Talk:France–Germany relations

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Are we really talking about France-Germany relations when we talk about the Habsburgs and Prussia?[edit]

Germany did not become a state until the 1870's, so wouldn't it be more appropriate for the Prussian nation's relationship with france and the habsburgs relation with france be discussed in separate articles? Thoughts? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:05, 11 November 2017 (UTC)


For me, the Elisée treaty is an important event because it shows that people that considered each other everlasting enemies can turn to friends within less than a generation.

This is a sign of hope in our time that seems to be sliding towards war.

Sebastian Helm (22 Jan 2003)

Yeah but if two find together others might go to war against that duett...

MatthieuN (27 Sept 2006)

Out of curiosity, where does that come from? "From a French perspective, the relationship with Germany is important as it helps project a Gaullist view of la grande France." That's totaly wrong to say the French perspective is one of a Grande France, what does that mean? France is trying to annex Germany? If no one's against, I'll remove it since since it's a totaly biased and personnal comment, not based of fact. There is also, right above that statement, a "Jacques Delors" lost without sentence nor anything before or after it, so I remove it too until the person having put it can complete the statement.

History right?[edit]

Can someone with more historical knowledge than me please have a look at the following paragraph:

The European Confederation was built on the basis of warm ties between all the European Allies in the World War II, but the most important ties were those between the Great Powers of Europe -- French Union, British Empire, Italy, Spain, Sweden and above all, the fragmented population of eighty million Germanophones scattered in five different states in the middle of Europe. The Bavarian and Austrian kingdoms resumed their old traditionally friendly relationships with France following the removal of the League forces in 1949, while the Saxon and Brandenburg republics began to cultivate a reasonably friendly relationship with France out of fear of the Soviet military might in Poland. These four states were too weak to challenge the reestablished status quo in central Europe, and consequently followed the lead of the European League Great Powers in international and European affairs.

To me this looks like someone has mixed up the political situation in Europe pre-WWI and post-WWII. E.g., in 1949, there were no Saxon and Brandenburg republics. -- till we | Talk 15:17, 20 Jul 2004 (UTC)

but there were saxons peoples... isn't it? I taken those infos on an old review, I'd like very much contributions from Germans users to make more accurate that page, thanks!
PS I refer to the French Union even if that existed only after the War but volountary to evidenciate that at that time when referring to France you mean France and all the colonial empire but there wasn't an official term to describe it, only "France". I tought it should be confusing for someone so I wrote "French Union"
But that is exactly the problem: you obviously don't have a clue about the exact political and historical situation in Europe in the first half of the 20th century, but you present your idosyncratic ideas (like writing "French Union" even if it's called "French Republic"/"Republique Francaise"). How should anyone reading this know that by "Saxon and Brandenburg republics" you mean the "German Democratic Republic" (but which didn't cultivate a friendly relationsship with France, but was part of the Eastern bloc), by "French Union" you mean "France before the war but without colonies" and so on. Really, to me it looks like either being very uninformed, or just vandalism. Reading LeMonde doesn't help here. -- till we | Talk 22:00, 20 Jul 2004 (UTC)

Joint forces[edit]

To H1523702: There is in fact a small combined Franco-German elite force since at least mid-1980's ("Deutsch-Französische Brigade", Kehl). -- till we | Talk 15:24, 20 Jul 2004 (UTC)

Yeah but what Chirac has in mind will be very different at that time, but it is probable he will wait for the new German elections to proceed, I only hope that whatever he has in mind will erase the shadows of the very stupid decision taken by French in the 1954, if France accepted the German help at that time MAYBE the last 50years of French story wrote on every encyclopaedia of the world could be very different... :-(

User:Bushit 21:24 20 July 2004 CET

I removed "the two countries are collaborating actively for a new joint Franco-German Military force." That is what i was suggesting there is no evidence of (to my knowledge).Mark 19:41, 20 Jul 2004 (UTC)

Alternate History[edit]

Hey, I found out what the probleme is! The history part is a copyvio of "[1]" (as it is noted in Wikipedia:Cleanup). Now, this explains why there are lot of ahistoricalities and nonsense ideas -- not only because it is a copyvio, but also and especially, because it is a copyvio of an alternate history website, describing an European unification process to an European Confederation that never happened in our thread of history. So, to stop the nonsense, I deleted everything I'm not 100% sure of (that is, most of the article). -- till we | Talk 22:12, 20 Jul 2004 (UTC)

Cleanup Feb 14th 2006[edit]

The article looks better to me now. The old version had some UK perceptions in the intro paragraph without explaining what the cooperation is actually about. I think it would be helpful to now also present a documentation what are the motives and rubs in it. Also in regards to where the EU is heading... I guess both a more eleborated history chapter or alliances chapter would serve this. February 24th 2006

map image[edit]

I don't see why all the microstates are included on this map (Andorra, Monaco, Lichtenstein, San Marion, Vatican, Macao, Dubai, Sao Tome, the Carribbean, etc.) I don't see what they have to do with the topic of the article, and why if someone went through all the trouble of making a world map, the French overseas departments weren't included (French Guiana, etc.) JesseRafe 07:45, 19 January 2007 (UTC)

Agreed. I think a map of Europe would be adequate and much easier to see. Oberiko 15:45, 6 October 2007 (UTC)

WikiProject class rating[edit]

This article was automatically assessed because at least one article was rated and this bot brought all the other ratings up to at least that level. BetacommandBot 03:21, 27 August 2007 (UTC)

History section[edit]

Shouldn't the history section begin somewhat earlier? The contrast between the extreme antagonism between France and Germany from 1870 to 1945 and their friendship since the 1950s is often highlighted and it seems lacking to me not to discuss it in this article. 96T (talk) 16:33, 11 February 2010 (UTC)

There should definitly be a bit about the Weimar Republic and Aristide Briand and Gustav Stresemann. After all the two got the 1926 Nobel Peace Prize.--ospalh (talk) 11:22, 6 August 2010 (UTC)

In my opinion the history should begin a lot earlier, as is the case with United Kingdom – United States relations. Therefore I have moved a huge chunk of text from French-German enmity into this article. This has more than doubled the article's total size. At some point it may make sense to move part of the material into subarticles that cover individual periods in the French-German relations. French-German enmity is one that already exists.

One problem is that the text I copied here was very obviously originally written by a German. Up to 1870/71 I think it's more or less OK after I rewrote a lot (and it wasn't all that bad to begin with). But the section "World Wars" is very strongly POV and I have marked it with a "POV-check" template until someone (possibly me) gets around to fixing it. Hans Adler 20:39, 12 October 2010 (UTC)

I would have to agree with you, Hans Adler. This is a rather slanted and extremely cliched view of Franco-German relations. To use one example, this article exaggerates the importance of revanchisme in France. True, revanchisme was an important current in French life between 1871-1914, but it didn't dominate everything as this article implies. If that been the case, General Georges Boulanger, aka "General Revanche" would have been swept into power rather than committing suicide as his political career ended in complete failure. There really needs to be distinction drawn between French policy towards Germany and French popular views towards Germany, and instead treating them as one and the same as this article does. Perhaps the best comparison would be with Argentina's attitude on the Falklands today-every Argentine politician insists that "Islas Malvinas" are sacred Argentine soil that must be returned, but ever since Argentina's defeat in the Falklands war of 1982, no Argentine government has been serious about going to war with Britain over the issue. Between 1871-1914 was a period of 43 years-it is really possible for the French to be obsessed with taking back Alsace-Lorraine with no war breaking out for that length of time? The outcome of the war of 1870-71 which did not end until January 1871, but with the French effectively crushed by September 1870 by the German victories in the battles of Sedan and Metz established that French simply did not have the power to defeat the Reich on their own. Likewise, there is almost nothing about German policy towards France, which gives one the impression that almost all the problems in Franco-German relations were caused by the French. It was Germany that initiated the First Moroccan Crisis in 1905, not France, and the reasons was not because of German concerns about French influence in Morocco, but to break the Entente Cordiale by showing the French that the British would never defend them, and thus forcing Paris to join a German-dominated "continental bloc" supposedly to combat the "Yellow Peril" as the alleged Asian threat to Europe was known at the time, but in reality to challenge Britain's status as the world's number one power. From 1897 onwards, the Reich was committed to a policy of Weltpolitik where Germany sought to become the world's dominant power. It is not anti-German propaganda from World War I-the Emperor Wilhelm II and company really did want Germany to have the sort of position that the United States enjoys today, namely the world's number one power. Weltpolitik was really more anti-British than French, but the policy did mean that either France would have to accept a subordinate position to Germany (like the one envisioned in the anti-Asian "continental bloc" around 1904-06) or either if the French would not submit, France would have to be destroyed as a great power.

The section on Versailles needs a major re-write. I know in folk memory the general idea is that Versailles was an unbearably harsh "Carthaginian peace", but that is really wrong, and most historians today even in Germany do not accept that. The contrast often drawn between the "Carthaginian Peace" of 1919 that caused World War II vs. the alleged magnanimous peace of 1945 that ensured peace in Europe is extraordinary stupid. For those who are cartographically-challenged, just look at the frontiers created by Versailles and those imposed in 1945-you will see that Germany lost far more territory after World War II than after World War I, which does beg the question why the peace of 1945 is often presented as "magnanimous" in contrast to Versailles. Furthermore, under Versailles, Germans living in Eastern Europe had in theory had their rights protected by Minority Treaties which Versailles had mandated (which to be fair were usually more ignored in practice), but in starting in 1945, all of the German minorities in Eastern Europe were quite brutally expelled from their homes. Which was the more harsher peace settlement? The article is quite correct that the French wanted to annex the Rhineland in 1919, but were prevented by the British and the Americans from so doing, but it does not draw the correct conclusion from this, namely the thesis that Versailles was intolerably harsh peace treaty what was supposedly the brain-child of Clemenceau is totally wrong. The same goes with the 1920s, where certainly gets the idea that the French were causing all of the problems in Franco-German relations; one does not get any idea of what Germany's policy was towards France. Likewise, reading this article, one gets no idea of what were Hitler's policies towards France either before or after 1940. There was a major division within the German state after June 1940 about what to do with France; treat it as an ally to be used against Britain or dismember it once and for all? As was his wont, Hitler wavered and could never quite make up mind. Emotionally, Hitler's sympathies were no doubt with those like Himmler who wanted to destroy France once and all as a power, but on the other hand, there were those like Ribbentrop and Admiral Raeder who pointed out that there were major benefits to the Reich in using the French as allies against the British. Hitler typically was divided between his pragmatic side (yes, Hitler did have a pragmatic side-witness his alliances with the Japanese, despite his often proclaimed belief in white supremacy and even for a time with the Soviet Union in 1939-41) and his ideological side, which goes a long way to explain the incoherence of German policy in occupied France in 1940-44 period. Finally, the section on the 1930s reflects the influence of the pernicious la décadence thesis, namely the theory that in the 1930s the French had become "decadent", leading to a process of physical and moral degeneration which left the French nation simply too wimpy and worn-out to withstand Hitler's blitzkrieg in 1940. The la décadence thesis is a very popular theory in the English-speaking world for France's defeat in 1940, indeed it is undoubtedly the most popular explanation, but it is also dead-wrong. It is true that Germany's far larger economy and population together with the fact that the French had in many ways won a Pyrrhic victory in 1918 did indeed give the Reich a far stronger position to win the "world power status" it sought in the First World War, but that does not explain everything that happened in the 1930s. There is nothing here about the arms race between France and Germany in the 1930s, which so influenced decision-makers on both sides of the Rhine. To use one example, there were major problems with productivity in the French aircraft industry, which meant that for every one French fighter built, Germany produced three, which was one of the major reasons why France did not war with Germany in 1938 when the Germany threatened to invade Czechoslovakia (Paris had a signed a treaty of alliance with Prague in 1924, so legally France would had to go to war if the Reich invaded Czechoslovakia). To counterbalance the superior productivity of the German aircraft, the French starting in late 1938 went on a major plane-building spree in the United States, which was one of the reasons why Daladier was more willing to run the risk of a war if Germany attacked Poland (another member of the French alliance system in Eastern Europe) in 1939. There is a teleological quality to this section-the French lost in 1940 so everything had happened in the 1930s was nothing but a long countdown to defeat in 1940. The French were defeated, so that proves that they must have been defeatist. Presumably the fact that Germany was defeated in 1945 must "prove" that the Germans were defeatist all though the 1930s. To make this sort of argument about French history rests upon a very selective use of evidence. To use an example, the 1939 film La Règle du jeu which deals with romantic and sexual intrigues amongst the French grande bourgeoisie circa 1939 is sometimes presented as evidence of the moral rot of French society in the 1930s, of an utterly amoral people devoid of values and whose only interest is in sexual pleasure, which "explains" why the French lost in 1940. But La Règle du jeu was a box-office failure in 1939. Jean Renoir who wrote and directed La Règle du jeu was a leftist who deeply dislike the haute bourgeoisie as leftists tended to do, but there is no evidence that Renoir meant his film to be a warning about the coming destruction of France was often claimed today. Today La Règle du jeu is considered to be one of French cinema's great triumphs, but at the time, the film was critically salvaged and ignored by the public. The most popular French film of 1939 was Trois de St Cyr, a resolutely patriotic adventure film dealing with the military and sexual exploits of three St. Cyr cadets who become best friends and then go off to crush a rebellion in Syria while finding the time to romance various mademoiselles. Trois de St Cyr with its message that France is the best nation in the world does not suggest a society on the verge of collapse, which is presumably why historians enamored of the la décadence thesis simply ignore Trois de St Cyr while talking all the time about La Règle du jeu. If the RAF had been defeated in the Battle of Britain, one would doubtless see British society in the 1930s as being portrayed as being in a long, irresistible state of decay and the British defeat as due to the moral rot of the British nation. To a certain extent, there is a similar quality to some of the historical writings on Britain in the 1930s, but Britain was not defeated in the war, so it is not quite as pronounced. This moralistic, judgemental type of history-writing that claims that French went soft because of the alleged hedonist French lifestyle with too much alcohol, too sex and too much partying and become to use a memorable phrase from The Simpsons a nation of "cheese-eating surrender monkeys" who got what they had coming to them in 1940 really tells you more about the people who write this sort of stuff than it does about French history. If anything, it was the alleged "hard" Germans who were really got sex-obsessed in the 1930s. If you were a German Gymnasium or Realschule student under the Third Reich, the message was relentlessly promoted by the teachers and by the Hitler Youth leaders that if you were an Aryan male, you had the duty to father as many children as possible and if you were an Aryan female, you had the duty to bear as many children as possible. The 1990 film Europa Europa, which tells the true story of Solomon Perel, a German Jewish teenager who passed himself off as an Aryan and spent much of World War II living at an elite training school for the Hitler Youth. Much of the film concerns Perel's relationship with the ardent Nazi Leni Latsch, a beautiful blonde and a proud member of the League of German Maidens (the female equivalent of the Hitler Youth) who is convinced that it is her duty as a member of the Volksgemeinschaft (People's Community) to bear as many children as possible for the Fatherland, and has decided that Perel is the perfect Aryan father. So in pursuit of this goal, Latsch keeps on trying to seduce Perel, who does not dare go to bed with her out of the fear that if she sees he is circumcised that she will realize he is a Jew and inform the authorities. The film plays the Latsch-Perel relationship for both for laughs and pathos (Perel has very mixed feelings about Latsch, whom he loves while being disgusted by her wild anti-Semitism) but this story is true, and it does reflect the real social conditions in the Third Reich. It does make one wonder why state-promoted sexual promiscuity in Nazi Germany is presented by some historians as a sign of how the Germans were a hard people in World War II while the French defeat of 1940 is attributed to the French going soft as due to too much sexual promiscuity.

It seems very odd that many people even today cannot accept the thesis that the French lost in 1940 because of inept generals instead of some sort of flawed society. Beyond that, I would suggest expanding this article beyond the field of diplomatic and military history (which is my specialty), and adding a bit of cultural history. What did the French think about the Germans, and what did the Germans think of the French in this period? The article on Franco-German enmity really should be re-written to make a cultural history page, to explain the idea that Frenchmen and Germans had an innate pathological hatred of one another, a thesis popular on both sides of the Rhine in the first years of the 20th century. I do not mean to sound like a Freudian here, but might also add in about Franco-German relations were and are so often depicted in sexual terms with Germany as stronger, dominant male and France as the weaker, submissive female. I know Marianne is the symbol of France and Deutscher Michel is the symbol of Germany, but that has got to be more to this than that. I might re-write this section sometime this fall, time permitting. --A.S. Brown (talk) 22:58, 27 September 2015 (UTC)

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