {{icon|Civilian factory}}<br>{{nowrap|35 Civilian Factories}}
Military production is dwarfed by Germany (28more factories) and Italy (19more factories) and only on par with Belgium. The player can also expect production to be crippled by the 1936 strikes. However, the very good civilian production allows for considerable military buildup in the years before the warand France can easily build up its industry to a comparable level once the strikes and other negative modifiers have been removed.
It is probably also possible to build level 4 forts in limited parts of northern France or on the Italian border to ensure Germany/Italy attacks them and wastes their manpower and equipment, but this is untested.
=== Forming the European Union ===
'''NOTE:''' ''This strategy should not be taken literally (as there is a slight element of randomness in every playthrough, which can complicate things, not to mention that the player is free to devise their own strategies) and should instead be viewed as more of a general guideline.''
France is quite possibly the best candidate to form the European Union as if staying democratic, it can expect to end up in a defensive war against both Germany and Italy, allowing both countries to be annexed in a single peace treaty. The main problem with forming the EU as France is the inability to annex Belgium, Netherlands, and Luxembourg but this can be worked around by going down the French Entente line in the focus tree. Be sure to kick Czechoslovakia out of the faction before Sudetenland as otherwise you will end up in a war with Germany too early. Wait for Germany to capitulate all the minors on the mainland before justifying on an axis member and joining the war.
Once the war starts its important to deny military access to all other belligerents and rack up massive war score on your own. The most straightforward approach would be to first neutralize Italy by launching naval invasions to encircle and destroy their troops before matching on Rome. Start in Sicily and work your way up the peninsula towards Rome. If you have land forts around level 6 or higher then the Axis nations will be very hesitant to assault your positions and you can focus on taking down Italy. Once Italy falls, be sure to quickly capitulate Germany before the Allies are able to do that. You need to have a high war score in order to pull off this strategy.
Once the Axis powers are defeated and the peace treaty commences, annex the BeNeLux countries in their entirety and as much of Italy and Germany in the first peace treaty as possible. Try to annex all coastal states as the allies will not annex any states that they cannot reach. Only Italy's and Germany's starting regions are needed so a German Republic forming in Austria or an Italian Republic forming in Albania (due to Allied demands) is very convenient if you can cut then off and stop them from getting more land in the peace deal.
An alternative (albeit untested) way to form the EU is to allow Hungary to become a major power and then occupy and hold the territories needed before the peace deal.
Lastly, it is also possible to take advantage of several random events to increase Communist support high enough and flip France to communism, allowing them to manually justify war goals on Belgium, Luxemburg and the Netherlands and annex them, then progress down the Democratic branch of the National Focus tree and drift back to Democracy and form the EU.

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