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Anti Americanism In France: Who’s To Blame?

1242 words - 5 pages

When the German Empire tested the French in Morocco the U.S. was quick to respond and side with the French. Yet, in contrast, during WWI when France was occupied by Germany, the U.S. declared neutrality in the war. America did not aid France until two and a half years into the war. Germany had originally intended for a swift victory over France with the use of the Schlieffen Plan, which utilized a circular path or wheel route to come behind French forces to take them quickly by surprise. This was the best and quickest course of action so Germany could focus their troops on Russia as to avoid a two front war. This plan, as sound as it appeared, proved ineffective. The French intercepted radio ...view middle of the document...

The only important aspect of France at this point in the U.S. opinion was to save the historical and cultural significance France held for centuries. General Leclerc of France, alongside the U.S. third army, swept across northern France with United States General Patton as the leader. Patton would annex Leclerc’s battalion into his army. Since anti-Americanism was prominent in France at this time, and even though they were thankful for the help, Leclerc could not see past the fact that America was late to the war. This reasoning made it very hard for Patton and Leclerc to see eye-to-eye. Finally, Patton gave in and let Leclerc liberate Paris from the East while he came in with his army from the west. Charles De Gaulle then came in to be the head of state in France.
In the years following WWII the United States helped resurrect the economy of France with the help of the Marshall Plan that gave France $2.3 billion with no repayment. France and the United States then became formal allies in 1949 with the North Atlantic Treaty, which established the NATO military alliance. This Alliance would come into play when both the U.S. and France opposed Russia, as agreed upon in the treaty, during the Cold War, which lasted just under a half century. Relations between the U.S. and France were, once again, on relatively good terms. This positive relationship would soon turn sour once more with the impending Vietnam War.
Anti-Americanism worsened during the Vietnam War. The American government saw their involvement in this war as a way to prevent communist takeover in South Vietnam. The reason behind this thinking was based on a domino theory. This theory speculated that if one state in a region went communist, the surrounding countries would follow. The French leaders saw this as a lost cause for two primary reasons. First they saw this as a purely theoretical war that could not be won. The French had just finished fighting in the Algerian War of Independence, which engrained the thought process that one cannot force government standards over a foreign population that does not accept those laws. Since the French knew of this, they also had the knowledge that to enforce a government on a foreign population there would likely have to also be unacceptable methods of that enforcement, methods such as torture. Secondly, they also no longer saw a neutral seeking power in the U.S. Instead they were now seeing a nation freely intervening in a foreign affair. What had happened to the country that was resistant to join the fight and help protect their French allies...

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