T Nation

French & German Anti-U.S. Textbook

You have to love it when the Germans are telling people to tone down the hate::

M Le Quintrec told The Times that it was ?largely right? to describe the work as antiAmerican. But he said that German historians had insisted upon softening the message with sentences such as: ?Some people, notably in Germany, consider the US to be a power which defends democracy in a world where the UN is not always able or willing to do it.?

With the stuff people in America say about everyone else – including the Europeans – can you blame them for hating us back a little?

We’ve slowly assimilating Europe for the past 60 years; today, American influences in everything, from Entertainment to Food, are obvious in just about every country in Europe, to a point where, except maybe for the language and slightly more leftist politics, Americans can almost fell at home over there. You can see American’s influence EVERYWHERE there.

The fact that most Americans are completely condescending towards Europeans just adds insult to injury.

All of this hurts their pride, so you can’t blame them for being a little pissed off.

At least the non-Muslim Europeans didn’t start burning American flags.

Yet.

Treat them with respect, and they will return in kind.

[quote]hspder wrote:
With the stuff people in America say about everyone else – including the Europeans – can you blame them for hating us back a little?[/quote]

You know there is a difference between me making frog jokes and a state sanctioned textbook.

[quote]

We’ve slowly assimilating Europe for the past 60 years; today, American influences in everything, from Entertainment to Food, are obvious in just about every country in Europe, to a point where, except maybe for the language and slightly more leftist politics, Americans can almost fell at home over there. You can see American’s influence EVERYWHERE there.[/quote]

You make them sound like helpless victims being sat on and force fed Big Macs while Brittney Spears sings in the background. If they didn’t buy it, it wouldn’t be there. It’s not like we’re subsidizing the building of McDonald’s next to the Eiffel Tower as the key point of some evil scheme to Americanize Europe. If everything Euro didn’t suck so bad, it could compete. Their own people don’t want their crap.

You almost made me cry there. Poor, poor Euro trash.

[quote]
At least the non-Muslim Europeans didn’t start burning American flags.

Yet.

Treat them with respect, and they will return in kind.[/quote]

They get every bit of respect they deserve. Their food sucks, their films suck, their music sucks, and they are whiney. To resort to writing intentionally anti-American textbooks is just one more whiney-ass move that deserves even more ridicule.

Who are they you are referring to? Whos people?

[quote]doogie wrote:
Their food sucks, [/quote]

uhm, ever eaten Reindeer carpaccio? Freshly prepared gravlox? Blood pudding? Spotted Dick? I include beer with food too, so lets also mention Bass Ale, Newcastle Brown, and Stella Artois. Dude. European food DOES NOT SUCK.

Ingmar Bergman, dude. Wim Wenders. Paul Greengrass. Tom Tykwer. LOTS of great European film makers and films.

the greatest rock bands of all time were British, and Great Britain is part of Europe. I won’t even go into classical music.

heh, no, GERMANS are whiny - it’s like a fucking cultural trait or something - that and being cheap tippers. Can you imagine if they had WON WWII? They’d have taken over the world and complained about how fucking long it took. Sheesh. The French are insulting, but not typically whiny, and if you get into a friendly back and forth with the insults, eventually they’ll be buying you beer and laughing with you. The Swedes are stoic and only complain at night to one another after having sex (but not ABOUT sex), the Scots only complain about the English, and the English are just plain 'ole tough.

Well, it’s their classrooms, and their countries, so they can write about whatever the hell they want. When we totally overlook the French Underground in our textbooks about WWII, and blatanly selfagrandize by only focusing on the Normandy invasion in any real deatail, do you hear a bunch of outcry in France? NO. When our textbooks barely MENTION the battle of Britain, do the Brits get all pissed? NO. When we act like the whole world ought to be grateful and bow down and worship the empire we’ve become, do they get pissed? Well, yeah, sure… …wouldn’t you?

I can only remember how i read a us school history book a few years ago and it was like “everything we did was always good, slavery wasnt that bad either, were the greatest blablabla”. Russia won ww2 in europe to 80% alone, but in that book you could hardly figure out that theyve been there, it was all the world has to kiss our asses because of normandy; i mean that book sucked so much that it hurt. Dont be so stupid to judge countrys because of a few guys who write questionable books.

[quote]Ken Kaniff wrote:
Dont be so stupid to judge countrys because of a few guys who write questionable books. [/quote]

Did you bother to click on the link and read the article, or could you not comprehend it when you got there? It was state sanctioned and specifically intended to be anti-American. That’s different than an American history book focusing on (get this) American history.

i think this just solidifies my belief that france is bankrupt…culturally, morally, and most certainly intellectually.

The more they try to protect their own country, the faster they send it down the shitter.

[quote]Ken Kaniff wrote:
I can only remember how i read a us school history book a few years ago and it was like “everything we did was always good, slavery wasnt that bad either, were the greatest blablabla”. Russia won ww2 in europe to 80% alone, but in that book you could hardly figure out that theyve been there, it was all the world has to kiss our asses because of normandy; i mean that book sucked so much that it hurt. Dont be so stupid to judge countrys because of a few guys who write questionable books. [/quote]

what book?

So, from the article, what in the book was “anti-american” in some way?

The questions on p.2 were awesome;

[quote]Can the European Union represent a new type of power? How does it differentiate itself from the American model of power?

Should the European Union free itself from the United States in the field of defence?

Present in a detailed manner a project for global governance that would claim to remedy the problems of today’s world.

Which country dominates the world?s music market? What are the consequences of this situation?

Describe and explain the American preponderance over world cinema. Which countries resist this domination? Why?

Why has France decided to protect the French language?

What are the reasons for the rise in unemployment and why do you think it is particularly high in France and Germany?[/quote]

The future of the EU sitting around trying to learn ‘What are we doing wrong? What is the U.S. doing right, and how do we make it look like the inverse?’

Respect should be given where respect is due. Maybe we should print up some textbooks that ask questions like;

“Do you believe in the ideas of Liberte, Egalite, and Fraternite? How does this model of governance differ from France’s?”

“Should the U.S. withdraw and withhold its armed forces from its allies and/or international organizations who may need them? What about its largest and most vocal detractors?”

“Which country makes it virtually impossible to do business within their borders let alone abroad? What should they do to increase their visibility in the music/theatre market?”

“Why has France decided to protect its own language?”

I don’t know if we have any Germans on the boards around here, but feel free to soften the questions that are too harsh. Keep in mind, my questions won’t get published anywhere besides here (to my knowledge).

This is disgusting as a state-sanctioned textbook. Indoctrination at its finest. Speaking of which, did everyone else get the booklet outlining the ‘American Model of Power’ but me?

LOL! Guys, you do realize that the educational system in every country is full of indoctrination?

All the heros of your own country, all the great institutions in your government, all the bravery of your own soldiers, all the accomplishments of your own scientists, all the glory of your own past…

You think other countries should not do the same?

Whoever loses the next war has to keep France.

[quote]vroom wrote:
So, from the article, what in the book was “anti-american” in some way?
[/quote]

I didn’t see anything in the article itself that showed that the book was “Anti-American”. I saw some things that was critical of America, but no more critical than America is of France. The only thing that I saw from the article that could be considered “Anti-American” is these parts:

[i]A SCHOOL textbook designed to give pupils in France and Germany a common vision of postwar history is coloured by Gallic anti-Americanism, according to one of the historians who wrote it.

Guillaume Le Quintrec said that the book, Histoire / Geschichte, contained “unashamedly pro-European ideology” and an underlying distrust of the United States.

But he said that German historians had fought to prevent their French counterparts from introducing an even harder anti-American line into the book.

“They got us to tone it down,” M Le Quintrec, who led the French team of historians, said. “Otherwise, it would have been even worse from a British point of view.”[/i]

Those parts were written by the author and edited by the newspaper. I find it amazing that the same people that are so outraged and fully believe everything that they read in this article at face value will be the same people to discredit other things from the very same source because it goes against what they want to believe. It’s the media, people need to be critical of it no matter what the message.

Do I believe France could have this attitude? Sure, why not? America has done the very same types of things in their own history books that are passed along in the school system at one time or another. Another poster mentioned the same type of thing earlier. Some history books will gloss over some areas of importance, ignore contributions of some entities or sometimes flat out distort perceptions of some events. Do I think that this is some insidious plot done on purpose? No, I don’t. I think that it is part of human nature to present events in the way in which the group that you are a part of is shown in the best light. Make no mistake though, it happens.

Americans have been brainwashed through nationalism to believe that these types of things would never happen. We are always on the moral high ground and we put too much trust in things that are done in our country. In our minds, we would NEVER stoop so low as to do what the French are doing with their book because we always play fair. It has been so ingrained in our psyche that we don’t even recognize it. We need to recognize that and be a little more objective instead of reacting from the gut all the time.

[quote]vroom wrote:
LOL! Guys, you do realize that the educational system in every country is full of indoctrination?

All the heros of your own country, all the great institutions in your government, all the bravery of your own soldiers, all the accomplishments of your own scientists, all the glory of your own past…

You think other countries should not do the same?[/quote]

Ethnocentricity and indoctrination are two very different animals. Talking about largely/only American heroes in American history is one thing, talking about “a plan for world governance” and “the American preponderance over world cinema” is in French and German history is another. I have no problem with a “unashamedly pro-European ideology”, just a problem with criticism of current international policy in a state-sponsored history book.

And I don’t know what history books you’re reading, but all of them that I have read contain surprisingly few American scientists or science history at all.

Lastly, you and ALDurr together do have a point, the reporter wasn’t clear at all as to whether this is a collegiate-level text in “French History” or “EU History in Post WWII Europe” or whether it’s a gradeschool-level textbook on ‘world history’. Either way, the idea of textbooks being published and adopted under order of any government official violates some of my personal ideas of “liberte”.

Government officials run school systems in every country…

I mean, I don’t want to get into a fight about it, but your school system is no different than any other in this regard.

You really think US (or Canadian, or German, or Australian, or British, or whatever) school books are actually more honest about presenting the flaws of their own country as opposed to others?

What I saw in the article was that the books were supposedly going to be anti-American, but that they weren’t…

Doogie,

If you can’t stand being exposed to anything foreign and/or critical of the US, I suggest you limit yourself to Faux news.

I also suggest you flee from this side.

This being said, I just had to cringe at this one “Describe and explain the American preponderance over world cinema. Which countries resist this domination? Why?”

I remember reading this book “I, Jan Cremer” (he’s Dutch) where he remembers about his childhood. Watching the movies was one of their favourite pastimes. After WWII, movies where quite the novelty in smaller towns, where they became available for the commen man. Anyway, most of the times, the movies where fun. Sometimes they were not. The not so fun movies were usually followed by the word “fin”. And the kids would hate these “Finnish” movies. Finland is indeed a country where boring movies are made. :wink:

I didn’t think that those questions from page 2 were anti-american at ALL.

Perhaps CRITICAL of the US, and CERTAINLY pro-Europe, but I think Europe has plenty to be proud of, just as they have plenty to learn from the success of the United States. Another thing to keep in mind is that the textbook CLEARLY encourages students to think critically about Europe as well - look at the unemployment question.

Personally, I think that those questions encourage critical thinking and analysis, which is what high school kids need to learn, instead of simple regurgitation.

[quote]doogie wrote:
Their own people don’t want their crap. [/quote]

So, when they start asking questions if if it wouldn’t be better for them to want their “crap” instead, you lambast them?

The reason they buy our crap is the same reason we buy China’s crap.

Yes, our crap. Our music is crap. Our food is crap. Our movies are crap. Even our technology is crap these days, since all new technological developments are being made outside the US (even Intel had to resort to their research center in Israel to come up with a new CPU architecture).

So why do they buy it? For a nice preview, try spending a whole year in US WITHOUT buying ANYTHING made in China. You’ll understand how an European’s predicament if they wanted to not buy any American crap for a year.

So, stop the condescending speech and start worrying about how we’re going to fix our problems, rather than just pointing fingers at Europeans like it mattered for anything.

The problem with judging others is that they will judge you back…

[quote]knewsom wrote:
Personally, I think that those questions encourage critical thinking and analysis, which is what high school kids need to learn, instead of simple regurgitation.[/quote]

Great post, knewsom. Couldn’t agree more.