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How soldiers should treat the French

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posted on Apr, 1 2017 @ 07:26 AM
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This booklet was issued to British soldiers on the eve of the Normandy landings in 1944.
The cover is missing, but the original title was probably just “France”.
I rediscovered it recently among my father’s souvenirs.

“You will find in this book a few special ‘tips’ on how to deal with the French”.
The first half of the booklet is a brief introduction to the nature and history of the country, but the main object of the exercise is to show the soldiers how to conduct themselves in ways that don’t upset the French civilians.

Before they start showing moral disapproval, for example, they should remember that the French might have their own reasons for reacting in the same way; if the Englishman looks down on the French system of licensed brothels, the Frenchman looks down on the English habit of unrestrained drunkenness.

"There is a fairly widespread belief among people in Britain that the French are a particularly gay, frivolous people with no morals and few convictions. This is especially untrue at the present time, when the French have been living a life of hardship and suffering. But the idea of the French living in a glorious orgy of 'wine, women and song' never was true, even before the war. The French drink wine as we drink beer. It is the national drink and a very good drink, but there was far less drunkenness in peacetime France than in peacetime England.

It is also as well to drop any ideas about French women based on stories of Montmartre and nude cabaret shows... If you should happen to imagine that the first pretty French girl who smiles at you intends to dance the can-can or take you to bed, you will risk stirring up a lot of trouble for yourself- and for our relations with the French".

The best summary is on the double page of “Do’s” and “Don’ts”.

DO:
“The French are our friends. The Germans are our enemies and the enemies of France. Remember that the Germans individually often behaved well in France. We have got to behave better.

We are helping to free France. Thousands of Frenchmen have been shot in France for keeping alive the spirit of freedom. Let the Frenchmen know that you realize the great part Frenchmen have played, both in the last war and in this war.

The French are more polite than most of us. Remember to call them “Monsieur, Madame, Mademoiselle”, not just “Oy!”

Be patient if you find a Frenchman hard to understand- he is having difficulty too.

Remember to salute a French civilian or policeman when you address them. This is a normal form of politeness practised by the French. Salute when entering and leaving a private house, a café, or a shop.

Be natural, but don’t make yourself too much at home till you are sure your French friends like it. Remember the intense sufferings of the French since 1940. Make allowances for this.”

DON’T
“Don’t criticise the French army’s defeat of 1940. Many Frenchmen are convinced that they had a fine but insufficiently equipped army, not very well led. Many others are themselves critical of the French army of 1940, but they, too, will resent their own criticism coming from a foreigner.

Don’t get into arguments about religion or politics. If a Frenchman raises one of the points which have strained Anglo-French elations since 1940, drop the matter. There are two sides to every question, but you don’t want to take either.

Don’t get drawn into discussion about the comparative merits and successes of the United Nations.

Don’t, even if food is offered you, eat the French out of house and home. If you do, someone may starve.

Don’t mess things up even in an empty billet. Someone will live there after you.

Don’t drink yourself silly. If you get the chance to drink wine, learn to “take it”. The failure of some British troops to do so was the one point made against our men in France in 1939-40 and again in North Africa.

Don’t sell or give away your food or equipment”.

The second half of the booklet lists many useful words and phrases.
It’s possible to make up quite a characteristic conversation out of the phrases that are offered as relevant under the heading “Difficulties and Inquiries”;

“Why? When? Where?
What do you call this?
What does that mean?
Say it again…
I don’t understand…
Do you understand?
Please speak slowly (write it down)…
What do you want?
What is the matter?
What is the time?
Where are you going?
I need…
I have lost…
What nationality are you?
Are you French? German?
What is the name of this town (village)?
Have you seen any soldiers (the enemy)?
What kind of soldiers?
Where is the --- farm?
Are the trees in that wood thick?
Field, Ploughed field, Pasture
Whose cattle (horses) are those?
Can we sleep in your barn (outbuildings)?
Fodder, Hay, Straw, Corn, Crops.
Where is the Town Hall (Police Station)?
You are wrong…
Go away, please…
I cannot talk to you now…
Sorry, I know nothing about it…”



edit on 1-4-2017 by DISRAELI because: (no reason given)




posted on Apr, 1 2017 @ 08:08 AM
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a reply to: DISRAELI

LOL, in other words, don't pay any attention to what the nationalists in England have brainwashed you into believing about other countries because. "none of it is true".



posted on Apr, 1 2017 @ 08:14 AM
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a reply to: intrptr
I imagine the French have got their own misleading myths about England. It's a universal habit.
Somebody once did a whole series on British TV ("Do they mean us?") about the way the English were portrayed on foreign television.



posted on Apr, 1 2017 @ 08:26 AM
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a reply to: DISRAELI

What popped into my head is the endless war the French, Spanish and English all fought once upon a time for centuries. They weren't directed against one another by their own misgivings, but by the Oligarchs that directed them to it.

Its easy to hate foreigners from afar, but ummm, must be clarified when men actually meet during wartime.

They aren't frogs you limey, they're people too, just like us. Kill those people, not those, lol.



posted on Apr, 1 2017 @ 08:34 AM
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Very interesting.

Thanks for posting.



posted on Apr, 1 2017 @ 09:30 AM
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This would have boosted up morale and relax those who read it on the eve of d-day , as if they were going on holiday , it would have worked for me , and made me feel like we really meant business too . Then it was
"..... fight them on the beaches , along the hedgerows, and on the hills .... never surrender..."

I'd have enjoyed it , like a lot of them [said they] did .



posted on Apr, 1 2017 @ 09:47 AM
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one thing that jumped out at me. this is presumably written sometime before the Normandy invasion (June 6, 1944). and most of what is says jives with that. except for this one part put into the OP.




Don’t get drawn into discussion about the comparative merits and successes of the United Nations.


yet the United Nations was not founded until October 24 1945. how is this possible?



posted on Apr, 1 2017 @ 09:56 AM
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originally posted by: generik
one thing that jumped out at me. this is presumably written sometime before the Normandy invasion (June 6, 1944). and most of what is says jives with that. except for this one part put into the OP.




Don’t get drawn into discussion about the comparative merits and successes of the United Nations.


yet the United Nations was not founded until October 24 1945. how is this possible?


I believe the term United Nations was interchangeable with the allies at that time. Not the orginisation we know today.

The context of relative merits would support this.



posted on Apr, 1 2017 @ 11:52 AM
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a reply to: generik
Yes, I think "United Nations" was adopted as the official term for the Allies at one of the meetings between Roosevelt and Churchill.
It became an organisation later to preserve the peace which the original alliance had achieved.



posted on Apr, 1 2017 @ 12:47 PM
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How many Frenchmen does it take to defend Paris?
No one knows!
No one has ever tried!

Sorry but the thread reminded me of this joke.

edit on 1-4-2017 by JAY1980 because: (no reason given)



posted on Apr, 1 2017 @ 01:00 PM
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a reply to: JAY1980
In 1870, Paris was besieged twice. Once by the German army, and once by the French army.
The German siege had many features which were famous at the time. The ingenious use of manned balloons to make contact with the outside world. The extended famine within the city which made them resourceful in finding supplies of food- they managed to develop a taste for horsemeat, and also ate the Paris Zoo. The invention or re-invention of queueing in an attempt to distribute diminishing rations more fairly.

Then once the siege was over, and Bismarck had celebrated the foundation of the new German Empire (the second Reich) in the great Hall of Mirrors in Versailles, the city of Paris rebelled ("the Commune") against their own new bourgeouis government, and got besieged all over again by their own side while the German army looked on with interest.



edit on 1-4-2017 by DISRAELI because: (no reason given)

edit on 1-4-2017 by DISRAELI because: (no reason given)



posted on Apr, 1 2017 @ 01:01 PM
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I used to have a guide that was issued to allied troops when they went there for training for D-Day....

It was interesting reading and I'll be damned if I can figure out what I did with it.

...Coulda' sold it on Ebay...



posted on Apr, 1 2017 @ 01:10 PM
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a reply to: MyHappyDogShiner
Was that one about "how to treat the English"?
I saw on Youtube an American training film on that subject. Somebody demonstrated the Churchill "V for Victory" sign, quite unconscious that he was doing it the wrong way round and turning it into a very insulting gesture.



posted on Apr, 1 2017 @ 01:13 PM
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a reply to: DISRAELI

I don't remember if it about how to treat the English so much, but I do remember there were tips on getting along in Britain , along with nice maps and business locations like pubs and tea parlors and such.

Going to have to try to find this thing...



posted on Apr, 1 2017 @ 01:18 PM
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a reply to: MyHappyDogShiner
A "translation of useful phrases" section might have been useful as well.
If you're billetted with a landlady who asks you what time you want to be knocked up in the morning, you need to know how to react.




edit on 1-4-2017 by DISRAELI because: (no reason given)



posted on Apr, 1 2017 @ 01:27 PM
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a reply to: DISRAELI

Thanks for sharing that.



posted on Apr, 1 2017 @ 01:27 PM
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originally posted by: DISRAELI
“The French are our friends. The Germans are our enemies and the enemies of France. Remember that the Germans individually often behaved well in France. We have got to behave better.


Meanwhile in the Eastern Front, Hitler called for a war of extermination against Slavs, Jews and other people deemed undesirable.

It's not just the SS but also the Wehrmacht that participated in war crimes.



posted on Apr, 1 2017 @ 01:33 PM
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a reply to: starwarsisreal
Yes, the French were not Slavs.
Apparently good treatment of the French was official German policy. I did not quote the sentence "...the individual German soldier in France has been outwardly very "correct", on the strictest orders".



posted on Apr, 1 2017 @ 01:41 PM
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a reply to: DISRAELI

The issue is pamphlets like the one you saw promoted the myth of the clean Wehrmacht.

Everywhere I go, most people assumed it's only the SS that were brutal. I have to correct one person I knew that even the Wehrmacht were just as guilty. Also, I remember in ATS there were a few people that believed that the Wehrmacht were not involved with the Holocaust and that they were noble warriors fighting against Communism.

Actually I should make a thread about the war crimes of the Wehrmacht so I can hopefully dispel the myth of the Clean Wehrmacht.



posted on Apr, 1 2017 @ 01:56 PM
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a reply to: starwarsisreal
From the viewpoint of the British army, "well-behaved Germans" was a very inconvenient theme. It put the British under greater pressure to avoid being the subject of unfavourable comparisons. The authorities would not have promoted that idea if it had been possible to avoid it.




edit on 1-4-2017 by DISRAELI because: (no reason given)




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