Too much of the interpretation of history is propaganda. Much of that propaganda is so deep that it lurks inside the emotional and linguistic semantics (From Greek semantikos: signify or indicate by a sign).
By uttering the traditional word(s) one present as factual the time honored bias.
For example the word “colonial” is often used to describe the French League of Nations/SDN Mandate in Syria, completely misrepresenting both the history of Syria and the role France played there (it’s not of academic interest only, because, under the French, the Alawites were liberated, and now those (mostly ex-) victims make sure that what happened to them won’t happen again). Hence, that simple adjective convey semantics which are unfair to the French, the Alawites, the Syrians, History, and civilization itself, while standing in the way of a sustainable just solution in Syria. Now to answer some comments I received:
Chris Snuggs: “The French Revolution? Well, it didn’t remain a revolution for long did it? We ended up fighting yet another continental dictator. What is it with you lot? Something in the water.”
Actually, the French Revolution won the global interdiction of the slave trade, the American Civil War, crushed Anglo-Prussian institutionalized enslaving racism, and is now itself institutionalized by the United Nations Charter, (formally) accepted by all nations, even North Korea. So the French Revolution rules the globe.
If Russia is the way it is right now, with a pseudo, yet duly elected Czar, and a Parliament, and a state of quasi-law, it’s thanks to the French Revolution. This is why, for decades, French anthems were used as national anthems in Russia (the Marseillaise and the Internationale).
One dictator? It was more like a trinity: Kaiser Wilhelm II, Hitler, Mussolini? (And I forgot Franz-Joseph of Austro-Hungary.)
Historically, Britain, under Pitt, used Prussia as a war machine against France, and did it again 1792 (against the French Revolution led by that great rebel, Louis XVI, King of France) and of course after 1812. Prussia instituted a proto-Nazi regime in 1815 (racist oppression and abuse against Jews, Poles; as the advances brought by the French revolution were rolled back).
In 1914, after encouragement by the White House (not so white and innocent after all), the Kaiser, grandson of Queen Victoria, moved swiftly his entire army by surprise against France, to subjugate the part of France which he did not occupy yet.
Imperial German occupation of Alsace and Lorraine was not bad in all respects: the universal health care system was great, and some good investments and restauration in occupied Alsace happened. However the attack of 1914 was conceived as a world war, which fascist Germany could win, by being swift enough: it was known that Russian mobilization would be very slow, taking weeks, and Britain had “no army” (as its commander and British minister of defense put it). In other words, the Anglo-Saxon role in inciting the Kaiser and his goons to attack in 1914, although well hidden, was considerable.
A proof is that the USA then broke the Franco-British high seas embargo against Imperial Germany. (The USA, having baited Germany, switched brutally in 1917, as, by then, it seemed clear who the victors were going to be.)
Even worse, starting in 1919, the USA did its best to ensure that German fascism could try an encore against France. The French were not blind to this, and did not like it, while the government in Washington, to justify its anti-French policy, depicted France under the worst ways.
The aim of the government USA was to completely destroy the French empire, and French influence, worldwide, and replace it by the American empire and influence. We have explicit orders of Franklin D. Roosevelt to his subordinates in this matter. FDR, a plutocrat more than a bit similar to Trump, had the interest of the American empire foremost in his thoughts.
FDR did not understand how the Roman Republic went down, although it is black on white in Sallust’s work. Interestingly, I long deduced that the aggression wars of 146 BCE destroyed the Roman Republic, without knowing of Sallust’s thinking. Thus, it should be obvious to anybody familiar with Roman history. In 146 BCE, Rome deliberately attacked and destroyed Carthage (in Africa) and Corinth (in Greece).
The monster attacks were promoted by Roman plutocracy, and, in turn, amplified it enormously. The amplification was not just military and economic, but moral and psychological. The success of the destruction visited on others, and the resulting grab of immense riches in minerals and agricultural lands, told the Roman population that evil worked. The system may have been wrong, some Romans may have felt, but the system worked, observed most Romans, and it was not as if they had a choice.
In the case of the USA, the propaganda has been so profound, university professors of history may not even know the facts above, let alone give them the importance they deserve.
Hence psychological angles come to dominate the knowledge of history.
In the case of contemporary Britain, people were told for years, that all what ailed them originated with the European construction. This hid the erection of monstrous plutocratic contraptions which made England, or London and a few satellites, more exactly, the headquarters of the global elite of inequality.
So, while London and satellites became extremely rich, the 99% got ever poorer… And the more enraged they got, the more that rage was artfully diverted towards the European Union.
Anglo-Saxons, or Franco-Saxons?
Chris Snuggs: “As for we much maligned Anglo-Saxons, we specialise in defeating dictators…”
Kevin Berger also wonder how can I call the USA and the UK, “sister republics”. Following is an answer to both:
The very concept of “Anglo-Saxon” is a piece of propaganda.
First, way back, the Celtic world extended from Ireland to central Anatolia (yes 4,000 miles to the east). The Celts were savages in some ways, but world experts in others (they had, not just cheese, beer, and barrels, but the best ocean going ships, but the best metallurgy: the Gauls sold weapons to the Romans, from swords to helmets).
(Then demographically) smaller England was Franco-Romanized several times: first Julius Caesar landed, then the subordinates of Nero conquered it thoroughly, and a state of three million Romans, Britannia lived for centuries, until well after the legions were evacuated in 406 CE for austerity reasons.
At some point in the Sixth or Seventh Century, harassed by the Angles and the Saxons, British troops evacuated towards French Brittany. This were confusing times, as the Franks were also found in England (Queen Bathilde the victor of slavery circa 650 CE, and Alcuin, Charlemagne philosopher and Prime Minister, were from England).
In any case, a French army invaded and occupied irreversibly England in 1066-1067 CE, re-establishing Franco-Roman rule… But the “Renovated Roman Empire” of the Franks and Charlemagne had the same problem as the Roman empire, namely no stable way to anchor legally the state (this came in part from admiration for Aristotle, a fasco-monarchist).
For centuries, the part of Europe conquered by Romans and Franks was aquiver with various attempts to organize elections, Christian republics (including the Christian Republic of 400 CE, which collapsed immediately under invasions), re-establishing the Roman Senate (this was tried in the Eleventh Century). This lack of constitution explains the on-going existence of Republics (Venice, Florence, Genoa), or quasi Republics (in the Alps, or Toulouse)…
In the case of Britain, continual conflict between the ruling French, or them and Paris led to increasingly democratic ways (although violence was extensive between the War of the Roses, which was finished when Tudor got help from a French army, and the Glorious Revolution, two centuries later).
After the Glorious Invasion of William of Orange, a parliamentary plutocracy was established in the UK whose official target was France (France, under the tyrant Louis XIV had become a place of Catholic Fundamentalism, hostile to Protestants: that was the excuse; the full truth is that British-Dutch plutocracy dreamed of becoming bigger than the French one, and soon succeeded, from high leveraging and the use of slavery and the invasion of North America by unsavory, but efficient means).
In the end, the Angles had very little influence on the Celtic, Roman, and Frankish origin of Britain. The adjective “Anglo-Saxon” itself is a propaganda notion, when used as full descriptive (at most the “Anglo-Saxons” controlled no more than half of Britain for much less than five centuries, whereas the Celto-Roman-Franco influence lasted millennia, over the full extent).
So Why The Differences In Mentality Between Recent France & UK/USA?
First Britain is very often much closer to France than to the USA: French municipal police, up to 2015, was not armed, and the British bobbies are not. American police is super-armed, and even looks, in “liberal” places such as Berkeley California, as an occupation army, with a willingness, and even tradition, to shoot first and ask questions later.
Gentlemen such as Chris Snuggs, who lived in France for more than a decade, could not stand living in the USA. In the USA’s richest regions, most people are immigrants (a paradox which has very rational, entangled explanations).
Secondly, Britain and the USA are islands (OK, a very big island is called a continent). France does not have this mental handicap: France has been at the crossroads, millennia before taking its present name. So France has evolved more inclusive and tolerant philosophies which were in turn impelled on her political descendants, Britain and the USA. (Straying from tolerance under Saint Louis, who threw the Jews out, and repulsed alliance with the Mongols, or under Louis XIV fasco-Catholicism, did not help.)
Thirdly, as I have explained many times, the “evil” mentality which presided over the British, and then American conquest of America proved capable to kick out the French’s softer approach. Then one had the same problem as with plutocratic Rome: nothing succeeds better than success.
Just ask Donald Trump.