Hitler was now ready for his attack on France. He had all his supporting countries ready. He would have to figure out how to get France on it's knees. Before Hitler could do that, he would have to find a weak spot in France's defenses. The Maginot Line was France's key spot of defense which rested along the Belgian border.
France had a few things going for it. After Dunkirk, most British troops in aid for France were evacuated. However, there were still 136,000 troops in France waiting for battle. There were also 200,000 Polish soldiers eagerly waiting there chance to claim back their country. There chance would come, but it wouldn't be with good odds.
The Germans had just about the same amount of troops and tanks as the French and British, however the Germans had air power. Hitler moved his headquarters to Belgian soil on June 4th. It was located at Brűly-de-Persche near the French border. He then ordered his German army to attack.
They did. On June 5th, Hitler sent 143 German divisions to attack the 65 French divisions along the French/Belgian border. The attack was heavily weighted on the strong lines of Somme and Aisne. The British and French troops pressed on, being bombarded heavily by German artillery, aircraft, and tanks. The British were in charge of holding the Germans from Abbeville to the sea, but couldn't succeed. The Germans were just too strong. The Germans pushed on killing all hopes of holding off the Germans.
On June 8th, Hitler's army met very strong resistance just north of Paris. The French would not let their capital fall easily. However, not even the French spirit could keep Paris from being taken over. Hitler changed his game plan and switched sights. Instead of taking over the rest of eastern France, Hitler decided to use the man power to take over Paris. So most of the German focus was to take Paris. To make things worse for the French, Winston Churchill decided to stop sending aircraft into France. This decision was made as a result of the sinking of the Glorious, which held two squadrons of aircraft in Norway. This decision doomed France. There was no hope for the once great country.
On June 9th, eleven thousand British and French troops awaited evacuation at the Channel port of Le Havre. The evacuations were somewhat successful, but soon more news from France erupted. On June 12th, 46,000 French and British troops under General Ihler, were forced to surrender to the Germans. As French and British leaders finally realized the slipping of France from their hands, they realized they shouldn't let the Germans destroy everything they had just in case they were liberated.
This decision was brought on by General Weygand, who wanted to declare Paris an open city, rather than see the great city in ruin. The German high command accepted this agreement. As Paris was being taken, more trouble was brewing. Le Havre was under heavy attack. Only 2,222 troops had made it back to Britain. The rest were forced into Cherbourg.
Winston Churchill and the French leader Reynaud were feeling France slipping from their fingers. Reynaud lost all hope. He stated that France had given it's best, but it simply was not enough. Churchill then urged the United States to intervene for the sake of democracy. The United States stated it's intention to be neutral. As the message was received, Paris was being overtaken by the Germans.
Paris was lost, and all of France would be next. The French Cabinet decided to meet in Bordeaux to discuss the taking of Dijon by the Germans on June 16th. The Deputy Prime Minister Pétain threatened to resign if there wasn't an immediate armistice. Reynaud then asked Britain to release the French people of it's agreement to make a separate peace. Reynaud then resigned.
Henri Philippe Pétain then formed a new government and asked the Germans for an armistice. Hitler agreed to the armistice, which gave Germany complete control of Northern France and all of the Atlantic Coast. After the armistice came heavy evacuations from the British in the cities of Cherbourg, St. Malo, Brest, St. Nazaire and Nantes. Many others of other national descent were evacuated from those cities and from the Atlantic Coast of France. The Germans now had 3/5ths of France. Henri Philippe Pétain then set up the new French capital in Vichy in the southeast.
Hitler now had everything he wanted. He had France on it's knees. His next step was to take Great Britain, but first he needed air superiority.