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July 10, 2003

French Victory #2

[This item was supposed to appear yesterday in the post-Bastille Day collection but somehow never made it out of the draft ...]

As far as I can tell, this (scroll down the page) is the original 'French Military History' posting (at least I haven't found any earlier ones yet). There is a slightly modified one here which a number of sites point to but it is more recent. I have also seen a number of emails circulating about the same content. Anyway, pick one of the links and have a good laugh.

Mind you to be fair, Australians celebrate Gallipoli as a major military episode and we lost that one to the Turks and the English ;-)

Hoist by Their Own Petain

So, after 58 years, the French have decided that they prefer Vichy after all. It's hardly surprising. When the Vichy regime was in power, one could pretty much do what one wanted when it came to those troublesome Jews. Yes, there were shortages and lots of Germans around, but that's not much different from the present. Plus, just like today, the truly intellectual could take pride in the notion that they were part of something larger than a piddling little nation state. And really, "Libert?, ?galit?, fraternit?!" is just so passe. Vichy knew that too, which is why they were replaced with Travail (work), Famille (family), and Patrie (fatherland).

Not that those are any better. The modern Vichian motto might as well be ignorez, retarde, apaisez. Ignore, delay and appease describe the French character as well as anything else, excepts perhaps "Unions, Vacations and Occasional Showers!".

You can hardly blame the French. France is example number one when comes to natural selection of a nation's character.

Gallic Wars - Lost. In a war whose ending foreshadows the next 2000 years of French history, France is conquered by of all things, an Italian.
Hundred Years War - Mostly lost, saved at last by female schizophrenic who inadvertently creates The First Rule of French Warfare; "France's armies are victorious only when not led by a Frenchman."
Italian Wars - Lost. France becomes the first and only country to ever lose two wars when fighting Italians.
Wars of Religion - France goes 0-5-4 against the Huguenots
Thirty Years War - France is technically not a participant, but manages to get invaded anyway. Claims a tie on the basis that eventually the other participants started ignoring her.
War of Devolution - Tied. Frenchmen take to wearing red flowerpots as chapeaux.
The Dutch War - Tied
War of the Augsburg League/King William's War/French and Indian War - Lost, but claimed as a tie. Three ties in a row induces deluded Frogophiles the world over to label the period as the height of French military power.
War of the Spanish Succession - Lost. The War also gave the French their first taste of a Marlborough, which they have loved every since.
American Revolution - In a move that will become quite familiar to future Americans, France claims a win even though the English colonists saw far more action. This is later known as "de Gaulle Syndrome", and leads to the Second Rule of French Warfare; "France only wins when America does most of the fighting."
French Revolution - Won, primarily due the fact that the opponent was also French.
The Napoleonic Wars - Lost. Temporary victories (remember the First Rule!) due to leadership of a Corsican, who ended up being no match for a British footwear designer.
The Franco-Prussian War - Lost. Germany first plays the role of drunk Frat boy to France's ugly girl home alone on a Saturday night.
World War I? - Tied and on the way to losing, France is saved by the United States. Thousands of French women find out what it's like to not only sleep with a winner, but one who doesn't call her "Fraulein." Sadly, widespread use of condoms by American forces forestalls any improvement in the French bloodline.
World War II - Lost. Conquered French liberated by the United States and Britain just as they finish learning the Horst Wessel Song.
War in Indochina?- Lost. French forces plead sickness, take to bed with the Dien Bien Flu
Algerian Rebellion - Lost. Loss marks the first defeat of a western army by a Non-Turkic Muslim force since the Crusades, and produces the First Rule of Muslim Warfare; "We can always beat the French." This rule is identical to the First Rules of the Italians, Russians, Germans, English, Dutch, Spanish, Vietnamese and Esquimaux.
War on Terrorism - France, keeping in mind its recent history, surrenders to Germans and Muslims just to be safe. Attempts to surrender to Vietnamese ambassador fail after he takes refuge in a McDonald's.

Let's face it. When it comes to war, France gets rolled more often than a Parisian prostitute with a visible mustache. They've been beaten so many times there's no fight left in them. There's no national anthem in the world as ludicrous as France's

To arms, to arms, ye brave!
Th'avenging sword unsheathe!
March on, march on, all hearts resolved
On liberty or death.

Oh liberty can man resign thee,
Once having felt thy gen'rous flame?
Can dungeons, bolts, and bar confine thee?
Or whips thy noble spirit tame?

Can dungeons, bolts, and bar confine thee? Or whips thy noble spirit tame? Yes, demonstrably. The question for any country silly enough to count on the French should not be "Can we count on the French?", but rather "How long until France collapses?"

You should keep that in mind, Herr Schroeder.

Update: Added the American revolution so as to satisfy the completists. Thanks Boulder Dude.

Also, those of who liked this bit of fluff might also like one of these.

Posted by Peskie at July 10, 2003 12:00 PM

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Thanks for the emails - a number of irate Aussies (and one Kiwi) have informed me that Australians do not (unlike the French) think that loosing at Gallipoli makes them a world power. Only one person commented on the the inclusion of the English in that item.

Ob. History Note: The English stuffed up the landing and put the Australians ashore at the wrong place (at a sheer cliff). The Australians persisted in holding the cliff for much longer than anyone thought possible and eventually managed to evacuate from Anzac Cove. The whole episode contributed to the independant (i.e. refusing to take British orders) spirit of the Australian troops in both World Wars.

Posted by: Ozguru at June 6, 2005 09:10 AM

Thanks for the link. That is the original.

Posted by: bigwig at June 6, 2005 09:11 AM

The blog referenced in this article has now moved on to bigger and better things. You can catch their current performance here.

Posted by: Ozguru at June 6, 2005 09:12 AM