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102

Before answering, just to take issue with the premise of the question. Yes, France received a permanent seat on the Security Council, not to mention her own occupation zones in Germany and Austria. But France was not accorded a status anything like the "Big Three" in most other respects. From May 1943 De Gaulle was operating independently from French ...


77

Defense of German heritage against Romans The biggest reason for how the lands east of the Rhine retained their German identity (unlike the Gauls of modern day France who lost their Celtic identity) is the Battle of Teutoburg Forest where the Germans won a decisive victory against Roman invaders. After this battle, the Romans never seriously attempted to ...


62

I would contend that we tend to overestimate the effectiveness of bows vs armour, and that the armour would likely prevent at least some percentage of the damage to the mount. If we look at the wiki article on Barding we find the following (emphasis mine): During the Late Middle Ages as armour protection for knights became more effective, their mounts ...


58

I'm going to say that England should not be considered as having been a colony of France. From the wiki page for colony a colony is a territory under the immediate political control of a state, distinct from the home territory of the sovereign When William took power he did so on behalf of himself and not on behalf of France, and he ruled as King of ...


58

This is a plausible description. Probably not 'the norm' in how it went down exactly, but easily filed under 'could have happened'. But it is essential to not generalise this too far. Since the revolution there was a general right for an accused to have a trial. That was copied from English law and survived throughout the 19th century unharmed until 'Vichy'. ...


53

First because most cities in France are much smaller than cities in the US. Compare a list of French cities by population with the same for the US. There are 11 cities in the US bigger than the 2nd largest in France (Marseille at ~855,000) and 34 bigger than the 3rd largest (Lyon at ~500,000). Second, it does have big Atlantic coastal cities... by French ...


51

Based on this page from the French School for Advanced Studies in the Social Sciences, it appears that the neighbouring Balsesmes merged into La Haye-Descartes in 1966, before the combined commune was renamed to Descartes the next year. In 1962, the two communes had remarkably similar population levels of 1,679 and 1,689. With a combined population of 4,267 ...


48

They were not regular construction, but exhibits for the Exposition Universelle (1900), showing different cultures side by side: Each country funded, designed and on occasion constructed their pavilions, carrying the burden of some of the cost of the fair and the also the glory that followed in the praise of their homeland contributions. They were ...


46

British policy on the continent has traditionally been to maintain the balance of power (this is also really a general European thing). This amounted to shifting alliances all over the continent. Though France and Britain are "traditional" enemies (as neighbours were wont to be in Europe), they certainly hadn't been at war for anywhere near "close to 1000 ...


39

The main reason for the status of France after the WW2 was Churchill's position. Soft power and colonies are important, but nothing prevented the US & SU (both with strong anti-colonialist sentiment) from breaking up the French colonial empire. The war contribution of France was mostly in denying Germany the use of the French navy. The rest (resistance, ...


38

Piecing together various sources, it is clear that there was a no-passport agreement between the United Kingdom and France from 1961 until 1984 and that, even after the termination of this agreement, British citizens were able to use a British Visitor's Passport (in addition to the standard 'full' passport) until 1995. Between 1961 and 1995, the UK issued ...


37

The attitude in the early 19 century was somewhat different. No one considered these wars as wars "against France", I mean against the French people. These were the wars against Napoleon, and earlier the wars against the revolutionary government. So there was no notion that "France should be punished". Many French emigres were on the coalition side. It is ...


35

The French Postal Service started operation in the fifteenth century and by 1632 - 150 years before your inquiry - there was already a network of over 623 coaching inns operated by it across the length and breadth of France - typically about seven miles apart. These coaching inns provided refreshment, accommodation and fresh teams for all travelers, not just ...


35

Louis X's decree in 1315 did not abolish slavery. That's a historical myth. First, the ordonnance did not say anything about slaves, and explicitly mentioned that it was applicable to persons "en lien de servitude", which were serfs. Second, the king did not just give freedom out of magnanimity, reminding that enfranchisement could only happen at &...


33

Many French may have borne arms for the Axis, but it was very soft support; not many of them never 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 ...


32

Technically, it's not a flag it's a surcoat. It represents the coats of arms of her family. In heraldic terms, the display of these arms are known as impalement. In this case, the arms on the dexter side (her right) represent the arms of her husband, Edward II (the coat of arms of England) and on the sinister side (her left) those of her family (the coat of ...


29

The answer is a very solid yes although I'd prefer the word Intervene rather than invade. India was one of the key possessions of British and Indian trade was crucial to British economy at that time. As long as British economy was strong, Britain would have been able to field expeditionary forces to thwart French ambitions worldwide. So that's where ...


28

I agree with much of Semaphore's answer, which shows that actually Britain and France were not in a state of perpetual war. But I think your question really relates to "What changed?" so I'll try to answer that. Firstly, the end of the Napoleonic era. The Battle of Waterloo and following months were the end of the Napoleonic wars, and the end of the "Big" ...


26

Atlantic pockets The answer is surprisingly difficult to find on Wikipedia. I persisted in searching and finally found this: German military administration in occupied France during World War II The Liberation of France was the result of the Allied operations Overlord and Dragoon in the summer of 1944. Most of France was liberated by ...


25

The Franks were a German tribe, speaking a Germanic language. They conquered part of the Roman Empire roughly corresponding to modern-day France. However, the common folk in that area spoke Latin, and never stopped just because their ruling class was now German. Over time their Latin language drifted until it became the language we now call "French". ...


25

To my surprise, this may be somewhat accurate. In the critical Battle of Sedan on May 13, Guderian fielded 1st and 2nd Panzer divisions, reinforced by Grossdeutchland infantry regiment, one regiment of assault engineers, and divisional artillery from two panzer divisions. To compensate for the absence of his artillery reserve, still in transit to the front, ...


24

Bordeaux and Nantes are major cities and their proximity to the Atlantic coast was key to their development so there is nothing unusual about France in this respect, it does have some major port cities on the Atlantic coast. The question, then, is really one of local geography. Those cities are located a few tens of kilometres away from the actual coastline,...


23

Let's split that 20 year period up into four segments 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) 1803-1809 (Camp at Boulogne and Peak: Ulm through Wagram) 1809-1814 (slow, then increasingly faster, decline) Valmy through ...


23

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 Vichy-...


23

It shouldn't. Before conquering England, William the Bastard was Duke of Normandy, a political entity that had been separate from West Francia (by 1066, the Kingdom of France) since 911 C.E. The Normans spoke a dialect of French, and William and his ancestors were technically vassals of the kings of France, but it was still more or less a separate entity. ...


23

This anecdote is from Walter Scott's novel Quentin Durward. The king is Louis XI. The guy who predicts the future is Martius (Marti) Galeotti, Italian astrologist. The guard who is supposed to kill him at the exit of king's chamber is Oliver, barber and servant of Louis. I think Scott made it up. But possibly he read this is some historical source. Martius ...


22

Here is the map of colonial possessions by 1945: The French possessions are in blue. As you can see, France controlled a territory comparable to the US, USSR, British and Chinese. Adding them meant adding representatives of a large portion of the world's population to the security council.


21

From my French point of view, I would like to add a few things to Mark's post. First, the UK and France were rival countries for a long time (the UK is often referred in French as our “greatest enemy”). After the WW2, the moral impact of the war made those countries to choose ways to protect themselves from another war. However, their responses were quite ...


21

I am not well enough read in French history and governance to offer a good answer, so I shall offer a poor answer. Note: Others have provides more learned explanations of whether he said it; I shall focus on what he could have meant, had he said it. My understanding of the comment attributed to Louis is that all the governance of France originated in and was ...


21

The reason for the meeting was finance. I don't have that research to hand, but France was absolutely screwed for finance. They had a structural deficit and had tried everything (including inventing entirely new and fantastic monetary systems, firing successive finance ministers, etc.) There wasn't a mechanism to levy new taxes or to change the allocation ...


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