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Trump's Big Day in Paris
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As a former soldier and war correspondent, I abhor demonstrations of flag-waving, militarism and nationalism. That great American, Benjamin Franklin, put it perfectly: ‘no good war, no bad peace.’

But I must admit that my heart does beat faster when I hear the rousing strains of France’s glorious national anthem, ‘La Marseillaise.’ One must be almost dead not to respond to the hymn, first known in 1775 as ‘the war song of the army of the Rhine’ and then the marching song of volunteers from Marseille.

Allons! Enfants de la Patrie! Forward! Sons of France,
Le jour de gloire est arrivé! The Day of Glory has Arrived,
Contre nous de la tyrannie, Against us Tyranny
L’étendard sanglant est levé! Its bloody standard is raised!

A few years ago, I was a guest of France’s government on the reviewing stand of the annual 14 July Bastille Day military parade. Watching the glittering Garde républicaine cavalry, the tough Alpine troops in their huge berets known as “tartes,” and, of course, the grim Foreign Legion march down the Champs Élysées was thrilling.

US President Thomas Jefferson put it best: ‘Every man has two homelands: his own, and France.’

Both Franklin and Jefferson spent time in Paris as ambassadors and helped negotiate France’s decisive military intervention that saved the American Revolution. French troops under the Marquis de Lafayette and a fleet under Admiral Rochambeau and Count de Grasse played the key role in defeating British forces.

Ironically, France was bankrupted by this military effort which also contributed to the French Revolution against King Louis XVI.

One hopes US President Donald Trump reflected on these facts when he was French President Emmanuel Macron’s guest of honor at Bastille Day. He was hopefully reminded by aides of American Gen. ‘Blackjack’ Pershing’s memorable statement upon landing with US troops to join France in World War One, ‘Lafayette, we are here!’

Two hundred US troops led the great parade down the Champs Élysées, headed by a contingent from the venerable 1st US Infantry Division, known as ‘the Big Red One’ and other American units. Their march marked the 100th anniversary of the US landing in France. President Trump, who managed to avoid military service due to a small foot problem, stood and saluted the American troops.

The US and France owe much to one another and should regularly recall their mutual debt.
Particularly so for all those uninformed Republicans who keep calling the French cowards and sissies. France lost more than 1.5 million dead in World War I. Churchill observed, ‘you will never know war until you fight Germans.’

But the key question remains, was US intervention in World War I a catastrophic mistake? By 1917, France, Britain, Russia and their allies were militarily exhausted. So was Germany and its allies Turkey, Bulgaria and Austria-Hungary. The war had become a giant siege in which millions had died for nothing in history’s most barbarous war.

ORDER IT NOW

Both the bankrupted Allies and Central Powers were beginning discreet contacts over a possible peace in the stalemated war. At this point, US President Woodrow Wilson, a sort of idealistic imperialist, pushed America into war against Germany, using some German blunders, the sinking of the ‘Lusitania’ and waves of British propaganda as a ‘casus belli.’ This at a time when the largest ethnic group in the United States was of German origin. In spite of this, Wilson secretly aided, armed and financed the British Empire and finally secured a declaration of war against Germany.

By the end of 1917, one million US troops arrived in France. The advent of so many American soldiers tipped the stalemated military balance. Germans were heavily outnumbered, exhausted, and unable to fee their people due to a crushing British blockade.

Generals Ludendorff and Hindenburg, who had led the war, walked away, leaving civilian politicians to surrender and make whatever terms they could get. After the war, these civilians and wealthy German Jews would be blamed by all sides for ‘stabbing Germany in the back.’

At the notorious Versailles Treaty, the victorious Allied powers tore away 14% of Germany’s people, 13% of its lands and imposed crushing monetary sanctions. Austria-Hungary was ravaged. An obscure Austrian politician, Adolf Hitler, called for revenge and vowed to restore Germany’s and Austria’s lost lands and populations.

Had Woodrow Wilson not intervened in the European war, the exhausted opposing sides would have been driven to a fair peace, rather than a draconian peace of the victors, which would have totally altered Europe’s modern history. There would likely have been no Hitler and his National Socialists; tens of millions of lives would have been saved by averting World War II. The 1930’s Depression may have been avoided or mitigated. Communists might not have seized power in Russia and, later, Eastern Europe.

Responsibility for many of these disasters lies with Woodrow Wilson who is wrongly portrayed in the US as a noble idealist; in Europe, he’s seen as a rampant fool or dangerous naïf.

The 200-man US contingent on the Champs Élysées recalled all these bitter memories. Their uniforms looked dowdy compared to the snappy French. President Trump, by contrast, looked seriously presidential; wife Melania was serene and elegant. They did a fine job.

The French are masters of the art of seduction. Let’s hope Trump was charmed by his brief visit to Paris and reminded that France has resumed its role as diplomatic leader of Europe and key American ally. Trump may even reconsider his ill-advised withdrawal from the Paris climate pact.

(Republished from EricMargolis.com by permission of author or representative)
 
• Category: Foreign Policy • Tags: Donald Trump, France 
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  1. oh Eric, the jews were stabbing the goyem of all the European nations in the back

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  2. President Trump, who managed to avoid military service due to a small foot problem,

    I guess they didn’t have any boots that would fit his tiny feet,

    Read More
  3. Thank you for writing the truth that:

    “The war had become a giant siege in which millions had died for nothing in history’s most barbarous war.”

    and..

    “Had Woodrow Wilson not intervened in the European war, the exhausted opposing sides would have been driven to a fair peace, rather than a draconian peace of the victors, which would have totally altered Europe’s modern history. There would likely have been no Hitler and his National Socialists; tens of millions of lives would have been saved by averting World War II. The 1930’s Depression may have been avoided or mitigated. Communists might not have seized power in Russia and, later, Eastern Europe.”

    BTW – General Pershing was known in the US Army as “Nigger Jack” Pershing because he often said the black soldiers in a black unit he once commanded were excellent. American reporters/propagandists in Europe decided it best to report his nickname as “Black Jack” Pershing.

    And something from my blog;

    Mar 4, 2017 – Never Retreat!

    I am reading a long book about World War I, which I will review later. The author made an interesting point. Both the Germans and French thought the Americans were bravely foolish. They had been fighting for three years before the Yanks arrived. By 1918, they would launch an attack with artillery fires and send infantry forth. Most of the time they would discover the plan was bad. Defenses were stronger than expected, or the terrain was too tough, or enemy artillery fire too devastating. So they would call it off and pull back mostly intact to preserve units for an attack elsewhere that might succeed.

    However, the Americans would press on even when failure was obvious. Generals would refuse to allow retreat after frontline officers reported insurmountable problems. Units would be left to die in kill zones for days until entire battalions were annihilated. The few officers who wisely allowed a withdrawal from a failed attack were relieved of command and humiliated.

    I was surprised to learn that by 1918 the crude French tanks were considered important to support infantry attacks, mostly because they drew enemy fire until they were knocked out, thus saving infantrymen. Life as a tanker was short.

    American troops were frequently strafed by German aircraft because American aircraft had no interest in protecting or supporting infantry attacks. Their Generals dedicated aircraft to large strategic operations where they attacked enemy airfields and dropped tiny bombs on targets far behind enemy lines.

    Read More
    • Replies: @peterAUS

    By 1918, they would launch an attack with artillery fires and send infantry forth. Most of the time they would discover the plan was bad. Defenses were stronger than expected, or the terrain was too tough, or enemy artillery fire too devastating. So they would call it off and pull back mostly intact to preserve units for an attack elsewhere that might succeed.
     
    No.
    That mode of attack (artillery preparation and support with infantry closing to destroy the enemy) is just how it was done to up and including Second Chechen War.
    Korea, Falklands, wars in former Yugoslavia, First Chechen War, just from the top of my head.
    Let alone all over WW2, especially on the Eastern Front.
    The issue could’ve been bad intelligence, which I doubt.
    The primary reason was operational mobility.
    TACTICAL attacks were most of the time successful. First defensive lines were broken through. The problem was on operational level; infantry simply couldn’t follow through a breakthrough fast enough, and more importantly, artillery couldn’t follow fast enough to support the infantry.
    Not only moving artillery pieces and AMMO forward, but resighting the batteries. TIME.
    Defender would rush reinforcements in time and plug the breach. Most of the time also counterattack.
    Blitzkrieg forces (armour with integrated motorized infantry and tactical air support) solved that problem.
    Infantry mobility with panzer grenadiers, artillery with Stuka bombers.
    Anyway…

    However, the Americans would press on even when failure was obvious. Generals would refuse to allow retreat after frontline officers reported insurmountable problems. Units would be left to die in kill zones for days until entire battalions were annihilated. The few officers who wisely allowed a withdrawal from a failed attack were relieved of command and humiliated
     
    "Cannon fodder" of the WW1.
    Universal, not just Americans.
    Actually, Americans the least.

    I was surprised to learn that by 1918 the crude French tanks were considered important to support infantry attacks, mostly because they drew enemy fire until they were knocked out, thus saving infantrymen.
     
    No.
    Tanks were useful because they neutralized machineguns, provided moving cover and could breach barbed wire on the move. Tanks, in essence, solved tactical problem created by magazine loaded smokeless powder rifle, machinegun and barbed wire. Also, most of indirect artillery fire (splinters, shrapnel). Definitely grapeshot.

    American troops were frequently strafed by German aircraft because American aircraft had no interest in protecting or supporting infantry attacks. Their Generals dedicated aircraft to large strategic operations where they attacked enemy airfields and dropped tiny bombs on targets far behind enemy lines.
     
    Source please.

    A couple of issues,IMHO.
    Large strategic operations? With 1917/1918 technology?
    Strategic bombing with THOSE airplanes (range, LOAD….)?
    Close air support of attack on field fortifications with THOSE airplanes (load, AIMING, SPEED)?
    Don't think so.
  4. Ypresguy says:

    In 1870 war the Germans imposed on the
    French greater monetary reparations,than those the at Versailles which they paid.Alsance-Lorraine stolen by Napoleon
    Was taken back from the French in 1870.

    Read More
  5. joe webb says:

    the Russian Revolution of 1917 was overlooked here. The communists were exporting the revolution within a few years and began the assault on Germany and eastern Europe.

    This is what caused Mussolini and fascism and HItler. The tens of millions dead a few years later was fundamentally due to communism’s assault on the West, not Wilson etc.
    Joe Webb.

    Read More
  6. Svigor says:

    Good piece overall but,

    President Trump, who managed to avoid military service due to a small foot problem, stood and saluted the American troops.

    How many American Jews, who dodged that same draft at least as vociferously as any other group, cheered on the display of French nationalism?

    Read More
  7. A great autobiography is “The Ragman’s Son” by actor Kirk Douglas. He grew up a poor Jew in New York. He said bars were filled with rich young Jews always talking about how the USA needed to get into WWII. Douglas was eventually drafted into the Navy, and wrote that when he came home on leave, those same rich young Jews were still jabbering in the local bars, having not volunteered and somehow avoided the draft.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Alden
    A book, Sophie's choice is set in Jewish NYC in the late 1940s. There are minor characters, young Jewish men who managed to get out of serving in WW2.
  8. peterAUS says:
    @Carlton Meyer
    Thank you for writing the truth that:

    "The war had become a giant siege in which millions had died for nothing in history’s most barbarous war."

    and..

    "Had Woodrow Wilson not intervened in the European war, the exhausted opposing sides would have been driven to a fair peace, rather than a draconian peace of the victors, which would have totally altered Europe’s modern history. There would likely have been no Hitler and his National Socialists; tens of millions of lives would have been saved by averting World War II. The 1930’s Depression may have been avoided or mitigated. Communists might not have seized power in Russia and, later, Eastern Europe."

    BTW - General Pershing was known in the US Army as "Nigger Jack" Pershing because he often said the black soldiers in a black unit he once commanded were excellent. American reporters/propagandists in Europe decided it best to report his nickname as "Black Jack" Pershing.

    And something from my blog;

    Mar 4, 2017 - Never Retreat!

    I am reading a long book about World War I, which I will review later. The author made an interesting point. Both the Germans and French thought the Americans were bravely foolish. They had been fighting for three years before the Yanks arrived. By 1918, they would launch an attack with artillery fires and send infantry forth. Most of the time they would discover the plan was bad. Defenses were stronger than expected, or the terrain was too tough, or enemy artillery fire too devastating. So they would call it off and pull back mostly intact to preserve units for an attack elsewhere that might succeed.

    However, the Americans would press on even when failure was obvious. Generals would refuse to allow retreat after frontline officers reported insurmountable problems. Units would be left to die in kill zones for days until entire battalions were annihilated. The few officers who wisely allowed a withdrawal from a failed attack were relieved of command and humiliated.

    I was surprised to learn that by 1918 the crude French tanks were considered important to support infantry attacks, mostly because they drew enemy fire until they were knocked out, thus saving infantrymen. Life as a tanker was short.

    American troops were frequently strafed by German aircraft because American aircraft had no interest in protecting or supporting infantry attacks. Their Generals dedicated aircraft to large strategic operations where they attacked enemy airfields and dropped tiny bombs on targets far behind enemy lines.

    By 1918, they would launch an attack with artillery fires and send infantry forth. Most of the time they would discover the plan was bad. Defenses were stronger than expected, or the terrain was too tough, or enemy artillery fire too devastating. So they would call it off and pull back mostly intact to preserve units for an attack elsewhere that might succeed.

    No.
    That mode of attack (artillery preparation and support with infantry closing to destroy the enemy) is just how it was done to up and including Second Chechen War.
    Korea, Falklands, wars in former Yugoslavia, First Chechen War, just from the top of my head.
    Let alone all over WW2, especially on the Eastern Front.
    The issue could’ve been bad intelligence, which I doubt.
    The primary reason was operational mobility.
    TACTICAL attacks were most of the time successful. First defensive lines were broken through. The problem was on operational level; infantry simply couldn’t follow through a breakthrough fast enough, and more importantly, artillery couldn’t follow fast enough to support the infantry.
    Not only moving artillery pieces and AMMO forward, but resighting the batteries. TIME.
    Defender would rush reinforcements in time and plug the breach. Most of the time also counterattack.
    Blitzkrieg forces (armour with integrated motorized infantry and tactical air support) solved that problem.
    Infantry mobility with panzer grenadiers, artillery with Stuka bombers.
    Anyway…

    However, the Americans would press on even when failure was obvious. Generals would refuse to allow retreat after frontline officers reported insurmountable problems. Units would be left to die in kill zones for days until entire battalions were annihilated. The few officers who wisely allowed a withdrawal from a failed attack were relieved of command and humiliated

    “Cannon fodder” of the WW1.
    Universal, not just Americans.
    Actually, Americans the least.

    I was surprised to learn that by 1918 the crude French tanks were considered important to support infantry attacks, mostly because they drew enemy fire until they were knocked out, thus saving infantrymen.

    No.
    Tanks were useful because they neutralized machineguns, provided moving cover and could breach barbed wire on the move. Tanks, in essence, solved tactical problem created by magazine loaded smokeless powder rifle, machinegun and barbed wire. Also, most of indirect artillery fire (splinters, shrapnel). Definitely grapeshot.

    American troops were frequently strafed by German aircraft because American aircraft had no interest in protecting or supporting infantry attacks. Their Generals dedicated aircraft to large strategic operations where they attacked enemy airfields and dropped tiny bombs on targets far behind enemy lines.

    Source please.

    A couple of issues,IMHO.
    Large strategic operations? With 1917/1918 technology?
    Strategic bombing with THOSE airplanes (range, LOAD….)?
    Close air support of attack on field fortifications with THOSE airplanes (load, AIMING, SPEED)?
    Don’t think so.

    Read More
  9. Hi Eric,

    Thank you for your article on France but please know that we, French do not celebrate “Bastille Day” as it was unnecessary and bloody. We celebrate the 14th July (1790 – not 1789) which was a day of reconciliation among all French people.

    We talk about ” La fête nationale du 14 juillet “.

    Regards
    Michelle

    Read More
  10. RH says:

    Hello,

    In reviewing the reasons for the USA’s entry into WW1, you are forgetting the significance of the Zimmerman Telegram. By the time the US entered the war, the “Lusitania” was old news.

    Read More
  11. MayerGlen says:

    However, the Americans would press on even when failure was obvious. Generals would refuse to allow retreat after frontline officers reported insurmountable problems. Units would be left to die in kill zones for days until entire battalions were annihilated. The few officers who wisely allowed a withdrawal from a failed attack were relieved of command and humiliated

    My grandfather told me horrible stories about fields covered with youngest, as he believed, even under-age GIs. Possible it was‘t the Am. expeditionary corps that saved the West but the English blockade which was ag. international law and cost huge losses among the civilian population. –
    Possibly the FR was an English revenge for the French assistence of the Am. rebellion. Vide Olivier Blanc’s document saturated ‚Les Hommes de Londres‘. Histoire secrète de la Terreur, 1989. The book was hushed up like Jacob Talmon’s works. The FR must stay as an mythical act of spontaneous uprising, not a refined English conspiracy to destroy the ‚Grand Nation’s‘ capabilities. Indeed Napoleon’s rear up ended with F’s eventual dismissal as the leading culture in Europe. It never recovered, although it produced late flowers in F’s autumn.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Alden
    French Revolution and Bonapart;
    millions of productive young men dead and vast destruction from Sicily to Russia, for 25 years and all for nothing.

    There's a Vendeen historical society that at long last succeeded in making movies about the Nantes massacres and the life of Renee Bordereau.
  12. …when I hear the rousing strains of France’s glorious national anthem, ‘La Marseillaise.’ One must be almost dead not to respond to the hymn,

    Rousing? Glorious?

    You’re kidding, right?

    Pince moi.

    Read More
  13. Alden says:
    @Carlton Meyer
    A great autobiography is "The Ragman's Son" by actor Kirk Douglas. He grew up a poor Jew in New York. He said bars were filled with rich young Jews always talking about how the USA needed to get into WWII. Douglas was eventually drafted into the Navy, and wrote that when he came home on leave, those same rich young Jews were still jabbering in the local bars, having not volunteered and somehow avoided the draft.

    A book, Sophie’s choice is set in Jewish NYC in the late 1940s. There are minor characters, young Jewish men who managed to get out of serving in WW2.

    Read More
  14. Alden says:

    Margolis really, really needs to read a history book. There are just too many inaccuracies to refute. Plus I don’t feel like checking Wikepedia or opening one of my books to check dates and numbers.

    But I must write something about the volunteers for whom the blood thirsty lyrics were written. They weren’t volunteers. They were paid assassins recruited from the criminal ghettoes of Marseille. Marat had to go that far to find lowlifes to preform the September Massacres. When the paid assassins finally arrived in Paris the I guess they should be called butchers were given knives and swords and sent into the prisons.

    About 1,400 were killed in Paris, maybe 1,000 in other towns. The real objective was to kill the priests nuns and monks in the prisons. But most of those killed were ordinary common criminals.

    Read the lyrics. We wade in the blood of our enemies. Their blood fertilizes our fields.

    Dietrich wrote the music not as a marching song but as a Calvary charge. The music is great though, perfect for its purpose of whopping up soldiers to kill and be killed.

    Love the music, loathe the lyrics and why they were written .

    Read More
  15. Alden says:
    @MayerGlen

    However, the Americans would press on even when failure was obvious. Generals would refuse to allow retreat after frontline officers reported insurmountable problems. Units would be left to die in kill zones for days until entire battalions were annihilated. The few officers who wisely allowed a withdrawal from a failed attack were relieved of command and humiliated
     
    My grandfather told me horrible stories about fields covered with youngest, as he believed, even under-age GIs. Possible it was‘t the Am. expeditionary corps that saved the West but the English blockade which was ag. international law and cost huge losses among the civilian population. –
    Possibly the FR was an English revenge for the French assistence of the Am. rebellion. Vide Olivier Blanc’s document saturated ‚Les Hommes de Londres‘. Histoire secrète de la Terreur, 1989. The book was hushed up like Jacob Talmon’s works. The FR must stay as an mythical act of spontaneous uprising, not a refined English conspiracy to destroy the ‚Grand Nation’s‘ capabilities. Indeed Napoleon’s rear up ended with F’s eventual dismissal as the leading culture in Europe. It never recovered, although it produced late flowers in F’s autumn.

    French Revolution and Bonapart;
    millions of productive young men dead and vast destruction from Sicily to Russia, for 25 years and all for nothing.

    There’s a Vendeen historical society that at long last succeeded in making movies about the Nantes massacres and the life of Renee Bordereau.

    Read More
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