Subtitles section Play video Print subtitles On June 22, 1940, the French Government, led by Philippe Pétain, signed an armistice with Nazi Germany, essentially surrendering most of the country over to Hitler. Since then, France has been labeled by some, as militarily weak and prone to surrender. So, let’s give it an actual look... how powerful is France? The short answer is...very powerful. Despite only having around 230,000 active military personnel, which is far less than other world powers like China, Russia, the US and India, France still ranks 4th politics and its advanced military technology. As a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council, France can exert veto power, and are on equal footing with Russia, the US, China, and the UK. So, it would be difficult for a UN-backed coalition to move against France or its interests. France is also a full NATO member and a founding member of the European Union. And they hold a lot of influence over the world’s economy. 14 African nations use a form of currency called the CFA Franc, which has direct ties to France’s national bank. AND the head of the International Monetary Fund is traditionally French. Plus, France has its own flourishing economy with strongholds in every business sector from energy to pharmaceuticals. They also have an extremely advanced military, complete with nuclear subs, an aircraft carrier, long-range nuclear missiles and estimated 15 military bases abroad, giving them an international footprint akin to Russia’s. Adding to all of this is their robust military industrial complex: they’re the fifth largest weapons exporter in the world. And they saw a 30 percent increase in weapons sales last year. As we said at the top, France is very powerful, but there are also some indications that their power may be diminishing due to budget cuts. They’ve cut roughly a third of their active military personnel since 2008. They also froze their core defense budget at 31.4 billion gyros, in a time when other nations like China, India and Russia are increasing theirs. They also abandoned some of their programs, like their plans to build a new aircraft carrier, and a new class of amphibious vehicles. And they shrunk their air force from 300 jets down to 225. Some experts say they don’t have nearly enough transports or fueling planes to effectively deploy their troops. And according to The Wall Street Journal, “On paper they have roughly 230,000 men and women in uniform, but only 30,000 are estimated to be deployable on six months notice.” The accusation is that France isn’t putting enough financial resources into their armed forces, and as a result they’re becoming less effective. on the National Power Index. Primarily because of its position in global If you’d like to know more about the strengths of other world powers, like Russia, India, or China, please click one of these boxes now. Or to see them all, please click our strengths of nations playlist. New videos five days a week. please subscribe.