Questions tagged [france]

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

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136 votes
9 answers
23k views

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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80 votes
13 answers
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Why didn't France and the UK invade Germany in September 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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61 votes
6 answers
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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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41 votes
7 answers
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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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39 votes
1 answer
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In 19th century France, were police able to send people to jail without a trial, as presented in "Les Misérables"?

This is inspired by this question from Literature.se In the book, the police inspector Javert arrests a prostitute who has attacked an "upstanding citizen". Following this arrest he thinks ...
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36 votes
6 answers
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What was the point of horse armour?

From my knowledge (and please correct me if I'm wrong), horse armour wasn't very thick (0.4mm-1.9mm) according to the paper in the link: How thick was late medieval horse armor? Even without ...
35 votes
3 answers
27k views

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 ...
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32 votes
9 answers
23k views

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 ...
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32 votes
1 answer
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What happened to these buildings near the Seine?

I was looking at these before after images and was concerned what happened to these beautiful buildings near the Seine in Paris. Were they destroyed in a war? Has there been any attempt to reconstruct ...
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31 votes
2 answers
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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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31 votes
2 answers
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Was a passport needed to travel between UK and France in 1972?

In Hitchcock's 1972 film Frenzy (at about the time 00:54:55) a character says: We can get a day trip to France. You don't need a passport. (He is a commoner, no diplomatic status etc, in fact a ...
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28 votes
7 answers
16k views

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, ...
27 votes
10 answers
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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 ...
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27 votes
5 answers
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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) ...
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25 votes
4 answers
10k views

Was it possible for a message from Paris to reach London within 48 hours in 1782?

I used to have a paperback copy of Diplomacy of the American Revolution by Samuel Flagg Bemis, but now I can't find it. I seem to recall that American diplomats in Paris in 1782 (Franklin, Adams, Jay) ...
23 votes
1 answer
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The WWI Christmas truce of 1914 resulted in no consequences, in spite of clear warnings against such beforehand - why were there no courts-martial?

British and German Soldiers photographed together during 1914 Christmas Truce. Source: The Daily Mirror, Friday January 8, 1915. Question What factors led to no courts-martial charges being pursued ...
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22 votes
5 answers
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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 ...
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22 votes
1 answer
3k views

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 ...
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21 votes
3 answers
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What did Richelieu 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 ...
21 votes
3 answers
12k views

Did Napoleon plan to invade India?

In 1798 Napoleon invaded Egypt and in 1799 he invaded the Middle East. The only thing that stopped him from going further was the fortifications of Acre which he could not take. What was his plans if ...
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21 votes
2 answers
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Did anyone face consequences (charges / court-martial) for the 1914 Christmas truce in WWI?

A copy of the Daily Mail from Dec. 31, 1914 reports on the Christmas truce. Source: The Star As a follow-up to this question about impromptu football / soccer games between troops from opposite ...
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21 votes
2 answers
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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 ...
20 votes
3 answers
6k views

What caused the 1979 Iranian 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?
19 votes
5 answers
18k views

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?
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19 votes
4 answers
3k views

Do any historians consider superior German airpower as the most important factor in the Battle of France?

In the Battle of France, the Allies and Germans had roughly equal number of divisions and troops, and the Allies actually had more artillery and tanks. But the one area where the Germans had a clear ...
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19 votes
2 answers
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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 ...
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19 votes
2 answers
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Is that armistice wagon photograph authentic?

The armistice on November 11th, 1918, was signed between 5:00 AM and 5:30 AM, french time (which was at this time UTC+0, one hour earlier than today). Wikipedia has a photo of the event, presumably ...
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19 votes
1 answer
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Why did Guinea vote so differently in the 1958 French constitutional referendum?

In the 1958 French constitutional referendum, 79.3% of Metropolitan France and 82.3% of the territories voted in favor of the constitution. Out of the latter, votes in favor ranged from 64.40% in ...
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19 votes
2 answers
427 views

Were Quintidis holidays in the French Republican calendar?

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 calendar was ...
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18 votes
1 answer
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Why did the population of Descartes, France increase by so much in the 1960's?

The population of Descartes in central France increased by upwards of 150% from 1962 to 1968 after a general negative trend over the preceding seventy years. Why was this? All I can find is that the ...
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18 votes
4 answers
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Why did the Schlieffen Plan prioritize invading France?

AFAIK, the consensus is that the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand led to Austria-Hungary declaring war on Serbia, which led to Russia coming to Serbia's defense. The fact that this would lead ...
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18 votes
3 answers
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What happened to all the French guillotines?

Quoting Wikipedia on Guillotine: 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 ...
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18 votes
3 answers
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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 ...
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18 votes
2 answers
4k views

Why were Morocco and Tunisia made a French protectorate, but Algeria annexed as part of France?

This question is somewhat related to this one. The three maghreban countries of Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia are almost like three sisters and share everything in common culturally and historically. ...
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18 votes
2 answers
781 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?
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17 votes
2 answers
8k views

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 ...
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17 votes
3 answers
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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 ...
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17 votes
2 answers
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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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17 votes
1 answer
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What was the need to call the Estates-General of 1789?

I read that in France at the time of the French revolution, the monarch did not have the power to impose taxes on his will alone. Rather he had to call a meeting of the Estates General which would ...
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17 votes
2 answers
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What was the reaction to English monarchs using the title "King of France"?

After the Hundred Years War (or "wars") the English had been wiped off France, but English monarchs kept using their official title "King of France". As I understand, this was to ...
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17 votes
2 answers
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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 "...
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17 votes
2 answers
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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 ...
16 votes
2 answers
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Did the French Revolution help produce French military "elan?"

In earlier wars against the British and Germans (e.g. the Seven Years' War of 1756-1763), French armies did not particularly distinguish themselves, even with a numerical advantage. Yet during the ...
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16 votes
2 answers
789 views

Why did the negotiations between Henry V of England and France fail?

Before Henry V of England resumed the Hundred Years War against France, he and the French government acting for Charles VI who was mentally ill were negotiating for a peace treaty where Henry V would ...
16 votes
1 answer
751 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?
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16 votes
1 answer
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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 ...
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16 votes
3 answers
3k 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'il a ...
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15 votes
2 answers
2k views

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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15 votes
3 answers
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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 ...
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15 votes
4 answers
7k views

Why was Khomeini in France? Who allowed him to leave and why? [closed]

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?
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