With Hitler’s conquest of France almost complete, both Shaw and Prime Minister Churchill, the latter with evidence of a planned German invasion of Ireland, separately tried to persuade the Irish Free State to abandon its neutrality to help England, which President de Valera did not do. Privately, Shaw also proposed that Churchill prevent France’s navy from falling into Germany’s hands by declaring war against her, a pro forma action designed to move her fleet to British ports. Meanwhile, Churchill and General de Gaulle planned to merge their countries into one nation, which gratified Prime Minister Reynaud, but his cabinet, influenced by octogenarian World War I hero Pétain and General Weygand, mostly preferred collaboration with the Nazis.

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