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Thread: Do the French deserve their reputation as weak-kneed?

  1. #51
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    Canek, a child of the "french-bashing"?
    We also joke about the French being cowards, but like all humour there is some truth in it
    In 20 years, 3 millions french died, and 5 millions were wounded...
    The greatest army of the 20th century invaded our country...

    Yes, we are cowards...

    PS:
    Sorry for my english...

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    From the late XV c. to middle XVII c. Spain dominated war in Europe with a huge diffrerence. France took advantage from Rocroi onwards till the franco-prussian war.

    By sea, it was basicaly an anglo-iberian business till XIX c.

    Both iberians and anlgos had a remarkable merit when compared to frenchmen: both countries had low density population and less natural resources.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Segia View Post
    From the late XV c. to middle XVII c. Spain dominated war in Europe with a huge diffrerence.
    Haha... They couldn't even win a war with The Netherlands.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Segia View Post
    From the late XV c. to middle XVII c. Spain dominated war in Europe with a huge diffrerence.
    How many European countries did Spain invaded ?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Segia View Post

    By sea, it was basicaly an anglo-iberian business till XIX c.
    till XIXth century really? During theXVIIth century it was rather an anglo dutch business then at the end of the XVIIIth century an Anglo French business

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    Quote Originally Posted by Segia View Post
    Both iberians and anlgos had a remarkable merit when compared to frenchmen: both countries had low density population and less natural resources.

    Except that Spain had all the gold from America. Gold was the most valuable resource of the time

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    Spain was in war against turks, north african berbers, France, the protestants of all european countries, the amerindians, the english...

    The victorious swedish army was defeated by the spanish tercios, in Nördlingen...It's nothing speculative, europeans from that period considered spaniards to be the best army of the Christendom.

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    The spanish navy of the XVIII c. was better than the french one, at the same level of England's. Napoleon knew it and that's one of the reasons that lead to the franco-spanish alliance wich supposed the disaster of Trafalgar (leaving alone the english as hegemon of the seas)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Segia View Post
    The spanish navy of the XVIII c. was better than the french one, at the same level of England's. Napoleon knew it and that's one of the reasons that lead to the franco-spanish alliance wich supposed the disaster of Trafalgar (leaving alone the english as hegemon of the seas)
    Sigh... The French had a good Navy before Napoleon. The English even learned to build their own ships by looking at the French ships.

    The point is, Bonaparte was a General, from the army, and he didn't want to invest much in ships.
    So the French ships were made from second class wood.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Segia View Post
    Spain was in war against turks, north african berbers, France, the protestants of all european countries, the amerindians, the english...
    Spain lose against the protestant of Netherland, the Spanish armada against England was crushed, Spain never managed to take territories to France (despite the fact that bFrance was encircled by the Habsburg)

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    Spain won a lot of battles against Netherland, but finally lost the war. However, you wouldn't say that the Wehrmacht was shit because lost WWII war.

    The disaster of the Armada was small when compared to the brittish disaster during the Jenking's ear war, but I supose you haven't heard of it.

    Finally, Spain didn't conquer european territories because european countries were a dynastic matter. Henry IV became catholic to avoid the spanish invasion (that was pretty enough..) Have you heard about the Chemin Espagnol? The frenchies were defeated by the spaniards a lot of times during these centuries. Take a sight at the italian wars, for example.

    "Only the spanih women give birth to weaponed men" Francis I (battle of Pavia)

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    Imbencible navy was crushed by the elements, a pity, today the world would have been otherwise.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Carlitos View Post
    Imbencible navy was crushed by the elements, a pity, today the world would have been otherwise.
    No, that's not true.
    Spain wanted to take part of the army on board of the ships. That failed.
    Spanish troops (among many were mercenaries from lots of countries) had a lot of difficulties to march through Europe.
    The long marching route they had to take, was ideal for the enemies to know where they were.
    The Dutch and English used this to organize things in their advantage.

    So the Armada wasn't able to take the army on board, mostly because the Spanish did't know very much about the currents in the Channel, what the Dutch and English knew all about.
    They were lured into a hole they couldn't get out. They tried to escape to the north, but there also the winds and currents were against them.



    But of course, poor seamanship is always easy explained as "bad weather".

    And for the rest, Spain was governed by a Dutch king, that betrayed his own people.
    Philip II was a bad person, just like his father Charles V.

    Charles V murdered lots of Spanish civilians! Did you know that?

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    I did not send my ships to fight against the elements. Felipe II

    Even Prince Charles is now recognized that imbencible navy was defeated by the elements. The failure of the Navy assured Imvencible Northern nations, hitherto mediocre, its maritime future. Triumph of Protestantism and capitalism at the same time. The building Iberian world power can not last much longer.

    Isabel la Católica, upon hearing the good news, (Carlos V) said: "This will be the one to take the luck. "

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    Yeah.. Prince Charles.. You mean.. The Englishman that knows more about duck hunting than about maritime history?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Carlitos View Post
    I did not send my ships to fight against the elements. Felipe II

    Even Prince Charles is now recognized that imbencible navy was defeated by the elements. The failure of the Navy assured Imvencible Northern nations, hitherto mediocre, its maritime future. Triumph of Protestantism and capitalism at the same time. The building Iberian world power can not last much longer.
    I don't know why so many people link capitalism with Protestantism. All the banking technic were invented in Venice, Florence, Genoa during the middle ages. It is just that when America was discovered, all the migthy cities of the mediterranean sea became suddenly isolated from Atlantic trade, that was left to Netherland, Britain

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    Quote Originally Posted by spongetaro View Post
    I don't know why so many people link capitalism with Protestantism. All the banking technic were invented in Venice, Florence, Genoa during the middle ages. It is just that when America was discovered, all the migthy cities of the mediterranean sea became suddenly isolated from Atlantic trade, that was left to Netherland, Britain
    Well, it's in the line of what you write yourself.

    a) Feudal period in The Netherlands.
    The Netherlands are officially a part of the Holy Roman Empire, but in practice there are a lot of rather independent regions. Some are governed by a Count, others by a Duke.
    The region where I live is Brabant. The Duke of Brabant wanted to improve trade. So he supported the cities, gave them several rights. So the most important cities were Brussels, Antwerp, Leuven, Breda, Den Bosch.
    Also the region got important rights to stimulate the economy. Abby's were busy to change wilderness into fertile lands.

    b) After a while the cities grew more powerful, and because of some marriages The Netherlands became part of Burgundy, and later on we had a King Charles V.
    He was born in The Netherlands, but wanted to become Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire.

    And here it starts.
    Charles V did lend a huge sum of money to raise an army. With that army he started several wars to show who was the most important man in Europe. So he burnt a lot of cities in Northern Spain.
    Cities that were like city states, with an own government. Copied from the idea of the cities in Northern Italy.
    And so Charles V became Emperor.

    Of course the city states in The Netherlands knew what was coming.
    And surely when Philip II, the son of Charles V became the new King.

    The cities wanted to keep their privileges. While Philip II wanted a centrally governed empire.
    So, he did in The Netherlands what his father did in Spain.
    Burn one city after another. (What a hero!)

    The pretext was a war between catholics and protestants, but in fact it was a war between a totalitarian system, and a liberal group of cities.

    c) And where capitalism comes in?

    Simply because the Dutch invented the shares.
    Thousands of people could buy shares of a ship.
    And share the profit if the ship came back with loads of stuff that could be sold for huge sums of money.

    The problem was, people started to trade with shares.
    In that way creating a capitalist bubble.

    In the same period the Spanish didn't grasp economy problems, and never understood that getting more gold in from America every day only would sink the value of gold more and more.
    So that's why the Dutch started to help the Spanish economy by looting the Spanish gold and silver, that came from America.

    After a while, the English learned that trick too. The eternal copycats...

    d) Just before 1800 the Dutch learned that France is much more a natural ally of The Netherlands than England.
    But then Napoleon goofed, and spoiled Dutch trade by starting a sea blockade against England.
    From then on, the Dutch switched their attention back to their most loved enemy, the English.

    London became the international trading center, because Napoleon was an army general, and had little knowledge about sea trade and maritime affairs.

    Tongue in cheek..

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    3 members found this post helpful.
    Better late then never... a Frenchman's views on the original question about French military weakness.

    As Maciamo showed, a survey of French history doesn't lend much support to the idea that the French shy away from warfare. The jokes mentioned above are, in my opinion, mostly due to the very quick defeat in May 1940. And indeed, it was a quick one.

    To understand it, we have to bear in mind what the political situation was in Europe after WW1. The Russian revolution established a new, unheard-of social/political order. This had a twofold impact in France. It spread terror among the farmers, who already had right-wing leanings. It also set the factory workers (whose life in those days wasn't a bed of roses) dreaming of a better future. A powerful socialist party emerged. For a while the country hesistated and the balance remained uncertain. Finally, in 1936 the Front Populaire were voted in. They were die-hard pacifists, if you'll allow the oxymoron.

    It was the worst of times for that, from a military point of view. Since 1933, Hitler had revived the German military industry and production was in full swing. De Gaulle sent alarming warnings to the leaders in charge, urging them to re-arm the country. His warnings were ignored. Daladier came back from Germany very proud of, and pleased with, his Munich Agreements. He thought he had salvaged peace. And that was it. When I was a child, the old men would explain how, when they arrived on the frontline, they were equipped with rifles manufactured... in the 19C. And how, as they were trying to drag cannons on wheels out of the mud with horses, the panzers came crashing through the trees full blast. They just didn't stand a chance. Cowardice had nothing to do with it. It was all technology. Although seen from afar, it may have been less obvious.

    I have never fought a war in my life, and never will. Too old now. Yet, both of my uncles fought in Algeria and Morocco. So did my father-in-law. My mother's dad lost two of his brothers in WW1. My father's dad was an "observer" at Verdun. He watched the enemy from the top of a mirador to orientate artillery fire. The enemy spotted his observatory and started pounding on it. He stood firm, until he was finally hit by eleven bits of shrapnel. He was afterwards decorated, but also hada leg amputated. My great-great-...-great uncle also lost a leg to a cannonball at Eylau with the Napoleonic armies. He was a peasant's son and had risen to the rank of colonel. My wife's grandad was in the Resistance. A monument has been erected on Mont Mouchet in Auvergne, in memory of his team, who, when surrounded, fought to the death rather than surrender. These were real people, not quick-tongued jokers who, while comfortably seated in their sofa, try to persuade themselves they are worth something by sniggering at people they don't know.

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    1 members found this post helpful.
    Quote Originally Posted by hrvclv View Post
    Better late then never... a Frenchman's views on the original question about French military weakness.

    As Maciamo showed, a survey of French history doesn't lend much support to the idea that the French shy away from warfare. The jokes mentioned above are, in my opinion, mostly due to the very quick defeat in May 1940. And indeed, it was a quick one.

    To understand it, we have to bear in mind what the political situation was in Europe after WW1. The Russian revolution established a new, unheard-of social/political order. This had a twofold impact in France. It spread terror among the farmers, who already had right-wing leanings. It also set the factory workers (whose life in those days wasn't a bed of roses) dreaming of a better future. A powerful socialist party emerged. For a while the country hesistated and the balance remained uncertain. Finally, in 1936 the Front Populaire were voted in. They were die-hard pacifists, if you'll allow the oxymoron.

    It was the worst of times for that, from a military point of view. Since 1933, Hitler had revived the German military industry and production was in full swing. De Gaulle sent alarming warnings to the leaders in charge, urging them to re-arm the country. His warnings were ignored. Daladier came back from Germany very proud of, and pleased with, his Munich Agreements. He thought he had salvaged peace. And that was it. When I was a child, the old men would explain how, when they arrived on the frontline, they were equipped with rifles manufactured... in the 19C. And how, as they were trying to drag cannons on wheels out of the mud with horses, the panzers came crashing through the trees full blast. They just didn't stand a chance. Cowardice had nothing to do with it. It was all technology. Although seen from afar, it may have been less obvious.

    I have never fought a war in my life, and never will. Too old now. Yet, both of my uncles fought in Algeria and Morocco. So did my father-in-law. My mother's dad lost two of his brothers in WW1. My father's dad was an "observer" at Verdun. He watched the enemy from the top of a mirador to orientate artillery fire. The enemy spotted his observatory and started pounding on it. He stood firm, until he was finally hit by eleven bits of shrapnel. He was afterwards decorated, but also hada leg amputated. My great-great-...-great uncle also lost a leg to a cannonball at Eylau with the Napoleonic armies. He was a peasant's son and had risen to the rank of colonel. My wife's grandad was in the Resistance. A monument has been erected on Mont Mouchet in Auvergne, in memory of his team, who, when surrounded, fought to the death rather than surrender. These were real people, not quick-tongued jokers who, while comfortably seated in their sofa, try to persuade themselves they are worth something by sniggering at people they don't know.
    It's very good history and analysis. Too bad it was necessary to write it. One terrible part about the internet is that it exposes just how many idiots spouting stupid opinions surround us.


    Non si fa il proprio dovere perchè qualcuno ci dica grazie, lo si fa per principio, per se stessi, per la propria dignità. Oriana Fallaci

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    1 members found this post helpful.
    They get my vote!

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    Quote Originally Posted by OkTex View Post
    They get my vote!
    I have no idea why you were down repped
    mmmmmmmmm dooouuughhhnuuuutz

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    I dont think the french are cowardly, quite the opposite, and I think its a bit unfair for the Americans to joke about it. The French during WW1, and specifically at Verdun suffered very heavy casualties, as they did throughout the first world war, it would take gererations to replace, it affects them even today. The battle at' Verdun' was instigated by a German Tactic ' to attempt to bleed France dry of its fighting aged personal'. The losses the French suffered from Word War 1,greatly affects France even today, and certianly effected their decision in 1940. Another additional reason France was forced into the position they took in 1940,was to save many thousands of Lives, which would most certianly of ocurred if they had continued the war. It was again 'German tactics' that forced their hands, as they relied too much on the security of the Maginot line, which the Germans simply avoided. The French at that time ( 1940 )had in fact a stronger Tank force, and even heavier Tanks,I believe, but where completely inefective due to the prepared Tactic's and speed of the German Assaults. I am English, and I have never once in my life, heard any such jokes regarding the cowardice of the French.

    The English still feel strongly about what happened in 1066, and that is why many still do not like the French today, and the only other negative thing we have concerning the French is our traditional two fingered salute which was originally aimed at the French via Crecy and Agincourt, and is now more in fun than anything other.
    Last edited by paul333; 01-12-17 at 01:00. Reason: additional information

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    It’s just uneducated banter based of some high pitch femmy sounding French words herd in a movie or some particular war event that is way more complicated but dumbed down to a talking point and taken at face value because someone well respected said it so Americans repeat this nonsense but just the reading here the facts are the French are an amazing people what they have gone through I just read about the 30 Years war and all the fighting that took place up until the 1800s when my dads side came here from Lorraine so much history there reputation for some right now in the US mainly I would say is ignorance and that’s all I would tell people is know for yourself look up some stuff might make you respond with real facts about France instead of agreeing they are a cowardly bunch.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dr Daniel Junglehart View Post
    It’s just uneducated banter based of some high pitch femmy sounding French words herd in a movie or some particular war event that is way more complicated but dumbed down to a talking point and taken at face value because someone well respected said it so Americans repeat this nonsense but just the reading here the facts are the French are an amazing people what they have gone through I just read about the 30 Years war and all the fighting that took place up until the 1800s when my dads side came here from Lorraine so much history there reputation for some right now in the US mainly I would say is ignorance and that’s all I would tell people is know for yourself look up some stuff might make you respond with real facts about France instead of agreeing they are a cowardly bunch.
    Does your keyboard have problem with punctuation marks?

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    I’m on a phone I don’t know punctuation really I just type words so do your best you may complain yet you understand what I’m saying I will comment best I can despit my lack of education feel free to slide past what I’m saying confronting me will not change how I type feel free to criticize I’m use to it :)

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