Wednesday, 19 July 2017

French desire to humiliate the UK is nothing new

The French have never forgiven us for incarcerating Napoleon on St Helena in 1815 and leaving him there until he died. This continued until 1914 when we French had to grovel for our help against the Huns but in 1919 it was pay back time in French eyes. I quote from Wikepedia on the treaty of Versailles,

"Of the many provisions in the treaty, one of the most important and controversial required "Germany [to] accept the responsibility of Germany and her allies for causing all the loss and damage" during the war (the other members of the Central Powers signed treaties containing similar articles). This article, Article 231, later became known as the War Guilt clause. The treaty forced Germany to disarm, make substantial territorial concessions, and pay reparations to certain countries that had formed the Entente powers. In 1921 the total cost of these reparations was assessed at 132 billion marks (then $31.4 billion or £6.6 billion, roughly equivalent to US $442 billion or UK £284 billion in 2017). At the time economists, notably John Maynard Keynes, predicted that the treaty was too harsh—a "Carthaginian peace"—and said the reparations figure was excessive and counter-productive, views that, since then, have been the subject of ongoing debate by historians and economists from several countries. On the other hand, prominent figures on the Allied side such as French Marshal Ferdinand Foch criticized the treaty for treating Germany too leniently."

The end result of the French humiliating Germany was the rise of Adolf Hitler, World War II and mass killing of civilians. Keynes got it right, the Frenchman Foch got it wrong in the usual French way.

We now have another Frenchman Barnier trying to give us a punishment beating in the Brexit faux negotiations. Barnier and his Belgian acolyte Verhofstadt don't want to a negotiate with us they want to humiliate us at any cost pour encourager les autres, the French tactic which has repeatedly failed. The French dominated EU will pay any price to maintain their folie de grandeur. The learn nothing from history.Their path will lead to the rise of more extremist parties as it did in the 1930s and inevitably more war. Let us keep out off it at all costs. Too many of our sons and daughters died in World Wars for French amour propre.

What is new is the report in today's Times of a speech by German MEP Hans-Olaf Henkel accusing Barnier of trying to punish Britain by making a deliberate "mess"of key elements of Brexit. He went on to warn other MEPs not to listen to Barnier who he said wanted to impose a bad Brexit deal on Britain.

I have not heard Herr Henkel's views reported on the BBC. I wonder why? They are detailed in the Times Thunderer column today and are well worth reading. The Germans are much more pragmatic than the French and thank goodness the Germans pay the piper and they will call the tune.



L fairfax said...

Dan Snow said that it was not harsh by the standard of its day
and I quote
"The Treaty of Versailles confiscated 10% of Germany's territory but left it the largest, richest nation in central Europe.

It was largely unoccupied and financial reparations were linked to its ability to pay, which mostly went unenforced anyway.

The treaty was notably less harsh than treaties that ended the 1870-71 Franco-Prussian War and World War Two. The German victors in the former annexed large chunks of two rich French provinces, part of France for between 200 and 300 years, and home to most of French iron ore production, as well as presenting France with a massive bill for immediate payment. "
Although of course leaving the EU and a treaty to end a war should be quite different.

Eric Edmond said...

I am sure you are correct but there are differences. In 1871 the French army had been defeated. In Nov 1918 however the German army was not a defeated army. The German people felt they had been betrayed by their political elite. This was eventually portrayed as a Jewish conspiracy by the Nazis and Hitler made huge political capital out of it leading to WWII.

I am not so sure the UK leaving the EU is so different in French eyes. They see it as a betrayal of their grande projet to rule Europe.and shake of Anglo Saxon (UK & US) domination of Europe. The French have never forgotten the humiliation the UK inflicted on them by taking away Napoleon. That's why Macron made Trump go to les Invalides this week and do homage at the tomb of Napoleon!

L fairfax said...

Well the German military was defeated in that were running out of food and there was a massive army ready to invade them, it is depressing that taking a sensible decision was seen as a betrayal.
(Of course Napoleon was a US ally).

Anonymous said...

One the bigger assaults made against the UK was France revaluing the Franc to Gold. The UK and the USA pegged to gold at the same rate as pre war. The Franc went from 20-1 to 100-1.

With the flood of gold into France, the UK had little available to help the krauts and France refused, and that led to the Weimar inflation.

According to Liamquat Ahmad in Lords of Finance , the real value of reparations in today’s dollars was closer to $2 TRILLION, but the real problem was that gold revaluation, and Churchill being forced to abandon the gold standard.

Eric Edmond said...

I thank you both for your informed comments in this matter. My thesis is that it was the clear perception amongst the German populace that their army had been sold out by their elite. Hitler had fought as a common soldier in WWI and was well aware of these views in the no-officer ranks that voted him into power. Jezza might emulate this!

L fairfax said...

Didn't Churchill being forced to abandon the gold standard help the UK recover a lot quicker than the US etc from the Great depression.

Yes this is true
"My thesis is that it was the clear perception amongst the German populace that their army had been sold out by their elite. Hitler had fought as a common soldier in WWI and was well aware of these views in the no-officer ranks that voted him into power.
However their perception was wrong from Dan Snow
" Germany's battleships had been bottled up by the Royal Navy until their crews mutinied rather than make a suicidal attack against the British fleet.
More from the Magazine

The World War One Centenary

Germany's army collapsed as a series of mighty allied blows scythed through supposedly impregnable defences. "
And also the peaceful penetration's did a lot of harm
"As ground was continually being captured on an ongoing basis by the use of peaceful penetration, the front lines were constantly being advanced. After the Battle of Hamel, a second battle was ordered by Field Marshal Douglas Haig on 11 July to attack the Villers-Bretonneux Plateau. However, barely had the planning started, when it was realised that the area (a frontage of 4,500 yards (4,100 m), to a depth of 1,000 yards (910 m)) had already been captured by two brigades through peaceful penetration"

"Jezza might emulate this!" Please God no!!!!