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18

Many French may have borne arms for the Axis, but it was very soft support; not many of them ever fired a shot in anger for the Axis. Even in October/November 1942 with the Axis at flood tide, Vichy North Africa rapidly switched allegiance after the Torch Landings at Casablanca, Oran and Algiers, despite some initial confused opposition. Following the ...


10

I'm not into proscribing a lot of collective guilt onto modern peoples for acts of their cultural ancestors. In fact, its damn silly. However, if someone else is trying to do this publicly, they should be really careful, because when it comes to slavery almost no culture on earth has clean hands. This includes Muslim society, and local Negro1 cultures. ...


10

Pieter Geerkens answer is excellent and should be selected, but I want to add a few well-known facts which show that the "brutal statistic" is actually wrong by an order of magnitude. Western Front 1940 More than 2,200,000 French soldiers fought on the Western Front in 1940. This alone dwarfs the total number of any kind of military personnel under ...


9

If one interprets this question as Why were the Merovingians so reviled at the peak of their power?, then the answer is easy: they weren't. At the peak of their power, the frankish kingdoms were the most powerful geopolitical entities in Western Europe, were recognized as such and their kings were treated accordingly. The early Carolingians reviled the ...


8

I am not well enough read in French history and governance to offer a good answer, so I shall offer a poor answer. My understanding of the comment is that all the governance of France originated in and was legitimized by Louis. What we now call the legislative, executive and judicial functions of the government were vested in Louis' person. Any of these ...


8

To better answer this question you need to go back to the opening stages of the invasion. Operation Overlord, the Allied invasion of Northern France took place beginning on June 6th 1944. However, it took several weeks for the Allied forces to break out from their initial positions and by the time this happened most of the German forces that had been in ...


8

A quick Google search solves this question. Pausing at the tomb of Gilbert du Motier, Marquis de Lafayette, he [John J. Pershing] was reputed to have uttered the famous line "Lafayette, we are here," a line spoken, in fact, by his aide, Colonel Charles E. Stanton. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_J._Pershing That statement cites ...


8

The answer lies, I believe, in the obscure end of the Merovingian epoch and is quite hard to understand from a modern perspective seeing that the geopolitical entitles involved disappeared completely under the Carolingians (at the risk of being off-topic, I still remember fondly reading these stories as a child and not understanding a word, so foreign seemed ...


8

According to this source by the Treaty of Bärwald: Richelieu, however, turned against the Habsburgs young Gustavus Adolphus of Sweden, paying him a subsidy of a million livres a year by the treaty of Bärwald of the 23rd of January 1631. Wikipedia states: The treaty obliged Sweden to maintain an army of 36,000 troops, and France to fund the Swedish ...


7

Without a major fight! Where do you get your facts? Loss of over 1.5 million prisoners in less than 6 weeks, loss of virtually 100% of fighters and modern tanks, plus 100% of the artillery, firearms and ammunition stored in the Maginot Line left France completely defenceless. Sixty one of 117 total divisions had surrendered, the BEF had evacuated twice, ...


7

Let's split that 20 year period up into foursegments and address the key factors at play in each one: 1792-1799 (approximately Valmy through Napoleon becoming First Consul) 1800-1802 (approximately Heliopolis through Peace of Amiens) 1803-1805 (Camp at Boulogne) 1805-1812 Valmy through First Consul: The French are winning consistently through this ...


7

If you'll take Ken Jennings as a source (as he does seem to know his literature), he not only agrees that there is no evidence that Louis XIV said this, but goes a step further and says that Louis XIV probably wouldn't have said it. He claims not only that it wasn't true that the French monarch was equivalent to the state, but that Louis XIV probably didn't ...


7

I can find a literary reference; I have no idea whether the depiction of the anecdote is accurate. The reference is in the notes to La Gastronomie by Joseph de Berchoux, which was somehow famous in France in the 19th century and coined the word gastronomie. The poem was first published in 1801 (the edition I link to is from 1819). The notes look like they ...


7

It wasn't a kingdom. The idea is that there existed a Jewish principality in the Frankish realm, vassal to the Carolingian kings. Their leader wasn't a king but rather a Nāśī. It is mostly advocated by a certain Arthur Zuckerman, as you have noted. His theory has been widely dismissed by historians in general. Zuckerman's claim is that the Jews of ...


6

The timing difference merely reflected the previous difference in deadline presented to Germany for withdrawal from Poland: 11:00 am the deadline presented by Great Britain, and 5:00pm that presented by France. Both countries promptly declared war as the respective deadlines passed without any withdrawal by Germany from Poland. The deadlines themselves had ...


6

According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the first use of the word "van" in print to refer to "A covered vehicle chiefly employed for the conveyance of goods" was in 1829. These were not motor vehicles as we think of vans today, just horse-drawn wagons. See the Wikipedia page for Pantechnicon van for information and a photo of a particular type of English ...


6

They were assigned to the Musketeer's unit. Unit names rarely designate the actual weapons - for example, there was a regiment of Fusiliers in the UK army in 1962, but they didn't use flintlocks (Fusilier is a word that means "flintlock shooter"), nor do the Grenadiers fight exclusively with grenades. And the Horse Guards... Or to choose another example, ...


5

Note that (according to Churchill anyway) Britain also declared war on Japan several hours before the USA did. You'll have trouble finding anyone arguing that this showed that the USA was a "junior partner". Churchill put it down to the difference in the two governments. In the USA, a formal declaration of war requires an act of Congress. Both houses didn't ...


5

There is a contemporary portrait of Joan of Arc in the art section of this site. However, none of it can be verified as being accurate and the artist had never seen Joanne. There are some short descriptions of her during her trial (here and here) and a biography here that do go into some detail of what she might have looked like. Of course, you can get ...


4

Balancing the Budget is very different from eliminating the National Debt. A Balanced Budget simply means that a country made a decrease, no matter how small, in the National Debt over the specified time period (usually a year). Given the horrendous expense of running Louis XIV's court, it is easy to see how the Budget might have improved simply in ...


4

Thomas Nashe's 1592 work Pierce Penilesse, His Supplication to the Divell implies a use of wigs to hide the indications of venereal disease: "Men and women that have gone under the South pole, must lay off their furde night-caps in spight of their teeth, and become yeomen of the vineger bottle: a close periwig hides al the sinnes of an olde ...


4

They are termed camp followers and have followed armies since before Ramses II at Kadesh. Modern armies travel with long tails of official logistical services - cooks, tailors, smiths, armourers, teamsters, nurses, physicians & surgeons, etc. - that in earlier times were provided by civilian camp followers, but wives, children, mistresses and others ...


4

There isn't, and never has been, a French equivalent of the Victorian Era in the sense of moral rigidity and the dominance of the bourgeoisie. As evidence I submit the concept of the French Postcard (warning - adult content beyond link) which nearly every Victorian gentleman traveling on the Continent would send to his male friends for their amusement. The ...


4

As for the symbolism of the white color, Wikipedia has a couple of explanations : White had long featured prominently on French flags and is described as the "ancient French colour" by Lafayette. White was added to the "revolutionary" colors of the militia cockade to "nationalise" the design, thus creating the tricolour cockade. And also The ...


4

A passage from Medieval Jewish Civilization: An Encyclopedia discusses the history and importance of Narbonne as a center for Jewish thought in the western Mediterranean. You can explore this book in more detail on Google Books. In this book, the following passage discusses Charlemagne’s association with what were known as “The Jewish Kings of Narbonne”: ...


3

If Louis XIV did indeed say such a thing, what can we make of it? Actually, I could see where his statement makes a bit of sense. Under modern political theory there are multiple roles in government: Head of State, Head of Government, Commander in Chief, etc. Under a parlimentarty system, typically these may all be different people. However, for a true ...


3

The most important bit of background information here is that Britain spent that period dedicated to thwarting France (particularly its continental ambitions). This was the basic diplomatic split in western politics. In the USA, the Democratic Party tended to be very suspicous of England (for various reasons, the most practical of which was the clash of ...


3

Italy was an ally of Germany, not an occupied country (except for the North in 1943-1945, which was not, technically, occupied). They made, e.g., Fiat_G.55 in Turin which saw action against the allied air forces. In general, Germany had the full use of the whole of French, Czech &c industries (except for those which were destroyed by allied bombing ...


3

As surprising as this may seem, there is some truth in these allegations, but of course this does not change in any way their antisemitic character. Why there is some truth The French Triangular Trade was conducted primarily from the harbor of Nantes, from where departed almost as many slave-carrying ships as from all the other French harbors combined. ...


3

There were multiple reasons why Algeria was so important to French: Algeria was French military colony since 1834. and, by the constitution of 1848 to be an integral part of French territory and divided into three French departments (Algiers, Oran and Constantine). Also, as Tom said, Algeria was backdoor of France and it was very possible route to invade ...



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