Do the French deserve their reputation as weak-kneed?

How about we make the point between the USA and France on who won and lost more wars ?

USA

Major wars won mostly alone

- Mexican–American War of 1846-48
- Spanish-American War of 1898
- WWII in the Pacific
- Gulf War of 1991

Major wars won in coalition

- US war of independence (won with France)
- WWI (the US didn't actually do much compared to France and Britain)
- WWII in Europe (the USSR did probably more than the US in defeating Hitler)

Major wars lost

- Civil War (cannot be considered as "won" with so many casualties)
- Vietnam War (the longest war waged by the US)
- Iraq War (the latest war waged by the US)


France

Major wars won mostly alone

- Hundred Years' War (1337-1453)
- War of Spanish Succession by Louis XIV (1701–1714 - alone against Europe)
- French Revolutionary Wars (1792-1802 - annexed the Benelux and Northern Italy, defeated the Austrian Empire)
- Napoleonic Wars (1804-1814 - alone against Europe again)


Major wars won in coalition

- US war of independence
- WWI

Major wars lost

- 1870 Franco-German War
- WWII (although ultimately won thanks to allied supoport)


Conclusion

In coalition, the US and France won mostly the same wars, some mostly won by the US with some French support (US independence), and others won mostly by France with some US support (WWI).

The US only managed to win a war alone against developing countries much smaller than itself (Mexico, Panama, Iraq, Japan in the 1940's). France regularily won against the strongest European powers of the time for many centuries. France also won against small developing countries, during the colonial period, and had much more colonies than the US ever had, even in the 20th century.

The US was defeated by developing nations (Vietnam, Iraq) and by itself. France only lost twice, both to Germany, a more populous country of the same level of development.
 
Didn`t the French lose in Vietnam, too, prior to U.S. involvement?

The battle of Dien Bien Phu and their defeat there decisively ended France`s colonialism, or their attempt at reimposing colonialism on their claims in Indo-China.

In addition France lost Algeria in a devastating guerilla war of insurgency.

Therefore, France has lost to developing nations as well.
 
Didn`t the French lose in Vietnam, too, prior to U.S. involvement?
The battle of Dien Bien Phu and their defeat there decisively ended France`s colonialism, or their attempt at reimposing colonialism on their claims in Indo-China.
In addition France lost Algeria in a devastating guerilla war of insurgency.
Therefore, France has lost to developing nations as well.

I didn't really count colonial wars, as they were all won (and kept for decades or centuries) before eventually being lost, so the score is kind of even.
 
I didn't really count colonial wars, as they were all won (and kept for decades or centuries) before eventually being lost, so the score is kind of even.

The key word here is "won." For if the land was innitially colonized without a war, then it is a bit misleading to say they were won in a war (being "kept" is not "winning"; it is just a state of ownership). But yes, perhaps the score is even on this point. Or perhaps not -- if we throw in the defeat of the French by the slaves of Haiti.
 
The key word here is "won." For if the land was innitially colonized without a war, then it is a bit misleading to say they were won in a war (being "kept" is not "winning"; it is just a state of ownership). But yes, perhaps the score is even on this point. Or perhaps not -- if we throw in the defeat of the French by the slaves of Haiti.
The US has never managed to keep its "colonial" possessions for very long, be it in Central America (Panama, Nicaragua...) or in Asia (Philippines).

The USA was already a major world power in the late 19th and early 20th century, during which time France built most of its colonial empire in Africa and Indochina. In fact, the USA was already more populous than France from the early 1870's. France's later colonial possessions were only acquired after the founding of the Third Republic in 1871. By 1910, the US population was over twice that of France.

In conclusion, even so the USA had a bigger population and more natural resources than France, its military power and political influence was much weaker than France's between 1870 and 1918 (or even until 1945).
 
In conclusion, even so the USA had a bigger population and more natural resources than France, its military power and political influence was much weaker than France's between 1870 and 1918 (or even until 1945).

All that tells me is that the French didn`t make the best decisions strategically and being in a situation of having to more and more relinquish their holdings, perhaps a sign of gluttony that they could not sustain -- or a bigger world view of themselves that they could not support.

But, why do you think France has been unfairly painted as being weak-kneed if there is no truth to it? I think there is truth to America being arrogant and therefore we are viewed as such. Why has France`s image of being weak-kneed come about?

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btw, have you seen my questions in the site operations section asking about the promotion of Eupedia? Could you address those questions down in that section. Thanks.
 
All that tells me is that the French didn`t make the best decisions strategically and being in a situation of having to more and more relinquish their holdings, perhaps a sign of gluttony that they could not sustain -- or a bigger world view of themselves that they could not support.

France only lost most of its colonies in the aftermath of WWII, when the central government had been dismantled for 5 years and the country was morally and financially ruined. Before that it could very afford its colonies.

Btw, the same happened to Britain, Belgium, and the Netherlands after WWII. The only country that has kept a significant number of colonies and integrated them into the country is France (French Guyana, Guadeloupe, Martinique, Reunion, New Caledonia, French Polynesia, St-Pierre-et-Miquelon...). Even the US, that didn't suffer much from WWII, and even enriched itself from the Nazi and Japanese gold, didn''t keep the Philippines.

But, why do you think France has been unfairly painted as being weak-kneed if there is no truth to it? I think there is truth to America being arrogant and therefore we are viewed as such. Why has France`s image of being weak-kneed come about?

Easy. This is only the case in North America, so chances are that this anti-French movement started in the US because some people were too proud of helping in WWII and jealous of France's power and influence until WWII.
 
Easy. This is only the case in North America, so chances are that this anti-French movement started in the US because some people were too proud of helping in WWII and jealous of France's power and influence until WWII.

Hmmm...perhaps not. Mycernius has corroberated that they are viewed as week-kneed, referring to them as "surrender monkeys."
 
Hmmm...perhaps not. Mycernius has corroberated that they are viewed as week-kneed, referring to them as "surrender monkeys."
That's the international "joke" since the war in Iraq in 2003 (and only since then).

Anyway the English and the French have been rival and made joke about each others (like any neighbours) for hundreds of years. The Brits are in a bad position to criticise France's military power, as they lost the 100 years' war againt a teenage French girl (Joan of Arc), and didn't manage to defeat Napoleon without the help of Prussia, Austria and Russia (and even so that was a short call). In fact, they have been so proud to defeat France with this super-coalition 200 years ago that they still have their main train station in London (Eurostar station) named after the Battle of Waterloo, and the city's largest square named after the single naval victory of Trafalgar (which didn't win the war).
 
That's the international "joke" since the war in Iraq in 2003 (and only since then).

Like I said, it is not wholey peculiar to the U.S. That said, I personally do not agree with that view, which I think I mentioned earlier in the thread.
 
they didn't put resistence against Hitler's invasion... no matter how many excuses you try to put for that. it was an embarrassing and coward behaviour by france that will remain in history. and then you have how they ran away from the battle of trafalgar... that doesn't really help either.
 
But maybe Americans see the French as cowards because they expected them to do all the job in fighting the Brits during the American war of independence, or because Napoleon just sold off 1/3 of the present USA to the young and weak American government, when reason would have commanded to use this as a base to reconquer the former British colonies instead of attacking Russia, Prussia, Austria and Britain (each more populous and much more militarily powerful than the USA at the time) all at the same time !
).

I freely admit that we in the US have not been fair to the French in this case.

My only protest would relate to the desire that they wanted the French to do their whole job for them in our war of Independence.

There is no doubt that their help was indispensible and that our envoys petitioned relentlessly for every ounce of support that they could extract.

I don't believe, however that any historian, American, British, or French, would go even so far as to say that the Americans wanted the French to do most of the fighting for them, let alone 'all' of it. Any such claim would stand in denial of the facts.
 
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They are not as weak-kneed as Italians.:rolleyes:

After the disastrous defeat at Caporetto in October 1917 it was reinforcements from France and Britain that saved Italy while WW2 was a complete fiasco for the Italians.
 
Didn`t the French lose in Vietnam, too, prior to U.S. involvement?

The battle of Dien Bien Phu and their defeat there decisively ended France`s colonialism, or their attempt at reimposing colonialism on their claims in Indo-China.

In addition France lost Algeria in a devastating guerilla war of insurgency.

Therefore, France has lost to developing nations as well.

Didn't France also lose the War of Spanish Succession after defeats by the Brits under the Duke Of Marlborough (at Blenheim, Oudenarde, Malplaquet etc) and the Habsburg armies under Prince Eugene of Savoy?
 
They are not as weak-kneed as Italians.:rolleyes:

After the disastrous defeat at Caporetto in October 1917 it was reinforcements from France and Britain that saved Italy while WW2 was a complete fiasco for the Italians.

Yes it seemed that most Italians weren't quite as convinced of their own invincability as that little madman Il Duce. Even the Greeks kicked their backside when they attempted to invade Greece and the Germans had also to step in there and save the day. Hitler was not impressed.
 
The french aren't cowards nor weak-kneed, their role in the 30 years war was essential to defeat the catholics, who had controlled the war.

In the revolutionary-napoleonic period, and despite the fact they finally lost, they were the best army, fighting against many nations and with little support from allies.

WWII was another business; they had the best european army -better than the german by 1940- and were smashed. As allies of the axis -issue often forgotten- they were defeated again.
 
Didn't France also lose the War of Spanish Succession after defeats by the Brits under the Duke Of Marlborough (at Blenheim, Oudenarde, Malplaquet etc) and the Habsburg armies under Prince Eugene of Savoy?

Not really considering that Louis XIV's grandson, Philippe de France, became King Philip V of Spain ! As no clear winner emerged from the war, all powers had to make concessions. But France got the throne of Spain (the main stake of the war), in exchange for granting the Southern Netherlands (modern Belgium) and parts of Italy to Austria. Britain only got Gibraltar and Minorca in the operation - not a big deal.
 
they didn't put resistence against Hitler's invasion... no matter how many excuses you try to put for that. it was an embarrassing and coward behaviour by france that will remain in history.

If you knew more about what happened in WWI, you would surely understand why the French didn't try harder to resist Hitler's troops. Even today I believe it was a wise and courageous decision to admit defeat instead of starting another disastrous and protracted Franco-German war. At least the French population was spared and no city was destroyed.

With the hindsight, it may seem unbelievable today that any country should let themselves be conquered so easily by the Nazi. But hardly anybody back then knew what Hitler was really capable of. The French knew that Hitler was a fascist, but that wasn't a big problem for a lot of people since fascism was the "fashionable" political climate in continental Europe in the 1930's. Petain was also a fascist and he was freely elected by the French just as Hitler was elected by the Germans or Mussolini by the Italians.

Incidentally, I don't understand why the French are seen as the cowards of WWII when in fact the Czechoslovaks, Austrians Danes and Dutch didn't even fight back when the Nazi marched on their countries, and no country in Europe was militarily equipped to resist German panzers and stukas. Britain was lucky to be an island country, otherwise it would have fallen just the same. Even the mighty USSR should have been easily defeated had Hitler not been stupid enough to postpone his campaign and let the Russians organise themselves. The French were merely reasonable enough to realise that they were not ready to fight and didn't want to sacrifice another generation of young men for nothing.
 
you have how they ran away from the battle of trafalgar... that doesn't really help either.

You can't quote trafalgar without referring to all the French victories within the French Revolutionnary and Napoleonic Wars
 
i'm not judging then as being unwise maciamo, but it was a coward behaviour no matter how anyone try to explain their reasons.
 

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