The Glory of the France
BG Robert Doughty (USAR Ret), a former history instructor at West Point, claims to be the proud owner of the largest collection of French Army jokes in existence. That's ironic because he and Professor Michael Neiberg of the University of Southern Mississippi have just brought the French Army of 1917 back to life, and reminded the audience of the fact that during the Great War that army was widely regarded as the epitome of self-sacrifice and valor. The image of the French as cheese-eating surrender monkeys is a revisionist portrait, minted long after the fact. In reality French defenses of 1917 featured "suicide trenches", manned only by volunteers, far in advance of the main line of resistance, who did not expect survive. One of the most evocative anecdotes was of Georges Clemenceau in tears after an inspection of a suicide trench, remarking that of all the marvels a man might hope to see in life, nothing could compare with that.
I will post a few more observations after the presentation on the German Army.