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Can someone explain the hate/love affair of USA and France ?


Stranded Shipscook

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Stranded Shipscook

Europe is far from my field of experience, although I lived in W Germany for 2 years in the 1970's. I do follow history to some extent.

 

I feel that any feeling of distrust of USA citizens toward the French now and for few past decades is a result of the official French governments attitudes/actions over every decade since WW 2 toward USA.

 

The behavior of the French I believe could mostly be laid to the personality of Gen. Charles deGaulle who by all accounts was a posturing, pompous, pride-comes-first attitude minor figurehead in most of the Allied structure in plans against the Nazis and their allies in World War 2. He took about 4th or 5th fiddle in the plans and his pride was severely damaged; I doubt that he ever recovered and when he later led France I think he did every thing in his power to show France didn't need foreign help, etc. from that point onward, and in particular USA help. I think he was able to instill this attitude in most French officials and many of the ordinary people....although with difficulty in the citizens in the towns where Patton's spearhead drove through on the road East to Berlin.

 

The Vichy government actions in support of the Nazi's was also an element that would or should have led USA and others to lower their estimate of French officials/government.

 

The French generals in World War 2 were later described at incompetents, idiots, etc whose entire idea of strategy/tactics was to throw frontal attacks of their men against entrenched, concertina-protected embattlements, often in the face of gas attacks. In other words they were butchers behind the lines. Undoubtedly a significant number of USA casualties were caused by this , although I think I remember at some point USA forces demanding separate chains of command to avoid coming under the command of these butchers.

 

I don't think the incompetance of the French in French Indo-China, highlighted at D.B.Phu should be seen as their fault for pulling USA into the war. I think that stupidity would have to be laid on USA Commander-in-Chief at that time, fearful of the further spread of militant communism---without good or accurate info on actual character of Ho Chi Minh or the devious, corrupt nature of leaders in the South. Many of the "Old Asia Hands" from long term stay in China(ejected in 1949 when Mao took over) were not listened to, were retired, were accused of being traitors when they voiced anything opposed to a hard line against Chinese or Chinese help to their Asian allies, therefore depriving C-in-Chief of the bulk of accurate intel from the area.

 

Also the notable failure of the French to put a decent quality car on the USA marketplace didn't hurt the antipathy felt toward France either....Renault, Citroen, etc.

 

Enough for the propaganda(German opinion ??) that the French were good for nothing except gourmet(in their opion) food and loving was able to gain a pretty good foothold in North America.

 

Ken

 

mmmh, very much hatred in those words.

 

I know from first hand of my Granddad that the German trench soldiers were just a shitless scared than their counterparts.

 

Come on, they died in millions during the wars, fighting just as brave as any other soldier in the world.

 

it would be kind to respect this a little as well too.

 

The WW2 overpowering of the Nazis was just because of simple strategic tactic o the Krauts by going around the French Army, it would have not made sense to fight the Germans anymore. Would have been just a massacre.

 

One can not say, that they are not brave, They are just as human as any other soldier. Proven in many wars all over the centuries.

If anyone has ever met the French Foreign legions, he would probably not even think about saying those bad things.

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What about the love hate relationship with France and the rest of the world.

Whilst the evidence given so far provides evidence of the symptoms I don't think it identifies the underlying illness. I think it goes right back to the cultural and political divide between the UK an

yes i am french then old enough too understand it,yes sure the old generation have a disliked of any foreigners ,but the new generation travel then have another point of view. has the American some r

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Stranded Shipscook

edited to nothing.

Edited by CATMAN
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Love/hate emotions between nations is a very fickle thing. What happened yesterday is much more important that what happened seventy or two hundred years ago. I think there is a lot to the viewpoint that France is resentful of the fact that the US is a superpower while France is a backwater. Also, the US is resentful that France seems to be contrarian to everything the US does or believes in. These two nations are NOT friends. At best, they tolerate each other.

 

Telling of the relationship happened during the liberation of France in 1944. General De Gaulle demanded that French soldiers be the first to march through Paris even though it was Patton's US army that actually drove off the Germans around Paris. General Eisenhower allowed the French to have their parade. I wonder what would have happened if Eisenhower had said, "NO" and had Patton march through instead.

 

I doubt it would have changed the long-term feelings between the two countries, since later on, De Gaulle turned on the US anyway. During the Cold War, France actually had part of its nuclear missile force aimed at the US rather than the Soviet Union (and they probably still do). The French block the US at every turn in the UN. Whatever the US is for...France is against.

 

Like I said, the two nations tolerate each other at best. The US and France are certainly NOT friends. But...that could change tomorrow if something happens to draw the two nations together. You just never know.

 

My understanding is that Eisenhower did not want Paris liberated at all as he did not want the burden of feeding the population. De Gaulle was thinking longer term for the stability of France. A country like France thats is intensely proud of its military tradition would be very unstable if the population held its army in universal contempt.

 

Your missile jibe I believe was the Frenchman replied "why not" when asked if any missiles were pointed at the US. History does not record if this was said with a smile.

What is certainly true is that the French land based nuclear deterrent was "designed" to stop the Russians in Germany. They did not have the range to go any further.

I think it says a lot about the German spirit of repentance that they did not complain more openly about this, bearing in mind that France was supposed to be their number one friend at the time.

 

During the Cuban Missile crisis, de Gaulle was 100% diamond hard solid behind Kennedy, and I think most people now accept that Chirac was right about Iraq: you cant export democracy in a tank. Chirac is an enarque, which means he more brain cells in his snot than Bush has in his entire head.

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Stranded Shipscook

My understanding is that Eisenhower did not want Paris liberated at all as he did not want the burden of feeding the population. De Gaulle was thinking longer term for the stability of France. A country like France thats is intensely proud of its military tradition would be very unstable if the population held its army in universal contempt.

 

Your missile jibe I believe was the Frenchman replied "why not" when asked if any missiles were pointed at the US. History does not record if this was said with a smile.

What is certainly true is that the French land based nuclear deterrent was "designed" to stop the Russians in Germany. They did not have the range to go any further.

I think it says a lot about the German spirit of repentance that they did not complain more openly about this, bearing in mind that France was supposed to be their number one friend at the time.

 

During the Cuban Missile crisis, de Gaulle was 100% diamond hard solid behind Kennedy, and I think most people now accept that Chirac was right about Iraq: you cant export democracy in a tank. Chirac is an enarque, which means he more brain cells in his snot than Bush has in his entire head.

Here is the German opinion. Every drafted soldier was informed on the first day what "if".

 

Survival time- Infantry 6 minutes

Mobile Artillery - 13 minutes

Airforce - 25 minutes or till the tanks are empty

Navy - didn't have one.

Lets face it boys, all nuclear weapons are pointed at Germany, it will be the battle field when the Warsaw Pact invades full force.

 

protest- plenty, but til 1990 Germany was still under Truce and not even a Nation. who cared ?

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Not at all. De Gaulle was a guest of the British Government for much of the war, living in luxurious splendour in a large country house outside London. He always insisted that Paris be liberated by the Free French Army - much to Churchill's and Eisenhower's personal displeasure. De Gaulle hated the fact that he was excluded from much of the planning of Operation Overlord by both Churchill and Eisenhower - on Churchill's advice.

 

In fact, the FF battalion that led the victory parade had only landed in France a few days earlier and hadn't encountered any resistance. De Gaulle himself landed in France a day or so beforehand and was driven to Paris to lead the parade. As for Patton, he did lead a much larger parade through the streets of Paris on the following day and it was Patton's men, not De Gaulle's, who secured the city and cleaned-up the remaining pockets of the German occupying forces.

 

hmmmm as always depends on what was in your mother's milk. But although this was clearly written by a French man, you might find this of interest

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2nd_Armored_Division_%28France%29

 

I always try and look at these events from a "man i the street's" piont of view, simply because I am one.

 

A fiercely patriotic Frenchman, a National Front supporter, once said to me:

 

When we needed to collaborate, we did

When we needed to change sides, we did.

 

And most people here, if they are deep down honest, would have done the same in the same circumstances.

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you mean Patton wasn't a man of Honor and would have never suggested that?

 

Well, it would be human and nice to the occupied French and undeniably suffering POPULATION .

 

Figure this- a nation has been just ran over and ruled by a fascist asshole country and their henchman. Then comes liberation and the first thing one see are the flags and soldiers of another nation. Good or bad isn't the debate..

i guess, if you would have been Patton, you'd done the same.

The gesture is, that France belongs to the French again, that's all whats in the symbolic.

 

Probably this is why Patton agreed to let the French lead the first marches. Its human. I liked that they let them do it.

 

Patton had no say in it! In fact Patton was somewhat in disgrace and Eisenhower was all for excluding him from any active role in Operation Overlord; certainly Montgomery had something to do with that as there was personal enmity between them. Patton was put in charge of the "phoney army" that was assembled in the south east of Britain to fool the Germans into believing that the invasion would take place in the Low Countries. In that he achieved some success. It was only on the eve of D-Day that Patton was secretly moved to the real invasion assembly area.

 

Patton's forces did arrive outside Paris ahead of the Free French but Patton was specifically ordered not to enter the city until De Gaulle had his moment of glory.

 

Remember that France wasn't the only European country that was liberated by the Allies but only the French - through De Gaulle - insisted that their country be "liberated" by their own forces. That demonstrates some arrogance on their part.

Edited by Markham
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Stranded Shipscook

Patton had no say in it! In fact Patton was somewhat in disgrace and Eisenhower was all for excluding him from any active role in Operation Overlord; certainly Montgomery had something to do with that as there was personal enmity between them. Patton was put in charge of the "phoney army" that was assembled in the south east of Britain to fool the Germans into believing that the invasion would take place in the Low Countries. In that he achieved some success. It was only on the eve of D-Day that Patton was secretly moved to the real invasion assembly area.

 

Patton's forces did arrive outside Paris ahead of the Free French but Patton was specifically ordered not to enter the city until De Gaulle had his moment of glory.

 

Remember that France wasn't the only European country that was liberated by the Allies but only the French - through De Gaulle - insisted that their country be "liberated" by their own forces. That demonstrates some arrogance on their part.

ok, if it wasn't Pattons, than it was another guy with some Character . General Montgomery(or FM) then was the Person or whoever. Does it matter ?

 

Now have you read your last sentence ? :

"through De Gaulle - insisted that their country be "liberated" by their own forces. That demonstrates some arrogance on their part."

Meaning you put an entire nations character based upon ONE persons insistance. I call this a fundamental perception error.

 

I rather would assume that the negative sentiments are then based upon other factors then this one "incident".

 

PS- my history books differ from yours, they go more like this:

http://en.wikipedia....ration_of_Paris

 

I know, its Wikipedia, but from my remembrance the events are quite accurately described.

 

For the guys which are (understandibly) to lazy to read the Wiki, i may take the part of the "great liberation and triumphal march into Paris by the french" as an excerpt:

 

Entrance of the 2nd Armored Division and 4th US Infantry division (24–25 August)

 

Further information: 2nd Armored Division (France)

On the following morning, an enormous crowd of joyous Parisians welcomed the arrival of the 2nd French Armored Division, which swept the western part of Paris, including the Arc de Triomphe and the Champs ÉlysÉes, while the Americans cleared the eastern part. German resistance had evaporated during the previous night. Two thousand men remained in the Bois de Boulogne, 700 more were in the Jardin du Luxembourg. But most had fled or simply awaited capture.[14]

The battle had cost the Free French 2nd Armored Division 71 killed, 225 wounded, 35 tanks, six self-propelled guns, and 111 vehicles, "a rather high ratio of losses for an armoured division" according to historian Jacques Mordal.[15]

Due to American pressure for a white-only liberation force, black French troops were excluded from the triumphal return to Paris on the 25th.[16]

Edited by CATMAN
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Now that nuclear weapons pointed at the USA interest me, i heard that the first time. Do you have a source i could read about ?

 

I'm afraid I can't. I read it back in 1982 (military sources), and I can't find anything related to it now. What I read wasn't classified at the time , but maybe it was considered sensitive (for obvious reasons) and has been scrubbed. In any event, I can find no trace of it. I was actually surprised that I couldn't find anything on it. Just about everything is on the Internet now.

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you mean Patton wasn't a man of Honor and would have never suggested that? Well, it would be human and nice to the occupied French and undeniably suffering POPULATION . Figure this- a nation has been just ran over and ruled by a fascist asshole country and their henchman. Then comes liberation and the first thing one see are the flags and soldiers of another nation. Good or bad isn't the debate.. i guess, if you would have been Patton, you'd done the same. The gesture is, that France belongs to the French again, that's all whats in the symbolic. Probably this is why Patton agreed to let the French lead the first marches. Its human. I liked that they let them do it.

 

It wasn't Patton's decision. It was Eisenhower's decision. In Patton's eyes, the victory parade should go to the victor. He was the victor...NOT deGaulle. Patton was angry at Eisenhower's decision, but it wasn't a question of honor. Patton had plenty of honor. I would imagine if you looked in the dictionary under "honor" you might find Patton's picture. He just didn't think it was right to let somebody (who hadn't actually fought) to claim the glory. He thought "his men" should have had that glory (and of course...himself as well).

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Stranded Shipscook

I'm afraid I can't. I read it back in 1982 (military sources), and I can't find anything related to it now. What I read wasn't classified at the time , but maybe it was considered sensitive (for obvious reasons) and has been scrubbed. In any event, I can find no trace of it. I was actually surprised that I couldn't find anything on it. Just about everything is on the Internet now.

no problem, Sperry found it : (Earlier Post in this thread)

 

Your missile jibe I believe was the Frenchman replied "why not" when asked if any missiles were

pointed at the US. History does not record if this was said with a smile.

What is certainly true is that the French land based nuclear deterrent was "designed" to stop the Russians in Germany. They did not have the range to go any further.

 

Knowing French humour, it was certain that they did not smile when having made that joke.

 

 

And in fact, the US pointed their weapons into all places in Europe, this was no military secret, it was part of the NATO defense strategy to stop eventual Sowjet forces.

 

Nope, neither the French nor the British have ever pointed any missiles at the USA, and even when technically possible through the French Aircraftcarriers and Sub's... for what ?

Edited by CATMAN
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Your missile jibe I believe was the Frenchman replied "why not" when asked if any missiles were pointed at the US. History does not record if this was said with a smile. What is certainly true is that the French land based nuclear deterrent was "designed" to stop the Russians in Germany. They did not have the range to go any further.

 

I love your hypothetical "Frenchman" quote. History doesn't record any of it...regardless of whether or not there was a smile involved. Your explanation of France's range limitations may be correct if you discount the fact that France had four missile submarines that each carried missiles with a total of 24 nuclear warheads. That pretty much wipes out any range limitation.

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no problem, Sperry found it : (Earlier Post in this thread) Your missile jibe I believe was the Frenchman replied "why not" when asked if any missiles were Knowing French humour, it was certain that they did not smile when having made that joke. And in fact, the US pointed their weapons into all places in Europe, this was no military secret, it was part of the NATO defense strategy to stop eventual Sowjet forces. Nope, neither the French nor the British have ever pointed any missiles at the USA, and even when technically possible through the French Aircraftcarriers and Sub's... for what ?

 

It's funny how people so readily believe anything that agrees with their pre-conceived ideas, while simply disregarding anything that disagrees with their pre-conceived ideas.

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BTW, my grandfather, who fought in World War I, told me that "French kiss" was what the US soldiers (doughboys) called fellatio in France. It was practiced by the women in the French brothels to service the large numbers of soldiers. It wasn't until the soldiers went home to the US and somebody inadvertently said something about a "French kiss" in front of somebody's family that the cover story about tongue-to-tongue kissing came into being. I have no reason to doubt his story, but you won't find that on the Internet either.

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Stranded Shipscook

It's funny how people so readily believe anything that agrees with their pre-conceived ideas, while simply disregarding anything that disagrees with their pre-conceived ideas.

 

Nope, you started to threw an unknown to anybody argument into the debate "Why french are disliked by American' and i asked where you had that from.

Its ok if you can not find it, but since it is really an outrageous claim, one needs a bit of further proof.

 

I mean, if France really had the intention to nuke the USA, that would be really something. And certainly somone would have made a huge article about it.

 

I have no reasons to disbelieve a joke theory as the one Sperry mentioned. No harm in jokes. While a nuclear threat coming from France would be a bit more drastic.

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Nope, you started to threw an unknown to anybody argument into the debate "Why french are disliked by American' and i asked where you had that from.

Its ok if you can not find it, but since it is really an outrageous claim, one needs a bit of further proof.

 

I mean, if France really had the intention to nuke the USA, that would be really something. And certainly somone would have made a huge article about it.

 

I have no reasons to disbelieve a joke theory as the one Sperry mentioned. No harm in jokes. While a nuclear threat coming from France would be a bit more drastic.

 

Anybody who has ever worked on military contingency plans (which I have) knows that "intent" isn't necessary to have a plan. I'm sure you would be very surprised if you knew all the places that have been targeted in the world. But it's OK. I expect you will believe whatever fits into your established worldview.

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