Officially the French Republic is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands

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Why was France granted an equal status among victors of World War II?

How is it that France emerged from World War II with a similar status as the U.S.A., Britain, the Soviet Union, and China in terms of possession of a permanent seat on the U.N. Security Council, ...
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Why didn't France and UK invade Germany September 3rd 1939?

On September 3rd 1939, when UK and France declared war on Germany, both ordinary Polish people and government officials became enthusiastic. There were spontaneous demonstrations of support for the ...
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Why aren't there major cities on the Atlantic coast of France?

I see Bordeaux and Nantes, but they are a short ways inland. The U.S. has several like New York, Boston, Miami, Charleston.
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Why are the German and French languages so different?

My understanding (which could be wrong) is the following: During and before the period of the fall of western Rome (roughly 400 AD), the Franks and the Alemanni were tribal people who moved around a ...
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Why did the French sell Louisiana?

Why did an imperialistic country like France (at that time) sell a territory so large for so cheap? Was it an important region at the time? I heard that the port of New Orleans was particularly ...
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7answers
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Was England considered a “colony” of France?

After the "Norman conquest of England", many things including languages, the ways of life, etc. have changed a lot in Europe. Especially it affected the English language significantly that a lot of ...
25
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7answers
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Why did Great Britain switch its alliance to France?

England (and its succeeding states) were at war with France for close to 1000 years. First it was over land, then they competed over religion, then they competed over colonies. For much of that time, ...
24
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Why wasn't Monaco unified with France?

Why wasn't Monaco unified with the Kingdom/Republic of France during the unification? I understand France used to be a very decentralized kingdom with many areas ruled by vassal or smaller rulers, and ...
20
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10answers
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What's the advantage of the infantry column formation in the Napoleonic Wars?

In movies/books set in the Napoleonic Wars, the British are normally deployed into lines and the French into columns. The columns are usually the advancing ones, charging into the line as the line ...
18
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Can Bill Clinton run for president of France?

Bill Clinton says in an interview (Bill Clinton on running for political office again) : Because I was born in Arkansas, which is part of Louisiana Purchase, any person anywhere in the world that ...
18
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What effect did the Attack on Mers-el-Kébir have on Great Britain's international relations during WW2?

The Attack on Mers-el-Kébir/Battle of Mers-el-Kébir was an action that took part between the Royal Navy and the French Navy on July 3rd 1940 that was a result of Winston Churchill ordering that the ...
18
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477 views

What is the ancestry of the Robertians, progenitors of the Bourbon dynasty?

The countries Spain and Luxembourg are currently ruled by kings from the House of Bourbon, so I thought I'd try to trace their (patrilineal) ancestry as far back as possible. Well, the Bourbons are ...
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What caused the Iranian 1979 revolution to become Islamic?

How did an initially anti-Shah revolution become an Islamic revolution? Was it because of Khomenei's return to Iran such that he seized the Iranian revolution?
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Why did the French nobility adopt Calvinism?

The Wikipedia article on the French Wars of Religion says that the Calvinist form of Protestantism, in particular, spread into the nobility. Now, I'd like to know why is that, and not Lutheranism for ...
15
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471 views

How popular was Mozart in France before WWII and after it?

Another intriguing statement by Robert Paxton: I was surprised myself to learn that Mozart had been little played in France before 1940, and that his prominence since 1945 in the French ...
14
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When was France fully liberated?

Speaking of metropolitan France (the 'Hexagone' + Corsica), when was France fully liberated of German occupying forces at the end of World War II? We all know of the D-Day landings in Normandy in ...
14
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4answers
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Did Louis XIV actually say “The State? I am the State.”? Could he have said it?

In "The French Revolution, A History" Chapter 1.1.II, Thomas Carlyle reports that Louis XIV once proclaimed: "L'État, c'est moi" - The State? I am the State (Carlyle's rendering into English) ...
14
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4answers
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Why was Khomeini in France? Who allowed him to leave and why?

I never knew that Khomeini was in France until I saw What was President Jimmy Carter's role in the Iranian Revolution?. Why was Khomeini in France? Who allowed him to leave France and why?
14
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What happened to all the french guillotines?

Quoting Wikipedia: "The guillotine remained the official method of execution in France until the death penalty was abolished in 1981. The last guillotining in France was that of torture-murderer ...
14
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In the French Republican calendar: were Quintidis holidays?

I did some research on the French Republican calendar and found some contradictory information on weekly (or decadian?) holidays. Wikipedia (and most other articles I found) mention: The ...
14
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3answers
317 views

Curious office hours of Topographical Bureau where Napoleon served in 1795?

In his new biography Napoleon the Great Andrew Roberts reports about Napoleon's stint in the Historical and Topographical Bureau of the war ministry in Paris between mid-August and early October 1795. ...
13
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4answers
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What led to the creation of Belgium?

Why was Belgium created as opposed to grouping the Fracophone Walloons and the Dutch-Speaking Flemish with their respective linguistically similar neighbor countries; France and the Netherlands?
13
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402 views

How did France worsen its relationship with Turkey?

Several years back Turkey barred some French companies to participate in one of its arms procurement tender. Turkey doesn't allow French military air-crafts or ships to pass its territorial space. ...
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What was the foreign policy of 1791 France?

Having done some research on my own had yielded little to no results on pre-radical revolutionary France regarding foreign policy. I am specifically looking for arguments during the constitutional ...
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543 views

Were there elections in France under the absolute monarchy?

I was wondering, if any elections allowed in France during the period of absolutism. In the Middle age, people with civil and political rights were allowed to elect some kind of city council (also in ...
13
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4answers
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What did Richlieu mean by his “six lines” quote?

Cardinal Richelieu is frequently quoted as saying, If you give me six lines written by the hand of the most honest of men, I will find something in them which will hang him. What I've never seen ...
13
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1answer
515 views

What mistake did abbot [Jacques?] Delille make when eating an egg at the Court of Louis XVI?

Stendhal's Scarlet and Black has a curious passage where the main character observes that even the eating of a boiled egg "reveals the progress one has made in the godly life" To support this it ...
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403 views

How did Quebec transition from French Law to English Law?

When Britain conquered Quebec at the end of the Seven Years War, Quebec began a transition between French law and English law. How did that transition occur?
13
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1answer
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Did the syphilis epidemic start the 16th and 17th century wig craze?

I've read that one reason that the nobility attending royal court in the 17th century had a passion for wigs, powdered faces, and gloves was the then prevalence of syphilis. By this reasoning those ...
13
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1answer
266 views

Language of early French (West-Frankish) kings

When did Old French displace Frankish as the language spoken in the West-Frankish court, and who was the first natively "French" king?
12
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Why did France put so many resources into fighting Algeria in comparison to its other former colonial holdings?

Why did France put so many resources into fighting Algeria in comparison to its other former colonial holdings? Was there anything unique about the French-Algerian relationship. On Wikipedia it says ...
12
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1answer
339 views

Were there originally seats in the elevators in the Eiffel Tower?

There were seats drawn on the blue print for the tower. Today there are no seats. Were they fitted and then taken out or were they never installed at all?
12
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648 views

How did Napoleon evade the British fleet and return to France?

After the defeat of the French fleet off the coast of Egypt in 1798, Napoleon's army was cut off in a far away and hostile country. One year later, after eluding the British fleet, he made it safely ...
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What is the equivalent in France of the “Victorian era”?

By Victorian era I mean the moral rigidity and the dominance of the bourgeoisie. We had the same culture in France but I can't find the proper term to phrase it. For example how would you translate "...
12
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How did Allies secure southern flank during “Race to the Rhine”?

As I read about western front during the WW2 there is usually big topic about the "D-Day", then clearing Normandy (capturing Cherbourg), then liberating Paris and then authors quickly move to "Race to ...
12
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Why did the French insist on reclaiming Indo-China after WWII?

After WWII France was in rebuilding mode, and yet they insisted on trying to reclaim Indo-China. It would seem that in the new world order this did not make much sense for a country that was trying to ...
12
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603 views

Did the blanket pardon from 'The Three Musketeers' exist in real life?

In his novel The Three Musketeers, Dumas describes Richelieu giving the following paper to Milady de Winter: C'est par mon ordre et pour le bien de l'Etat que le porteur du present a fait ce qu'...
11
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“More Frenchmen bore arms for the Axis than for the Allies during the Second World War”?

True or false? This is claimed by Andrew Roberts in The Storm of War. Quote: As more Frenchmen bore arms for the Axis than for the Allies during the Second World War, it is unsurprising that ...
11
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5answers
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What are the French gains after the American Revolutionary War

Did France gain anything significant (territories or other concessions) at the conclusion of the American Revolutionary War? I tried to look up for it, but what I found were very minor (Senegal in ...
11
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1answer
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What did the nobles do after the French Revolution?

After the French Revolution, the privileges of the aristocracy were abolished. Some nobles were executed, others migrated, but what happened to those who stayed in France? Did they live off what ...
11
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772 views

What became of the French Revolutionary Religion and Calendar?

During the height of the French Revolution, there was a complete revamping/retooling of French culture and religion: A new calendar based on the metric system and marking the significant events and ...
10
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Why was France given such a lenient peace after Napoleon was defeated?

For two decades revolutionary France had attacked and conquered many nations in Europe. Millions were killed. But when the allies finally defeated France, the peace was very lenient. France didn't ...
10
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Painting of a French man in a red jacket around 1850, who is this man?

This is a painting from near 1850 that depicts a (famous) French man, possibly noble, in a park, maybe Paris. Is he a Minister? King? Military? Whoever he might be, I consider he is important, since ...
10
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2answers
716 views

What sort of Cardinals were Richelieu and Mazarin?

Cardinals can belong to one of three orders: Cardinal-deacon Cardinal-bishop Cardinal-priest. What were the ranks of Cardinals Richelieu and Mazarin?
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How was occupied France governed during World War II?

During the occupation of France during World War II, how was the area governed? Specifically, were local governments still allowed and who handled normal police activities? If local Frenchmen did ...
10
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573 views

What were the Government Press Prosecutions of 1858 and why did they occur?

In the second chapter of On Liberty, John Stuart Mill mentions in a note the "Government Press Prosecutions of 1858". He further writes that "The offence charged was not that of criticising ...
10
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2answers
495 views

Why was Germany unified in Versailles not Berlin?

Why did Wilhelm I (or Bismarck) decide to perform official Germany unification in France? In my opinion, if the ceremonial was to honour the Prussian king and be a tribute or allegiance to him, it ...
10
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410 views

What was the basis for valuating large territorial purchases by USA?

There were at least 2 times when USA extended its territory by purchasing it outright - Louisiana+ from French and Alaska from Russians. The Louisiana Purchase was the acquisition by the United ...
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What was the cultural background of Burgundians?

In the Middle Ages there was a big country in Europe between France and German kingdoms, Burgundy. What language did they speak there? Were they more German or French in origin?
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What is the current location of the “Cauldron of Trun and Chambios” from August 1944?

I am trying to document my grandfather's participation in World War II, and have come across a letter written by a German military official informing my grandfather's parents that their son is missing ...