France is a semi-independent nation located in western Europe. It is a socialist state, which was once an autocracy, although now some democratic liberties have been given. It is leader of the Union of French Socialist States.
France has existed in many forms since the kingdom of Gaul.
After the storming of the Bastille in 1789, France became a constitutional monarchy. It was not long, however, before Napoleon Bonaparte took power in 1799. Napoleon attempted to built a massive European empire. His efforts ultimately failed after a disastrous invasion of Russia and several later defeats.
France was a major part of the scramble for Africa and by 1900 had a significant colonial empire. However, tensions with other great powers were high, especially Germany, since France had lost the earlier Franco-Prussian war massively.
After France allied itself with Russia against Germany, it was only a matter of time before war broke out between the two countries. In 1914 this happened and was it not for the reluctant defence of the country by Britain, France would have been defeated instantly.
It would take, however, until 1917 and a major trench mutiny for Paris to finally be captured and France to surrender. Many historians argue this had a worse effect on the country than a sudden defeat because of the massive human cost of the war.
The Treaty of Paris ended the war with humiliation for France. As well as losing numerous colonies, the northern half of France was demilitarised and some small areas annexed. France's armed forces were slashed.
The terrible defeat led to a massive socialist uprising, especially in the south of the country. This was eventually crushed by the end of the year but sentiment ran high.
Eventually the Socialist Party of France took power under Oliver Bourdette in 1925. Measures were taken to eliminate the opposition using the large-scale support of the party.
By 1935, France had "broken free" of the constraints of the treaty. It had a modern military, and had even managed to salvage relations with Germany. The economy was booming.
In 1939 Britain invaded Ireland. France threatened to go to war with Britain if they did not withdraw. This demand was ignored and both France and Germany joined the war.
In 1940, after an unsuccessful bombing campaign against Britain, France found itself being invaded in Normandy and through Wallonia. This was claimed to be a "liberation war," from socialism. However, French citizens were treated very poorly by the British as they were considered the enemy, regardless of whether or not they were carrying a weapon.
French troops were experiencing massive defeats in the north of the country and Paris was under threat. In the winter of 1940/41 however, the capital was successfully held and British supplies began to run out. The following drive to the coast lasted an entire year, and coupled with guerrilla warfare from colonists in Normandy a further two years were added. Britain still refused to surrender after this, however, so an invasion was planned with Germany.
The landings took place all along the south coast in early 1942. French troops were mainly responsible for operations in the south of the country, including the battle of London. Some French divisions were also sent to Ireland.
The campaign ended with the joint German/French capture of Glasgow and the surrender of the makeshift British government.
Occupation zones were quickly established in Britain. France claimed the southern half of the island and several colonies. Unlike in Germany, an official puppet government was not established immediately and the area lay under direct French government rule.
In July 1944 the German Chancellor asked the French government when they intended to withdraw their troops from Wallonia. Wallonia had previously been invaded by the British until a supposed liberation by French troops.
France responded by saying that they had no immediate plans to withdraw as rebuilding "was still in progress." Arguments were exchanged, with the French using Germany's annexation of Flanders as a counter-argument. Eventually, the Germans surprisingly backed down, stating that they would observe the treatment of Wallonian citizens carefully.
In late 1945 the area was formally annexed to France. There was little resistance and the French government released news articles stating that up to 90% of Wallonians supported the annexation, calling it "France's Austria" (Austria had previously been annexed by Germany after the collapse of the Austro-Hungarian Empire).
France experienced years of rapid economic growth after the austerity years of the 1950s. Although problems were experienced with uprisings in England and Africa in 1958, these were crushed by occupying forces. The leader of France at the time, Arnaud Sacre, was reasonably progressive and sought friendly relations with Germany and the USA. He also began the formation of the Union of French Socialist States.
In 1965 the UFSS was officially created. This was similar to the USSR in that it comprised of numerous federative states under the leadership of France. These included France, various colonies, Wallonia and by 1968 South England.
In 1966 the Soviet Union collapsed under civil unrest. This was a blow to France, however order was kept and the country managed to prevent any uprisings. However in 1968 France created the state of South England, partly because the period of purging and conversion to communism was over, and partly as a progressive measure.
Economic Decline and Unrest
The 70's marked a period of economic decline in France. Tensions in colonies meant that more money had to be put aside for soldiers. In 1978 French Indochina declared independence although remained communist. France attempted to intervene, leading to a long and fruitless war that ended in 1985 with a withdraw for France.
Along with Germany, France began granting greater autonomy to colonies in the 1980's, but keeping them in the UFSS - meaning ultimately all power still resided in Paris. Communism was generally favoured in Africa, and although France rule was not massively popular for the populace, information distributed on the collapse of communist countries that had declared independence was widely believed. The UFSS had in a way created a safety net for French prestige.
In 1993 Britain was allowed to reunite under the terms of the Osborne Conference. France was reluctant to grant South England independence but eventually did in the spring. Britain became a new country and began to adapt a democratic, moderate stance. However, by both banning communism and fascism the country had alienated a large portion of the population.
In 1996 the country had broken out into full civil war after splitting apart again. The League of Nations declared the United Republic a failed state.
Intervention in Britain
In 1998 both Germany and France, with some help from the USA, decided to try and end the civil war. Troops were landed and managed to disperse rebels. Tensions soon began as France would not allow communist rebels to be engaged in combat. French and American leaders refused to work together.
Eventually French operations were consigned to the south, German to the north and American in west Wales and north Scotland.
In 2002 the region was finally declared stable. American troops withdrew, however France and Germany decided to stay in limited force - France wanting a part of its nation back. Numerous small countries were created who required no foreign military presence.