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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124
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9answers
19k 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, ...
67
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13answers
29k views

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 ...
61
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6answers
21k views

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 ...
42
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7answers
11k views

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.
33
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3answers
16k 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 ...
32
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9answers
16k 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 ...
31
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2answers
20k views

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 ...
31
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1answer
4k views

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 ...
29
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2answers
4k views

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 ...
28
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7answers
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
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10answers
15k views

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 ...
22
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4answers
32k views

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) ...
22
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1answer
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 ...
21
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3answers
8k 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 ...
20
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3answers
9k views

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 ...
20
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2answers
857 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 ...
19
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5answers
13k 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?
19
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3answers
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 ...
19
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2answers
3k views

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 ...
19
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2answers
2k views

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 ...
19
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3answers
5k 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
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1answer
920 views

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 ...
18
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1answer
5k views

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 ...
18
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2answers
3k 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. ...
18
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2answers
718 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?
17
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3answers
3k 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 ...
17
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3answers
5k views

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 ...
17
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2answers
10k views

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 "...
17
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2answers
350 views

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 calendar ...
16
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2answers
2k views

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 ...
16
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1answer
603 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?
16
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1answer
5k views

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 ...
16
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2answers
675 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 ...
15
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4answers
6k views

“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 ...
15
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2answers
6k 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 ...
15
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2answers
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?
15
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4answers
6k 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?
15
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2answers
393 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 ...
15
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2answers
7k views

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 ...
15
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2answers
2k 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 ...
15
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1answer
884 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 ...
14
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5answers
10k views

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 ...
14
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1answer
936 views

Why did the French Army melt film during WWI?

I have just watched the film Hugo which is in part a telling of the life of Georges Méliès. Part of the film is that he sold his films which were then melted down to make heels for shoes. I did some ...
14
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2answers
760 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 ...
14
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2answers
13k views

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 ...
14
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1answer
1k views

Who said “one can be a powerful king with a very small sceptre”?

Anne McElvoy, senior editor at the Economist, wrote the following in a recent column: As a mistress of Louis XIV waspishly remarked, one can be a powerful king with a very small sceptre. The quote ...
14
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1answer
716 views

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 ...
14
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5answers
8k views

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 ...
14
votes
1answer
679 views

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 ...
14
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3answers
548 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. ...