Francophobia, or Gallophobia, as well as Francophobe, are terms that refer to a dislike toward the government, culture, history, or people of France or the Francophonie. [cite book|last=Robertson|first=John G.|title=Robertson's Words for a Modern Age: A Cross Reference of Latin and Greek Combining Elements|publisher=Senior Scribe Publications |date=1991 |pages=212 |isbn=9780963091901] Its antonym is francophilia. Contemporary prejudice against the French often derives from criticisms from the immediate post-World War II period and the way of life of the artistic and philosophic elite of the time. Francophobia has existed in various forms and in different countries for centuries. In China, the term "Francophobia" (恐法症) became widely known in 2006 in the context of the eight-year standing football rivalry between Brazil and France by local media under its literal meaning of "Fear of the French". However, this is a misnomer stemming from the use of the word "phobia," the Greek word for "fear."

Use of the term

Given its lengthy history and various changes in relative international status, properly qualifying hostility toward France and its people with one term is difficult. Francophobia is used here as it is the historically understood term for the most pronounced and longest running hostility toward things French — that of the United Kingdom from the 17th to 19th centuries. Francophobe and Francophile (along with the now archaicFact|date=September 2008 Gallophobe and Gallophile) would have been well understood to British commentators of the period and the former terms are still easily grasped today. In the contemporary United States, "anti-French sentiment" is more likely to be used to describe the recent upsurge in that country of animosity toward the French. In former French colonies, meanwhile, resentment may fall under the larger rubric of anti-colonialism.

France as Continental Hegemon

Though French history in the broadest sense extends back more than a millennium, its political unity dates back from the reign of Louis XI, who set up the basis of nation-state (rather than a dynastic, transnational entity typical of the late Middle Ages). According to Eric Hobsbawm (1990)Fact|date=April 2007, only aristocrats and scholars spoke French before the French Revolution, whilst about two-thirds of the population of the French kingdom spoke a variety of dialects. Henceforth, Hobsbawm argues that the French Nation-state was constituted during the 19th century, through conscription which accounted for interactions between French citizens coming from various regions, and the Third Republic's public instruction laws, enacted in the 1880s, probably in parallel with the birth of the European nationalisms.

Francophobia in Britain

England and France have a long history of conflict, dating from before the Battle of Hastings, when the Duke of Normandy, a vassal of the French King, raised himself to be King of England. Before becoming King of England, William found conflict with his liege several times and conquered some neighboring fiefs. The relationship continued between the countries continued to be filled with conflict, even during the Third Crusade This medieval era of conflict climaxed during the One Hundred Years War, when the House of Plantagenet fought unsuccessfully for control of French throne and lost the last of their French holdings, which resulted in future English Kings being more culturally English (previously they had largely spoken French and lived in French castles much of the time, Richard Coeur de Lion who was famous for his feud with the French King Philip, spent most of his life in France and as little as six months of his reign as King in England).

The modern history of conflict between the two nations stems from the rise of Britain effect into a position as a dominant mercantile and seafaring power from the late 17th century onward. Hostility toward and strategic conflict with France's similar ambitions became a defining characteristic of relations between the two powers. The time between the Glorious Revolution of 1688 and Napoleon's final capitulation in 1815 has been perceived in Britain as a prolonged Franco-British conflict to determine who would be the dominant colonial power (sometimes called the "Second Hundred Years' War"). English hostility to the Catholic Church, which dated back to earlier conflicts with Spain and the Catholic Habsburg dynasty contributed to attitudes towards the French, because France was also seen as a Catholic power, while the majority of the English people were Protestants belonging to the Church of England. Britain assisted continental European states in resisting French ambitions to hegemony during the reign of Louis XIV and of course during the Napoleonic Wars. Britain also resented France's intervention in the American Revolutionary War. These repeated conflicts spawned deep mutual antagonism between the two nations, which were only, and partially, overcome by their alliance to contain Imperial Germany in the early 20th century.

The dimensions of this conflict in Britain were as much cultural as strategic. Indeed, British nationalism in its nascent phases was in large part a contra-France phenomenon and the attitudes involved extended well beyond who won what on various battlefields:

* A growing group of British nationalists in the 17th and 18th centuries resented the veneration that was often accorded French culture and the French language.
* France was the strongest Catholic power and "anti-Papist" suspicions were always strong in Britain.
* The French political system appered absolutist and conformist, contrasting Anglo-Saxon notions of liberty and individualism which British nationalists invoked.Fact|date=April 2007
* The permeation of anti-French sentiment throughout society - as epitomised by the apocryphal story of the Hartlepool monkey hangers, whose belief that the French were literally inhuman led them to have allegedly executed a pet monkey in the belief that it was an invading Frenchman (although the story is based upon the disputed premise that those involved had never seen a monkey before).Fact|date=April 2007

The French Revolution

The revolutionary ideas that emerged in France in 1789 during the French Revolution and subsequent years were not well-received by monarchists and aristocrats on the rest of the continent and in Britain. France, the leading European power for two centuries, had suddenly and violently overthrown the feudal foundations of continental order and, it was feared, the revolution might spread. Objections were many:
* That the legitimacy of hereditary monarchy had been vitiated.
* That violent, uneducated peasants and urban poor had gained power over their traditional social masters.
* That the revolution was anti-religious.
* That the revolution aspired to continental hegemony, in effect that "liberté, egalité, fraternité" would be limited to the French, while the Spanish, Italians, etc would be under French domination. Thus the nationalism created in France during the revolution spread to other nations under French occupation, leading to resistance movements and guerillas opposed to the French.
* That the revolution would (and eventually did) result in a reign of terror terminating in despotism (under Napoleon), thus failing to live up to aspirations of liberty ("Reflections on the Revolution in France").

These concerns were not unique to Europe. Despite the positive view some Americans had of The French Revolution, it awakened or created anti-French feelings among many FederalistsFact|date=April 2007.

The Age of Napoleon

Goya painted several famous pictures depicting the violence of the Peninsula wars during the Napoleonic Era. In particular, the French actions against Spanish civilians during the Peninsular War drew a large amount of criticism. This is illustrated by The Third of May 1808 painting.

France as imperial power

France's colonial empire earned it many enemies, among rival colonial countries, especially Great Britain, and especially amongst colonized people. On a whole, although French neo-colonialism is denounced under the term of "Françafrique" (including by sectors of the French population itself)Fact|date=April 2007, this does not necessarily lead to "Francophobia.", even in Côte d'Ivoire where, beyond the provocations of Laurent Gbagbo, elected with less than 15% of the polls, the vast majority of people feel no resentment towards the French, nor the huge number of Franco-Ivorian citizens, and few towards the former colonizing power, their main target being rather the rests of paternalism of the French political attitude in Black Africa, leading to political tensions from time to time.

France in Africa and Asia

*Africa - France's intervention in the civil war in Côte d'Ivoire has triggered anti-French violence by the "Young Patriots" and other groups. Facts|date=July 2007

*Asia - The French colonists were given the special epithet "thực dân" (originally meaning "colonist", but evolving to refer to the oppressive regime of the French) in Vietnamese; it is still universally used in discussions about the colonial era. After the French were pushed out of Vietnam, those who collaborated with them (called "tay sai" – agents) were vilified. Those who left for France with the French were known as "Việt gian" (Viet traitors) and had all their property confiscated. Although anti-French feelings in Vietnam have abated, the use of words like "thực dân" (colonist) to describe the French is still normal. Facts|date=July 2007

France and World War II

The Second World War had a profound effect on the modern French image abroad. Before the war's outbreak, the French government and the British prime minister Chamberlain actively pursued the policy of appeasement and accepted Hitler's various violations of the Versailles treaty and his demands at Munich in 1938. This, together with the performance of the French army, which was beaten during the Battle of France, contributed in shattering the French army's reputation.

The quick military defeat of the French especially caused much disillusion across Europe. As a consequence the image and reputation of France as Europe's military superpower was shattered. However, France still participated actively in the final victory.

France as vocal Middle Power

De Gaulle's Presidencies and Gaullism in the 1960s

Under Charles de Gaulle's presidencies (1961-1970), a series of events bolstered Francophobia :

* De Gaulle refused to harbour US-led NATO bases on the French soil, and thus refused to seat in it.
* De Gaulle opposed the UK's claim to join the EEC in 1962 and again in 1965.
* De Gaulle brought his support to Québec's campaign for independence while on visit there in 1967, with a notorious "Vive le Québec libre!", allegedly to help the French-speaking province's claims against the English-speaking Canada.

This series of stance which exemplified "Gaullism", the doctrine of De Gaulle advocating a strong presence among the great nations and independence towards America, was especially resented as it was felt these comments mainly served national goals.

Anti-French sentiment in Australasia and the Pacific in the 1980s

France has remained a colonial power in the Pacific, well after other European countries divested their imperial legacies. France controls the relatively small and isolated colonies of New Caledonia, Wallis and Futuna Islands and French Polynesia. There have been sporadic anti-French demonstrations in French Polynesia, and briefly in the 1980s a pro-independence insurgency in New Caledonia, led by the Front de Libération Nationale Kanak Socialiste.

More politically volatile has been the issue of nuclear testing in the Pacific. Since 1960, around 200 nuclear tests have occurred around the Pacific, to the opprobrium of other Pacific states, Australia and New Zealand. Anti-French sentiment has not been cooled by a series of scandals involving French security forces seeking to foil the activity of protesters. In 1972, the Greenpeace vessel "Vega" was rammed at Moruroa. The following year Greenpeace protesters were detained by the French, and the skipper of the "Vega" was severely beaten. In response there were anti-French demonstrations in Australia and New Zealand, with the ACTU leader, and future Australian Prime Minister Bob Hawke making the passing observation: "The French are bastards."

Protests rose again in 1985 after the bombing of the "Rainbow Warrior" in Auckland, New Zealand. Australia ceased military cooperation with France and embargoed the export of uranium to France, while the public in the region boycotted French goods.

The end of the Cold War led to a French moratorium on nuclear testing, but it was lifted in 1995 by Jacques Chirac. After a Greenpeace vessel was boarded by the French navy personnel with tear gas, anti-French sentiments were reignited in Australia. Protesters besieged the French embassy in Canberra, while the French honorary Consulate in Perth was fire-bombed. Mayors tore up sister city relationships with their French partners. Delifrance was forced to downplay its entry into the Australian market. The "Herald Sun" ran an article entitled "Why the French are Bastards." A group of Australians chose a more direct and reasoned means of protest by running a full page advertisement in "Le Monde", reminding the French public of both the strength of hostility in Australia of the nuclear testing, and the large numbers of ANZAC soldiers who fell in France's defence in the First World War. Nevertheless, France detonated six nuclear bombs in 1995 and 1996.

The French press replied with anti-Australian "tu quoque" arguments of their own, by discussing Australia's own human rights record, and its supposed ambitions to dominate the Pacific (one cartoon by Plantu portrayed an Australian wearing a very British bowler hat)Fact|date=April 2007.

Anti-French sentiment in United States after the War in Iraq

The opposition of France to the Iraq War triggered a significant rise in anti-French movement in the United StatesFact|date=April 2007, of which the move to rename french fries freedom fries started by a private fast-food restaurant owner, Neal Rowland, became an internationally known expression, [cite web|url=|title=Fried politics: Restaurant serves 'freedom fries'|date=2003-02-19|publisher=CNN|accessdate=2008-10-09] even though the French don't refer to fries as being French and don't claim this meal comes from France.

The swell of anti-French sentiment in the United States during the 2000s was marked [cite book|last=Serfaty|first=Simon|title=Architects of Delusion: Europe, America, and the Iraq War|publisher=University of Pennsylvania Press|date=2007|pages=21-22|isbn=9780812240603] but did have historical roots in longstanding US resentment toward France.Fact|date=April 2007 What is unique in this recent case is the degree to which many media personalities and politicians have openly expressed anti-French sentiments.Fact|date=April 2007

See also

*112 Gripes about the French
*Anti-French sentiment in the United States
*Cheese-eating surrender monkeys
*Foreign relations of France
*Franco-American relations
*Freedom fries
*Pardon my French
*Quebec bashing


External links

* [ Detailed chronicle on American francophobia]
* [ "Europe unites in hatred of French"]
* [ "French outpace Americans in French-bashing: poll"] (Reuters)

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Francophobia — noun see Francophobe …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • Francophobia — See Francophobic. * * * …   Universalium

  • Francophobia — noun Fear of France, its people and culture …   Wiktionary

  • Francophobia — fear of France or the French Phobias …   Phrontistery dictionary

  • francophobia — fran·co·pho·bia …   English syllables

  • francophobia — ˌ ̷ ̷ ̷ ̷ˈfōbēə noun ( s) Usage: usually capitalized Etymology: New Latin, from Franco + phobia : the quality or state of being Francophobe …   Useful english dictionary

  • Francophobe — Francophobia, n. /frang keuh fohb /, adj. 1. Also, Francophobic. fearing or hating France, the French people, and French culture, products, etc. n. 2. a person who fears or hates France, the French people, French culture, products, etc. [1890 95; …   Universalium

  • Anti-French sentiment in the United States — is the manifestation of Francophobia by Americans. It signifies a consistent hostility towards the government, culture, and people of France that employs stereotypes.Understanding anti French sentimentsAs with any foreign country phobia ,… …   Wikipedia

  • Jonah Goldberg — on Born March 21, 1969 (1969 03 21) (age 42) …   Wikipedia

  • Pardon my French — or Excuse my French is a common English language phrase ostensibly disguising profanity as French. The phrase is uttered in an attempt to excuse the user of profanity or curses in the presence of those offended by it under the pretense of the… …   Wikipedia

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”