Skip to main content

Primarily a Franco-American Affair?

I notice that the Government of the French Republic has described the commemoration of the 65th anniversary of the Normandy landings as "primarily a Franco-American affair" .

Once again it shows President Sarkozy in a pretty bad light.

Of the 156,000 troops landed on Omaha, Utah, (American) Juno, Gold and Sword (British and Dominion, primarily Canadian) beaches 73,000 were American and 83,115 were under British command, including a contingent of 900 Free French under the command of General Leclerc.

D-day itself was not, noticeably, a primarily Franco-American affair. The largest military contingent was from Britain and the Commonwealth.

The Queen is not merely Head of State of the United Kingdom, but also of Queen of Canada, Australia and New Zealand amongst others- and Head of the Commonwealth. All of which nations participated in the Normandy landings and the liberation of France.

My Great-uncle Claude was a short man. It was just as well, because when he jumped out of the landing craft on D-day he went underwater and was not hit by the machine gun fire. Few of the others in his craft made it to shore. He did not talk about what happened until almost the last year of his life. I have little doubt that D-Day was one of the worst days of his life. When the trumpets blair on June 6th I wonder if M. Sarkozy or Mr. Brown will even understand the sacrifices those young men made 65 years ago.

How could the government of the French Republic failed to have given a personal invitation to the only serving Head of State to have put on a uniform in the Second World War, and who knew the commanders personally? How could the government of the United Kingdom not have insisted that The Queen be invited?

Of course The Queen could not now accept a late invitation, grudgingly given, and will now not attend the ceremony. It is hard not to be incensed by the incompetence of the British government and absolutely outraged at the contemptuous way President Sarkozy has handled this affair.

Of the 1.7 million war grave maintained by the Commonwealth war graves commission, the vast majority are in France. 350,000 of these relate to the Second World War.

Nicholas Sarkozy should be utterly ashamed.

Gordon Brown should be utterly embarrassed.


Edis said…
No surprise here. France has for many decades enjoyed ‘Meaningful Amnesia’ (in the words of the historian Robert Frank) in which The Americans, Russians, Free French and the Maquise take the credit for French Liberation in 1944. Frank says that for the French to remember Britain’s true contribution to restoring French freedom is just too painful a reminder of the ‘different destinies of the two countries’.

See discussion in Robert and Isabelle Tombs book ‘That Sweet Enemy’ (p595) citing Franks 1994 book ‘La hantisse du decline: le rang de la France en Europe 1920-1960’.
Newmania said…
Delighted to have an opportunity to agree, how many generations does it take to learn the meaning of ingratitude?

‘Trois ‘

Interesting about Claude .My grandfather was at the Somme, he was shot in the shoulder and pay there until he was dragged back to the trench at night and thence to Blighty. He would otherwise never have made it no-one else did form his lot .He did have a permanently disabled arm and was shall we say ....temperamental, died young( nuts by then and long before me ) . Still he had six children , one ,my father, very late , and god knows how many grand children and great grand children , three of them are mine.
Anonymous said…
After several years in Spain I moved to France a couple of years ago. I bought a Larousse CD-ROM encyclopedia to help me with my french and the entire section about the D-Day landings doesn't mention Britain or the British contribution once. I guess any nationality has it's blind spots on certain issues.

Popular posts from this blog

Concert and Blues

Tallinn is full tonight... Big concerts on at the Song field The Weeknd and Bonnie Tyler (!). The place is buzzing and some sixty thousand concert goers have booked every bed for thirty miles around Tallinn. It should be a busy high summer, but it isn´t. Tourism is down sharply overall. Only 70 cruise ships calling this season, versus over 300 before Ukraine. Since no one goes to St Pete, demand has fallen, and of course people think that Estonia is not safe. We are tired. The economy is still under big pressure, and the fall of tourism is a significant part of that. The credit rating for Estonia has been downgraded as the government struggles with spending. The summer has been a little gloomy, and soon the long and slow autumn will drift into the dark of the year. Yesterday I met with more refugees: the usual horrible stories, the usual tears. I try to make myself immune, but I can´t. These people are wounded in spirit, carrying their grief in a terrible cradling. I try to project hop

Media misdirection

In the small print of the UK budget we find that the Chancellor of the Exchequer (the British Finance Minister) has allocated a further 15 billion Pounds to the funding for the UK track and trace system. This means that the cost of the UK´s track and trace system is now 37 billion Pounds.  That is approximately €43 billion or US$51 billion, which is to say that it is amount of money greater than the national GDP of over 110 countries, or if you prefer, it is roughly the same number as the combined GDP of the 34 smallest economies of the planet.  As at December 2020, 70% of the contracts for the track and trace system were awarded by the Conservative government without a competitive tender being made . The program is overseen by Dido Harding , who is not only a Conservative Life Peer, but the wife of a Conservative MP, John Penrose, and a contemporary of David Cameron and Boris Johnson at Oxford. Many of these untendered contracts have been given to companies that seem to have no notewo

KamiKwasi brings an end to the illusion of Tory economic competence

After a long time, Politics seems to be getting interesting again, so I thought it might be time to restart my blog. With regard to this weeks mini budget, as with all budgets, there are two aspects: the economic and the political. The economic rationale for this package is questionable at best. The problems of the UK economy are structural. Productivity and investment are weak, infrastructure is under-invested and decaying. Small businesses are going to the wall and despite entrepreneurship being relatively strong in Britain, self-employment is increasingly unattractive. Red tape since Brexit has led to a significant fall in exports and the damage has been disproportionately on small businesses. Literally none of these problems are being addressed by this package. Even if the package were to stimulate some kind of short term consumption-led growth boom, this is unlikely to be sustainable, not least because what is being added on the fiscal side will be need to be offset, to a great de