When, on 10 May 1940, Guderian’s tanks invaded Belgium, Holland and Luxemburg, they built up a seemingly unstoppable momentum, giving rise to rumours that the Germans were somehow ‘supermen’ (Sartre, 1950). On 13 May the Nazis reached Sedan, that cornerstone of French defences; the following day the Netherlands surrendered; exactly a fortnight later, Belgium followed suit. By 26 May, the order had already been given to evacuate the British Expeditionary Force (BEF) at Dunkirk, where the French army under General Weygand, Gamelin’s recent replacement as commander-in-chief (19 May), formed an arc to protect the retreating troops. By 5 June, the day Dunkirk fell, some 338,226 men had been lifted from the beaches, two-thirds of them British. Despite fierce French resistance, on 9-10 June Reynaud and his government left Paris, which the Germans reached four days later. Holding a series of makeshift meetings along the Loire valley, on 11-13 June, the cabinet discussed the possibility of whether to fight on or to sue for an armistice, an option enthusiastically supported by Weygand and Petain, who had been appointed deputy prime minister on 19 May in an attempt to bolster morale! On 16 June, at Bordeaux, Reynaud resigned and handed over power to his deputy. The next day, the ‘Victor of Verdun’ announced to the French people that he had set in motion negotiations for an armistice which was signed on 22 June [Doc. 7]. With France divided into two main zones, government and deputies made their way to the little spa town of Vichy where, on 11 July, Petain was invested with full powers.