What WARS has France won?

Discussion in 'History' started by mountainhare, Oct 7, 2005.

  1. wlminex Banned Banned

    I once saw a newspaper ad in Paris that read: "FOR SALE. One WWII rifle. NEVER fired. Dropped only ONCE." (<-- humor here)
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  3. Pandaemoni Valued Senior Member

    The piece I posted was written specifically as a response to that (and also includes the link to albinoblacksheep): War Nerd

    The notion that the entry of the U.S. into WWI, in the last 19 or so months of the war, somehow turned the tide just shows that Americans do not know very much about WWI (and likely confuse it with WWII). We certainly had an impact, but Germany's defeat was all but inevitable by the time we had boots on the ground.

    I'm not sure why Americans hate the French and love the British. We fought two wars against Britain, and one of them we only won because the French helped us (which is why Cornwallis sent General O'Hara to surrender his sword to Rochambeau, not to Washington, though Rochambeau refused it and directed it be given to the Americans). And then, by the way, we double-crossed the French at during the treaty negotiations with Britain, signing a separate peace with the British, to get favorable terms, and leaving our ally sitting at the table alone after that, still clutching their plans for a joint treaty. The other war with the Brits was a draw (and we were only a nuisance target to the Brits in the War of 1812...they had bigger fish to fry than us). I fear that there's better evidence for Americans are ingrates than the French being cowards.

    There's a lot that's wrong with France and the French, but their military history isn't awful.
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2012
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  5. GIRAUDET Registered Member

    That's strange !

    When I search for "french military victories" on Google, I find 1 800 000 results !

    Maybe you have a computer problem. Call the hot line...
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  7. Chipz Banned Banned

    The French have won the war against obesity, which is a pretty big one.
  8. Pavol Registered Member

    Ok, 1066 in Hastings-It were Normans, not French who conquered England. If they weren't descendants of Vikings, they would get their asses kicked. Also, they were influenced by France- if England wasn't attacked by Vikings same year, they probably wouldn't conquer it.
    100 years war-reclaiming your territory from weaker country with worse equipped army isn't quite win. It's kind of draw. Also, letting enemies to capture your leader isn't very glorious either.
    Napoleonic wars- Napoleon was from Corsica. Which means that France can do nothing without support of foreigner(s).
    World wars-won with support of allies.
  9. quadraphonics Bloodthirsty Barbarian Valued Senior Member

    While I can agree that the standard American narrative of WWI is overstated, you are going too far in the other direction there. While your assertion there is technically correct, it talks around the fact that many of the reasons that Germany's defeat was all but inevitable by the time we had boots on the ground, is exactly that Germany knew we had boots on the way and so attempted to bring the war to a decisive conclusion before we showed up - exactly because they knew that all was lost once we arrived. The fact that they failed to force a decisive victory before we showed up to slam the door on them is just that. Germany lost that war the second they allowed it to escalate to the point of US intervention, and everyone knew it at the time. A major reason we weren't involved earlier is exactly that Germany was being careful to avoid drawing us in.

    Yeah, these stereotypes are almost bizarre to anyone with the slightest sense of history. Napoleon, anyone?

    Sometimes I think maybe the French are actually complicit in spreading these modern stereotypes, as perhaps they are glad to be rid of their former image as the terrifying military power that held Europe in its grips. Better to let the Russians and Germans and Americans have that reputation, and instead play the "diplomacy" card, perhaps?
  10. quadraphonics Bloodthirsty Barbarian Valued Senior Member

    Corsica is part of France, and was at the time as well.

    Likewise, I do not think that you will like the implications of that kind of reasoning if you apply them to, say, the USA or Australia or any number of other countries.
  11. Lamprey Registered Member

    Saying Napoleon wasn't French, he was Corsican is like saying Robert E. Lee wasn't American, he was Virginian.

    And despite all the stereotypes, the French were basically the military superpower of the middle ages. They were surrounded by enemies: the English in the north, the HRE in the east, Spain in the south. All of them powerful entities at the time. And yet, France not only didn't get swallowed up, she thrived, controlling chunks of the low countries, Italy, etc. at various times.

    Do you really think that would've been possible if France lost all her wars?

    For some details:
    1. Charlemagne conquered basically all of western Europe, sans Spain. Some would count that a victory.
    2. Martel beating back the muslim invasion of Europe
    3. Hundred years' war, obviously. French started out weaker (given that England controlled Normandy AND Aquitaine), lost a LOT of battles, but stayed in there and won. A lot like Rome in the 2nd Punic war, actually...
    4. War of the reunions
    5. War of the Polish succession - beat Austria, took Lorraine
    6. Napoleon, as has been mentioned to death. Takes on & beats ALL of Europe combined something like 5 times?
    7. Took Algeria in the 19th century
    8. Crimean War - not that Russia was hard to beat by then, but still...
    9. Italian war of independence - France beat Austria so they'd leave Garibaldi alone

    Heck, in the 17th century, France had a stretch where they haven't lose a single battle for like 60 years? And look at the wars that ended in a draw:

    1. War of devolution - France vs. Netherlands, England, Sweden & Spain
    2. War of the grand alliance - France vs. Netherlands, England, Sweden, Spain, Scotland, Savoy & Holy Roman Empire
    3. War of the spanish succession: France & Bavaria vs. Netherlands, England, Spain, Austria, Savoy, Prussia, Portugal

    Anyone should be able to see a pattern by now. France was the guy to beat. Nearly every was she was in, it was France vs. 4-7 other countries combined. She was so much stronger than anyone else that no country would even think of fighting a war against France on anything approaching 1 on 1 terms.

    As for the stereotype that France can't win wars? My guess is, the English made it up, being France's perpetual enemy. And the USA is basically descended from England...
  12. Ysteria Registered Member


    You are joking moron, at least take a look at wikipedia before saying such bullshit. In 1918 the french army was far better (doctrines, operations, equipment) than german or english army. It's easy to repeat what you retarded teachers told you with their biased mind, they have never learned history as your special retard educational system teaches drawing and theater and other bullshit and then says "our pupils are happy they finish school at 3 every day but they learn as much as those who end at 6" you believe that? Just shut your mouth up, you don't know what you are talking about like most of your mates. Repeating something you heard in a pub from an alcoholic relation can't be considered as knowledge, just saying. It disgust me how idiots try to change history for pleasure and assume things they totally invented.
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 18, 2014
  13. Kittamaru Ashes to ashes, dust to dust. Adieu, Sciforums. Valued Senior Member

    Mod Hat

    Not a good first impression Ysteria... do you care to redact that statement and try again with a little more tact?
  14. The Marquis Only want the best for Nigel Valued Senior Member

    You could say "fuck tact" and ask him to present something more factual instead, you know.

    Or is the presentation of an argument more important than its substance? I find it interesting that rather than ask for substance, you ask him to be polite.
    The question "what is wrong with Sciforums" has been prevalent for a long time now.
    Some of us know.
  15. Kittamaru Ashes to ashes, dust to dust. Adieu, Sciforums. Valued Senior Member

    Substance being more important than presentation has long been an incorrect ideal that some people hold...

    You can be as factually correct as you want; if you present the argument like a jackass, you're still a jackass, and people are not likely to take you seriously, nor take kindly to what you present.
  16. The Marquis Only want the best for Nigel Valued Senior Member

    More fool them, then, if truth is subject to the manner is which it is presented.
  17. Kittamaru Ashes to ashes, dust to dust. Adieu, Sciforums. Valued Senior Member

    *nods* It is a simple fact of human nature - the greater populace will always respond more favorably to honeyed words than the sting of simple truth.
  18. exchemist Valued Senior Member

    I would not express myself in quite these terms but you are right that in the 1st WW Germany thought France would be a pushover, as she had been in the Franco-Prussian War and got a nasty shock at how well they fought.

    Going back to the OP, I would have mentioned the Hundred Years War. England comprehensively lost that, though English textbooks (and Shakespeare) tend to gloss over the fact.
  19. Stryder Keeper of "good" ideas. Valued Senior Member

    That's all you really needed to say, all that pent up anger and fragrant trolling over a post that someone wrote way back in 2005 isn't really necessary.
  20. exchemist Valued Senior Member

    Fragrant? Are you Japanese or something?

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  21. GIRAUDET Registered Member

    This thread looks quite strange to me. There is something surrealist in this subject itself and in all these assertions about french cowardice and french uncapacity to win and even to struggle. I guess this thread was inspired at the beginning by the decision of the french government to refuse to justify and support the anglo-american adventure in Irak, in 2003, contesting the existence of massive destruction weapons and any connection between Al Qaïda and Saddam Hussein. Being walloon (french belgian, like Agatha Christie's character Hercule Poirot !) and living in Paris-France, I know Anglo-Saxons' grudge can be terrible against French ! And I guess some posts here are a perfect illustration of this.

    I red these 8 pages and I found many historical mistakes. Of course, that's understandable and I have a real and friendly admiration for those who restored some historical facts. But I would like to go further in this sense.

    Some mistakes made me laugh because they are quite naive : the main one contests that the french revolutionary wars were a french victory because it was an affair between French ! It's an artless confusion between the french revolution and the french revolutionary wars. Of coure, the french revolution opposed the french people to its king (nevertheless, being mistrustful against his people, Louis the 16th had a swiss guard !). But the french revolutionary wars are the wars the french republic had to do against nearly all the european monarchies which attacked France for having create a republic ! Not only it was not a war between French but it's a kind of exceptional and miraculous victory of baddly equipped popular troups (affectionately called "les sans-culotte" : "without-panties") against the strongest european monarchies' armies. The important battle of Valmy against Prussians in september 1792 is as famous in France as Napoleon's Austerlitz.

    Concerning Napoleon, of course he was french. He became a soldier, then a corporal and at last an officer in the revolutionary army (but he did not fight in Valmy), before beginning a political career (with the title of "consul"). That's the reason why he lately passed his time trying to eliminate one after one all the kings and emperors who had attemted to submit the french republic. He never tried to conquer territories for France but only to knock down the monarchs and replace them by friendly new ones. That's why there still are tight relations between danish and swedish monarchies and some french families for instance.

    Well, I'm afraid my post is already very long. I would not want to tire those who have had the courage to read me. But you will admit it's impossible to ignore the war of 100 years when we talk about France in english ! I have red that French won without making real battles. What an astonishing untruth ! Let's recall some historical facts. This period is very important for french because France really existed definitively after Charles the 7th had won in 1453. Until that date, France only existed during the reigns of some strong kings (Louis the 7th, Philippe the 1st, Philippe the 3rd, Louis the 9th...) but most of the time the kingdom of France was just a small territory in the middle of France surrounded by very powerful duchies (Bretagne, Bourgogne, Aquitaine, Flandres, Berry...). This long sery of military events (1337-1453) has developped for the 1st time a national conscience, because of the massacres of people made by the english army, more especially the Black Prince, and thanks to the very important symbol that Joan of Arc became.

    First of all, there were two wars of 45 and 40 years each. The first one was won thanks to a famous general, Duguesclin who had the intelligence during the 1370's to provoke a lot of small battles (800 to 1500 soldiers on each side) instead of big ones, knowing the army of the french king did not have enougn means. During the 2nd war which begun 30 years later, English soon won the famous battle of Azincourt in 1415. At that time, France had a mad king ! Charles the 6th. Not the best way to win a battle maybe ! But, after Charles the 7th rose on the throne, big military battles were won by this king : more especially Patay (with Joan of Arc) in 1429 where 2500 english soldiers died (only 50 French) and the decisive battles of Formigny and Castillon in 1453 where the loss were the same as in Patay, the english army being detroyed by the french new weapon : artillery.

    I also contest the fact that Charles the 7th has abandoned Joan of Arc. At this moment of his reign (1430), he was still weak, a big part of France being occupied. The Duke of Bourgogne was allied to English and even Paris had rejected him ! But he created the symbol of Joan of Arc to generate a national conscience in the french people. And I'm sure that served him a lot to win 20 years later.

    Well ! Now, I'm going to save and free my kind readers (if there are still some here) ! I hope my post was not totally deprived of interest.

    Friendly wishes to all.
  22. exchemist Valued Senior Member

    Yes thanks for your remarks concerning the 100 years war. It is quite true that the catastrophic nature of that war, and the way it was waged by the English, is glossed over in most English history.

    I also think that British and American people tend to be a bit smug, not recognising that being on an island, or remote from the warring factions in Europe, gives a country a huge advantage compared to those with continental land borders with their neighbours. Though British myself, I see things from a different perspective now, having married a Frenchwoman and having a bilingual son. I like to give him as even-handed a treatment of history as I can.
  23. sideshowbob Sorry, wrong number. Valued Senior Member

    I would suggest that it had as much to do with technology as fighting ability. In 1870, the Germans had the big guns; by 1914, the French had caught up. By 1918 it was largely about who had the most cannon fodder.

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