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French and Germans Publish Yank-bashing History Text

by Christopher Chantrill
May 03, 2006 at 9:26 pm

FOR SOME TIME the French and the Germans have felt that they needed to get together to smooth over the differences they have had over the years. What better way than to write a high-school textbook together?

And what better way to cement Franco-German friendship than to fill the book with anti-American bile?

The textbook, published today, “was ordered in 2003 by President Chirac of France and Gerhard Schröder,” then Chancellor in Germany, according to Adam Sage in the London Times. Starting in 1945, the history soon gets to work on

the Cold War, where the US and the USSR are presented as broadly equivalent in moral terms.

Both were engaged in an arms race described as “the balance of terror” and both sought to “impose themselves by an omnipresent propaganda” that involved “gross exaggerations and simplifications”.

Actually the Germans, bless their hearts, didn’t really like all this Yank-bashing. They tried to tone things down a bit.

German historians had insisted upon softening the message with sentences such as: “Some people, notably in Germany, consider the US to be a power which defends democracy in a world where the UN is not always able or willing to do it.”

But not those those blood-curdling Gaulish warriors! They wouldn’t write a mamby-pamby sentence like that.

Still there’s a bright side to all the America-bashing. The next volume in the book deals with the 18th century up to 1945, during which the French spent a lot of time marching their armies through Germany—French-occupied Germany, as they call it in The Brothers Grimm. And they can end Volume II with the lovely spectacle of the French settling down contentedly to Nazi occupation after the shameful defeat of quarante.

Hey, it could have happened to anyone.

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Christopher Chantrill blogs at www.roadtothemiddleclass.com.  His Road to the Middle Class is forthcoming.


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©2007 Christopher Chantrill