blackSt33L - I completely agree, every country has a skeleton or two (or more) in its closet. And this thread has no intention of whitewashing France.
The Petain regime did indeed collaborate with Nazi Germany, and the Republic under Mitterrand did indeed bomb the Rainbow Warrior. What this thread
aims to do is not to deny the wrongs France has made during its history, but to put them back into context - since France's opposition to the war in
Iraq in 2003, the French in general have been vilified to the point where some here on ATS were openly asking what good that country has ever done to
the world... which is indeed the trademark of hate and misunderstanding.
This being said, allow me to comment on the list of things you're not thankful to France for.
-stubborness towards a possible united Europe and a challange to the U.S
Actually, France is among a few countries - the Netherlands is another, I believe - to oppose not the principle of a united Europe, but rather the EU
constitution as it was put to a vote in the recent referendum.
-reminding everybody how special they are
They're not the only ones. That's the big challenge of the EU - you're dealing with countries that have over a millenium of history. France,
Britain and Italy, among others, have cultures that have permeated Europe and the world, they each dominated the continent at some point in their
history, and that's not something that's easily forgotten, even if today the individual influence of each of those countries is much smaller. It's
a mindset we North Americans, by the way, can't understand because our countries are so recent.
-unfairly taking land from the native algerians and keeping it for more than a century until Algerias independents.
You are quite right. However, during the 19th century Britain occupied and exploited India, Nigeria and Ghana, amond other countries, while Holland
did the same in Indonesia. At that time it was the height of fashion for a European country to have colonies. King Leopold II of Belgium was the worst
in this field - he acquired Congo not as a colony for his country, but for his personal self.
-helping the german nazis find french jews(although the government wanted to deport rather than hand)
Again, you are right. The collaborationist regime in France had a good share of antisemites who were only too happy to crack down on the Jews when
Germany ordered them to. However, a good number of French also hindered the Nazis' occupation by bombing railroads, willfully producing bad war
supplies for the Germans, cutting military phone wires, etc.
I never understood the need for France to have nukes, other than Charles de Gaulle, when he became President in 1958, was determined to pull the
country out of the trauma of WWII by initiating what he called "politique de grandeur" (policy of greatness). In any case, I disapprove of any
country in the world having nukes, and I did not see any good reason for Chirac to resume nuclear testing in 1995.
-the unlawful occupation of the ivorycoast.
The French army is in Ivory Coast at the request of the United Nations.
-mocking fellow Eu countries like the UK.Arrogance
That was Chirac speaking. Most French people probably have the same kind of preconceptions about other European countries as the people in those other
countries have of France.