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Debates Forum

  1. Standard membershavixmir
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    09 Oct '18 19:48
    There’s a series on Netflix digging deep into the Vietnam war: what caused it, what went wrong, etc.

    I’ve just started watching it, and it is bloody interesting.

    The only piece of US foreign policy I’ve ever thought worthwhile (and deserved of applause) was Wilson’s comments on the Versailles treaties: that they were too harsh on the Germans.

    What I did not know, was that Ho Chi Min actually was at the whole business and offered the Americans a letter asking for them to help the colonies deserve equal weight as their colonial rulers (opposing French dominance).

    Ho Chi Min went by another name back then (Nguyen Tat Tanh).

    How bloody interesting is that?
  2. Zugzwang
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    09 Oct '18 19:561 edit
    @shavixmir said
    There’s a series on Netflix digging deep into the Vietnam war: what caused it, what went wrong, etc.

    I’ve just started watching it, and it is bloody interesting.

    The only piece of US foreign policy I’ve ever thought worthwhile (and deserved of applause) was Wilson’s comments on the Versailles treaties: that they were too harsh on the Germans.

    What I did not know, w ...[text shortened]... .

    Ho Chi Min went by another name back then (Nguyen Tat Tanh).

    How bloody interesting is that?
    Shavixmir could have learned more about history just by reading my posts.
    In an earlier thread, I cited an article about Ho Chi Minh's early contacts with the
    Americans (OSS), some of whom believed that the USA should consider supporting him.
    The USA preferred to support or sympathize with the European imperial powers
    (British, French, Dutch) who fought to maintain their colonial empires in Asia.

    It's not widely known in the West that, after Japan's surrender in 1945, the British
    sent troops to fight in Vietnam to help restore French imperialist rule there.
    The British also enlisted Japanese soldiers to help them fight the Vietnamese.
    (The Japanese have long been the West's favorite East Asians largely because of
    their readiness to fight on behalf of Western imperialism against other Asians.)
  3. Joined
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    09 Oct '18 20:204 edits
    @shavixmir said
    There’s a series on Netflix digging deep into the Vietnam war: what caused it, what went wrong, etc.

    I’ve just started watching it, and it is bloody interesting.

    The only piece of US foreign policy I’ve ever thought worthwhile (and deserved of applause) was Wilson’s comments on the Versailles treaties: that they were too harsh on the Germans.

    What I did not know, w ...[text shortened]... .

    Ho Chi Min went by another name back then (Nguyen Tat Tanh).

    How bloody interesting is that?
    The only piece of US foreign policy I’ve ever thought worthwhile (and deserved of applause) was Wilson’s comments on the Versailles treaties: that they were too harsh on the Germans.

    It is a very complex issue. Of course, we have the benefit of 20/20 hindsight now - we can see that Versailles created economic disaster and a bitterness in Germany that would lead to the rise of Hitler, world war 2 and the complete destruction of the European continent. However, it is easy to express the need for moderation from a British or American perspective (or any allied power that was not invaded). Sure, people from every participant died, but France suffered the brunt of it.

    Consider the treaty from the perspective of France. The German states (Prussia, mostly) had captured Paris and humiliated France in the Franco-Prussian war, annexed the valuable province of Alsace-Lorraine and declared the German Empire in the halls of the Palace of Versailles, rubbing salt into the wounded pride of the French people. Only 55 years previously (well within the lifetimes of many in 1870-71), Napoleon had ruled Europe.

    The German invasion of France in the Great War utterly destroyed France's valuable northern provinces. Much of the land there was declared "Zone Rouge" and is not fit for human habitation, even to this day. It is so polluted with toxic chemicals and unexploded ammunition that it is predicted it will take 700 years to clean up. This is not to mention that when the allies started to rout the German army, the retreating Germans, out of spite, purposefully destroyed anything that was left in the areas of France that they were retreating from. They sank convoys with submarines and broke the Hague convention by using chlorine gas. 1.4 million French soldiers died in world war 1.

    Germany itself was largely spared this damage (bombers were not yet good enough to inflict serious damage) since little fighting happened within German territory. Germany had also been very aggressive towards France in the years leading up to the war, something that had upset the British.

    With this is mind, it is easy to see why the attitude of revenge took hold in France. France wanted to weaken Germany so that it could never attack France again. Of course, two wrongs don't ever make a right, but I am saying that we have to look at this in historical context and understand that as a Frenchman, it would have been difficult to be forgiving at the end of the war.
  4. Zugzwang
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    09 Oct '18 20:35
    For whatever it's worth, writing in the mid-1930s (after Hitler had come to power),
    Winston Churchill expressed regret that the UK had gone along with France's desire
    for revenge upon Germany and that the peace treaty had not been kinder to Germany.
    So Churchill seemed to comprehend that the seeds had been planted for another war.
  5. SubscriberWOLFE63
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    09 Oct '18 20:362 edits
    @ashiitaka said
    [b}The only piece of US foreign policy I’ve ever thought worthwhile (and deserved of applause) was Wilson’s comments on the Versailles treaties: that they were too harsh on the Germans.[/b]

    It is a very complex issue. Of course, we have the benefit of 20/20 hindsight now - we can see that Versailles created economic disaster and a bitterness in Germany that would lead to ...[text shortened]... understand that as a Frenchman, it would have been difficult to be forgiving at the end of the war.
    That was a very nice summation. It provided me a hitherto, unconsidered perspective of The Great War and France's immediate post-war mindset. Thanks.

    Regarding the war in Viet Nam: It is an indelible stain on the history of the United States. There are far more reasons for this than anyone can possibly write within the confines of 10k characters.

    To the American public's credit, the war became very unpopular as the truth began to be revealed.

    Unlike the current, more oppressive epoch, which is more deserving to be called, quagmire.
  6. Zugzwang
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    09 Oct '18 20:413 edits
    @ashiitaka said
    The only piece of US foreign policy I’ve ever thought worthwhile (and deserved of applause) was Wilson’s comments on the Versailles treaties: that they were too harsh on the Germans.

    It is a very complex issue. Of course, we have the benefit of 20/20 hindsight now - we can see that Versailles created economic disaster and a bitterness in Germany that would lead to ...[text shortened]... understand that as a Frenchman, it would have been difficult to be forgiving at the end of the war.
    It's wrong to imply that France was the unprovoked victim of German aggression
    in the Franco-Prussian War.

    "The German states (Prussia, mostly) had captured Paris and humiliated France in the Franco-Prussian war."
    --Ash

    Ash may be ignorant of the fact that France FIRST declared war on Prussia.
    France hoped that Austria (seeking revenge) would ally with it against Prussia.

    "Some historians argue that Napoleon III also sought war, particularly as a result of the
    diplomatic failure, in 1866, to obtain any concessions following the Austro-Prussian War,[16]
    and he believed he would win a conflict with Prussia. They also argue that he
    wanted a war to resolve growing domestic political problems. Other historians,
    notably French historian Pierre Milza, dispute this."
    --Wikipedia

    While the UK was neutral, if anything, British public opinion tended to be pro-German
    rather than pro-French. At the beginning of the war, many British (or other neutral)
    observers had expected France to win, sympathizing with Prussia as the underdog.
  7. Zugzwang
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    09 Oct '18 20:45
    @wolfe63 said
    That was a very nice summation. It provided me a hitherto, unconsidered perspective of The Great War and France's immediate post-war mindset. Thanks.

    Regarding the war in Viet Nam: It is an indelible stain on the history of the United States. There are far more reasons for this than anyone can possibly write within the confines of 10k characters.

    To the American public ...[text shortened]... aled.

    Unlike the current, more oppressive epoch, which is more deserving to be called, quagmire.
    (Wolfe63 replied to Ash.)

    "That was a very nice summation."
    --Wolfe63

    Only for ignorant laymen.
    Ash seems (perhaps for other reasons) to have some anti-German bias, which
    leads him to exaggerated criticism of Prussia or Germany.
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    09 Oct '18 20:552 edits
    @duchess64 said
    It's wrong to imply that France was the unprovoked victim of German aggression
    in the Franco-Prussian War.

    "The German states (Prussia, mostly) had captured Paris and humiliated France in the Franco-Prussian war."
    --No1Marauder

    Ash may be ignorant of the fact that France FIRST declared war on Prussia.
    France hoped that Austria (seeking revenge) would ally with it ...[text shortened]... (or other neutral)
    observers had expected France to win, sympathizing with Prussia as the underdog.
    Ash may be ignorant of the fact that France FIRST declared war on Prussia.

    I well was well aware of that. Chancellor von Bismarck (my favourite statesperson, even more than Thatcher) baited Napoleon III into it. It doesn't change the fact that France's decisive defeats at the hands of the Prussian/German army, loss of Alsace-Lorraine and having to endure the Germans crowing from Versailles left many French feeling bitter. Whether or not they were the innocent victims probably wasn't what went through the heads of many Frenchmen at the time. It's not human nature to self-examine.

    As for the British, they remained deeply suspicious that Napoleon III had designs on Belgium and Luxembourg, and so were wary of him.
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    09 Oct '18 20:58
    @duchess64 said
    It's wrong to imply that France was the unprovoked victim of German aggression
    in the Franco-Prussian War.

    "The German states (Prussia, mostly) had captured Paris and humiliated France in the Franco-Prussian war."
    --No1Marauder

    Ash may be ignorant of the fact that France FIRST declared war on Prussia.
    France hoped that Austria (seeking revenge) would ally with it ...[text shortened]... (or other neutral)
    observers had expected France to win, sympathizing with Prussia as the underdog.
    "The German states (Prussia, mostly) had captured Paris and humiliated France in the Franco-Prussian war."
    --No1Marauder


    Apparently, I'm No1Marauder. Haha.
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    09 Oct '18 21:022 edits
    @duchess64 said
    (Wolfe63 replied to Ash.)

    "That was a very nice summation."
    --Wolfe63

    Only for ignorant laymen.
    Ash seems (perhaps for other reasons) to have some anti-German bias, which
    leads him to exaggerated criticism of Prussia or Germany.
    Ash seems (perhaps for other reasons) to have some anti-German bias, which
    leads him to exaggerated criticism of Prussia or Germany.


    I try to be as objective about Germany as possible, although I do have reasons (mostly historical, but some current) to be slightly wary of it. I also have some German ancestry, as is common in the descendants of the house of Hanover and Saxe-Coburg-Gotha (although it turned out to be more than I expected). As far as I know, none of what I said in my post regarding Versailles was unfair to Germany. I could have been far more rabid and insisted that Germany deserved to be punished.
  11. Zugzwang
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    09 Oct '18 21:04
    @ashiitaka said
    Ash may be ignorant of the fact that France FIRST declared war on Prussia.

    I well was well aware of that. Chancellor von Bismarck (my favourite statesperson, even more than Thatcher) baited Napoleon III into it. It doesn't change the fact that France's decisive defeats at the hands of the Prussian/German army, loss of Alsace-Lorraine and having to endure the Germa ...[text shortened]... deeply suspicious that Napoleon III had designs on Belgium and Luxembourg, and so were wary of him.
    Alsace-Lorraine was largely (if not mostly) populated by German speakers, not French speakers.

    "It's not human nature to self-examine."
    --Ash

    If your point was that the French had nationalistic resentment of the Germans, I agree.
    If your point was (as I had supposed) that French nationalistic resentment of the
    Germans was completely justified by objectively considering the historical facts,
    then I disagree. Looking it from the other side, many Germans had bitter
    memories of being invaded and occupied by the French under Napoleon I.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/French%E2%80%93German_enmity
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    09 Oct '18 21:07
    @duchess64 said
    Alsace-Lorraine was largely (if not mostly) populated by German speakers, not French speakers.

    "It's not human nature to self-examine."
    --Ash

    If your point was that the French had nationalistic resentment of the Germans, I agree.
    If your point was (as I had supposed) that French nationalistic resentment of the
    Germans was completely justified by objectively consid ...[text shortened]... cupied by the French under Napoleon I.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/French%E2%80%93German_enmity
    Alsace-Lorraine was largely (if not mostly) populated by German speakers, not French speakers.

    Well, it was part of the (mostly German) Holy Roman Empire for much of the second millenium.
  13. Zugzwang
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    09 Oct '18 21:07
    @ashiitaka said
    Ash seems (perhaps for other reasons) to have some anti-German bias, which
    leads him to exaggerated criticism of Prussia or Germany.


    I try to be as objective about Germany although I do have reasons (mostly historical, but some current) to be slightly wary of it. I also have some German ancestry, as is common in the descendants of the house of Hanover and Saxe-Co ...[text shortened]... fair to Germany. I could have been far more rabid and insisted that Germany deserved to be punished.
    "Consider the treaty from the perspective of France."
    --Ash

    It was unclear to me whether Ash was attempting to express what he believes is
    a French nationalist perspective or whether he had adopted it as his own view.
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    09 Oct '18 21:111 edit
    @duchess64 said
    "Consider the treaty from the perspective of France."
    --Ash

    It was unclear to me whether Ash was attempting to express what he believes is
    a French nationalist perspective or whether he had adopted it as his own view.
    I don't feel any French nationalist feelings since I am not French. I was just trying to put myself into the shoes of a late 19th, early 20th century Frenchman and express why it would have been difficult for the average person to rise above the bitterness and be unemotional.
  15. SubscriberWOLFE63
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    09 Oct '18 21:14
    And...some anthropological theories suggest that homo sapiens attacked and eliminated the neanderthal from similar regions.

    Assessing and assigning blame after the passing of more than a few generations is an exercise in futility.

    Our job, if we heed our lessons well, is not to repeat the sins of our father.
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