History Main / CheeseEatingSurrenderMonkeys

25th Jul '17 2:18:05 PM kquinn0830
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* ''Film/{{Dunkirk}}'' features both aversions and a subversion. The French soldiers aren't given much screen time, but they're shown holding the line in the prologue as Tommy escapes to the beach and Commander Bolton mentions several times that the soldiers and tanks are keeping the Germans from getting into the city. The subversion comes when [[spoiler:"Gibson" is revealed to be a French soldier impersonating a Brit. Save for Tommy, the British soldiers who got inside the trawler consider him as a coward for taking the clothes and identity of a dead soldier, but the truth is, [[NotSoDifferent he's just as desperate to leave the beach as they are]], and British soldiers are embarked in priority over French ones. "Gibson" also saved the group's life the night before when the ship they embarked on was sunken by a torpedo, opening them the door as they were trapped inside and drowning.]]
21st Jul '17 11:16:11 AM JulianLapostat
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One would suspect this trope came about because for about the past 250 years France has had a rough recent record, appearing to have lost or needed substantial help in every war it has fought - the UsefulNotes/SevenYearsWar, UsefulNotes/TheNapoleonicWars, [[UsefulNotes/FrancoPrussianWar the Franco-Prussian War,]] the [[UsefulNotes/WorldWarI First World War,]] the [[UsefulNotes/WorldWarII Second World War]], UsefulNotes/TheVietnamWar (the French lost there before the Americans did), and the Algerian war for independence. The most important of these in Western consciousness would be World War II, in which not only did the French get conquered in six weeks, but they also formally surrendered and became quasi-allies to Hitler until the Allied landings and liberation in 1944.

Funnily enough, this trope [[NewerThanTheyThink only came to prominence in 2003]] following France's refusal to support a US-led coalition's invasion and occupation of Iraq. Even after Americans themselves turned against the war, the portrayal stuck. France had been unpopular before, but previously the focus had been on France's perceived lack of gratitude, with UsefulNotes/CharlesDeGaulle claiming that France "liberated herself" during UsefulNotes/WorldWarII, rather than on them being a nation of cowards.

In fact, the perception of France as a nation peopled by spineless cowards with no appetite for war could not be further from the truth. France is one of the largest and most powerful countries in Europe, and like every other large country in history it didn't get that way by being timid. Until very recently France was the military terror of Europe, and her people were renowned for an [[BloodKnight almost idiotic bloodthirstiness]] and willingness to expend lives and treasure for seemingly barren objectives. It's no coincidence that in most European languages, military terms are largely if not exclusively ''French'' - including "Artillery," "Cavalry," "Battalion," "Regiment," "Enfilade"[[note]]a position offering a clear shot down a line of targets[[/note]] - even the word "Attack" itself is French.[[note]]It's also no coincidence that war-shaping espionage and war-ending diplomacy are likewise full of French terms[[/note]]

The collective enthusiasm of the French for warfare lasted well into the first few months of World War One. However massive casualties soon dampened their enthusiasm, with France losing more soldiers in the First World War (1.4 million) than the United States has lost in its entire history. On top of that another 4 million were physically and [[ShellShockedVeteran mentally]] scarred, and the Spanish Flu of 1918-1919 went on to kill twice as many as had died in the war. By the end of the war the French people were exhausted, and moreover completely disgusted with their leadership. By 1920 France had lost a greater proportion of her male population than ''any other combatant'' (including Russia, which went on to suffer [[RedOctober the Russian Civil War]]). Such were French losses that the army she fielded in UsefulNotes/WorldWarII was actually ''smaller'' than the one she had in 1918, and the total population had barely changed in 20 years.

Events in TheNewTens have put this trope on the way to being [[DiscreditedTrope discredited]]: France's 2013 intervention against Islamic militants in Northern Mali has been remarkably successful at preventing the remainder of the country from being overrun, and terrorism in France since 2015 (namely the ''Charlie Hebdo'' shooting, the November 13, 2015 terrorist attacks and the Bastille Day 2016 terrorist attack) has elicited a combination of sympathy, sorrow, and admiration in Western countries. Today, in addition to maintaining [[UsefulNotes/GaulsWithGrenades Western Europe's largest military]], the country also possesses [[UsefulNotes/TheUltimateResistance the third largest nuclear arsenal in the world]]. They also remain very prolific when it comes to weapons development as well, being one of the world's top exporters of arms.

to:

One would suspect this trope came about because for about the past 250 years France has had a rough recent record, appearing to have lost or needed substantial help in every war it has fought - the UsefulNotes/SevenYearsWar, UsefulNotes/TheNapoleonicWars, [[UsefulNotes/FrancoPrussianWar the Franco-Prussian War,]] the [[UsefulNotes/WorldWarI First World War,]] the [[UsefulNotes/WorldWarII Second World War]], UsefulNotes/TheVietnamWar (the French lost there before the Americans did), and the Algerian war for independence. The most important of these in Western consciousness would be World War II, in which not only did the French get conquered in six weeks, but they also formally surrendered and became quasi-allies to Hitler until the Allied landings and liberation in 1944.

Funnily enough, this
This trope [[NewerThanTheyThink only came to prominence in 2003]] following France's refusal to support a TheWarOnTerror in general, and the US-led coalition's invasion and occupation of Iraq. Even For some reasons, this trope persisted even after Americans themselves turned against the war, as evidenced by the portrayal stuck. fact that the next two presidents of both the Democratic and Republican parties (UsefulNotes/BarackObama, UsefulNotes/DonaldTrump) branded the war a mistake during their campaigns. But thanks to PopCulturalOsmosis, the stigma and first impressions stuck, with much selective misreading of history, involving accusations of UngratefulBastard, with invocations of UsefulNotes/CharlesDeGaulle's hauteur about France had been unpopular before, but previously the focus had been on France's perceived lack of gratitude, with UsefulNotes/CharlesDeGaulle claiming that France having "liberated herself" during UsefulNotes/WorldWarII, rather than on them being a nation of cowards.cowards and Johnny-come-latelys.

In fact, the perception of France as a nation peopled by spineless cowards with people who have no appetite for war could not be further from the truth. France is one of the largest and most powerful countries in Europe, and like every other large country in history it didn't get that way by being timid. Until very recently For most of the last millennia, France was the military terror of Europe, and her people were renowned for an [[BloodKnight almost idiotic bloodthirstiness]] and willingness to expend lives and treasure for seemingly barren objectives. It's no coincidence that in most European languages, military terms are largely if not exclusively ''French'' - including "Artillery," "Cavalry," "Battalion," "Regiment," "Enfilade"[[note]]a position offering a clear shot down a line of targets[[/note]] - even the word "Attack" itself is French.[[note]]It's also no coincidence that war-shaping espionage and war-ending diplomacy are likewise full of French terms[[/note]]

terms[[/note]] The collective enthusiasm modern concept of "total war" and {{Conscription}} based national army was also invented during UsefulNotes/TheFrenchRevolution when in the span of [[ReignOfTerror a single year]], France became the most advanced and modern army on the planet, giving careers to many great generals, including UsefulNotes/NapoleonBonaparte himself. However, from this height, there was a precipitous fall.

Since defeat in Waterloo, France has declined in political and military might. The wars which France has fought since then, and served on the winning side, has largely had it serve as part of a coalition (such as the UsefulNotes/CrimeanWar, UsefulNotes/WorldWarI), or they were victories against colonies with weak armies and outmoded systems (as in Algeria and Indo-China). It has lost individual wars to great powers ([[UsefulNotes/FrancoPrussianWar the Franco-Prussian War,]] the [[UsefulNotes/WorldWarI First World War,]] the [[UsefulNotes/WorldWarII Second World War]]. It also lost to "weaker nations" [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/French_intervention_in_Mexico as in the case of Mexico]] and UsefulNotes/TheVietnamWar (the French lost there before the Americans did). The ultimate ShockingDefeatLegacy is World War II, in which not only did
the French for warfare lasted well into get conquered in six weeks, but they also formally surrendered and became quasi-allies to Hitler until the first few months of World War One. However massive casualties soon dampened their enthusiasm, Allied landings and liberation in 1944, with the numerically small French Resistance led by De Gaulle, by sheer force of will, becoming the legitimate government in 1944-45, and winning enough prestige, and not inconsiderable military action, to get a seat at the victor's table as an Occupying Power of Germany, founding member status, and veto on the UN Security Council. The reason for that defeat and capitulation were huge issues in France losing itself from TheForties to TheSeventies (along with much debate about the role of Frenchmen in UsefulNotes/TheHolocaust). It must be noted that France lost more soldiers in the First World War (1.4 million) than the United States has lost in its entire history. On top of that another 4 million were physically and [[ShellShockedVeteran mentally]] scarred, and the Spanish Flu of 1918-1919 went on to kill twice as many as had died in the war. By the end A large portion of the war the fought on French people were exhausted, land and moreover completely disgusted with their leadership. By by 1920 France had lost a greater proportion of her male population than ''any other combatant'' (including Russia, which went on to suffer [[RedOctober the Russian Civil War]]). Such were French losses that the army she fielded in UsefulNotes/WorldWarII was actually ''smaller'' than the one she had in 1918, and the total population had barely changed in 20 years.

Events in TheNewTens have put this trope on the way to being somewhat [[DiscreditedTrope discredited]]: discredited]] albeit not in the original context (namely PM Dominique de Villepin's criticism of military interventionism in the Middle East). France's 2013 intervention against Islamic militants in Northern Mali has been remarkably successful at preventing the remainder of the country from being overrun, and terrorism in France since 2015 (namely the ''Charlie Hebdo'' shooting, the November 13, 2015 terrorist attacks and the Bastille Day 2016 terrorist attack) has elicited a combination of sympathy, sorrow, and admiration in Western countries. Today, in addition to maintaining [[UsefulNotes/GaulsWithGrenades Western Europe's largest military]], the country also possesses [[UsefulNotes/TheUltimateResistance the third largest nuclear arsenal in the world]]. They also remain very prolific when it comes to weapons development as well, being one of the world's top exporters of arms.
21st Jul '17 10:27:14 AM jamespolk
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One would suspect this trope came about because for about the past 250 years France has had a rough recent record, appearing to have lost or needed substantial help in all five of the major wars it has fought - the UsefulNotes/SevenYearsWar, UsefulNotes/TheNapoleonicWars, [[UsefulNotes/FrancoPrussianWar the Franco-Prussian War,]] the [[UsefulNotes/WorldWarI First World War,]] and most importantly of all the [[UsefulNotes/WorldWarII Second World War]]. Funnily enough, this trope [[NewerThanTheyThink only came to prominence in 2003]] following France's refusal to support a US-led coalition's invasion and occupation of Iraq. Even after Americans themselves turned against the war, the portrayal stuck. France had been unpopular before, but previously the focus had been on France's perceived lack of gratitude, with UsefulNotes/CharlesDeGaulle claiming that France "liberated herself" during UsefulNotes/WorldWarII, rather than on them being a nation of cowards.

to:

One would suspect this trope came about because for about the past 250 years France has had a rough recent record, appearing to have lost or needed substantial help in all five of the major wars every war it has fought - the UsefulNotes/SevenYearsWar, UsefulNotes/TheNapoleonicWars, [[UsefulNotes/FrancoPrussianWar the Franco-Prussian War,]] the [[UsefulNotes/WorldWarI First World War,]] and most importantly of all the [[UsefulNotes/WorldWarII Second World War]]. War]], UsefulNotes/TheVietnamWar (the French lost there before the Americans did), and the Algerian war for independence. The most important of these in Western consciousness would be World War II, in which not only did the French get conquered in six weeks, but they also formally surrendered and became quasi-allies to Hitler until the Allied landings and liberation in 1944.

Funnily enough, this trope [[NewerThanTheyThink only came to prominence in 2003]] following France's refusal to support a US-led coalition's invasion and occupation of Iraq. Even after Americans themselves turned against the war, the portrayal stuck. France had been unpopular before, but previously the focus had been on France's perceived lack of gratitude, with UsefulNotes/CharlesDeGaulle claiming that France "liberated herself" during UsefulNotes/WorldWarII, rather than on them being a nation of cowards.
30th Jun '17 10:11:18 AM Wooboo
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* Played straight in one sense, but simultaneously [[InvertedTrope Inverted]] in the Creator/LarryBond book ''Cauldron'', where the French along with the Germans are the bad guys in a militant Franco-Germanic economic pact out to take over Europe. There are hardly French characters who get any sympathy, with the majority either [[CardCarryingVillain mustache-twirling evil]] or just staggeringly incompetent, with the entire French military command (that is, anyone from a Lieutenant on-up) playing TheNeidermeyer who fail almost every military action they're involved in, [[AmericaSavesTheDay especially after America and England get involved.]] This is in sharp contrast to the Germans, who are portrayed much more [[AntiVillain sympathetically]] and are generally depicted as excellent and effective soldiers [[TheLoad saddled with making up for the incompetence of their French partners,]] meaning it's the Americans and English beating them to a pulp and the ''Germans'' who have to come and attempt to save them.
--> ''Two things were disastrously clear, though. First, the damned French were beaten and were retreating fast. And second, [[GeneralFailure Montagne]] and his underlings expected the 19th Panzergrenadier to save their bacon--again.''
26th Jun '17 4:37:04 PM flip619
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In fact, the perception of France as a nation peopled by spineless cowards with no appetite for war could not be further from the truth. France is one of the largest and most powerful countries in Europe, and like every other large country in history it didn't get that way by being timid. Until very recently France was the military terror of Europe, and her people were renowned for an [[BloodKnight almost idiotic bloodthirstiness]] and willingness to expend lives and treasure for seemingly barren objectives. It's no coincidence that in most European languages, military terms are largely if not exclusively ''French'' - including "Battalion," "Artillery," "Cavalry," "Regiment" - even the word "Attack" itself is French.

to:

In fact, the perception of France as a nation peopled by spineless cowards with no appetite for war could not be further from the truth. France is one of the largest and most powerful countries in Europe, and like every other large country in history it didn't get that way by being timid. Until very recently France was the military terror of Europe, and her people were renowned for an [[BloodKnight almost idiotic bloodthirstiness]] and willingness to expend lives and treasure for seemingly barren objectives. It's no coincidence that in most European languages, military terms are largely if not exclusively ''French'' - including "Battalion," "Artillery," "Cavalry," "Regiment" "Battalion," "Regiment," "Enfilade"[[note]]a position offering a clear shot down a line of targets[[/note]] - even the word "Attack" itself is French.
French.[[note]]It's also no coincidence that war-shaping espionage and war-ending diplomacy are likewise full of French terms[[/note]]



Events in TheNewTens have put this trope on the way to being [[DiscreditedTrope discredited]]: France's 2013 intervention against Islamic militants in Northern Mali has been remarkably successful at preventing the remainder of the country from being overrun, and terrorism in France since 2015 (namely the ''Charlie Hebdo'' shooting, the November 13, 2015 terrorist attacks and the Bastille Day 2016 terrorist attack) has elicited a combination of sympathy, admiration, and sorrow in Western countries. Today, in addition to maintaining [[UsefulNotes/GaulsWithGrenades Western Europe's largest military]], the country also possesses [[UsefulNotes/TheUltimateResistance the third largest nuclear arsenal in the world]]. They also remain very prolific when it comes to weapons development as well, being one of the world's top exporters of arms.

to:

Events in TheNewTens have put this trope on the way to being [[DiscreditedTrope discredited]]: France's 2013 intervention against Islamic militants in Northern Mali has been remarkably successful at preventing the remainder of the country from being overrun, and terrorism in France since 2015 (namely the ''Charlie Hebdo'' shooting, the November 13, 2015 terrorist attacks and the Bastille Day 2016 terrorist attack) has elicited a combination of sympathy, admiration, sorrow, and sorrow admiration in Western countries. Today, in addition to maintaining [[UsefulNotes/GaulsWithGrenades Western Europe's largest military]], the country also possesses [[UsefulNotes/TheUltimateResistance the third largest nuclear arsenal in the world]]. They also remain very prolific when it comes to weapons development as well, being one of the world's top exporters of arms.
16th May '17 6:37:52 AM Bluecatcinema
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* The ''ComicBook/TeenTitans'' villain Warp gets a lot of mockery over his nationality:
** In ''ComicBook/JokersLastLaugh'':
-->'''Joker:''' That'll do with the strong-arm stuff, Frenchie. After two world wars, everybody knows that you guys are all talk and no action.
** And again in the ''ComicBook/InfiniteCrisis: Villains United'' special:
-->'''Dr. Psycho:''' Now, you're certain you can do this, yes? We're talking about Earth's molten core here, not out to the bistro for croissant and a quick surrender.
9th May '17 7:40:00 PM luiz4200
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* ''Franchise/JusticeLeagueOfAmerica'': [[InvokedTrope Invoked]] by Guy Gardner's response to a French General's request for help in "Wonder Woman and Justice League America".
-->'''Guy:''' It sounds like you want us to do your job for you. It figures, you being French and all.
8th Apr '17 9:00:54 AM nombretomado
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* Glass Joe of [[PunchOut Punch-Out!!]] both plays this trope straight and inverts it. Plays straight because he has a record of one win and 99 losses. Inverted in that despite his record, he refuses to surrender (retire), and he'll gladly go through a fight until his [[WarmupBoss inevitable defeat]].

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* Glass Joe of [[PunchOut Punch-Out!!]] ''VideoGame/PunchOut'' both plays this trope straight and inverts it. Plays straight because he has a record of one win and 99 losses. Inverted in that despite his record, he refuses to surrender (retire), and he'll gladly go through a fight until his [[WarmupBoss inevitable defeat]].
3rd Apr '17 3:36:39 PM Jormungar
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The collective enthusiasm of the French for warfare lasted well into the first few months of World War One. However massive casualties soon dampened their enthusiasm, with France loosing more soldiers in the First World War (1.4 million) than the United States has lost in its entire history. On top of that another 4 million were physically and [[ShellShockedVeteran mentally]] scarred, and the Spanish Flu of 1918-1919 went on to kill twice as many as had died in the war. By the end of the war the French people were exhausted, and moreover completely disgusted with their leadership. By 1920 France had lost a greater proportion of her male population than ''any other combatant'' (including Russia, which went on to suffer [[RedOctober the Russian Civil War]]). Such were French losses that the army she fielded in UsefulNotes/WorldWarII was actually ''smaller'' than the one she had in 1918, and the total population had barely changed in 20 years.

to:

The collective enthusiasm of the French for warfare lasted well into the first few months of World War One. However massive casualties soon dampened their enthusiasm, with France loosing losing more soldiers in the First World War (1.4 million) than the United States has lost in its entire history. On top of that another 4 million were physically and [[ShellShockedVeteran mentally]] scarred, and the Spanish Flu of 1918-1919 went on to kill twice as many as had died in the war. By the end of the war the French people were exhausted, and moreover completely disgusted with their leadership. By 1920 France had lost a greater proportion of her male population than ''any other combatant'' (including Russia, which went on to suffer [[RedOctober the Russian Civil War]]). Such were French losses that the army she fielded in UsefulNotes/WorldWarII was actually ''smaller'' than the one she had in 1918, and the total population had barely changed in 20 years.
3rd Apr '17 3:32:12 PM Jormungar
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One would suspect this trope came about because for about the past 250 years France has had a rough recent record, appearing to have lost or needed substantial help in all five of the major wars it has fought - the UsefulNotes/SevenYearsWar, UsefulNotes/TheNapoleonicWars, [[UsefulNotes/FrancoPrussianWar the Franco-Prussian War,]] the [[UsefulNotes/WorldWarI First World War,]] and most importantly of all the [[UsefulNotes/WorldWarII Second World War]]. Funnily enough, this trope [[NewerThanTheyThink only came to prominence in 2003]] following France's refusal to support a US-led coalition's invasion and occupation of Iraq. Even after Americans themselves turned against the war, the portrayal stuck. France had been unpopular before, but previously the focus had been France's perceived lack of gratitude, with UsefulNotes/CharlesDeGaulle claiming that France "liberated herself" during UsefulNotes/WorldWarII, rather than them being a nation of cowards.

to:

One would suspect this trope came about because for about the past 250 years France has had a rough recent record, appearing to have lost or needed substantial help in all five of the major wars it has fought - the UsefulNotes/SevenYearsWar, UsefulNotes/TheNapoleonicWars, [[UsefulNotes/FrancoPrussianWar the Franco-Prussian War,]] the [[UsefulNotes/WorldWarI First World War,]] and most importantly of all the [[UsefulNotes/WorldWarII Second World War]]. Funnily enough, this trope [[NewerThanTheyThink only came to prominence in 2003]] following France's refusal to support a US-led coalition's invasion and occupation of Iraq. Even after Americans themselves turned against the war, the portrayal stuck. France had been unpopular before, but previously the focus had been on France's perceived lack of gratitude, with UsefulNotes/CharlesDeGaulle claiming that France "liberated herself" during UsefulNotes/WorldWarII, rather than on them being a nation of cowards.
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