The “Phoney War” refers to a period of relative inactivity and low-intensity military operations at the beginning of World War II.
It was a time when Britain and France declared war on Nazi Germany in September 1939, but no significant military engagements occurred for several months.
The term “Phoney War” was first used by journalists to describe the period of time between the declaration of war and the actual military action.
During this period, the British and French armies were mobilizing their troops and preparing for a major offensive against Germany. However, due to several factors, including bad weather and strategic indecisiveness, the major military operations did not begin until April 1940.
The phoney war was characterized by a lack of major military engagements and a sense of complacency on both sides.
The German army remained largely inactive during this period, waiting for the right moment to launch a major offensive. Meanwhile, the Allied forces were content to wait and prepare for the inevitable German attack.
Despite the lack of major military action, the Phoney War was not without its casualties. There were several minor naval engagements, including the sinking of the HMS Royal Oak by a German U-boat in October 1939, which resulted in the loss of over 800 British sailors.
There were also several air raids on British cities, most notably the bombing of Scapa Flow in October 1939, which killed four civilians.
The Phoney War came to an end in April 1940 when Germany launched a surprise attack on Denmark and Norway.
This was followed by the German invasion of Belgium, the Netherlands, and Luxembourg, which marked the beginning of the Battle of France. The German army quickly swept through France and reached the English Channel, forcing the evacuation of British and French troops from Dunkirk in May 1940.
Taegan Goddard is the creator of the Political Dictionary.
Goddard spent more than a decade on Wall Street as managing director and chief operating officer of a prominent investment firm in New York City. Previously, he also served as a policy adviser to a U.S. Senator and Governor.
Goddard is also co-author of You Won – Now What?: How Americans Can Make Democracy Work from City Hall to the White House, a political management book hailed by prominent journalists and politicians from both parties.
His essays on politics and public policy have appeared in dozens of newspapers and magazines across the country.
Goddard earned degrees from Vassar College and Harvard University.
He lives in New York with his wife and three sons.