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The War Nerd October 2, 2003
 
The French
By Gary Brecher Browse author Email
 
 

The new big thing on the web is all these sites with names like "I Hate France," with supposed datelines of French military history, supposedly proving how the French are total cowards. If you want to see a sample of this dumbass Frog bashing, try this:

www.albinoblacksheep.com/text/france.html

Well, I'm going to tell you guys something you probably don't want to hear: these sites are total bullshit, the notion that the French are cowards is total bullshit, and anybody who knows anything about European military history knows damn well that over the past thousand years, the French have the most glorious military history in Europe, maybe the world.

Before you send me more of those death threats, let me finish. I hate Chirac too, and his disco foreign minister with the blow-dry 'do and the snotty smile. But there are two things I hate more than I hate the French: ignorant fake war buffs, and people who are ungrateful. And when an American mouths off about French military history, he's not just being ignorant, he's being ungrateful. I was raised to think ungrateful people were trash.

When I say ungrateful, I'm talking about the American Revolution. If you're a true American patriot, then this is the war that matters. Hell, most of you probably couldn't name three major battles from it, but try going back to when you read Johnny Tremaine in fourth grade and you might recall a little place called Yorktown, Virginia, where we bottled up Cornwallis's army, forced the Brits' surrender and pretty much won the war.

Well, news flash: "we" didn't win that battle, any more than the Northern Alliance conquered the Taliban. The French army and navy won Yorktown for us. Americans didn't have the materiel or the training to mount a combined operation like that, with naval blockade and land siege. It was the French artillery forces and military engineers who ran the siege, and at sea it was a French admiral, de Grasse, who kicked the shit out of the British navy when they tried to break the siege.

Long before that, in fact as soon as we showed the Brits at Saratoga that we could win once in a while, they started pouring in huge shipments of everything from cannon to uniforms. We'd never have got near Yorktown if it wasn't for massive French aid.

So how come you bastards don't mention Yorktown in your cheap webpages? I'll tell you why: because you're too ignorant to know about it and too dishonest to mention it if you did.

The thing that gets to me is why Americans hate the French so much when they only did us good and never did us any harm. Like, why not hate the Brits? They're the ones who killed thousands of Americans in the Revolution, and thirty years later they came back and attacked us again. That time around they managed to burn Washington DC to the ground while they were at it. How come you web jerks never mention that?

Sure, the easy answer is because the Brits are with us now, and the French aren't. But being a war buff means knowing your history and respecting it.

Well, so much for ungrateful. Now let's talk about ignorant. And that's what you are if you think the French can't fight: just plain ignorant. Appreciation of the French martial spirit is just about the most basic way you can distinguish real war nerds from fake little teachers'pets.

Let's take the toughest case first: the German invasion, 1940, when the French Army supposedly disgraced itself against the Wehrmacht. This is the only real evidence you'll find to call the French cowards, and the more you know about it, the less it proves. Yeah, the French were scared of Hitler. Who wasn't? Chamberlain, the British prime minister, all but licked the Fuhrer's goosesteppers, basically let him have all of Central Europe, because Britain was terrified of war with Germany. Hell, Stalin signed a sweetheart deal with Hitler out of sheer terror, and Stalin wasn't a man who scared easy.


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Gary Brecher
Browse author
Email Gary at war_nerd@exile.ru, but, more importantly, buy his book.
 
 
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