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Our “Allies” the French

Ah, that famed Gallic diplomacy:

 

The French ambassador to the United States used Pearl Harbor Day as an occasion to bash America’s position on World War II in the 1930s.

“In this Pearl Harbor day, we should remember that the US refused to side with France and UK to confront fascist powers in the 30s,” Gérard Araud wrote Thursday night in a now-deleted tweet.

The military attack on a US naval base in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii on Dec. 7 1941 signaled the entrance of America’s into the war.

The French ambassador quickly deleted the misguided tweet — but continued to defend the sentiment in subsequent missives.

Go here to read the rest.

In 1964 French President Charles de Gaulle withdrew France from NATO’s military structure. He ordered all American military personnel out of France. American President Lyndon Johnson directed Secretary of State Dean Rusk to visit de Gaulle personally and ask de Gaulle a single question.

“You tell de Gaulle that this question is from the mouth of the President of the United States of America,” he told Rusk. Rusk balked when Johnson told him the question, saying, “I cannot say that to the president of France.” Johnson replied, “You tell him exactly what I said.”

In Paris de Gaulle, standing behind his desk, restated his order to Rusk for American troops to be withdrawn. Rusk told him, “I am directed by President Johnson to ask you this question. It is from the mouth of the President of the United States: ‘Does your order include the bodies of American soldiers in France’s cemeteries?’”

Rusk later related that the question hit de Gaulle so hard that he collapsed into his chair and did not respond for a full minute.

 

 

 

Groundskeeper Willie, please do the honors:

 

 

 

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Donald R. McClarey

Cradle Catholic. Active in the pro-life movement since 1973. Father of three and happily married for 35 years. Small town lawyer and amateur historian. Former president of the board of directors of the local crisis pregnancy center for a decade.

20 Comments

  1. We can all acknowledge that the few remaining people who live in and around St Marie Eglise who lived through DDay and their descendants appreciate what was done on that day.

    France could have stopped Hitler before he got started. I have posted here before that Pilsudski wanted France and Poland to take out the Nazis early during their reign of terror. That may not be true after all, but the US didn’t put the Fascists in charge.

  2. On the string of events that took place sin ce the beginning of the 20th century, there is so much to say, write and analyse, that it is not the place to do it here. However, for everyone knowing well DeGaulle, – a devout, profund catholic-, the question of the idiot president Johnson could only sound as the sign of a deep imbecillity. Which it seemed to me also at that epoch and still now.
    The rest is History, and it cannot be rewritten, sadly.
    If, nowadays, we woud be ousting the GAFA’s, which woud make sense for the peace and sanity of the word, woud you still ask if we would also oust the bodies of the soldiers od the DDay ?

  3. DeGaulle would have been less than a footnote in history without the US to liberate his second rate nation. His second rate nation would almost certainly still be a satrap of the Nazi Empire without its liberation by the US. Since ingratitude is hardwired into the French psyche, we expect abuse from them and will likely still save them a third time when that inevitable event occurs, because we are a much nobler people than they are.

  4. That may not be true after all, but the US didn’t put the Fascists in charge.

    The Vichy cabinets were drawn from France’s extant establishments, academic, legal, and industrial-commerical. Pierre Pucheu, who had a turn as Interior minister, was a convinced fascist, but that was atypical. Pierre Laval, who was prime minister for a long stretch, was a Third Republic politician of the modal type.

    There is in France a great deal of charm and beauty and a great deal of spit-and-polish competence. There is also a terrible gracelessness and cynicism.

  5. Some Frenchmen were fighting Fascism in the 1930’s.

    8.932 fought the Fascists in Spain, as members of the International Brigade, nearly three times more than any other national contingent. This debt was repaid during the occupation, when Spanish refugees made up the backbone of the Maquis, especially in the South-West.

    Many other Frenchmen were engaged in fighting the Fascists on the streets of France, notably the Camelots du Roi, the storm-troopers of Charles Maurras’s l’action française.

    After the Liberation, the PCF became known as the party of the Resistance, of the 75,000 fusillés [shot]. The French Section of the Workers International also had many members shot or deported. It was these two parties who, along with the Gaullists, went on to form the Tri-partite government..

  6. 8.932 fought the Fascists in Spain, as members of the International Brigade,
    ==
    No, they didn’t. They fought the Nationalist coalition in Spain. That included the professional military (bar those associated with masonic lodges), the Autonomous Right, the Carlists, the Alfonsine monarchists, and the Falangists. Prior to 1936, the Falangists were the least numerous element. The Falangists bore the greatest resemblance to the Italian Fascists, but had their differences with them. (The chief ideologist of the Falange was Ramon Serrano Suner, whose objection to parliamentary government was context-dependent; he said it was satisfactory for Britain, but not Spain). The Falange lacked the revanchist aspect that was the indispensable component of Fascism.
    ==
    As for the alternative, the Republic was a mortal threat to every element in Spanish society apart from the trade unions, the masonic lodges, and the red political parties.

  7. After the Liberation, the PCF became known as the party of the Resistance,

    Well, there’s no substitute for good PR. They joined ‘the Resistance’ when Nazi Germany attacked the Soviet Union. The Croix de Feu within France and the Free French abroad were the real resistnace.

  8. I saw the following response on the French ambassador’s Twitter feed: “Going to war without the French is like going deer hunting without your accordian.” — Norman Schwarzkopf

  9. However, for everyone knowing well DeGaulle, – a devout, profund catholic-, the question of the idiot president Johnson could only sound as the sign of a deep imbecillity.

    So, you think the dead should’ve been dug up, because the French guy was Catholic and you think Johnson was a dummy therefore how DARE he make a pointed question which highlighted a painful ingratitude?

    Funny, innit, how Americans are to blame no matter what happens?

  10. I saw the following response on the French ambassador’s Twitter feed: “Going to war without the French is like going deer hunting without your accordian.” — Norman Schwarzkopf

    I like a good jab, but France actually has one of the world’s most handsomely provisioned, effective, and experienced militaries. Henry Kissinger once referred to Nixon’s aims in VietNam as those of deGaulle’s in Algeria: to get out ‘as a matter of policy and not a matter of defeat’. De Gaulle did not think French rule in Algeria was sustainable. The French military defeated the FLN on the battlefield and then deGaulle handed the territory over to them.

  11. the question of the idiot president Johnson could only sound as the sign of a deep imbecillity.
    ==
    Whatever fictions help you get through the day are fine, as long as you don’t dump the dung on our doorstep.

  12. Funny, innit, how Americans are to blame no matter what happens?
    ==
    Sometimes the Dunning-Kruger exemplars need their scapegoats. The Americans, the Jews, doesn’t matter. I’ve had a tedious exchange with a black African in recent days whose worldview is built around a series of historical fictions (among them that East Africans were being screwed over by the East Indian merchants who made up all of 1% of the local population, ergo were perfectly justified in deporting them on 90 days notice. No, I don’t think he can define ‘exploitation’, at least not without resorting to Marxist twaddle).

  13. as a young person i got hooked on THEY DIED WITH THEIR BOOTS ON,,,,it is a parable, poem, allegory, a tale that encompasses the eternal verities of life, it has everything,,,,an american horse opera with a lot to say at many levels depending on the mind of the viewer……?where is the regiment riding….to hell,,,,or to glory,,,,it depends on one’s point of view.

  14. The French courageously “confronting” Hitler in the 1930s? Hardly.

    In fact, in 1936 when Hitler decided to occupy the Rhineland, he had ordered his troops to withdraw if the French military made any resistance at all.

    On March 5th, 1936 French foreign minister Pierre Flandin advised Anthony Eden of Britain that the French would offer no resistance at all if Hitler moved into the Rhineland. Two days later, Hitler’s forces seized the region.

    Virtually every historian considers now France’s supine response to the rising Nazi regime as rewarding the Third Reich’s aggression and burnishing the image of Hitler as being powerful, daring, and invincible.

    So, the French leadership “confronting” Hitler in the 1930’s? More like greasing the skids for the Nazi Eagle’s takeoff.

  15. Steve Phoenix
    No, the French leadership did not “confront” Hitler in the 1930s. In fact, a good number of them were too busy confronting the workers, thepeasants and the revolutionary intelligensia in their own country. They believed the choice was between Marxism and Fascism and saw Hitler as a useful ally.

    For a not inconsiderable part of the middle class, Vichy was a dream come true. Pétain ascribed the Fall of France to “30 years of Marxism.”

  16. So, the French leadership “confronting” Hitler in the 1930’s? More like greasing the skids for the Nazi Eagle’s takeoff.
    ==
    Hjalmar Schacht in Germany was able to contrive a set of policies which generated an economic recovery more rapid than that which prevailed elsewhere in Europe. Domestic product per capita had returned to pre-Depressionary levels in Germany by 1935, a milestone France did not reach until 1939. Germany’s labor market recovered along with production, while labor market recovery lagged in Britain and the United States. By 1936, Germany’s domestic product was equal to that of Britain and exceeded that of France by 2/3. France’s overseas dependencies were largely impoverished and not producing much which could be drawn on to improve military might. Britain had more resources in this respect (by nearly an order of magnitude), but converting them into forces you could deploy in continental Europe was a challenge. Containing Germany in 1935 meant applying coercive measures to prevent them from using their domestic productive capacity to rebuild their armed forces. I’m not sure you could find an example in the post-Napoleonic era of one country blockading or attacking another consequent to a reasons-of-state assessment of the other’s productive capacity. What you’d fault the British and French for would be delaying re-armament, but in so doing you’re not criticizing them for preventing war but for being less than optimally preparted to fight it when it broke out.
    ==
    I’m not sure why in your mind passivity amounts to ‘greasing the skids’.

  17. No, the French leadership did not “confront” Hitler in the 1930s. In fact, a good number of them were too busy confronting the workers, thepeasants and the revolutionary intelligensia in their own country. They believed the choice was between Marxism and Fascism and saw Hitler as a useful ally. For a not inconsiderable part of the middle class, Vichy was a dream come true. Pétain ascribed the Fall of France to “30 years of Marxism.”
    ==
    Rubbish. The fascist vote in France during the 1930s was close to nil, as was the electoral base of French analogues of the Austrian Home Guard or the more authoritarian and volkisch element within the National People’s Party in Germany. Jacques Doriot was an inconsequential figure after the Communist Party cut him loose. Vichy was a consequence of defeat and defeat was a consequence of facts on the ground and the chronic ineffectuality of French governments (which was in turn a consequence of the refractory character of the French political class not contained by French institutions).

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