Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Recollection: The Liberation of Paris in August 1944 (final part)

This subject, I am afraid, may not interest most of my readers since it is history of a foreign city, but I thought my grandchildren might read it some day and enjoy it because their grandma was there, at the Paris liberation, just as I enjoyed my grandfather telling me about World War One.  My last post, part 3, was going to be my final post until I found out more information that had been made available through the Freedom of Information Act.  In part 3, I mentioned that the French Resistance had been vital during WW2 and especially during D-Day in June 1944.  In 1946, General of the Army George C. Marshall stated: "The Resistance surpassed all our expectations, and it was they who, in delaying the arrival of German reinforcements and in preventing the regrouping of enemy divisions in the interior, assured the success of our landings.  Without the Resistance everything would have been compromised."  The Resistance members in France and other French groups based out of the country were under the direction of General de Gaulle, in London.  For some reason the US does not recognize de Gaulle and the Resistance's hard work as they do Winston Churchill and the British.

Also in my post, part 3 of the Paris liberation, I explained how the 15,000 US military men and equipment whose pictures had been widely seen and reproduced, walking through the center of Paris on their way to the front, were marching on August 29,1944, three days after Paris was liberated.  They walked through Paris and did not stop (they did not take part in any combat in Paris.)  Paris was liberated mostly by the Parisians with the help of the FFI (Free French of the Interior or Parisian Resistance.)  But this picture of the US Army three days after the liberation is the one that people, from everywhere, remember.

Postcards and stamp showing US troops marching down the Champs-Elysees, without stopping, on August 29, 1944, 3 days after Paris was liberated by the Parisians and Free French forces.

In any case the Parisians greeted the marching US soldiers with delight.  Most of them did not know that these troops had just arrived and were marching through and out of town.  I insist on this because the Resistance/FFI and Parisian civilians were heroes who sacrificed their lives to liberate Paris and their courage should be recognized and remembered.  (Click on collage twice to enlarge.)

France is certainly very grateful to the US and Allied Forces for liberating their country and Europe, but the city of Paris was liberated by the French - this is history that does not minimize in the least all the hard work and sacrifices of the Allies.  In France the liberation is not remembered with the image of the US Army marching on August 29, but with General Leclerc and the 2nd Armored Division, who accepted the surrender of Nazi General von Choltitz on August 25, 1944 - the date recognized as the liberation of Paris.  Below are Parisians with Leclerc tanks and, on 26 August, celebrating.

Our house in a suburb of Paris, where I spent my teenage years, was on General Leclerc street.

I was interested to find out why President Franklin D. Roosevelt had such an aversion for General de Gaulle (some even call it a pathological hate.)  I read many historic documents, non-fiction books, archives, etc.  It is difficult to write about all this in just a couple of sentences.  FDR wished to only deal with an "elected" government and had recognized the Vichy government.  FDR regarded de Gaulle as a conceited young general and "apprentice dictator."  FDR had great admiration for General Philippe Petain (1856-1951) a French national hero from his victory at the Verdun battle in WWI and appointed premier of France in June 1940.  It was hard for FDR to believe that Petain had turned German collaborator.  Petain, aged 83, capitulated to Hitler and formed a puppet government.  His government collaborated with Nazi Germany and moved to Vichy (approx. 400 km/250 miles from Paris,) taking orders from Hitler.  De Gaulle resigned and flew to London where, singlehandedly he established the "Free French" government in exile and, on 18 June 1940, started his radio calls to the Resistance and French people.  Vichy convicted de Gaulle to death in absentia.  This was a problem for both Roosevelt and Churchill - who should they work with?  Churchill chose de Gaulle and Roosevelt Petain.

After FDR refused to meet with de Gaulle because he had not been "elected" by the French people, de Gaulle wrote a long eloquent letter to him in October 1942, in French, explaining his goals for the freedom of France.  In it he explained that, sometimes, people who have not been "elected" could still accomplish much for a country, using Joan of Arc as an example, and he added that once free, the French people could elect who they liked.  The letter was translated in English by FDR's Francophobe translators.  Through the Freedom of Information Act the letter was made public not so long ago.  It showed that it had been translated in such a way to make de Gaulle sound as if he was saying that he was Joan of Arc. FDR did not answer the letter at the time (but made constant jokes about Joan-of-Arc-de-Gaulle.)  FDR's cabinet kept working with members of the Vichy government until late 1943 and refused to coordinate with the Free French established in London by de Gaulle - it had been recognized by 37 other countries.  FDR did not give de Gaulle the date of the Allied landing in North Africa (French territory at the time,) and FDR's cabinet told him of Mussolini's surrender 4 days late.   Even though de Gaulle was in charge of the Resistance and Free French army he was denied access to intelligence by FDR.  The Normandy landing was not shared with him until the last minute.  Anyone would believe that this was a deliberate insult to General de Gaulle.

 On November 22, 1942, US General Mark W. Clark of the combined Allied command had Admiral Darlan, the Vichy government representative, sign a treaty which placed "North Africa at the disposition of the Americans" and made France "a vassal country."  Not many people know on this side of the pond that, because of his intense dislike of de Gaulle, Roosevelt wished to govern France after the war and make it a protectorate of the USA.  A 1943 letter released to the British Government in 2000 shows this.  In that letter of May 8, 1943, Roosevelt said to Churchill "I am more and more of the opinion that we should consider France as a militarily-occupied nation and governed by British and American generals ... We would keep 90% of the [Vichy] mayors and a large percentage of the lesser bureaucrats of the cities and departments.  But the important posts would remain the responsibility of the military commander, American and British ... Perhaps [General Charles] de Gaulle can become governor of Madagascar."  President Roosevelt wished to promote obedient and docile French General Giraud and take power away from General de Gaulle.  FDR knew that only de Gaulle could prevent him from making France a vassal of the US after the end of the war.

Anthony Eden, prime minister of England 1955-1957, wrote in his diary of March 1944 that FDR's absurd and petty dislike of de Gaulle blinded him from making rational policy toward France, and wrote scathingly that FDR planned to "create a bizarre amalgam called "Wallonia" which would include parts of Belgium, Luxembourg, Alsace, Lorraine and the north of France."  FDR considered France a power in decay that should not regain its independence after the war, wished to dismember it and create this new state of Wallonia (maybe a compulsory 51st US State?)  This project of FDR is not known in the US but it is in France.  I read this on an English newspaper a couple of year ago  "...a 1943 study commissioned by then US President Franklin Roosevelt envisaged the creation of a "greater Wallonia" that would have incorporated not just French-speaking Belgium, but also Luxembourg, Alsace-Lorraine and the two northernmost department of France."  President Roosevelt also thought that a new military alliance such as the United Nations should emerge, but with only the USA, Britain and Russia - France would not be invited to join.  Below is President Roosevelt and Dwight Eisenhower en route for Italy and the book I just finished reading on FDR's plans for France.

As early as 1941-42, to keep de Gaulle out of power, Washington planned a military rule for France, the same as for defeated Italy, Germany and Japan.  It would have been governed by the "Allied Military Government of Occupied Territories" or Amgot.  Hundreds of US officers, administrators, attorneys, military policemen, scientists and physicians were trained secretly for that purpose at the School of Military Government, in Charlottesville, Virginia.  A new French currency called "Flag Money" was printed in the US to be used after the Normandy landing (and was used for a couple of months until forbidden by then President de Gaulle.)  The currency was similar to US dollars with a French flag, but without the word "republic."  Zone Handbooks on France had been printed detailing all the areas of France, and covering local politics, the economy, geography and even up to movie theatres to show only American movies.    Civil servants and US war tribunals would have been used in French courts.  France would have gone from a "hard German occupation" to a "US military occupation."  (French people were forced to use that money and were outraged.)  This was averted by General de Gaulle's rapid arrival in Paris at the liberation and immediately installing his legal provisional government.

FDR had even been thinking that since there would be no sovereign government of France, General Eisenhower would be appointed "Governor of France" or "Pro-Consul" such as Paul Bremer was for over a year during the occupation of Iraq in 2003-04, where this US government program was implemented (you can see the results now ...)   As late as May 1944 President Roosevelt would not recognized de Gaulle as the head of the Free French Government (who had thwarted his plans) but was made to recognize it in late October 1944.  FDR's irrational Francophobia was a problem for Eisenhower who needed to finalize his battle strategy for the rest of the war with the Free French Army and Resistance, directed by de Gaulle (who FDR told him not to contact.)  De Gaulle who had a great memory never forgave the US for trying to take France over and for the years worked against him - behind his back.  He felt France was treated like an enemy rather than an ally.  In the collective memory of the French people this US offense was narrowly avoided by the fast and adroit actions of General de Gaulle, but it sure made for darker relation with the US.  How would America have felt if, after France and Lafayette helped Washington (by bringing a force of 45,000 men to fight with Washington's 8,000 soldiers,) France had decided to military occupy the country, placed a puppet French governor, and printed French money to be used instead of the US dollar?  just think on that.

At the request of President Roosevelt, General de Gaulle was purposely left out of the Yalta Conference in early 1945.  When President de Gaulle opted out of NATO in 1966, wishing France to become free from the superpowers' influences, the US government started a media campaign of anti-French sentiments, which was successful and still is, unfortunately (even the New York Times takes part in it often.)  De Gaulle wished for an independent France and was concerned that the USA would try to take it over one way or another.  However, in April 2009, French President Sarkozy re-integrated France into NATO.

If General de Gaulle had not swiftly installed the Provisional French Government at the liberation of Paris - who would have taken over?  Even though FDR assiduously undercut him and tried to meddle in French affairs de Gaulle had a great admiration for him.  At the death of President Roosevelt de Gaulle led the nation in mourning for a week.  In 1962 he told columnist Cyrus Sulzberger:  "Franklin Roosevelt was a great man, although I did not agree with him, as your know.  He led the United States into war and through the war until victory.  He was a man of quality."  The city of Paris has a metro station named in honor of Franklin D. Roosevelt.  I cannot recall reading that there is any underground station, or bus station, in the US named after General de Gaulle, maybe there is one?

General de Gaulle was always surprised when the US media or people here would say that he was anti-American.  He affirmed that he was just defending the interests of France, just like Franklin D. Roosevelt would defend the interests of his country.  I tried to remember if, while at school in Paris, my friends would talk negatively about the US.  I remember that they did, but 90% of what they did not like about the US was their treatment of their black citizens and Native Americans - that was the major reasons for their disapproval.  De Gaulle was often rigid and intractable but his deep love for France cannot be denied.  He wanted Frenchwomen and Frenchmen to keep sovereignty of their country and lead the liberation of Paris.  With him, the Parisians, the coordination of the FFI and the French 2nd Armored Division, they succeeded.




47 comments:

DJan said...

This is all history I knew nothing about. There is still anti-French sentiment in the US, and perhaps this is the source of it. But not all of us feel that France has ever been anything but a place for freedom to exist. I hate to say it, but French people have more freedom today than we Americans. Thank you for this very informative history lesson, VB. :-)

David said...

Vagabonde, Very interesting read... I wasn't aware of this undercurrent between the US and De Gaulle during the war. You certainly aren't afraid to tackle a sensitive topic...in this case still sensitive to French and US citizens alike.

I believe that part of the reason that Americans 'sided more' with Britain vs. France is that France was divided during the war and really ceased 'being' in the eyes of much of the world...despite the valiant and continued efforts of the Resistance. On the surface, publicly, only the questionable 'neutral' Vichy government remained. Of course part of this feeling was due to official US policy and the press being pretty much in lock step... The other issue is that its easier to related to people and countries that speak the same language.

Nice job relating and challenging topic!

Take Care, Big Daddy Dave

Inger said...

I will come back and read all of this. It is so interesting, but I must confess to being too tired to read it all right now. I love the photos and the stamps are just fabulous. I hope your husband is doing OK. Sending good thoughts your way.

Thérèse said...

Comme c'est interessant! Combien j'ignorais!
Pauvre Alsace-Lorraine, elle en prend toujours plein la g..... :-)
Je vais relire tout cela une deuxieme fois plus tard pour m'en impregner un peu plus et un peu mieux.

Valerie-Jael said...

Great post, I really enjoyed reading it, and it is so important to remember what happened! Thanks for your visit and kind comment on my blog, too! Hugs, Valerie

Vagabonde said...

David – Yes it is a challenging subject or rather, just history which we should know. It is a challenging subject for a post as I know most people rather read about light subjects than something that might be disagreeable – or subjects they would rather not know about. I have always admired Franklin D. Roosevelt for his brilliant mind, his tenacity and courage but I was pained to learn that he had this phobia against France and wanted to dismember it and take it over. I read a lot more than I can write in this post – how he had even decided to censor news in France and free speech once the country had been cut into two parts – one occupied by the US and the other by the UK. I still admire him but I am pleased I learned about his other sides too. Thanks for your comment.

Nadege said...

I remember finding some not very nice information about FDR and his administration when I read "In the garden of the beasts" by Erik Larsen. Thank you so much for this important post!

French Girl in Seattle said...

Ma chère Vagabonde. I was looking forward to the last installment in your captivating series about the Liberation of Paris. You did not disappoint. Bravo for researching these historical events so thoroughly. Bravo for tackling such a controversial topic with honesty. Some may not appreciate what you wrote, but it had to be said. This really helps understand the rocky relationship between France and the United States, to this day. You are correct when you state that these events are more widely known in France than in the United States. My dad often shared his version of the story you tell here. Not surprisingly, he always speaks highly of "le Général," ;-) Veronique (French Girl in Seattle)

Tom Bickle said...

I really enjoyed reading this series. Thank
you!

Vagabonde said...

Veronique – Thank you for your understanding. I was just trying to relate some history that may not be known here. I knew it was a risk – French people like to criticize their own country but here, if people think that you may be criticizing the US, even if it is historically true, they get very angry, or just don’t want to hear it. But as I said before I am writing this in the hope that my grandchildren will read it someday, and be open minded, not to upset readers. Thanks for your comment.

Pat said...

Excellent post Vagabonde and courageous of you to write it.
There was much that was new to me
but it explains much of the tenor of that time.
Too much of past history is swept under the carpet which means we never learn from our mistakes.
Well done!







there

wordsandpeace.com said...

merci bien pour ces excellents postes si bien documentés

Miss_Yves said...

J'admire tout ce travail de documentation!

Ginnie said...

I would love for you to have enough time, Vagabonde, to re-do all the history books of all the world everywhere!!! HA! At least we would know they were right and thorough. :)

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Vagabonde .. I knew nothing about this - so it's fascinating reading ... and learning ...

Being a cosmopolitan country and part of Europe (country wise) .. we appreciate different parts of the world and are more open to what might have happened and are prepared to learn. Not possible for many who only know the States ...

Thanks for posting these four posts with all the photos and notes .. cheers Hilary

Perpetua said...

What a fantastic series of posts, Vagabonde. Because I'm so busy at the moment, I've just skimmed them, but have bookmarked them to read again in detail after the move. Wonderful stuff.

The Sabbatical Chef said...

WOW! This is very impressive! I am so glad I found you.

Should Fish More said...

I wish I'd found your blog before, I'll be going back and reading previous posts.

Overall FDR was a great president, but he had his blind spots and it was difficult, as I understand it, to get him to change his opinion.

Our state department at this time was less than helpful, witness the Bermuda Conference where we refused to help Jewish refugees when we could.

Nadezda said...

Vagabonde, you write about interesting things in history of WWII war. I didn't know that America wanted to keep de Gaulle out of power:((
I always thought de Gaulle was very popular in the countries that fought against fascism.

Dee said...

Dear Vagabonde, this four-part series of the Resistance and the Liberation of Paris, of General De Gaulle and the antipathy FDR felt for him is the most interesting history I've read in some time. And that's because it counters the traditional beliefs I've held about World War II and De Gaulle and FDR.

Last evening I watched PBS's presentation of Ken Burns' "The Roosevelts: An Intimate History." I watched all seven episodes in the past week and learned a great deal.

One thing that wasn't new to me was Stalin's desire--brought out in last night's final episode--to scoop up all the countries his military had liberated in the campaign from Russia to Germany. Here in the US we've always found that despicable.

And yet, your posting--which I believe is based on solid evidence and research--shows me that FDR was also planning on "scooping up" countries--to form his Wallonia. Never has that ever been mentioned in anything I've read. And so I know that once again the people writing our history books pick and choose what they will tell us.

It takes effort and research--which you've done--to find the truth. Thank you.

You know, Vagabonde, I wish you could put these four postings into a long article and try to get in published in a magazine read by historians and others. Or try to get Steven Spielberg interested in making a movie about this. The time has come.

Peace.

Vagabonde said...

Dee- I watched most of the episodes on TV about Theodore, Eleanor and Franklin Roosevelt, but I missed the first and last shows. I was pretty sure that they would not include Amgot and the desire for FDR to occupy France. US documentaries are made for American eyes, mostly, and it is well known that the US public does not like to watch anything that could make them feel conflicted about their country, so these types of events are not mentioned. I had read earlier about Amgot from another Franco-American blog. Here is what he said “DID YOU KNOW THAT? … In 1944, the US government had a plan called AMGOT to administrate France after D-Day. The country would be ruled by US military governors, AMGOT had printed tons of a new currency …De Gaulle discovered it on D-Day …. “ etc. and that is when I researched it – very little info on US sites though.

Another item I did not see on the PBS FDR’s documentary is the fact that when FDR was running for his 3rd term he refused to let a shipload of Jewish refugees be allowed into the US, and in addition he demanded that the Cuban government (that let Jewish refugees enter their ports) deny this ship entry as well. The ship, the M.S. St Louis returned to Europe where 1/3 of the refugees were later killed in concentration camps. Was this in the episode I missed, or was it not mentioned?

As for a movie, again this cannot be made because directors make films to earn money, and a film showing a flawed side of FDR would not sell. I gave an example to a couple of friends - the movie "Master and Commander: the Far side of the World" with Russell Crowe made several years ago was taken from a book by British author Patrick O'Brian. The story is about naval fights during the American-British (Canadian) war of 1812, so the enemy is the US frigate US S Norfolk. Well, the producers of the film changed the US frigate into a French frigate in the movie so the US public would not see the US flag being struck, their troops slaughtered and surrendering. Using a French frigate would be a better sell, and it did. Thanks for your thoughtful comment.

Elizabeth Eiffel said...

A fascinating piece of history which I'm sure your grandchildren will appreciate more and more as they grow older. (My love of history has increased since being 50+.)
As for 2CV's - definitely all class but no comfort! They just look fantastic! Amicalement.

Al said...

There's some interesting history here. A lot of history is glossed over - that's forever true.

claude said...

Merci de cette mise au point concernant la non intervention des Américains pour la libération de Paris. Merci pour ce bel hommage aux intervenants militaires français et aux Parisiens.
Libérer et s'approprier. Envoyer au casse pipe des soldats en vue d'une annexion. Heureusement que le Général a été là, pour continuer le combat après l'armistice signé par Pétain jusqu'à la libération total de notre pays. Il avait bien vu que la France intéressait les EU comme il avait bien vu les graves problèmes actuels avec les extrémistes islamistes.
Merci pour ce magistral cours d'histoire.
Bises
Contrairement à ce que tu pensais, ces 3 épisodes ont intéressés tes lecteurs américains.

EG CameraGirl said...

It's interesting how much history comes to light as time passes!

Jennifer A. Jilks said...

I love these old photos. My husband is a walking history book. He keeps me up to date!

Valerie said...

Congratulations on sharing this information.All too often we only want to hear what pleases or fits our preconceived notions (Scripture calls this "tickling the ears"). Bravo for your passion and research skills. (Thank you, too, for your kind comments on my blog)

DeniseinVA said...

I am more interested in WWII history - all history - than ever before, and I find this fascinating. I had little knowledge if these events, an inkling perhaps but nothing like this. I grew up with the bravery of the French Resistance, stories my father would tell me and elsewhere. I am going to bookmark this so that I can come back and read it again, and also catch up on your other posts. It is so important to get the whole picture, to see all sides of history, and I thank you for sharing it.

Paulita said...

Some really fascinating history. Your grandchildren are lucky to be able to learn about it from you.

Castles Crowns and Cottages said...

BONJOUR!

Tout d'abord, je voudrais vous remercie d'être venue me lire! Mille mercis!

Votre histoire ici est pleine d'images qui parlent encore et encore d'une epoque très importante. Pour nous autres américains, c'est une histoire trouvée dans les livres de l'école - peut-être pour certains, c'est plus....mais pour vous? Vous connaissez veritablement les douleurs, la liberation, TOUT. C'est remarquable, votre présentation ici.

Bon jeudi! Anita

Jenny Woolf said...

How fascinating, I will sound very ignorant but I had no idea that FDR hated de Gaulle so much.It's true that he was not tactful about putting france first mind you! He became unpopular in UK for voting Non to Britain's application to join what was then the Common Market. But all great leaders have this streak of intractability and defiance, don't they? De Gaulle always seemed human and to believe in what he was saying, something I wish we could say about so many of the present batch of politicians.

Stewart M said...

This is a really interesting post.

Politics is a dirty game at the best of times, and post war politics even more so; too much manoeuvring for power.

Cheers - Stewart M - Melbourne.

PS: Glad you liked my writing - about two posts a month appear on that blog. SM

Mae Travels said...

I was thinking of your description of the liberation as I was just now reading an interesting review of a new biography of Coco Chanel. The author did some new research into Chanel's shameful history during World War II. There's still so much that's unknown about that era, as you so skillfully demonstrated.

The article is here:
http://www.nybooks.com/articles/archives/2014/oct/09/cut-coco-chanel/?insrc=toc

Vicki Lane said...

Thank you so much for all your work and research in presenting a part of history that our textbooks in the US never mention. Brava!

Reader Wil said...

Like Vicki Lane, I thank you for this information, which is not dealt with in Dutch history books. Probably our own postwar history was complicated enough to deal with, what with the thousands of survivors of the German and Japanese concentrationcamps, who came back and who tried to find a place to live among the ruins of the Netherlands. I wish we all realise that mutual respect is the most important thing in our world.
Merci de votre visite et commentaire!
Wil, ABCW Team.

Marja said...

wow you did a lot of research. Very interesting It changes my view on De Gaulle who had his heart in the right place. Interesting to see how personal feelings like FDR had make such a difference. Your grand children certainly will value the history you have written

ツ ✽ ღ Nancy ღ ✽ ツ said...

MERCI à toi chère Vagabonde pour cette publication très intéressante !
J'aime beaucoup !!!

☼ je t'envoie plein de douces pensées d'Asie.
≧^◡^≦ Passe un bon dimanche !!!! GROS BISOUS ! ♥❤

ⒸⒾⒶⓄ ❀

Geo. said...

I certainly learn here. Many thanks for posting this information.

Hilary said...

A very interesting post indeed and I can understand why you feel passionate about your country's history.

I also found it quite interesting.. from an English Canadian's point of view. De Gaulle was not as well received, respected or appreciated by most of English Canada back in 1967 (or most anytime since) when he addressed the French Canadian crowd in my native Quebec, stirring up trouble between many Quebeçois and the rest of Canada. I'll link to the Wikipedia page about the incident which has had far-reaching effects on our country's history.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vive_le_Québec_libre

I understand completely, your pride. Unfortunately my memories of Charles de Gaulle and his self-imposed involvement in our politics are not quite as fond.

You wrote a brilliant, well-researched series of posts though, Vagabonde. Very informative and well put together. Bravo! Et merci. :)

Vagabonde said...

I understand your point of view, it is the same that the French have about the US wanting to get involved into French politics and annex France after WW2. I watched de Gaulle on TV in July 1967 and remember his speech well about Canada. I have not researched why he said that French Quebec should be free, I did read somewhere that he wanted to pay back the debt left by French King Louis XV, meaning the abandonment of New France to the English in 1763. He was afraid that the English portion of Canada would take over and obliterate the French, I think. But I frankly don’t know. I have read reports, in French, from Canada, saying that he helped the French speaking population in Canada to retain their culture and language, and of course, from the English side saying that Canada should be English and they would like to get rid of the French speakers – so it is hard for me to make a good judgment. But like FDR, de Gaulle was a great man with flaws - both of them meddling in other countries’ business. It’s strange though that people remember what de Gaulle “said” and forgot what FDR “did” such as printing French dollars and setting up schools in the US for his officials to learn how to annex France. Thanks for your comment.

Ruth Mowry said...

Unfortunately, I don't have time yet to read all three posts on the liberation of Paris. It is a fond subject for me since reading Is Paris Burning?. I will eat up every photo and remembrance when I come back.

Thank you.

Ray said...

I am glad you found my blog (Ray's Blogging Again) and I'm very glad that I found yours. Thank You for a very interesting and entertaining story of the Liberation of Paris.
I was especially interested in the parts about FDR and General De Gaulle.
We in Canada have an unpleasant memory of De Gaulle, because of his visit here during which he made a speech saying
"Vive Le Quebec Libre" (my French is terrible!) which us Anglophones took to mean he was advocating Quebec separation from the Canadian union of Provinces. We've had some problems over that, as you may know if you've been following it. And of course, Canada would not be Canada without La Belle Province...so he hasn't been too popular in "The Rest of Canada" outside Quebec. I'm pleased to discover that he really was one of the 'Good Guys', and Thank You for educating us all. We needed that! Enjoy your day...

Cergie said...

Tu as eu raison de faire ce travail pour toi déjà et pour tes petits-enfants aussi. La dernière de mes tantes, décédée cette année à l'âge de 96 ans, a été au front comme infirmière puis à la libération elle est partie comme soeur blanche en Algérie où elle est restée durant toute la guerre d'Algérie, et toute sa vie "active". J'ai discuté avec elle, lui ai demandé de "raconter" mais à la fin cela a été trop tard, elle n'avait plus assez de mémoire ni de force...

Cergie said...

Il est connu qu'à Paris il n'y a plus de station de métro se référant à l'Allemagne et des rues ont été débaptisées alors qu'à Berlin il existe toujours des rappels français (par exemple le "Palais de Sanssouci"). Il est vrai que de nombreux huguenots français ont trouvé refuge à Berlin...

Kay said...

This was so very interesting and informative! I just saw "The Roosevelts" on TV and they don't mention any of this. Thank you for enlightening us.

Debs said...

I remember in school history lessons De Gaulle was never mentioned as an ally (although Stalin was always mentioned and we all know what a monster he was). It was only recently, with the anniversary of WWI and many history programs on tv at the moment, did I learn of the real story behind The Resistance. Personally I would be so proud to know that the people of my city did not bow down to the Nazi regime, but fought for their freedom.
Very informative post.

Anonymous said...

Very nice,indeed. But next time how about the behavior of the French towards the Germans throughout history? Or may I help you withsuch an endeavor?

But beware - I am very far from being a Francophile :-)

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