France's pivotal defence role

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While the size and importance of France's armed forces in 1914 and 1939 is well understood, their importance since 1945 does not seem to be appreciated.
Until the creation of West Germany's Bundeswehr at the end of the 1950s it was France that bore the brunt of providing the largest West European army as well as sizeable air and naval forces.
While attention is given to France's so called withdrawal from NATO in the 1960s the reality was that the French were still the most significant military contributor in Western Europe. This included Europe's only Triad of nuclear weapons and after 1980 it's only fixed ctol carrier force.
When the Cold War ended the French provided a significant force for the 1991 Gulf War and operations in the Balkans.
While France did not participate in the 2003 invasion of Iraq it did make a major contribution to Afghanistan.
In Western Europe today France has again the main ground force able to provide a basis for multilateral operations and a capable air force and navy. Outside Europe France has taken the lead in combating Islamic insurgents in Africa.
I think these points are relevant to various threads here where France's role and solidarity with friends and allies are not always appreciated.
 

Archibald

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France somewhat paradoxically was lucky to rebuilt a purged military from scratch - after the 1940 cataclysm. Worst defeat in a millenia: since you british at Crecy 1346 and Azincourt 1415. Troubling parallels: an invader get disintegration of the army first: then Paris fall, then government, country and finally: moral compass. Nothing is left: country down for the count falls to the steep bottom of a shithole. De Gaulle truly pulled a Joan of Arc although he was luckier and not burned at a stake.
"quand la France est perdue un miracle sauve la France" Saint Exupery "Flight to Arras" May 1940 - how prescient.
1940 had 2 positive consequences compared to UK
- superpower delusions of grandeur died there not in 1970
- military rebuild from zero on limited resources with cheap and efficient stuff

The MN radically solved the thorning issue of Vanguard Tiger Victorious expensive rebuilds: Toulon scuttling 1942 killed most pre-war hulls. Job done.

Even the Force de frappe was sized to the minimum and done at the expense of Algeria and conventional forces.

1960 had Mirage IV flight tests and first A-bomb detonated; Mirage IIIE entering service and... armed T-6 Harvards fighting a COIN war in Algeria.

Clearly something had to give.
 

Tonton-42

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France somewhat paradoxically was lucky to rebuilt a purged military from scratch - after the 1940 cataclysm. Worst defeat in a millenia: since you british at Crecy 1346 and Azincourt 1415. Troubling parallels: an invader get disintegration of the army first: then Paris fall, then government, country and finally: moral compass. Nothing is left: country down for the count falls to the steep bottom of a shithole. De Gaulle truly pulled a Joan of Arc although he was luckier and not burned at a stake.
"quand la France est perdue un miracle sauve la France" Saint Exupery "Flight to Arras" May 1940 - how prescient.
1940 had 2 positive consequences compared to UK
- superpower delusions of grandeur died there not in 1970
- military rebuild from zero on limited resources with cheap and efficient stuff

The MN radically solved the thorning issue of Vanguard Tiger Victorious expensive rebuilds: Toulon scuttling 1942 killed most pre-war hulls. Job done.

Even the Force de frappe was sized to the minimum and done at the expense of Algeria and conventional forces.

1960 had Mirage IV flight tests and first A-bomb detonated; Mirage IIIE entering service and... armed T-6 Harvards fighting a COIN war in Algeria.

Clearly something had to give.
A legend say that the original slogan of Mao was : "China is at the edge of the abyss ! U-turn ! Take a big step back !" But it was too nagative ... a good communist does not back down Zhou Enlai slipped to the great helmsman’s ear ...
 

zen

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Western Europe's history has more outrageous plot twists than any fiction or fantasy novel could encompass.
But one constant is that region's great power. France....Frankia...Gaul.
Somehow it keeps coming back.
No matter the falls, the defeats, the hardships.
Back it comes rising to the challenge.
And shapes Western Europe's history.
In this long view the dire sacrifices of WWI and the humiliations of WWII only serve to highlight the continuing importance of that part of Europe, bounded by the Rhine to the East, the Pyrannies to the South and the Sea to the West and North.

Who holds this land, holds the destiny of Western Europe in their hands....
 

Archibald

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What is striking is that too many French are convinced the country is in decline - Zemmour is hysterical over this.

There are structural defaults
- high natality rate & defective school system = massive unemployment of the youth
- an impossibility to get unemployement rate below 10% of 25 million working people, so 2.5 million unemployed since 40 years
- the healthcare system is expensive and has some major flaws (the hospitals and E.R are in deep, deep crisis)
- a growing rift between poor countryside and richer cities (yellow jackets came from the former)

But all things considered, for a supposed declining country, struggling with the 3 massive issues above, our answer to COVID has not been that bad.

There is a long lasting trend for France to self humiliate by comparing itself with (in no particular order) G.B, Germany, Scandinavia... as far as COVID crisis went, France did pretty well compared to many countries.
 

Tonton-42

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Western Europe's history has more outrageous plot twists than any fiction or fantasy novel could encompass.
But one constant is that region's great power. France....Frankia...Gaul.
Somehow it keeps coming back.
No matter the falls, the defeats, the hardships.
Back it comes rising to the challenge.
And shapes Western Europe's history.
In this long view the dire sacrifices of WWI and the humiliations of WWII only serve to highlight the continuing importance of that part of Europe, bounded by the Rhine to the East, the Pyrannies to the South and the Sea to the West and North.

Who holds this land, holds the destiny of Western Europe in their hands....
triptyque1_SAINT-MARTIN.jpg
100 years ago a few people had understood the lesson of 4 years of war ... But today that is lost it seems ...
 

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