Received the following from our 47 yr old son.
A group of Americans, retired teachers, recently went to France on a tour. Robert Whiting, an elderly gentleman of 83, arrived in Paris by plane. At French Customs, he took a few minutes to locate his passport in his carry on. 'You have been to France before, monsieur?' the customs officer asked sarcastically. Mr. Whiting admitted that he had been to France previously. 'Then you should know enough to have your passport ready.' The American said, 'The last time I was here, I didn't have to show it.'
'Impossible. Americans always have to show their passports on arrival in France !' The American senior gave the Frenchman a long hard look. Then he quietly explained. 'Well, when I came ashore at Omaha Beach on D-Day in '44 to help liberate this country, I couldn't find any Frenchmen to show it to.'
I'm sure it was an innocent sharing of "humor", but it hit my hot button and I told him so, sharing a bit of history with him.
While France bashing became vogue under this inept administration, the details of history make us look less than stellar compared to 1940's France.
Yes, the Germans did indeed invade and conquer France with 136 divisions, 2,600 tanks and 3,200 aircraft, defeating the French military, and driving the British Army's 10 divisions into the sea at Dunkirk. They occupied only 1/2 of the country, and the first two years of occupation were "benevolent" by Nazi standards. Immediately after the fall of the French Govt, the Resistance began to grow. Accurate numbers are not available, except for the German records of Resistance members captured and imprisoned. That was about 56,000 over 4 years, of whom about 1/2 survived. The Resistance was a number of individual groups, all working to thwart or drive out the Germans. It is estimated that on D-Day, the Resistance numbered some 250,000 and about 100,000 members assisted the Allies landing at Normandy. Eisenhower is said to have opined that without this assistance, the landing might have failed. By the end of 1944, it is estimated that there were some 1.2 million Resistance members.
Many factors are said to have contributed to the lack of a more violent initial general resistance to the German occupation. First was the belief by many French that help was on the way from their old allies, the US and Britain. Of course, Britain was preoccupied with its own survival in 1940, and the general population of the US couldn't care less about France. The somewhat benevolent nature of the occupation in the beginning helped generate a "patience", reinforced by the belief that the Vichy govt was free to work out a "plan" and the Allies could be expected to help. Of course, while Vichy France was not occupied, the German intelligence network knew everything that was going on, and the Vichy govt quickly learned this and the consequences of resistance.
Summarizing the Resistance in terms of the general French population (40 Million), there was about 0.5% of the population in the Resistance on D-Day, rising to some 2.5% within a few months.
On 9/1/91, 19 men attacked the US armed with boxcutters. No divisions, no tanks, and just 6 highjacked airplanes. These 19 people stirred up such a great level of fear in the American population that they willfully surrendered many of their Constitutional rights and supported an invasion of another country out of fear of a third or forth rate dictator and weapons he did not possess. A general "war on terror" was launched. The main forces in this war were the Army and Marine Corps. On 9/1/01, they represented 0.4% (active and reserve) of the population. Seven years later, these forces still represent 0.4% of the population, and it has taken extreme measures (Lower standards, big signing bonuses, raising max enlistment age to 42, etc) to maintain that level of manning. In short, the numbers of people "answering the call" following 9/11/01 has been nothing like the 2.5% figure of 1944 France.
The French were wrong in thinking the US would immediately come to their defense in May 1940. Indeed, we did not enter the war until 19 months later, and then only after we were attacked by the Japanese.
The French were right in saying that Saddam posed no WMD threat to anyone, nor was he a major player in 9/11 or any other Al Qaeda operations.
So, how do you justify French bashing??
Just needed to vent.