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A Weekly Publication of the Anonymous Anything Society ó September 27, 2017


VIVE LA FRANCE

    Thursday, September 21, 2017, Newsweek magazine published a poll taken by Suffolk University, headquartered in Boston, inquiring of 1,094 people in France as to how they viewed certain world leaders, among them, Germany's Angela Merkel. It was with some surprise that I noted that 82-percent of the Citoyens Francais polled were very favorable of how the "angelic" German Chancellor was leading not only Germany but influencing the European Union in a positive manner.

    In the modern age, Germany and France had been at war with each other, with rest and recuperation periods of two to 100 years between conflicts, ever since the "War of the Grand Alliance" in 1688. This was followed by the Franco-Prussian War of 1870-1871.

    "The Guns of August" by Barbara Tuchman, is considered the most comprehensive description of the events leading up to the "War to End All Wars," most often now termed "World War I." This terrible conflagration swept over much of the World beginning in 1914 and ended by the USA dedicating troops to dramatically end it in 1918, over there ("The Yanks Are Coming Over There"-Irving Berlin, 1917). 

        By then, lines of trenches and graves described the border between the two countries where the waróled by the Prussian and French militaristic societies that held sway in both nations, began.

    The most awful tragedy: WWI resulted in the death of almost an entire generation, "the flower," it was said, of British youth. 

     I can remember how former American doughboys stuffed themselves into their heavy woolen uniforms and joined the parade to Oaklawn cemetery on "Memorial Day" in my small Illinois hometown. I was a bystander when they were joined in 1933 by five Spanish-American War and one Civil War veteran riding in an "open top," Model T touring car.

    That year, a blustering Austrian had pretty well started Germany on its way to recouping Germany's ignominious defeat by the Allied powers by rebuilding the Wehrmacht and Luftwaffe. German Generals invented a new battlefield tactic: The Blitzkrieg (Lightning War). It rolled up French and British forces in a matter of weeks, as portrayed in the film "Dunkirk." Soon afterward, German forces were battering down towns all over the Russian steppes. Hitler expected for Moscow to fall before Winter came. He was terribly wrong.

    In the meantime, Charles Andre Joseph Marie de Gaulle, a French Army Colonel who had escaped the French capitulation to Germany, appeared in England with a handful of troops and along with British General Montgomery, succeeded in giving Churchill and the Allied military commanders, principally General Eisenhower, stomach ulcers, as well as many sleepless nights with their demands. de Gaulle more or less ruled France after the conflict ended, and until he died in 1970. Gratitude toward America was not his most redeeming characteristic.

     I once dated and later corresponded for a time with the daughter of the French Vice Counsel in Manila, Republic of the Philippines, after I served as an infantryman there. I found her, her family and compatriots deeply devoted to the unshakable belief in French inborn superiority in every aspect of society and human endeavor to any other person or nation on this Globe.

    It was no surprise then, when I read the Suffolk University poll and found that the French disliked the leaders of Russia (Putin) and China (Xi), and when asked if they viewed Donald Trump favorably or unfavorably, they turned the 82-percent favoring Merkel upside down. 82-percent of the citizens of a country for whom we twice salvaged their freedom at enormous costs, said the current American President was not trustworthy, and thus deduced that the savages who elected Trump, and who had littered their landscapes with vast graveyards, are not to be regarded favorably, as well.

 

-Phil Richardson, Observer of the human condition and storyteller.

 k7os@comcast.net

Our unending thanks to Jim Bromley, who programs our Archive of Prior Commentaries

 


 

 

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