Why do Americans hate France?

Discussion in 'History Forum' started by Archippus, Dec 11, 2003.

  1. Archippus

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    I have followed with interest the American attitude toward France. I have even read a little American history. I don't see how the two reconcile. Do I misread your history, or would you never have won your war for independence without the French? If it weren't for France would you still be subjects of the Queen of England? Why is there such an attitude today?
     
  2. Dr. Bob

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    You're right on the French connection with our Revolution. We needed help and they needed to get back at Great Britain, so . . .

    Honest answer to the hate issue? Here are some random thoughts:
    1. French tried a revolution like US but did not have the character/nature of the English/American counterparts and failed miserably
    2. French were tied to Catholicism/papism and authoritarianism (emperor, dictator) and not the heritage of the English/American
    3. French supported rival nation in American West in the days of Burr and Jefferson
    4. French are perceived as weak and "losers" (ala WWI and WWII when they failed miserably in military) and needed to be bailed out
    5. French paved the way for US to get mired in Vietnam
    6. French seem ungrateful for all the aid and assistance of the US, repaying the token amount in 1781 a million times
    7. French have an "attitude". They are not friendly like the typical person in America

    NOW I don't want to seem personal or "anti" French, just giving some perceptions that may affect the general attitude of common man in the US.

    Others?
     
  3. rsr

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    Short answer: Because they won't do what we want them to do — and they revel in it.

    But as to other aspects of the relationship:

    I hardly consider the French assistance to the American Revolution "token." True, the French were, early on, uncertain about committing their forces to an American command and strategy — as at Newport — but who could blame them? But French assistance was vital in keeping the American army in the field and was decisive at Yorktown. In addition, it considerably added to the financial chaos that led to the downfall of the Ancien Regime.

    The Americans and French almost came to war during the French Revolution because the Americans insisted on neutrality between England and France, a stance the French didn't understand given French assistance to the American Revolution.

    During the Civil War, the French under the lesser Napoleon seriously considered recognizing the Confederacy; only the lack of English support prevented it. Not to mention France's insult to the Monroe Doctrine in its silly Mexican adventure.

    But I trace most of the rancor to WWII and its aftermath. France, despite its quick defeat, insisted on being recognized as an equal of the U.S., the U.K. and the U.S.S.R. in the victory. The British and Americans agreed to allow the French their own zone in Germany, which was carved from American and British occupation territory.

    Roosevelt was an avowed anticolonialist, which Churchill realized somewhere along the way. France was intent on maintaining its empire, which led to the fiasco in Vietnam, which the U.S. feebly supported. But Eisenhower refused to commit American forces to the effort, a decision his successors would have been wise to emulate.

    The ultimate blow, IMO, was the Suez Crisis, when Eisenhower at point-blank range told the Israelis, British and French to back off. England swallowed its pride because of the Special Relationship, Israel realized that it could not count on the British and French for cover — and the French resolved it would not stand for this overbearing American attitude.

    And certainly French national pride is a factor — de Gaulle symbolized the French efforts to resist the global march of Americanization, but it's perhaps best shown in the French fear of American language; can you imagine any official body here making it illegal to introduce non-English words into the language? Not surprising, however; France was THE predominant land power in Europe until after Napoleon was exiled; French was THE international language at the time, and French art and manners were emulated throughout Europe and beyond. (Sound familiar to Americans?)

    To the French, Americans are arrivestes, nouveau riche, uncultured and philistine. There's some truth in that, mostly in the belief that what we think is good must automatically be welcomed by anyone else, if only they know what's good for them.
     
  4. NaasPreacher (C4K)

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    7. French have an "attitude". They are not friendly like the typical person in America

    Short on time, may get back to this later with more.

    Re: the comment above - what, Dr Bob? I keep hearing this but have never experienced it. Even in Paris I found the people very friendly and helpful. I could ask for help or directions in English (I did preface my questions with a "bonjour," "pardone", or the like) and in every case have been able to get the help I needed.

    Americans friendly? I am one and have had some of my worst encounters with "ugly Americans."
     
  5. Matt Black

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    Agreed ref #7, C4K. As long as you make a rough stab at speaking French, they tend to be as friendly as anything. What they can't stand (and who can blame them?) is loud Americans and English coming up to them and shouting slowly in English at them as if they're stupid. if you can't be bothered to at least learn a couple of useful phrases in their language, don't be surprised...

    Yours in Christ


    Matt
     
  6. Bible-boy

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    As if they are stupid? You mean they are not? For heaven's sake they speak that gibberish of a language! They have not even got the since to use God's chosen language, the King James English. Oh wait... this is the worng forum for that argument. Never mind.

    Bible-boy, LVO (Latin Vulgate Only) :D ;) :D
     
  7. NaasPreacher (C4K)

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    Archi,

    Not all Americans hate France - but I know what you mean. I LOVE it, the food, the culture, the food, the sights, the food, the people, the food, the history :D [​IMG] [​IMG]

    I think that those who hate France do so because it is expected among good, upright, conservative, fundamental Christian who oppose the right of a sovereign state not being forced into what they perceived as an unjust war.
     
  8. Jude

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    Don't make the French gov't seem so noble-they are not! They were up to their 'eyeballs' in contracts with Saddam Hussein, and didn't want to lose those lucrative contracts. We bailed out the French in WWI and WWII, and protected them with our armies during the Cold War. Now, when we ask for their 'help' in Iraq, they (and the cowardly Germans as well), they refuse, and maintain that it is an "unjust war". I would never judge an Frenchman individually, BUT, I will NEVER EVER buy a French product, nor will I EVER visit their country.
     
  9. Jude

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    Q. Why do we need France on our side against Saddam and Osama?  
    A. So the French can show them how to surrender.
     
    Q: How many people does it take to defend Paris?  
    A: Nobody knows, its never been tried.
     
    Q: What do you call a Frenchman advancing on Baghdad?
    A: A salesman.
     
    Google: "Your search-French military victories -did not match any documents. No pages were found.  Did you mean French military defeats?"
     
    Q. What do you call 100,000 Frenchmen with their hands up?  
    A. The Army.
     
    Q. Why don't they have fireworks at Euro Disney?  
    A. Because every time they shoot them off, the French try to surrender.
     
    Q. Why did the French plant trees along the Champs Elysees?  
    A. So the Germans could march in the shade.
     
    Anyone see the French Military Rifle on eBay? It's never been shot and only dropped once!
     
    Q. Why are the French so afraid of war?
    A. You would be too if you never won one in your history.
     
  10. NaasPreacher (C4K)

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    That'll teach 'em!

    BTW, they did win at least one war - The American Revolution.
     
  11. Jim1999

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    Not to worry, they hate Canada and Canadians too. The latest bit of vitriol is because we have the Canadian flag on our luggage when we travel abroad.

    Then Bushy boy has decided he likes and wants our money, but not us.

    We get used to it.

    Cheers,

    Jim
     
  12. Archippus

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    Do they like anybody who does not do exactly what they want?

    Jude, are you implying that France are the ONLY nation who acted in their own financial self interests?
     
  13. Jude

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    Jim, you're sounding a bit like Smeagle! No way do we's not like Canadians...we's remember the hostage crisis in Iran and Canada's smuggling of some of ours! [​IMG]
     
  14. Jude

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    [​IMG]

    The price America paid for French freedom...how quickly the French forget. No? Oui!
     
  15. Jim1999

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    Jude,

    Of course I am not pointing to individual Americans; my daughter is one! As are my granddaughters, and my son-in-law.

    Someone needs to remind Bush!

    Thanks for remembering the things we have done. Like having three ships in the Gulf to guide American ships safely to shore; like having troops in Afghanistan to relieve American troops there; like having about 1000 troops stationed at times in Kuwait along the border; like the few who were already attached to American fighting forces when war broke out,,,they were not withdrawn...Bush forgets these things because we acted as a sovereign country and decided to wait for the UN to take action in Iraq. We had that right. We did, however, do more than most of those nations that supposedly backed the US..Tell Bush these things. He doesn't get it.

    We were first on the scene with 9-11. Some of our municipal even took off with municipal equipment to be there and assist.

    Now Bush asks for monies to rebuild Iraq and Canada quickly gives 3 million dollars, and then we get smacked in the chin saying Canadian companies cannot bid for jobs in Iraq's rebuilding. Sure, our money is OK, but Canadians stay away. We don't want you.

    Jude, we got the message. I just hope that this government has the "guts" to demand the money back. It is not the jobs; it is the principle.

    Bush is no friend to Canada, and we shall be glad to see him gone. I will take Clinton any day!

    Cheers,

    Jim
     
  16. The Galatian

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    It's just our current attitudes. During WWI, we tried to change "german shepherd" to "Alsatian", and Eddie Rickenbacher even Anglicized his name in the anti-German hysteria.

    The gentle and inoffensive Hutterites were persecuted with a vengence because they were German speaking and pacifists. Many were imprisoned, and some were tortured.

    So, the rather comical attempt to rename french fries "freedom fries" is pretty mild as persecutions go.
     
  17. Johnv

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    Americans don't hate the French. I've always gotten the impression that it's the other way around.
     
  18. LarryN

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    I've always gotten that impression here too- but when I've been in France, I can say that I've never experienced any blatant anti-Americanism. In fact, the French I've personally dealt with & spoken to were always pleasant & polite to me.
     
  19. Johnv

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    I think it's more media hype that reality. I have met many French people here on vacation that are incredibly pleasant.
     
  20. Kathryn

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    Same here. I grew up in the US thinking highly of our allies the French. I even took 2 years of the French language in high school. Seems the US is just starting to get it, that the feeling isn't mutual.
     

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