I know that it’s easy and even occasionally popular to hate the French, but I do. Not to the extent that I believe in "freedom fries," but enough. This should not be taken lightly, since in almost all things, I prefer the contrarian viewpoint whenever possible. I would love to love the French, but given who they are, it’s simply not possible.
And since neither of my books has been translated into French, I do not fear a literary backlash or drop in sales of any kind.
In 1986, the French denied US warplanes the right to fly over their airspace during a bombing run into Libya. The US government discovered that the Libyan government had financed recent terrorist attacks around the world, including a bombing of a West Berlin disco that resulted in the loss of two American servicemen and was bombing Libyan military targets in response.
Even though I was in tenth grade at the time, I was appalled at France’s unwillingness to assist in the mission, considering the number of times in that century that American forces had prevented the French people from speaking German.
Since then, my dislike for the French has continued. There are lots of reasons.
The French police cooperated with the Nazis and participated in the arrest and extermination of 42,000 Jews, many of whom were not previously identified by the Germans.
During Operation Torch, a World War II Mediterranean offensive by the Allies, the French fired on US forces trying to land in North Africa, later claiming they weren’t trying very hard because they liked the Allies but had to keep up appearances and make the Germans believe that they were fighting alongside them, since they had surrendered Paris without firing a shot.
They have yet to repay the 2.3 billion dollars that we loaned them as part of the Marshall Plan in 1945.
They opposed the first Gulf War and the subsequent liberation of Kuwait.
They spent most of the Cold War on the sidelines after removing themselves from NATO.
In 1963, Jerry Lewis's The Nutty Professor was voted the "Best Film" in France. And they think they have taste?
Lewis also holds the Legion of Honor, traditionally awarded only to victorious French generals. Since there have been so few victorious French generals, perhaps they had a few extra lying around.
They hate American tourists and treat them like dirt. In fact, the "Paris Syndrome" is a medically recognized type of depression which afflicts foreign visitors, caused by the sustained rudeness of French people to outsiders.
The list goes on.
I bring this up because I’ve recently been reading about the formation of the United Nations. There are five permanent members of the UN Security Council, who have veto power over any decisions that are to be made. These members are the United States, Russia, China, Britain and France.
I understand the first four members, but France?
These five permanent members were drawn from the victorious powers of World War II, but since when has France been considered a victorious power? It took Germany about four days to conqueror the French, who barely fired a shot, and another two years for American and British forces to liberate them. There were dozens of other allied nations fighting alongside the United States during the war, so why does France, a nation that repeatedly fails to defend itself, gain permanent status on the UN Security Council?
Why not Canada? Australia? Brazil?
All of these countries, and dozens more, fought alongside the Allies, so why not one of them?
Why not even consider replacing France with a country like Germany, which is now a world power once again? Granted, they have a tendency to want to take over the world every 50 years or so, but those times seem to well in the past.
And both of my books have been translated into German, so they are fine in my book.
Historians, please explain.