I love the monologues on U.S. chat shows – Leno, Letterman, etc. But I cringe every time they do a crack about the French capitulating to the Germans in WW2. The apparent feeling being that they were cowards to do so.
Thing is, at that time, NO-ONE KNEW the holocaust would happen. It was just about stopping the Germans from turning Europe into the German Empire.
And France had only recently lost millions of her men in WW1. It’s understandable they were not keen to repeat the experience – which they WOULD have – had they gone up against the then might of the German military machine.
It was all right for Britain to go to war against them – we had the upper-class-twit looneys of the RAF who, while the Luftwaffe were busy poring over their combat manuals, knocked them out of the skies, by ignoring theirs – and we had a twenty-mile wide stretch of water between us and them.
France on the other hand would have been SMASHED by Germany. All they had to do was WALK across the border. The time to have stopped Hitler – which ALL the other countries of Europe COULD have done – had already PASSED. But then – War Is Good For Business.
Then there is the matter of “collateral damage”. After the war, Americans POURED into Paris to enjoy the delights of a city virtually INTACT after hostilities were over – while London was in RUINS. Yeah, we won – but at what COST?
And one more thing – the French were not COWARDS. Many fought guerilla actions (the famous French Resistance) against the Germans. Orchestrated by Britain, these gave the Germans a LOT of problems – and those who were caught were treated as TERRORISTS.
In those days, Germany gave scant attention to the Geneva Convention with military prisoners – and NONE to spies or “freedom fighters”. They suffered torture we cannot imagine. So less about French cowardice, eh?
In any case, all of this happened SEVENTY YEARS AGO – so isn’t it time to LET IT GO?