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French weren't cowards (REALLY BIG LAUGH ALERT)
Chicago Sun-Times ^ | February 6, 2003 | Pan Demetrakakes

Posted on 02/06/2003 7:18:18 PM PST by Chi-townChief

Now that France has emerged as a leading critic of U.S. policy toward Iraq, a lot of pundits and editorial cartoonists are having a field day lampooning France's ''cowardice'' and proclivity to ''surrender.'' The supposed evidence for this slur is France's defeat in World War II.

Why is that, exactly? No one would dream of sneering at Poland, Greece, Yugoslavia, Norway or any of the other nations overcome by Germany in the war. So what makes France fair game?

France's critics need to be aware of some historical facts. At the beginning of World War II, Germany possessed the world's most powerful army, led by some of the world's most brilliant commanders. When Germany launched its great assault on France in 1940, it had no worries in the East, having defeated Poland and concluded a non-aggression pact with the Soviet Union. Moreover, France was strategically handicapped by Holland's and Belgium's foolish insistence on neutrality--which Hitler blithely violated the moment it suited him.

By the time the Anglo-American forces reached France in 1944, Germany had been weakened by three years of savage warfare against Russia. Even so, the Allies barely managed to contain a German counteroffensive (the Battle of the Bulge). How much tougher do you think the German army was at the war's outset?

Those who carp about France's ''ingratitude'' never seem to remember that the United States could not have become a nation without France's help. At the very least, they should thank their lucky stars they didn't have to face the Wehrmacht in 1940.

Pan Demetrakakes,

St. Charles

letters@suntimes.com

(Excerpt) Read more at suntimes.com ...


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Editorial; Foreign Affairs; News/Current Events; Politics/Elections; US: Illinois
KEYWORDS: cheeseandwhine; cheeseeating; france; french; grapeswillers; isurrender; pleasedonthurtme; sewercalledparis; snaileaters; surrendermonkeys; trufflesuckers; vichyfrance; whiteflag; wwii
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I generally don't post letters to the editor unless they're written by someone well-known but this one is so hilarious, I thought it might provide some comic relief. Mr. Demetrakakes' interpretation of the events of 1940 - 44 is somewhat fantastic.
1 posted on 02/06/2003 7:18:18 PM PST by Chi-townChief
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To: Chi-townChief
For Sale: one French rifle, never fired, dropped once.
2 posted on 02/06/2003 7:21:40 PM PST by AngrySpud
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To: Chi-townChief
The Complete Military History of France

So9

3 posted on 02/06/2003 7:23:03 PM PST by Servant of the Nine (We are the Hegemon. We can do anything we damned well please.)
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To: Chi-townChief
He conveniently forgets the Vichy government.
4 posted on 02/06/2003 7:24:11 PM PST by holymoly
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To: Chi-townChief
I may have overlooked it, but I did not see any mention in the letter, that most French after Hitler's subjugation, gladly joined forces with the Wehrmarcht. They could not wait to start loading up box cars heading West.
5 posted on 02/06/2003 7:25:32 PM PST by L`enn
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To: Chi-townChief
Why did the French plant trees on both sides of the boulevards in Paris?

SO the Germans could march in the shade!!



How many French does it take to defend Paris?

Nobody knows, its never been attempted.
6 posted on 02/06/2003 7:27:21 PM PST by Chu Gary
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To: Chi-townChief
France's critics need to be aware of some historical facts. At the beginning of World War II, Germany possessed the world's most powerful army, led by some of the world's most brilliant commanders.

And France's appologists need to be aware of some historical facts, too. The Treaty of Versailles limited Germany to a minimal self-defense army of 100,000 men, and it also prohibited Germany from stationing any of these west of the Rhine. Hitler violated both provisions in 1936. If France had actually held the threatening tyrant to prior international agreements, instead of acting like ostriches (is this starting to sound familiar?), then they could have easilly stopped Hitler in his tracks. We now know that the German General Staff were terrified of proceeding into the Rhineland, because they knew that at that moment, they were far outnumbered by the French army, then the largest in Europe. It had already been decided that if the French reacted at all, Hitler would have been done for. But Hitler knew the French very well, and knew that they would do nothing. Saddam knows them pretty well, too.

7 posted on 02/06/2003 7:27:56 PM PST by Stefan Stackhouse
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To: Chu Gary
You beat me to the "planting trees for shade" comment...
8 posted on 02/06/2003 7:29:57 PM PST by kcar
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To: Chi-townChief

9 posted on 02/06/2003 7:30:02 PM PST by Mr. Mojo
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To: Chi-townChief
Well alrighty then, let me be the first (on this thread):

CHEESE EATING SURRENDER MONKEYS!!!

10 posted on 02/06/2003 7:30:33 PM PST by facedown (Armed in the Heartland)
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To: Chi-townChief
France had more tanks and troops than Germany at the start of WWII.

Their problem was they had 80 year old generals.

11 posted on 02/06/2003 7:31:13 PM PST by Dan(9698)
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Comment #12 Removed by Moderator

To: Chi-townChief
This author says more than he means, I think...

At the very least, they should thank their lucky stars they didn't have to face the Wehrmacht in 1940.

Did he mean to be that contemporary?

Maybe the U.S. was lucky to not have had to face the Wehrmacht in 1940. Who's to say?

France didn't have to face the Wehrmacht in 1940 either. It was unnecessary and avoidable. They had seven years to go after Germany before Hitler turned the Wehrmacht onto France. They could have enforced the Versailles Treaty when Germany took the Rheinland. They could have done more than talk when Hitler "merged" Austria and Czechoslavakia. History books like "Rise and Fall of the Third Reich" are very plain about the gambles Hitler took before invading France - the military power Germany possessed was almost insignificant next to France's. But France didn't do anything, and they paid for it in 1940.

Seven years to stop Hitler, and seven years of talk. And here we are in 2003, and here we are talking again.
13 posted on 02/06/2003 7:33:30 PM PST by Tredge
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To: Dan(9698)
I forgot to add one of the features of their tanks.

They had one speed forward, and three reverse.

14 posted on 02/06/2003 7:34:22 PM PST by Dan(9698)
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To: Chi-townChief
Even so, the Allies barely managed to contain a German counteroffensive (the Battle of the Bulge).

Back to school for you Pam.

It's true, but if we make fun of the "French" it is because they hold US in such distain. Any one who could tread the Voie Sacre and go through the meat grinder of Verdun are no cowards.
15 posted on 02/06/2003 7:35:08 PM PST by tet68
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To: Stefan Stackhouse
If France had actually held the threatening tyrant to prior international agreements, instead of acting like ostriches (is this starting to sound familiar?), then they could have easilly stopped Hitler in his tracks.

well put.

16 posted on 02/06/2003 7:37:24 PM PST by EaglesUpForever
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To: Chi-townChief
As long as we're talking about FACTS, how about these:

- France had the Maginot Line, but placed as many troops behind it as elsewhere. This left the center wide open.

- The Germans smashed through the center of the Allied line at Sedan -- FRENCH territory, not Holland or Belgium. Having been humiliated once at Sedan, you'd think they'd learn.

- The German generals were brilliant. But the French Generals were stupid, from Gamelin on down. Can't forget that.

- Outside of De Gaulle (one star General), the French did not launch any counterattacks.

- France had pledged not to make a separate peace. They had a powerful navy and forces outside Metropolitan France. They could (and should!) have moved the government to North Africa and fought on. Instead, they surrendered.

- The French General Doyen, on May 30 and June 2 of 1945 (just after the war), threatened US General Crittenden with force if he didn't withdraw from Northwest Italy. Truman had to write to De Gaulle and threaten to cut of arms to the French Army to put an end to this crap.

So maybe the French weren't cowards. But they did get beat in six weeks, double-cross the British, surrender to the Nazis, and threaten the Americans after the war was over. Whatever you call them, never trust them.


17 posted on 02/06/2003 7:37:30 PM PST by You Dirty Rats
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To: Chi-townChief
Hmm.... blame it all on Holland and Belgium?
What else ya got there, Pan?

I agree Germany had the best army and the best tactics, that's why Poland is aknowledged as having gallantly tried to defeat the Wehrmacht on horseback; The French surrendered without firing a shot. During the war they sang and danced for the Nazi's, gleefully rounded up their own jews and scuttled their own navy. After the war all French men had amazing tales from "le resistance" . The French are stinkers!
18 posted on 02/06/2003 7:37:46 PM PST by ffusco (sempre ragione)
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To: Chi-townChief
The French are physically weak, morally weak, intellectually weak, and weak on courage.
19 posted on 02/06/2003 7:38:18 PM PST by yendu bwam
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To: Tredge
That's exactly right. They have not learned how dangerous it is to appease a dictator.
20 posted on 02/06/2003 7:40:02 PM PST by You Dirty Rats
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To: Dan(9698)
This article is right. Much as the French deserve criticism today, they did fight hard against the Nazis in 1940. Individual soldiers fought very hard, and they lost tens of thousands of men in just six weeks of fighting. Problem was, their generals and strategy were terrible. Remember, France put up much more of a fight against the Nazis than did Greece, Norway, Czechoslavakia, and Denmark.

French collaboration with the Nazis after 19400 is another matter. The French Resistance is portrayed as a much bigger deal than it really was. Slammed as the Nazis were on the Eastern Front, they held down the French with their little finger. My favorite illustration of this is that in the weeks before D-Day, General von Runstedt used to go on long walks -- by himself! -- through Norman towns.
21 posted on 02/06/2003 7:41:03 PM PST by Grand Old Partisan
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To: Chi-townChief
Why, because they're the truth?
22 posted on 02/06/2003 7:42:30 PM PST by altayann
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To: Stefan Stackhouse
Excellent point. Why aren't more people pointing this out? The French are doing the same thing with Saddam that they did with Hitler.
23 posted on 02/06/2003 7:42:38 PM PST by Rocky
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To: Dan(9698)
Bingo. And as far as who did more damage to the Germans in a single operation, Keegan makes a convincing argument in Six Armies in Normandy that the Normandy operation clearly cost the Germans more in men and material than their defeat at Stalingrad. Keegan goes on to argue, quite persuasively I might add, that the defeat inflicted on the Germans in Normandy cost the Germans even more than the worst defeat they suffered on the Russian front, which was when the Soviets destroyed Army Group Centre in 1944.
24 posted on 02/06/2003 7:42:52 PM PST by vbmoneyspender
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To: Chi-townChief
Well now, we could have always nuked the Germans if we got tired of fighting the big bad Germans.
25 posted on 02/06/2003 7:43:15 PM PST by Porterville
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To: tet68
That's precisely the problem.

The backbone of the old French army, the gritty little poilu, was destroyed in the furnace of WWI. The generals threw those brave men away with such stupidity that they mutinied. All that was left for WWII was the misfits and the (even more) incompetent.

It's a real shame that the French have developed such a bad name for themselves, because it's really only the Parisians and the self-styled "intellectuals" who are the problem. I have never met kinder or more hospitable people than the farmers of Normandy (of course folks'll tell you that the Normans are descendants of the Vikings, so they don't count. Could be.)

26 posted on 02/06/2003 7:44:15 PM PST by AnAmericanMother (. . . aux armes, citoyens!)
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To: Chi-townChief
Those who carp about France's ''ingratitude'' never seem to remember that the United States could not have become a nation without France's help.

Ugggh! I hate it when people bring up the battle of Yorktown -- it takes away some of the fun of mocking the French, and that ticks me off!

27 posted on 02/06/2003 7:44:41 PM PST by 68skylark
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To: Chi-townChief
So why does France have veto-power in the UN Security Council? After all, what have they done in the past 60 years to assure anyone's security (muchless their own)? For starters, when was the last time they won a war? Napoleon? They wouldn't know a war hero if God sent them one straight from heaven. Look what happened to St. Joan d'Arc!
28 posted on 02/06/2003 7:45:44 PM PST by MHT
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To: ffusco
Uh-oh, I can see it's time for another "WWII reality check"!

The French naval fleet was sunk at Oran by the British in 1940. Ironically enough, the reason it was sunk is because the French refused to surrender their fleet to anyone.

Strange but true.

29 posted on 02/06/2003 7:47:11 PM PST by altayann
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To: Grand Old Partisan
Greece was attacked by Italy months before Hitler attacked, and they held out for a long time. Greece did not have anywhere near the forces for defense that France had.

Denmark was tiny and flat. They had no chance of any resistance.

Norway held out for almost two months and fought very hard.

The Czechs would have fought, but were abandoned by France and Britain. To say the France fought harder than the Czechs is technically correct, but completely misleading. The Czechs were screwed by the French and British.

Most of the French Army in 1940 did not fight very well. They leadership was awful, but very few French units on any level distinguished themselves. That's why they got rolled so easily.
30 posted on 02/06/2003 7:47:23 PM PST by You Dirty Rats
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To: MHT
For starters, when was the last time they won a war?

World War I ring any bells for you? You know, Treaty of Versailles and all?

31 posted on 02/06/2003 7:48:31 PM PST by altayann
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To: Chu Gary
How many French does it take to defend Paris?

Approximately 250,000 (casualties), Battle of the Marne, 1914.

32 posted on 02/06/2003 7:49:40 PM PST by 1rudeboy
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To: Chi-townChief
In 1940, France was hampered by their arrogant confidence in the Maginot line. After France fell (or coyly laid down as some would say), the Germans never maintained a garrison of over 10,000 troops to administrate the country. The affinity of the French for deep-sea butt-slurping (using a snorkle) allowed the Vichy to do a fine job of making wine, cheese and exporting jews for the Germans almost as efficiently as the Germans could themselves. The Klaus Barbie (SP) trial a decade or so back illuminated this aspect of the French quite well. IMHO, there is precious little they have to celebrate as a nation in the last hundred years.
33 posted on 02/06/2003 7:52:16 PM PST by WorkingClassFilth (Defund NPR, PBS and the LSC.)
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To: Chi-townChief; mhking

Is this a "Hold Muh Beer" Worthy, or should we start a new Daily Award for Head Up Duh Butt.

The guy who wrote this definately deserves some kind of prize. How about FreeRepublic send him some CHEESE BALL from Hickory Farms? ($14.99)

34 posted on 02/06/2003 7:52:55 PM PST by PokeyJoe (Act with Courage, Support Promethius)
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To: altayann
Thanks for the correction. I must always strive to earn my tag line. However this new information does not change my thesis. The French are stinkers!
35 posted on 02/06/2003 7:53:10 PM PST by ffusco (sempre ragione)
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To: French Whore Surrender Monkey
not even Brie?? You're not French. lol
36 posted on 02/06/2003 7:54:11 PM PST by zip
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To: Chi-townChief
Here is a perfect description of French appeasement.

An appeaser believes you can keep throwing steaks to a tiger and the tiger will eventually become a vegetarian.

Haywood Broun

37 posted on 02/06/2003 7:54:42 PM PST by Badger1
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To: Tredge
France didn't have to face the Wehrmacht in 1940 either. It was unnecessary and avoidable.

True. But then again, so could the British.

A large part of the reason as to why they didn't is because both nations had given up a rather large part of their male population for no discernible reason during World War I.

Neither country wanted a war because the horrors of the First World War were still very fresh in their minds. And they decided that they were only willing to go to war if it was absolutely necessary.

As tragically, it turned out to be.

38 posted on 02/06/2003 7:56:12 PM PST by altayann
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To: You Dirty Rats
Greece and Denmark, okay, but as for Norway, the British and French fought there for two months, but the Norwegians did not do all that much in their own defense. Why did the Czechoslavaks need British and French permission/assistance to fight invaders? They had a big, well-trained, well-equiped army and plenty of mountainous area to defend. They could have held off the Germans for more than long enough for the British and French to come to their assistance. And even if they didn't, what was the Czechoslovak Aarmy for other than to defend the country against invasion?

39 posted on 02/06/2003 7:56:14 PM PST by Grand Old Partisan
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Comment #40 Removed by Moderator

To: Chi-townChief
How much of the French appeasement is due to their oil contracts with Iraq? Serious question.
41 posted on 02/06/2003 7:58:08 PM PST by chnsmok (Dware vs. 100 mussels! Pay per mussel! http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/news/829652/posts?page=1)
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To: facedown

42 posted on 02/06/2003 7:58:33 PM PST by Rebelbase
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To: altayann
Sorry, France would never have been able to win WWI without British and ultimately American forces. They were able to bring about the stalemate in the trenches but they couldn't push back the German forces. In fact, our contribution to keeping France free, two times in 30 years, is one of the reasons that there are more US soldiers buried in French soil than any other foreign country.
43 posted on 02/06/2003 7:59:26 PM PST by MHT
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To: tet68
Petain....it was he who signed the surrender to Hitler...in his eighties and really not "all there". He was a hero in WWI...but he was a faded on old man by 1940. Not really a coward.

I also think there were any number of French fascists in the French govt. as well...they were staunchly anti-communist and found hitler to be an ally against stalinists who were teeming in France by the thousands .

It is far more complicated than just calling the French cowards.

Another point, WWI bleed them dry....perhaps they were "war'd out".

The French are a proud people and they can be extremely pragmatic about ALL things.

44 posted on 02/06/2003 7:59:54 PM PST by crazykatz
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To: MHT
"So why does France have veto-power in the UN Security Council?"

Why will Iraq lead a disarmament committee?

Why will Libya lead a Human Rights council?

Why does the land of the Bill of Rights kowtow to this unelected forum of socialists inventing "international" law?

Why?
45 posted on 02/06/2003 8:00:24 PM PST by kcar
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To: AngrySpud
"For Sale: one French rifle, never fired, dropped once."

nice one...
46 posted on 02/06/2003 8:00:29 PM PST by adakotab
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To: You Dirty Rats; Grand Old Partisan
Thanks. I couldn't believe someone had the nerve to defend the French by slandering the Norwegians, Danes, Greeks, and Czechs.

GOP, I don't think anyone means any personal disrespect to particular French soldiers in history. But the fact is that France as a nation continues to ignore the precedents set by its own defeats and near-misses, and behave in a manner better suited to a child than an alleged world power.

Besides, I will never forgive the French, for one reason alone that erases all the good that may have come from them: The French Revolution was the crucible that made possible the ensuing centuries of Leftist discord, and will no doubt be traceable as the proverbial beginning of the end someday.
47 posted on 02/06/2003 8:02:57 PM PST by Lizard_King
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To: 68skylark
OK. One battle in the 18th century.
48 posted on 02/06/2003 8:04:42 PM PST by gitmo ("The course of this conflict is not known, yet its outcome is certain." GWB)
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To: Grand Old Partisan
The Czechs were not even allowed to be in the meeting with Hitler, Mussolini, Chamberlain and Daladier. They were told by France and Britain, their "allies", that they had agreed to give up the Sudentenland to Germany. France even made it clear that if a war was fought, the Czechs would have to give up the land anyway.

The British and French then guaranteed the rest of the country, which they welshed on in March, 1939.

The Czechs had no chance of defeating Hitler on their own. To attack them for not defending themselves -- after their allies betrayed them -- is an even more indefensible position than the betrayal by the West.

In addition, the French tried to weasel out of their commitment to Poland in 1939. The British declared war and the French then followed -- with eight months of "phony war".

France fought bravely in WWI, but their record from 1935 onwards was disgraceful and indefensible.
49 posted on 02/06/2003 8:05:51 PM PST by You Dirty Rats
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To: kcar
It just hit me tonight how many times France has been allowed to share in the "spoils" of victory without being the decisive player in making that victory happen. In war, France is the "Me, Too" member of the "team".

Once this war is over and records are aired, it is going to be interesting to see the extent to which France has kept Iraq going these past ten years. Oil contracts, sanction violations, fighter jets, nuclear technology, chunnel-digging technology--not to mention lip service in diplomatic support of this lunatic.

50 posted on 02/06/2003 8:10:42 PM PST by MHT
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