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    Posted: 29 May 2012 at 17:23
The French are such cowards? That's how it goes right? The French have a martial history to be proud of. This leaves me confused as to how the French are classified as cowardly quitters. The fact of the matter is, they are no such thing. This questionable characterization appears to have manifested itself post WW2. 

   There must be a reason for it. We are talking about the sons of the nation's, among countless other things, fought the German army to a standstill at Verdun. Should we blame The Simpsons? for their, "them cheese eating surrender monkeys" offering?. Hardly, I wonder where it came from? The French surrendered to the Germans during WW2. Their country was overrun at the time by the best military the world had ever known. They also rolled up the British in France. Where does that leave us? You don't think that Dunkirk was so embarrassing to the British, that they blamed the French for their defeat and spun Dunkirk into some sort of victory?.
Do you?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote okamido Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 29 May 2012 at 18:24
It also came from Married with Children in the late 80s, when Al Bundy talks about how he hates the French, "More people we should have bombed."
 
I truly believe it just became humorous fodder after the prevailing perception of French rudeness towards Americans. Just something to dig back at them, and now it has unexpectedly entered the venacular:
 
French = Cowards
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Al Jassas Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 29 May 2012 at 18:34
First of all one has to read about the history of european conflicts to get a sense of what happened in 1940.
 
For centuries the nature of european conflicts was as Sir Edward Spears said was a war will break, a side will win and another lose, a couple of provinces will be exchanged and a certain sum of millions will be paid and everyone will call it a day off preparing for the next war.
 
This was the mentality of 60 year old French generals as Spears reported. They never thought that total conquest, a thing normally seen in colonial wars, would happen and they though Alsace-Lorraine will be occupied and France will be forced to pay reparations. Hitler had other plans of course that no one in France saw them coming. Had they realised what would happen even the pro-German generals and politicians (and there were plenty who wanted to see their own country lose so they can blame it on leftists who were not in power then) all of them would have fought hard to prevent German victory.
 
Second, the war in France was definitely not a cakewalk as propaganda tells us. Indeed when we compare the first 6 weeks of Barbarossa with the campaign in the west and correlate this with the number of troops and size of front one realises that the campaign in the west was even more brutal to the Germans in that period than the eastern front during the first weeks of Barbarossa.
 
In France German losses amounted to +150k including 50k KIA/DoW for a total of 2 million Germans committed. In the same period of Barbarossa 40k men were KIA and +100k total casualties for +3 million committed against a larger force and wider front.
 
 
Third point was WWI effect. France lost 1.4 million men in that war more than half of them before the Somme. After the war France didn't have the baby boom all european countries had, indeed it lost population to the point that the first North Africans were brought to France to reside perminantly there in the 1920s not 1950s as popular misconception says. No one had the stomach for a war and the French, high on the weed of victory, did not persue modernisation of their armed forces. For them the last was was the last war, the war to end all wars. They wilfuly blinded themselves to Hitler's advance. For them the red threat was the only threat and since it didn't need a war to confront it consumed French politicians.
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Act of Oblivion Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 29 May 2012 at 18:55
....as you suggest Buckskins, the French do not warrant the charge of being cowards, their military history bears this out...I suspect that such a negative reputation emerged from the WWII collaboration with occupying German forces....
 
..the picture painted is a pre-war French nation publicly anti-German/Nazi, extolling the virtues and actions of the French Army in WWI, promoting the policy of resisting German aggression, then no sooner the Germans invade, half the country is surrendered, and they co-operate in expulsion of French Jews and even their own countrymen....conclusion-betray your own and you must be a coward....
 
...it is obviously a myth that the French are intrinsically ‘cowards’ but the wartime record during the Nazi occupation leaves a bad taste in the mouth for many so the charge of cowardice persists......
 
....my Grandfather landed in France on June 6th and during the fighting he met many French resistance fighters, a friendship that lasted for years after the war....my Grandfather was in no doubt regarding the calibre of these individuals...he often talked about them with pride...
 
..AoO...


Edited by Act of Oblivion - 29 May 2012 at 18:56


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Panther Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30 May 2012 at 02:54
Purely psychological, me thinks. Prior to France's humiliation in 1940, many in the West saw France as not only the greatest world power of modern history, but one of the highest in cultural achievement to boast of. There was also high value attached to French pride, which unfortunately, made the fall not only that much harder in contemplating but to also find some new way in reconciling this new perception of France during the occupied period. That... it has regretfully and  continuously came up ever since with every instance of a world  crisis, the French disagreeing or threatening to sit it out, would automatically be labeled in the most derogatory manner based on the events of 1940 - 1944.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote gcle2003 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30 May 2012 at 16:17
http://www.guardian.co.uk/theguardian/2007/apr/29/greatspeeches1

The French who were rescued from Dunkirk were cheered just as loudly, at least on arrival at Southampton, as the British were. The French defeat had nothing to do with cowardice, a lot to do with incompetence and even more with politics.

@Panther - the French sat out Vietnam? Suez? Algiers? Korea? Gulf War 1? Afghanistan?

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Buckskins Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30 May 2012 at 16:46
Originally posted by okamido okamido wrote:

It also came from Married with Children in the late 80s, when Al Bundy talks about how he hates the French, "More people we should have bombed."
 
I truly believe it just became humorous fodder after the prevailing perception of French rudeness towards Americans. Just something to dig back at them, and now it has unexpectedly entered the venacular:
 
French = Cowards

Hi Okamindo, I don't think it originated in the United States. I will say we latched onto it with gusto. The false assumption of French lack of backbone was well established prior to the 1980's. I honestly don't like French people in general. That does not cloud my judgement as to the national character of the nation. Their resistance all during WW2 was an example of how it should be done. There were traitors in abundance, just as there would have been in any other country under similar circumstances. I think the root of it all is to be found at Dunkirk. Thanks for your interesting post.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Buckskins Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30 May 2012 at 17:07
Hi Act of Oblivion.

Quote
....as you suggest Buckskins, the French do not warrant the charge of being cowards, their military history bears this out...I suspect that such a negative reputation emerged from the WWII collaboration with occupying German forces....
 

 What occupied European country did not collaborate with the Germans?  I think every occupied country had its share of Quislings. The Dutch showed great courage when they were told to round up the Dutch Jews. They were also overrun in a very short time. Yet there is no finger pointing at the Dutch, nor should their be.

 
Quote
..the picture painted is a pre-war French nation publicly anti-German/Nazi, extolling the virtues and actions of the French Army in WWI, promoting the policy of resisting German aggression, then no sooner the Germans invade, half the country is surrendered, and they co-operate in expulsion of French Jews and even their own countrymen....conclusion-betray your own and you must be a coward....
 

Every mainland western European country that the Germans invaded surrendered. Who was about to stop the German military of 1939 from doing anything? Don't tell me the British. They rolled up the Brits in North Africa all the way to Egypt. The did the same in France to the British army. The Brits were not invaded because of 22 miles of salt water.
 
 
Quote
...it is obviously a myth that the French are intrinsically ‘cowards’ but the wartime record during the Nazi occupation leaves a bad taste in the mouth for many so the charge of cowardice persists......
 
....my Grandfather landed in France on June 6th and during the fighting he met many French resistance fighters, a friendship that lasted for years after the war....my Grandfather was in no doubt regarding the calibre of these individuals...he often talked about them with pride...
 
..AoO...

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Buckskins Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30 May 2012 at 17:19
Originally posted by Panther Panther wrote:

Purely psychological, me thinks. Prior to France's humiliation in 1940, many in the West saw France as not only the greatest world power of modern history, but one of the highest in cultural achievement to boast of. There was also high value attached to French pride, which unfortunately, made the fall not only that much harder in contemplating but to also find some new way in reconciling this new perception of France during the occupied period. That... it has regretfully and  continuously came up ever since with every instance of a world  crisis, the French disagreeing or threatening to sit it out, would automatically be labeled in the most derogatory manner based on the events of 1940 - 1944.

Hi Panther, I'm sure I don't have to tell you that the first time we came up on the the German army, they handed us our asses. I very much agree the French are a disagreeable lot. The French are not alone in their attitude to the US. It's water off a Ducks back to us, but it's out there.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Buckskins Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30 May 2012 at 17:20
Originally posted by gcle2003 gcle2003 wrote:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/theguardian/2007/apr/29/greatspeeches1

The French who were rescued from Dunkirk were cheered just as loudly, at least on arrival at Southampton, as the British were. The French defeat had nothing to do with cowardice, a lot to do with incompetence and even more with politics.

@Panther - the French sat out Vietnam? Suez? Algiers? Korea? Gulf War 1? Afghanistan?


 I agree, so where did the bad rap come from?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote gcle2003 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30 May 2012 at 18:33
Originally posted by Buckskins Buckskins wrote:

 What occupied European country did not collaborate with the Germans?  I think every occupied country had its share of Quislings.

You didn't get 'occupied' if you were already collaborating. Nor did you need Quislings if the government was already on your side. You got occupied when you stopped collaborating. Enough European countries collaborated with the Germans to be going along with - Finland, Rumania, Hungary, Bulgaria...Italy. The set (not occupied & 'did not co-operate) did not exist.
Quote

Every mainland western European country that the Germans invaded surrendered. Who was about to stop the German military of 1939 from doing anything? Don't tell me the British.
Even though I'm aware that there's no point in ever drawing your attention to the facts,
The British in 1939 weren't just going to stop the Germans. They did stop the Germans. Only the Russians can claim the same.
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 They rolled up the Brits in North Africa all the way to Egypt.
"All the way" from Libya to Egypt? you mean like all the way from Georgia to Alabama? You may not like it but the Afrika Korps was decisively and irretrievably beaten in North Africa.
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The did the same in France to the British army. The Brits were not invaded because of 22 miles of salt water.

Of course the 22 miles (sic) of salt water didn't stop the Germans. The Germans were again beaten decisive by the RN and the RAF. It may be news to you but this was in the 20th century when those two arms were mostly pre-eminent (as in fact the US also recognised during the war, eventuallly making the USAF an independent arm). Only on the Russian fronts and the Chinese one was army strength decisive.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Act of Oblivion Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30 May 2012 at 20:19
Originally posted by Buckskins Buckskins wrote:


 What occupied European country did not collaborate with the Germans?  I think every occupied country had its share of Quislings. The Dutch showed great courage when they were told to round up the Dutch Jews. They were also overrun in a very short time. Yet there is no finger pointing at the Dutch, nor should their be.
 
...i agree with your comments regarding the other occupied countries, so i guess it was the extent of the French collaboration...i suspect also that it might have something to do with the notion that the French command failed to utilise its greater military might to challenge the Germans at the onset of war..??..as stated earlier, the cowardice charge is erroneous so maybe the notion endures because it is rooted in perceptions of scale..??..i.e..size of collaboration, size of failure to act..??

 
Originally posted by Buckskins Buckskins wrote:


Every mainland western European country that the Germans invaded surrendered. Who was about to stop the German military of 1939 from doing anything? Don't tell me the British. They rolled up the Brits in North Africa all the way to Egypt. The did the same in France to the British army. The Brits were not invaded because of 22 miles of salt water.
 
...point noted, but again, maybe its because the French had the ability to counter the German offensive but in the event did not...there are so many factors surrounding the arguments regarding the French capitulation, it is not a simple or clear case.....However, the fact that the French did ultimately cave in is the only 'fact' that some need to justify their claims....since then, the notion of French cowardice has become a stereotype rather than an idea based on historical truth...  
 
 
Originally posted by Buckskins Buckskins wrote:


 If your grandfather is still with us, please thank him from me for his service.
 
..alas not....but i still have his photos of the French resistance fighters he met...a worthy keepsake..
 
..all the best....AoO...


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Captain Vancouver Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30 May 2012 at 21:55
Originally posted by Buckskins Buckskins wrote:

The French are such cowards? That's how it goes right? The French have a martial history to be proud of. This leaves me confused as to how the French are classified as cowardly quitters. The fact of the matter is, they are no such thing. This questionable characterization appears to have manifested itself post WW2. 

   There must be a reason for it. We are talking about the sons of the nation's, among countless other things, fought the German army to a standstill at Verdun. Should we blame The Simpsons? for their, "them cheese eating surrender monkeys" offering?. Hardly, I wonder where it came from? The French surrendered to the Germans during WW2. Their country was overrun at the time by the best military the world had ever known. They also rolled up the British in France. Where does that leave us? You don't think that Dunkirk was so embarrassing to the British, that they blamed the French for their defeat and spun Dunkirk into some sort of victory?.
Do you?
 
This is an idea that has mostly found buoyancy in the US, partly because of a general lack of historical knowledge among so many there, and probably partly because it tends to fit with an overall world view that sees others as rather quaint and picturesque, but not very capable.
 
AJ has pretty much summed it up. At first, defeat and occupation by Germany was not generally seen as the disaster it turned out to be. Some sort of accomodation and peace treaty was assumed to be the outcome at some  point, with perhaps a humiliating loss of colonies or money, but something not totally unacceptable and apocaliptic.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Guests Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 31 May 2012 at 00:07
It isn't simply WWII. Their post-war performance has also affected popular views of the French, rightly or wrongly.

Fighting on in Indochina, and losing in a major pitched battle of their own choosing and preparation (Dien Bien Phu), is the sort of thing which reinforced a popular opinion of military weakness. And the most readily available explanation for military weakness for someone with little understanding of military affairs is the common human emotion of fear. Incompetence, tactics, recruitment principles, politics - these are all complicated concepts which the lazy are quite happy to ignore when a simple and conveniently accessible word like 'Cowardice' exists to provide an explanation for such defeats.

The 20th century was one of decline and defeat for a nation which had not so long before been the pre-eminent power of the world. From Germans, to Vietnamese peasants, to Algerian terrorists: the French suffered one defeat after another. When the French refused to join the Coalition of the Willing to go into Iraq, it was only too easy for propagandists to look back on a hundred years of French military defeats and paint a certain picture for a receptive public.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote lirelou Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 31 May 2012 at 00:14
The attitude that the French were cowards was common in the U.S. Army in 1962, when a lot of middle and senior NCOs were WWII vets. It was particularly common among those who had served in France in the 40s and 50s, when France was the Communications Zone for the Germany based NATO forces. Most of those loudly proclaiming the French cowards were not wearing combat infantry badges, and had served in combat service, or service support units. It later morphed into the "the French are anti-American back-stabbers" theme that went the rounds in the wake of 9-11.

The frank truth is that the French did not suffer the level of casualties in WWII that they did in WWI simply because they did not see the level of fighting that the WWI soldiers had. Indeed many of French war veterans' own writings suggest the great majority of their fellow soldiers, were happy to sit out the war as long as it left their country intact. A common expression is that their wars from WWII to Madagascar, Indochina, and Algeria were fought by the same "100,000" who had decided to fight on after France's collapse in 1940. These same veterans are also highly selective in whom they consider true resistance members. I believe the expression was: Post-D-Day Resistants, i.e., people who didn't join the Resistance until it was plain that and Anglo-American Army had landed, and was likely to win.

As to the origin of the attitude, I suspect it was picked up in England in WWII. The British have always griped about desertion under fire, or "French Leave", which the French, with their own version of "Perfidious Albion" refer to as "sneaking off like an English" (filer a l'Anglais). In the wake of WWI, the British rightly considered their contribution to be major, as did the Americans (less justifiably so). The French, on the other hand, viewed those efforts as important, but not the key to victory, which their own 1.7 million war dead had purchased with blood. 

The Left does bear some responsibility for France's unpreparedness in 1940, especially the Popular Front government. But they were not alone in denying funds to finish the Maginot line, or to ignore that state of training and readiness of the Army. But like Republicans and Democrats, both sides ignore their own roles.  Then comes WWII, which both the British and Americans see as "saving France's bacon yet again". They expect gratitude and cooperation, but come the post-war periodthe French are doggedly pursuing their own aims, even when they go against the desires of the Britain and the U.S. DeGaulle's pulling France out of the NATO military alliance was, for many, the last straw and a major sign of ingratitude, and I never ran into anyone stationed in France at that period who did not detest the French for it. But then, they also detested the French for insisting upon speaking French, whereas the occupied Germans went out of their way to learn English.

I personally like the French, but occasionally run into the classic obnoxious Frenchman or woman. But I had the advantage of speaking the language and attending their parachute course. In 1990 I asked two Vietnamese veterans of Bigeard's famous 6th Colonial Para Battalion which army was the better, and their reply was that the French were the best at making do with limited resources and personnel, while the Americans were masters at logistics. As noted before, the U.S. Army's official history of the WWII Italian Campaign has very high praise for the French troops (who in the majority were North African muslims), numerous French units received the Presidential Unit Citation (PUC) in WWII, and the French "Korea Battalion" in that war received both the American and Republic of Korea PUC for their actions at Chipyong-ni.

None of that matters to "Old Sarge" and his replacements. He continues to hate the French because they didn't speak English, and some pretty girl was unimpressed by his fumbling attempts to entice her out on a date by waving nylon stockings and cheap cigarettes under her nose.


Edited by lirelou - 31 May 2012 at 00:17
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Panther Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 31 May 2012 at 03:26
Originally posted by gcle2003 gcle2003 wrote:



@Panther - the French sat out Vietnam? Suez? Algiers? Korea? Gulf War 1? Afghanistan?



I was talking about perception, not the reality. Yes, they act militarily in their self interests and sometimes within the Nato alliance. But when they don't, which was the point i was trying to make, that is when the stereotypes are broken out and thrown around with abandon.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Panther Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 31 May 2012 at 03:32
Originally posted by Buckskins Buckskins wrote:



Hi Panther, I'm sure I don't have to tell you that the first time we came up on the the German army, they handed us our asses. I very much agree the French are a disagreeable lot. The French are not alone in their attitude to the US. It's water off a Ducks back to us, but it's out there.

Happy Trails mon ami.


Yes they did, no disagreement there.

I wasn't aware that my post came across as a bit anti-French. I don't dislike the French. Sometimes, they can be a bit of a headache to deal with, as we most certainly can be to our allies as well. But truth be told, they have been a very reliable and trustworthy ally then most of us realize. They deserve more recognition then they currently get today.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote gcle2003 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 31 May 2012 at 10:43
Not irrelevant is Panther's reference to the French being a 'very reliable and trustworthy ally'. Much of the backlash against French 'cowardice' is simply resentment against France pursuing its own interests when for some reason it is assumed they should be following US leads.

Since when has reluctance to join an unjust war been 'cowardice'?

Incidentally there was a reverse example of the same phenomenon in the '50s after Dien Bien Phu and Suez. Travelling in France at those times one couldn't miss the hostility shown by most Frenchmen and women against the British and Americans 'letting them down' and not being courageous enough to 'do the right thing'.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Guests Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 31 May 2012 at 10:54
Quote Incidentally there was a reverse example of the same phenomenon in the '50s after Dien Bien Phu and Suez. Travelling in France at those times one couldn't miss the hostility shown by most Frenchmen and women against the British and Americans 'letting them down' and not being courageous enough to 'do the right thing'.


Rather an ironic sentiment, considering the Americans were bankrolling the French war effort practically in its entirety.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote gcle2003 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 31 May 2012 at 11:16
That wasn't going to worry the average man in the street, even if he thought it was true. Their sons and brothers were dying and the Americans were just putting up cash just like in '39-'40. And of course the British weren't even doing that in Vietnam.  

Edited by gcle2003 - 31 May 2012 at 11:16
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Al Jassas Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 31 May 2012 at 11:45
Originally posted by lirelou lirelou wrote:


As to the origin of the attitude, I suspect it was picked up in England in WWII. The British have always griped about desertion under fire, or "French Leave", which the French, with their own version of "Perfidious Albion" refer to as "sneaking off like an English" (filer a l'Anglais). In the wake of WWI, the British rightly considered their contribution to be major, as did the Americans (less justifiably so). The French, on the other hand, viewed those efforts as important, but not the key to victory, which their own 1.7 million war dead had purchased with blood. 
 
France lost 1.4 million in WWI nearly two thirds of it by the end of Somme. It was the British who bore the brunt of the war from the Somme onwards. The reputation of French cowardice started back then especially when the French mutinied in the Spring of 1917 refusing to fight while the British-Canadian forces were bleeding themselves in Ypres.
 
In WWII, the reputation was mostly as a result of the Vichy regime that cooperated with the Nazis despite having nearly 1 million of its soldiers slaving in POW camps in Germany. The leaders of the regime were the same leaders of the war.
 
 
Originally posted by lirelou lirelou wrote:


The Left does bear some responsibility for France's unpreparedness in 1940, especially the Popular Front government. But they were not alone in denying funds to finish the Maginot line, or to ignore that state of training and readiness of the Army. But like Republicans and Democrats, both sides ignore their own roles.  Then comes WWII, which both the British and Americans see as "saving France's bacon yet again". They expect gratitude and cooperation, but come the post-war periodthe French are doggedly pursuing their own aims, even when they go against the desires of the Britain and the U.S. DeGaulle's pulling France out of the NATO military alliance was, for many, the last straw and a major sign of ingratitude, and I never ran into anyone stationed in France at that period who did not detest the French for it. But then, they also detested the French for insisting upon speaking French, whereas the occupied Germans went out of their way to learn English.
 
I think enough recent literature exists that prove that this idea of France lacking preparedness was utterly wrong. The French were more prepared for war than the Germans. The problem was they simply didn't want to fight. Read Karl-Heinz Frieser excellent book "The Blitzkrieg Legend" about the status of both armies on the eve of the war.
 
As for the Maginot line, it was a useless defensive system that was anyway easily breached with minimal force (a company of pioneers if I remember correctly) well before the war ended so it wouldn't have mattered if France completed this wall (which cost 25% of all France's budget annually during its construction) or not.
 
After the war, the Anglo-American alliance treated France as a second rate power depriving it from some of its colonial holdings (Lebanon and Syria) and supporting independence for others which was to the great resentment of the French who still thought themselves a great power. This was the root of the bitterness shown by DeGaulle and his policies.
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Buckskins Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 31 May 2012 at 16:55

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You didn't get 'occupied' if you were already collaborating. Nor did you need Quislings if the government was already on your side. You got occupied when you stopped collaborating. Enough European countries collaborated with the Germans to be going along with - Finland, Rumania, Hungary, Bulgaria...Italy. The set (not occupied & 'did not co-operate) did not exist.

So the above countries were secretly on the allied side all during WW2. Your such a font of knowledge Graham, and if you were Finnish you would not have support Germany fighting the Soviet Union?

Quote Even though I'm aware that there's no point in ever drawing your attention to the facts,
The British in 1939 weren't just going to stop the Germans. They did stop the Germans. Only the Russians can claim the same.
 

Would that be when they kicked the British army's butts into the English Channel? , or when Hitler halted bombing RAF assets and switched to London just as the RAF was about to be grounded?

Quote "All the way" from Libya to Egypt? you mean like all the way from Georgia to Alabama? You may not like it but the Afrika Korps was decisively and irretrievably beaten in North Africa.

The British never won a fight in North Africa until the US showed up with 300 tanks and supplies for the British army, about a dozen different nationalities made up the so called British 8th army. Never let it be said the Brits wouldn't fight to the death to the last ally or colonial. Montgomery failed to follow up after El Alamein as his timidness got the better of him.

Quote
Of course the 22 miles (sic) of salt water didn't stop the Germans.

Oh I see, if Britain was bordered on France the Germans would have been ground to a screeching halt by the defeated British army.

Quote
 The Germans were again beaten decisive by the RN and the RAF. It may be news to you but this was in the 20th century when those two arms were mostly pre-eminent (as in fact the US also recognised during the war, eventuallly making the USAF an independent arm). Only on the Russian fronts and the Chinese one was army strength decisive.

The RN needed 50 warships to sink one German battleship, and that was after it had sunk the Hood.  When the Prince of Wales and Repulse showed up in the far East they were sunk faster than a New York minute by the Japanese. Without Enigma (That the Poles gave you) Germany would have starved you into surrender. We not only had to supply you with weapons and raw materials, we had to feed you. The RAF never defeated the Luftwaffe. Goring and Hitler defeated themselves playing Generals. The RAFBC contribution to war on Germany was to murder German women and kids in the middle of the night. It was the USAAF that targeted German war production...in the daytime.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Buckskins Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 31 May 2012 at 17:11
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Not irrelevant is Panther's reference to the French being a 'very reliable and trustworthy ally'. Much of the backlash against French 'cowardice' is simply resentment against France pursuing its own interests when for some reason it is assumed they should be following US leads.

What nonsense, The British have been calling the French Cowards since WW2.

Quote
Since when has reluctance to join an unjust war been 'cowardice'?

Never, are you calling the French cowards?

Quote
Incidentally there was a reverse example of the same phenomenon in the '50s after Dien Bien Phu and Suez. Travelling in France at those times one couldn't miss the hostility shown by most Frenchmen and women against the British and Americans 'letting them down' and not being courageous enough to 'do the right thing'.

What did they think the British could do for them, that the FFL could not?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Buckskins Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 31 May 2012 at 17:16
Originally posted by gcle2003 gcle2003 wrote:

Their sons and brothers were dying and the Americans were just putting up cash just like in '39-'40.  

 Please accept our apologies for not coming to fight your war for you.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Al Jassas Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 31 May 2012 at 19:19
Originally posted by Buckskins Buckskins wrote:



The British never won a fight in North Africa until the US showed up with 300 tanks and supplies for the British army, about a dozen different nationalities made up the so called British 8th army. Never let it be said the Brits wouldn't fight to the death to the last ally or colonial. Montgomery failed to follow up after El Alamein as his timidness got the better of him.
 
 
Operation Compass, Tobruk, Operation Crusader etc. all were British victories in NA before the Americans even joined the war. I could list the victories in North Africa before the Americans landed in Morocco more than 1000 miles away from the front lines in Tunisia but you get the point.
 
Originally posted by Buckskins Buckskins wrote:


The RN needed 50 warships to sink one German battleship, and that was after it had sunk the Hood.  When the Prince of Wales and Repulse showed up in the far East they were sunk faster than a New York minute by the Japanese. Without Enigma (That the Poles gave you) Germany would have starved you into surrender. We not only had to supply you with weapons and raw materials, we had to feed you. The RAF never defeated the Luftwaffe. Goring and Hitler defeated themselves playing Generals. The RAFBC contribution to war on Germany was to murder German women and kids in the middle of the night. It was the USAAF that targeted German war production...in the daytime.
 
There is a famous German saying during Normandy "When the British planes show up we duck, when the American olanes show up everyone ducks and when German planes show up no one ducks" the last meaning that German planes never showed up in Normandy.
 
Graham can respond on the naval side of things.
 
Finally I have a question, why all this hate towards the Brits? Only Irish and Indian nationalists have so much hatred towards them. Are you by any chance one of them?
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote gcle2003 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 31 May 2012 at 20:17
Originally posted by Buckskins Buckskins wrote:


Quote
You didn't get 'occupied' if you were already collaborating. Nor did you need Quislings if the government was already on your side. You got occupied when you stopped collaborating. Enough European countries collaborated with the Germans to be going along with - Finland, Rumania, Hungary, Bulgaria...Italy. The set (not occupied & 'did not co-operate) did not exist.

So the above countries were secretly on the allied side all during WW2. Your such a font of knowledge Graham, and if you were Finnish you would not have support Germany fighting the Soviet Union?
Try reading the paragraph again. You might understand it next time. I said the only countries not occupied by the Germans in Western Europe collaborated with them, at least while not occupied. Italy for instance was only occupied after it stopped collaborating. I didn't say anything about what I would have done if I'd been a Finn.  In actual fact as an English child from a Conservative family I supported them in '39/'40 and deplored them after the allied themselves with Hitler. 
Quote
Quote Even though I'm aware that there's no point in ever drawing your attention to the facts,
The British in 1939 weren't just going to stop the Germans. They did stop the Germans. Only the Russians can claim the same.
 

Would that be when they kicked the British army's butts into the English Channel? , or when Hitler halted bombing RAF assets and switched to London just as the RAF was about to be grounded?
It would be when  the Germans were stopped at Alamein, though they stopped the Germans westward advance in '40 when they found they weren't strong enough to keep on trying. Even Hitler could recognise hitting his head on a brick wall.

En passant, why do you insist on keeping on with idiotic phrases liked 'kicked their butts'?
Quote
Quote "All the way" from Libya to Egypt? you mean like all the way from Georgia to Alabama? You may not like it but the Afrika Korps was decisively and irretrievably beaten in North Africa.

The British never won a fight in North Africa until the US showed up with 300 tanks and supplies for the British army, about a dozen different nationalities made up the so called British 8th army. Never let it be said the Brits wouldn't fight to the death to the last ally or colonial. Montgomery failed to follow up after El Alamein as his timidness got the better of him.

Beneath contempt. Montgomery was a cautious general, true. Cautious generals have a habit of winning in the long run
Quote

Quote
Of course the 22 miles (sic) of salt water didn't stop the Germans.

Oh I see, if Britain was bordered on France the Germans would have been ground to a screeching halt by the defeated British army.
No. If they'd had a decent air force, a navy, and the ability to counter British superiority in logistics and war production, they would have zipped across the 22 miles. Caesar managed it.
Quote
Quote
 The Germans were again beaten decisive by the RN and the RAF. It may be news to you but this was in the 20th century when those two arms were mostly pre-eminent (as in fact the US also recognised during the war, eventuallly making the USAF an independent arm). Only on the Russian fronts and the Chinese one was army strength decisive.

The RN needed 50 warships to sink one German battleship, and that was after it had sunk the Hood.  
Ridiculous exaggeration. 50 warships is simply nonsense. As for Hood, big she was but antiquated, 20 years, a whole generation of ship design, behind Bismarck.  The thing is the British could afford to lose her, just as they could afford to lose Ark Royal, because they also had effective control of the Atlantic airspace. Apart from Bismarck's one singe excursion the rest of the German surface fleet simple scuttled itself (Graf Spee), or hid (Prinz Eugen and so on). 
Quote
When the Prince of Wales and Repulse showed up in the far East they were sunk faster than a New York minute by the Japanese. Without Enigma (That the Poles gave you) Germany would have starved you into surrender. We not only had to supply you with weapons and raw materials, we had to feed you. The RAF never defeated the Luftwaffe. Goring and Hitler defeated themselves playing Generals. The RAFBC contribution to war on Germany was to murder German women and kids in the middle of the night. It was the USAAF that targeted German war production...in the daytime.
All of that is balls. Britain was never starving or anywhere near it. After all the RN was successfully and almost completely blockading Germany, whereas the German navy had to rely on submarines. Which aren't very good blockade runners.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote gcle2003 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 31 May 2012 at 20:36
Originally posted by Buckskins Buckskins wrote:

Quote
Not irrelevant is Panther's reference to the French being a 'very reliable and trustworthy ally'. Much of the backlash against French 'cowardice' is simply resentment against France pursuing its own interests when for some reason it is assumed they should be following US leads.

What nonsense, The British have been calling the French Cowards since WW2.
You were there were you? I don't recall anyone calling the French 'cowards' because of Korea or Vietnam or Suez or Algeria. Nor did the British refer to the French as 'cowards' or sling all the other insluits around that Americans did because France was courageous enough to stand up against US interests and dominance. 
Quote
Quote
Since when has reluctance to join an unjust war been 'cowardice'?

Never, are you calling the French cowards?
 
Sometimes you come over as completely insane. I've just been carefully arguing that the French are not cowards, that the British don't refer to them as cowards, and the American attitude to them is pure pique at the French wanting to go their own way when it suits them. This side of the Atlantic the closest I've seen to cowardice in recent years has been the slavish attitude of the right-wing governments of Blair and now Cameron in their puppyish dependence on the US.
Quote
Quote
Incidentally there was a reverse example of the same phenomenon in the '50s after Dien Bien Phu and Suez. Travelling in France at those times one couldn't miss the hostility shown by most Frenchmen and women against the British and Americans 'letting them down' and not being courageous enough to 'do the right thing'.

What did they think the British could do for them, that the FFL could not?
Now you're being deliberately stupid. For one thing, provide an effective strategic air force. The French Foreign Legion was then an infantry force. - and still is now, though it has been updated for more of an SAS like role. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Zagros Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 31 May 2012 at 23:26
I think the defamation is British, or more specifically English, in origin.  The English, broadly speaking, at all levels of society have a very open disdain for the French.  Even in sport, they slate the French for unsportsmanly behaviour which supposedly typifies their play style whilst the English sportsmen are shining examples of chivalry. 

I believe this attitude originates from the Napoleonic experience (or possibly all the way back to Agincourt) and persisted through the Victorian period where France was seen as the biggest threat to British colonial ambitions and assets.  The events of the 20th century were the cowardice-icing on the cake that is this propaganda.

Scots on the other hand have an, generally speaking, openly good attitude towards the French which can be traced back to the Auld Alliance.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote lirelou Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 31 May 2012 at 23:58
Al Jass, in re:  "As for the Maginot line, it was a useless defensive system that was anyway easily breached with minimal force (a company of pioneers if I remember correctly) well before the war ended so it wouldn't have mattered if France completed this wall (which cost 25% of all France's budget annually during its construction) or not."

You remember wrongly. It wasn't breached, it was by-passed. The 'breaching' was more than a company of pioneers, and done merely for the newsreels. And it ws far more than a mere wall. It wouldn't have withstood the Armies of 1944, but in 1940 the Blitzkrieg was merely the spear point, and the German Army behind that armored point largely a marching one whose artillery was dragged by horsepower. The supreme irony was it had been left unfinished in precisely the points the German Army had approached from in 1914.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote lirelou Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01 Jun 2012 at 00:06
Al Jazz, in re this:  "After the war, the Anglo-American alliance treated France as a second rate power depriving it from some of its colonial holdings (Lebanon and Syria) and supporting independence for others which was to the great resentment of the French who still thought themselves a great power. This was the root of the bitterness shown by DeGaulle and his policies."

I agree, except I think I'd place its timing as "during the war".

Constantine: The Americans didn't bankroll any of France's efforts in Indochina until after October 1950, and the majority of their funding went to standing up the armies of the newly recognized independent Indochinese states of the French Union, with what became the ARVN being the major force. This was in response to the not-so-Cold War in Asia. Of course, aid to the French increased as the Indochina War drew to its 1954 stale-mate.
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