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From: (J.D. Baldwin)
Subject: Re: No more American blood on European soil.
Date: Fri, 2 Apr 1999 15:19:25 GMT

In article <7e279j$i07$>, Finn Jorgensen
<> wrote:
> |> > They very quickly realized their error, but at that point, they had no
> |> > choice but to surrender.
> and J.D.Balwin replied :
> |> I disagree; their surrender was exceptionally quick and inexpensive
> |> for the Germans, surprising the German war planners quite a bit.
> When you realize that you have no chance whatsoever to win the battle
> is it reasonable to keep fighting just to show that you are brave ?

Yes, it is, but not for that reason.  Even at the point where victory
is no longer an option, you fight, not to "win," but to draw the
resources of your enemy in order that your allies might defeat them
with fewer losses.  You fight to buy time so that industrial capacity
for production of war materiel might be destroyed.  You fight to buy
time so that you can organize a more effective Resistance.

Or, of course, you have another option:   you can just quit and hand over
the keys to Paris in exchange for the right to continue sipping cafe au
lait at sidewalk cafes unmolested.  If you pick this option, however,
you'd better be prepared to endure a few centuries' worth of national

> |> A very large percentage DID collaborate "of their own free will,"
> |> going so far as to field fighting units allied with the Germans.
> I'd say less than one percent which I grant is one percent too many,
> but most of those who joined the german army did this because of
> strong anticommunist opinions, not because they were necessarily
> nazis.

Anti-communism was a factor, but you neglected to mention another
strong one:  a high degree of anti-semitism in France.  Oddly, no one
in France wishes to discuss the rather enthusiastic cooperation the
German occupying forces received in their efforts to round up and
deport French Jews in Vichy France.

> |> It's true that most of the collaboration was forced, but one
> |> occasionally reads this line of bullshit that the Resistance was very
> |> powerful, and was everywhere, and everyone was in it, etc., etc.
> I never said anything like that and I agree that many of the so-called
> resistants chose their side only when the game was over.

No, you personally did not say that or anything like it, which is why
I qualified the statement the way I did.  You seem to agree that the
size and effectiveness of the Resistance has been much exaggerated by
the French since the war.  That's what I was addressing here.  I don't
want to denigrate the memory of the *true* heroes of the Resistance
by dismissing their contribution entirely, but neither would it do much
honor to them to pretend that the majority of their countrymen were
with them.

> |> What you say is all quite true, but none of it justifies exaggerations
> |> or distortions about non-existent French valor in WW II.
> I totally agree but please keep in mind that I just wanted to point
> out that Art has a biased view on these things and consistantly
> presents the entire french population as ungrateful, which is largely
> exxagerated as well.

Perhaps.  Among Europeans I've met, I have found that the French are
downright uncomfortable when the subject of WW II comes up.  (And, as
far as I'm concerned, this is entirely proper and appropriate.)
British generally make a good-natured joke about Americans "always
arriving late for a war," and the rest have expressed their genuine
gratitude and admiration for the US sacrifice in the war.

I try to keep my public French-bashing to a minimum, but it does steam
me a bit so hear a Frenchman going on about the military record or
conduct of other nations.  I think good taste dictates that they ought
just to shut up permanently on such matters.
 From the catapult of J.D. Baldwin  |+| "If anyone disagrees with anything I
   _,_    Finger |+| say, I am quite prepared not only to
 _|70|___:::)=}-  for PGP public    |+| retract it, but also to deny under
 \      /         key information.  |+| oath that I ever said it." --T. Lehrer

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