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Old Europe Drifts out of Recession First

The Economist:

Figures released on Thursday August 13th showed that the euro area's GDP shrank by just 0.1% in the three months to the end of June, far less than the 2.5% slump in the previous quarter. The near stability was the result of an early exit from recession in the region's two largest economies. The economies of both France and Germany grew by 0.3% in the quarter, surprising analysts who had expected the figures to show small contractions in output for both. As badly as these economies have suffered in the past year, there will be some pride that the economies have started to grow before those of America or Britain.

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Don S on :

Germany and France. That's pretty much 'Old Europe', isn't it? Nothing about Nederlands, Belgium, or any other country except Italy, Spain, or the UK, which are all doing poorly. And of course all mention of Ireland, Portugal, Austria, the Nordics, and Eastern Europe is omitted. Which pretty much cuts out most of Europe, doesn't it? The reason why Germany and France have come out of recession (if they have) is because they never went in, in the sense that their labor forces never entered the resceeion. Except for Eastern European contractors, dal laborers, etc, which have been sent home one suspects. I wonder whether THEY think the recession is over? Perhaps they don't count, after all.....

John in Michigan, US on :

Excellent points, Don.

Marie Claude on :

did it occur to you that weare the BEST in every thing ? (LMAO), and that is what get you "angry", er Hmm, jaelous ? :lol: http://www.businessinsider.com/are-the-french-the-most-productive-people-in-the-world-2009-8

John in Michigan, US on :

In a modern economy, one of the biggest factors for productivity is automation. This requires cheap electricity. Does anyone know, is the cost of French electricity low, compared to US or the rest of Europe? If it is low, is this because of nuclear power? I am thinking about the cost of electricity on an industrial scale like in a factory...I am not concerned with the cost of electricity in the home. I am sure there are other reasons for French productivity besides automation/electricity as well.

Marie Claude on :

no John, the electricity coasts are still very high because of the taxes, it's just that the French are very "rational" :lol:

Pat Patterson on :

Acording to the latest figures France pays $.15 per KWh while the US is at $.10 though slightly over 50% less. Germany pays twice as much as the US. Which when comparing France and the US on productivity might explain part of the gap.

Don S on :

Nah, Franchie. what really browns me off is that you have better cheese. And the fact that you have been running a trade war against the US for a decade now. But why should I feel jealous of an international scofflaw like France?

Marie Claude on :

Donnie, you launched the war against us, remember "punish the French, berate the Germans" cuz we are your intrinsic enemies since Anglo-Saxons became an island nationality

Don S on :

You call that a war, Franchie? Nah. What I have in mind is something like the opening scene of "Team America: World Police", where the team 'saves' Paris from terrorists. A little too enthusiatically, perhaps. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Team_America:_World_Police Though that wasn't a war either... ;)

Marie Claude on :

I know, you, guis, are still dreaming of a Dday, cuz Hollywood made the legend, but reality was more trivial, you'll have to read history books one day ! LMAO

John in Michigan, US on :

Marie-Claude, Perhaps you are just having fun, but you are not completely wrong. I think there is, particularly in the American Progressive movement, a nostalgia for The Greatest Generation and a desire to re-enact the achievements of that generation. This desire is not the only reason we got involved in Iraq, Somalia, the Balkans, etc, but it is certainly one of the reasons. It may even be the reason why Americans feel a duty to warn Europe about the potential technocratic tyranny of the EU. These progressive feelings exist on both the left and the right in the US.

Don S on :

Dear Franchie, what an extraordinary idea, me reding history books! I majored in history in college, and have kept up the interest since. So of course I'm completely ignorant of history. I know less than the most benighted French peasant in le Pays. Culture is conferred by nationality tis well known. And I am an American, and so may be judged to know nothing.... ;)

Pat Patterson on :

I think Marie-Claude is suggesting that you reread those books until you come up with the "correct" interpretation. You deviationist!

Marie Claude on :

how funny, you guess all that by yourself, might cuz you're such an educated person !

Marie Claude on :

Donnie, might be you need to validate t'em in french universities, ummm, also you'll have to read the french ones, cuz, it's funny, some interpretations of the events are a bit different !

Pat Patterson on :

The quote attributed to National Security Adviser Rice was, "Punish the French, ignore the Germans and forgive the Russians." And that came about only after de Villepin convinced Sec Powell to have an open debate that France would listen carefully too then announcing before the UN met that France had no intention of doing anything but voting no. Gee, double crossed again!

Marie Claude on :

the position of France was known at least 2 month before this UN speech, (and wasn't alone, Germany too) during this laps of time american well intentionned Bush eagles (advisers) had created rumors against France to discredit her, cuz we represented the most important "wise and realist" voice that was heard as a counter power to the unilateral US policies (UK should have been the other one, though as a US satellit, it couldn't afford it) So there wasn't a double crossed language ! Now, if you digg into the real causes of this official "no", there was a quarrel about American Nato interferrences into our wishes (german and french) with the enlargement of EU to the eastern republics, America had de facto decided for us, and already enrolled Polish and Czecks into her alliance as foreign recrues for laucnching the Irak war, and thus taken away our opportunity to get a unique answer to the dilemn : Europe was separated into 2 poles, the pro Bush policies, and the partisans of diplomaty. The obvious response from the 2 leading powers of EU was therefore not to be of this coalition. I accord you that de Villepin was the clumsy bard of this clatch, he wasn't defending our real opposition but promoting himself as a "frog" that wanted to imitate the bull (Napoleon) Now, if you investigate our real actions, nothing has been enterprised to undermine your army on the ground, in the contrary, our secret services were collaborating with yours.

Pat Patterson on :

The fact remains that de Villepin came to both Sec Powell and Pres Bush and urged them to agree to a debate in the UN. The promise was that France would not announce its position officially until after Powell spoke. Powell did realize that France was leaning in one direction but he thought that at least they would honor their commitment to not actively work against the US until afterwards. I'm not to sure what you are arguing about concerning the admission of Poland and the Czech Republic to the EU as that was in 2004 after the war started. If the EU felt so inclined why did they admit them, why did France vote for admission if it was feeling pressured? That certainly didn't stop France from essentially vetoing the membership of Turkey. While membership in NATO is by consensus of which France again agreed to in 1999 to the admission of those two states. Or have you forgotten that for public consumption in France you had no connection to NATO but had signed a ongoing series of agreements with NATO to fully cooperate in reintegrating its armed forces into the NATO command structure and a whole slews of technical pacts to make sure that all military equipment was interchangeable. And of course still had consulting rights within the alliance.

Marie Claude on :

read that(sorry in french): http://www.diploweb.com/forum/ueusaeu.htm all the explanations are there http://www.diploweb.com/ue/crise2003.htm http://www.diploweb.com/forum/franceotan07103.htm http://www.diploweb.com/forum/poirier.htm "I'm not to sure what you are arguing about concerning the admission of Poland and the Czech Republic to the EU as that was in 2004 after the war started. If the EU felt so inclined why did they admit them, why did France vote for admission if it was feeling pressured? That certainly didn't stop France from essentially vetoing the membership of Turkey" well this was the prealable to teir adhesion to EU, but not decided by the older members of EU, and we had no means to empech it, cuz, this would have otherwise re-questionned the very NATO presence in EU after 1990, and states who beneficiated of Nato didn't want that this organisation ceased, eh, no more Nato jobs, businesses and tutti-quanti. Wha t France denounced it the loss of independance, of iniating an EU policy and army. In spite of vetoing Turkey accession to EU, it is already admitted in the EU burocraty. as everything is decided by the EU burocraty "While membership in NATO is by consensus of which France again agreed to in 1999 to the admission of those two states. Or have you forgotten that for public consumption in France you had no connection to NATO but had signed a ongoing series of agreements with NATO to fully cooperate in reintegrating its armed forces into the NATO command structure and a whole slews of technical pacts to make sure that all military equipment was interchangeable. And of course still had consulting rights within the alliance" Idem, France is isolated by the fact of the Nato halo that represents clinging money for many EU states and we had to comply, cuz we can't afford a modern defense without EU, or rather without Nato. I wish we still had a De Gaulle, he would have been more charismatic on the subject, and certainly he would have preserved our independance and autonomy Now, I'm voting no to any EU referandum, for Turkey included

Pat Patterson on :

DeGaulle was the one who initiated the back door talks and the treaty to reintegrate with NATO. Be careful what you wish for. The link is little more than an overview and a poorly thought out one at that. The argument that Europe must remain small is very odd when a glance at recent history will show that the country that expands becomes stronger not weaker. If Bulgaria has a fairly modern weapons factory or car factory and it provides components to either French or German companies then the latter become more profitable and bigger.

Marie Claude on :

"If Bulgaria has a fairly modern weapons factory or car factory and it provides components to either French or German companies then the latter become more profitable and bigger." This is a foreign view from your continent, Bulgaria never was that country with weapons factories and or components but rather a contries that is driven by mafiosi lobbies We used to be autosufficent, and the crisis has shown that a country that hold a regard on its own productions was better armed to resist to deflations/inflations otherwise the persons that wrote in the links are personalities that teach political sciences, so they aren't unaware of the stakes De Gaulle didn't prepare the nowadays EU and or Nato, he would be very upset

Pat Patterson on :

He might be upset but he certainly had no problem remaining in NATO and at all times prepared to reintegrate. French policy once Germany was safely neutered has always been to unite Europe with France as the driver. The EU was the next best thing considering it was originally envisioned as a continent wide trading bloc. Not an actual state with its own army and gaggle of bureaucrats.

Marie Claude on :

"He might be upset but he certainly had no problem remaining in NATO and at all times prepared to reintegrate." I wouln't say that, but rather that knowing on wich side to stand if conflicts happened, his army would fight with the alliees "French policy once Germany was safely neutered has always been to unite Europe with France as the driver." yes and no, the stakes were decided with FDR & Churchil, and bankers, already in 1941 : there would be an Europe union, not managed by the French, but by Germans entrepreneurs and UK That was wahat De Gaulle fought too, and thus initiated the "politique arabe de la France" for counterbalancing this decided hegemony "The EU was the next best thing considering it was originally envisioned as a continent wide trading bloc. Not an actual state with its own army and gaggle of bureaucrats" In the mind of the populations, sure, but obviously not in the mind of the EU fathers, who came from mere administration elite, otherwise how could they be above our heads

Pat Patterson on :

Are you suggesting that there were not formal arrangements and that NATO would trust France to do the right thing in case of a move by the Soviets? FDR and Morgantheau originally thought to make Germany into an agraian state, also with the agreement of the French. To now claim that they thought of Germany as the leading state in Europe was far fetched. "The bankers...?" Just what is that supposed to mean? I hope you do remember that France actually received more Marshall Aid money than Germany which would indicate who the Americans put their hopes on.

Marie Claude on :

"Are you suggesting that there were not formal arrangements and that NATO would trust France to do the right thing in case of a move by the Soviets?" did he make pacts with URSS ? He was out of NATO administration, expelled the american troops from France, but didn't step out of the military alliance, besides our army was then equipped with american material, and that probably still loans were on for them plus we were infeoded to the dollar etalon "FDR and Morgantheau originally thought to make Germany into an agraian state, also with the agreement of the French." I doubt that FDR had this inclination, Remember he was a Germany partner until Churchill managed to convince him to open a second front in northern Africa, and until that Germany attacked his merchandises ships, otherwise, his first worry was the Asian front. A nazy Europe didn't scare him, as long he could make businesses with it. "To now claim that they thought of Germany as the leading state in Europe was far fetched. "The bankers...?" Just what is that supposed to mean?" I'll get you the article I hope you do remember that France actually received more Marshall Aid money than Germany which would indicate who the Americans put their hopes on http://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plan_Marshall UK got the biggest part, then France, and Germany the third, though considering that Germany biggest casualties and ruins were on the eastern part, then western Germany in comparaison got more than France.

Pat Patterson on :

What the heck are you talking about? Lend Lease and other now known to be belligerent acts by the US were aimed at Germany and in spite of the attack at Pearl Harbor FDR and the Chiefs of Staff were unanimous in finishing off Germany first and starving Japan on the cheap. And as to FDR having business interests in Germany I am simply going to call you a liar and get on with the rest. Considering that there were pitched naval battles being fought in the North Sea three years before Operation Torch which by merely looking at a map and the still inexperienced US Army was recommended by US planners as well as begged for by Churchill and DeGaulle. To compare the two fronts is rather nonsensical considering an understrength US carrier fleet barely turned back a Japanese invasion of Midway in May while Marshall screamed bloody murder that 60,000 Marines and soldiers were sent to the Pacific to invade Gualdacanal after Operation Torch which entailed some 120,000 allied soldiers. Marshall wanted those troops for the invasion of Sicily and then the invasion of Italy. By the time D-Day came much of the US and allied forces had made three sea-born invasions so that they had the experience necessary to land in France. The famous comment came from a British diplomat that bluntly state that the goal the UK and France was "...to keep the Russians out, the Americans in and the Germans down." That hardly sounds like an American instigated alliance. Plus you might want to read up on the Lemnitzer-Aillert Agreements where DeGaulle and the succesors did exactly what they denied in public. Remained fully committed to NATO and a unified command of nuclear weaponry.

Marie Claude on :

Trading with the Enemy The Nazi - American Money Plot 1933-1949 by Charles Higham (note that this book is notdisplayed in your "bien-pensants middles, I wonder why ????) exerpt of exerpt : "And it is important to consider the size of American investments in Nazi Germany at the time of Pearl Harbor. These amounted to an estimated total of $475 million. Standard Oil of New Jersey had $120 million invested there; General Motors had $35 million; 111 had $30 million; and Ford had $17.5 million. Though it would have been more patriotic to have allowed Nazi Germany to confiscate these companies for the duration-to nationalize them or to absorb them into Hermann Goring's industrial empire-it was clearly more practical to insure them protection from seizure by allowing them to remain in special holding companies, the money accumulating until war's end. It is interesting that whereas there is no evidence of any serious attempt by Roosevelt to impeach the guilty in the United States, there is evidence that Hitler strove to punish certain German Fraternity associates on the grounds of treason to the Nazi state. Indeed, in the case of ITT, perhaps the most flagrant of the corporations in its outright dealings with the enemy, Hitler and his postmaster general, the venerable Wilhelm Ohnesorge, strove to impound the German end of the business. But even they were powerless in such a situation: the Gestapo leader of counterintelligence, Walter Schellenberg, was a prominent director and shareholder of ITT by arrangement with New York-and even Hitler dared not cross the Gestapo. As for Roosevelt, the Sphinx still keeps his secrets. That supreme politician held all of the forces of collusion and betrayal in balance, publicly praising those executives whom he knew to be questionable. Before Pearl Harbor, he allowed such egregious executives as James D. Mooney of General Motors and William Rhodes Davis of the Davis Oil Company to enjoy pleasant tete-a-tetes with Hitler and Goring, while maintaining a careful record of what they were doing. During the war, J. Edgar Hoover, Adolf A. Berle, Henry Morgenthau, and Harold Ickes kept the President fully advised of all internal and external transgressions. With great skill, he never let the executives concerned know that he was on to them. By using the corporate leaders for his own war purposes as dollar-a-year men, keeping an eye on them and allowing them to indulge, under license or not, in their international tradings, he at once made winning the war a certainty and kept the public from knowing what it should not know. p xvii http://www.thirdworldtraveler.com/Fascism/Trading_Enemy_excerpts.html and we were the true collaborators of course !

Pat Patterson on :

That's pretty funny referring to Higham's book. I remember it from a seminar on historiography I took at SC during the middle 80's where it was used to show how not to write a history of an important event. First and foremost use no primary sources. And in this case completely ignore that up to the outbreak of war many countries had business dealings and interests in Germany. Which were then seized by the Germans and in many cases not recovered by the owners until Germany was admitted to the UN when it had to return all these assets. We received a rather nasty letter from Higham after he had heard we had published a review of his book. Unfortunately all he accomplished by the letter was give us the information we needed to find that he was not a historian, not a college graduate and did not read German.

Pat Patterson on :

Shoot, I should have checked the review first. Higham did graduate but majored in English poetry and then wrote mostly a series of badly researched tell alls about film stars of the 40's and 50's.

Marie Claude on :

http://kimel.net/fdr.html "The records of the Casablanca Conference contain the clearest and most significant evidence concerning the President attitudes toward the Jews and the basic reason why he did nothing to end the anti-refugee policy of the United States. The conference took place in January 1943 in the middle of the period when the mass murder of Jews was taking place in Europe. By this time, Roosevelt knew nearly everything about these atrocities. Roosevelt had been informed over the years by American diplomats and American press reports about the Jewish condition in Europe.1 Moreover, in December 1942 the Polish government in exile had accurately informed the U.S. government of many of the facts of the Holocaust" umm I suppose this witness is also contested by your former scholars

Pat Patterson on :

Seems the subject has shifted a bit from charging that FDR had business dealings with the Germans to anti-Semitism. Are we now going to discuss how many French Jews were stripped of their citizenship and murdered vs American anti-Semitism? Higham was a joke but Robert Michael's book on anti-Semitism was actually quite good and is still used in many colleges for Holocaust studies. Besides France has its own fantasy day for celebrating World War II, Liberation Day. And its a funny thing all over Paris there are statues and plaques dedicated to the Resistance, DeGaulle and LeClerc but not one to the US 4th Division.

Marie Claude on :

seems you're angry with objectiveness ! yes FDR was that too, but as far as antisemitism casualties, your actual best supporters, the Poles, hold the highest level do you want me to bring numbers ? as far as Paris, you should kno that Leclerc freed Paris, but, if you cared to check each other cities there are american statues and plaques

Marie Claude on :

It's simple, if you're a true historian, then take the facts one by one and check their objectivity by original sources, names are quoted ! I'd rather take a graduate in poetry than a graduate in blindness

John in Michigan, US on :

MC, First, it would be interesting to compare the value of US-UK or US-France trade and co-ownership, vs. the value US-German or US-Italian trade and co-ownership. Higham says several US companies owned $100+ million worth of German businesses. But I suspect the numbers for US ownership in the UK was much higher; for France I think the US owned about the same amount of companies as we did in Germany. All of that is consistent with neutrality. Neutrality, unfortunately, did not mean severing all business relations. The Swiss, Sweden, others can be accused of the same thing. But neutrality is not the same as "partner", the word you used. Partner implies a close relationship, like marriage. In business, partners means two or more people that own the same company. Some individual US companies, unfortunately, did have German partners. But there was no US-German equivalent to the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact, for example. Do you really mean to suggest that the US as a country was partnered with Germany? Obviously, that is highly offensive. During 1933-1949, one could say that the US [b]did business[/b] with Germany, but we weren't [b]in business[/b] with Germany. Do you see the difference?

Marie Claude on :

well, John, then why not having used of the well fashionable "boycott" that is applied to Iran, was to Saddam (and to the French goods) ?

John in Michigan, US on :

In a discussion of WW II and neutrality, it is unwise to discuss the Iran or Iraq of today. This is a case of "[url=http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/lead%20with%20one%27s%20chin]leading with your chin[/url]". If Iran or Iraq is comparable to WW II, then it is the US that wants to fight the enemy, and France which wants to stay neutral in the face of oppression and brutality!

Marie Claude on :

but Irak was a located war that had no relation with global terrorism ; to the contrary Iran is, check which country presses the most on Iran right now : France ! BTW http://doregold.blogspot.com/2009/09/irans-role-in-downing-pan-am-flight-103.html on Drudge_Report: RECENTLY DECLASSIFIED U.S. INTELLIGENCE DOC TIES IRAN TO LOCKERBIE BOMBING... just what I told last year when our iranian friend hitted over

Pat Patterson on :

Immediately preceding the war some US companies had divisions in Germany but they were all seized and any attempt to shield assets or control, such as transferring the management of the companies to Spain or Switzerland was completely blocked by Germany. After the war, well, there wasn't much to claim as British and American bombers razed most of Germany's industries into interesting found art. If there was a Ford truck built in Germany during the war it was no more a Ford product then all the shaft-driven motorcycles built in the US at the same time in spite of BMW owning the world wide patents. And unlike some of the Renault factories that made light tanks for Germany right up till the end the formerly US managed companies were not allowed to keep any profits either to reinvest or to make futile attempts to expatriate the money. But this was not unusual as the Germans seized control of plants in all the countries it conquered either the SKODA factories in Czechoslovakia or the Fabrique Nationale arms maker in Belgium. Even the Schwinn factory in Bremen was taken over by the Todt Organization and not returned to the bicycle maker until 1949.

Marie Claude on :

unlike in the other countries, France punished Renault, his manufacture was nationalised, I know you don't like nationalisations, but your Cies and traders, also in the other european occupied countries, had no punisment, people were allowed to carry on their businesses as before war, as if nothing bad happened I read that Bush grand father was an intermediary for financial transactions with the Nazy groups, that placed their money abroad, or to buy some merchandises to "fake" names in "neutral countries" BTW Joe Kenedy wasn't more "moral"

Pat Patterson on :

Jeez, this is tiresome. Renault was part of Vichy France and even though there was German overwatch at the factory they had contracts and little choice. American and British companies, to name two, had their assets forcibly seized during the war and had to go to court to get them back. Yet they still lost millions of dollars during the war and then again trying to rebuild. But at least we didn't kidnap Ferdinand Porsche and hold him until he had designed several cars for Citroen.

Marie Claude on :

" Yet they still lost millions of dollars during the war and then again trying to rebuild. But at least we didn't kidnap Ferdinand Porsche and hold him until he had designed several cars for Citroen." that's sure a possible trick we could do LMAO but had nonentheless not the opportunity to make it

Pat Patterson on :

Are you saying that the French, after agreeing to hire Porsche and Piech, to build a French Volkswagen, then arrest those two and another engineer and held them as war criminals until essentially ransomed. "In November 1945 after the war, Porsche was asked to continue the design of the Volkswagen in France and to move the factory equipment there as part of war reparations. Differences within the French government and objections from the French automotive industry put a halt to this project before it had even begun. On 15 December 1945, French authorities arrested Porsche, Anton Piëch, and Ferry Porsche as war criminals. While Ferry was set free soon, Ferdinand and Anton were held in a Dijon prison for 20 months without trial." http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ferdinand_Porsche

Marie Claude on :

I'm not sayin anything I ignored the anecdote, and the project, which BTW was born "dead" ; but you're able to use it as an argument against us, fortunately the poor porshe man wasn't shot ! I'm waiting until you'll say that he designed our famous DS LMAO

Don S on :

"I'm waiting until you'll say that he designed our famous DS LMAO" Marie, can you post a link to a picture of the DS LMAO please? I don't remember that articular model, but having seen other examples of post-war French design I'm sure it exists.

Pat Patterson on :

Here's a photo. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:1974_Citroen_D-Special_02.jpg The DS was groundbreaking in many ways but the non-hydraulic version, the ID, sold much better. I had one my first year in college but it leaked and I had to drive across the bridge to SF for even minor repairs too often so I traded it for a Triumph Bonneville. Porsche and Piech worked on the air cooled engine design for the 2CV. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:2cv_pinkdylan_frome.jpg

Marie Claude on :

DS was too "classy" for a stoopid american that couldn't appreciate it now it's a priced model

Pat Patterson on :

As opposed to being a revanchist I can only think I have been called much worst by people much more knowledgeable and serious.

Marie Claude on :

"As opposed to being a revanchist I can only think I have been called much worst by people much more knowledgeable and serious" you're too stiff, it's like you wear a broom in your bottom mind you, none called you some sort of Monkey up to now ! I am quite happy to NOT be counted as serious and knowledgeable in your aeropage, and I am proud of being your obliged sniper

Pat Patterson on :

Then it might be advantageous to actually hit the target once in a while instead of resorting to indecipherable one-liners and bogus links.

Marie Claude on :

no ways ! I am in love with "independance", besides, I don't trust you

Marie Claude on :

for the rest, I begg to differ, wether you can't read your country in default, wether you're blind, but I'd rather opt for your bad faith, since I know that you were and still is a "french basher"

Marie Claude on :

http://hnn.us/articles/5442.html In contrast, American memories of World War II remain as unilateral and myopic as recent U.S. foreign policy. Rather than even considering the battle of Stalingrad, Americans simply assume D-Day to be the European war's clear turning point. Sadly, Americans rarely see the movies about World War II created in France or other nations. On the Mall in Washington, the new war memorial minimizes the sacrifices of other nations. American veterans of the war surely deserve a grand monument. But would it really be a disservice to their memory if the memorial also reminded us that these soldiers fought as part of a truly international coalition? Like de Gaulle, Americans have also selfishly used D-Day as a political weapon. For many Americans, D-Day symbolizes not so much transatlantic partnership but rather France's perpetual moral obligation to the United Sta

Pat Patterson on :

You should have at least checked the Wikipedia article before citing it. Keep scrolling down and there is a table that shows that France received $2296 million while Germany received $1448 million. So the US spent almost 40% more in rebuilding France yet somehow it was all a ploy to reindustrialize Germany and make it the predominate state in Europe? That is subtle!

Marie Claude on :

but Germamy was cut into 2 half portions, considering that only the western portion got that Marshal plan, it's still more than for France in comparaison, you're really trying to get the argument out of rethoric

John in Michigan, US on :

To Pat and Marie-Claude, This is a good conversation you are having. It might be better, if you both made clear, how much of what you write is your personal opinion? How much is what most people in each country (France and US) would consider to be mainstream/normal/textbook opinions. It is good to discuss non-mainstream views and mainstream views, but when there is a disagreement, I would like to understand how much of it is due to national/cultural/etc. differences and how much of it is due to personal differences. Marie-Claude, in English, partner is almost the same meaning as ally. Is this really your true opinion? Do French history books teach that FDR and Germany were partners before the N. African front or before Pearl Harbor? There were German-American friendship societies, but I don't think FDR was connected to any of them, at least not since 1914 when he was Assistant Secretary of the Navy, fighting the Germans! Pat, when you write "Lend Lease and other now known to be belligerent acts by the US", you should clarify that this is new/emerging scholarship, that is still debated by historians. It certainly isn't the view held by the average American. Many historians of good reputation have made the point that FDR was secretly preparing for war, and was doing other things that could be seen as belligerent. But, most of them would argue that FDR managed to stay within the limits of neutrality, as defined by international law at the time, right up until Pearl Harbor. Charles Lindbergh and the America First faction accused FDR of desiring war; as far as I know, they never accused him of a specific act of war.

Pat Patterson on :

The other belligerent acts were in reference to US destroyers and cruisers being used prior to 1941 in the North Atlantic against the German U-Boats. The Germans complained bitterly and often that this was a belligerent act of war but the only action they took was in sinking a couple of US destroyers and many US-flagged freighters. Agreed that Lend-Lease stayed very carefully in that area considered neutral.

Marie Claude on :

John I know how balanced and fair you are, thans anyway for caring

John in Michigan, US on :

"Europe was separated into 2 poles, the pro Bush policies, and the partisans of diplomaty." I don't think this is completely fair or accurate. Both sides were interested in diplomacy, and both sides were interested in her sister, war. The US side wanted to use diplomacy (if necessary, escalation of the war) to change the status quo; the Franco-German side wanted to use diplomacy (including continuation of the existing war) to maintain the status quo. Why do I say that the status quo side was willing to use war? I says this because the status quo in Iraq in 1991-2002 was not peace, it was a long, slow, expensive siege war with occasional breaks for diplomacy and humanitarian relief. Officially, at least, neither side was in favor of peace. This is understandable. Peace would have required 1) unilaterally ending the sanctions and the the no-fly zones, 2) ignoring the new reign of terror Saddam would unleash vs. the Kurds and other domestic opponents, 3) permitting Saddam to restart his WMD programmes, including nuclear, 4) ignoring Iraq's competition with Iran to see which of them could terrorize Israel (and also those Palestinians who wanted peace) most effectively, and 5) re-admitting Iraq into the community of nations. On the plus side, peace would have meant 1) less suffering for Saddam's domestic loyalists, 2) eventually, after yet another brutal campaign of repression, less suffering for the rest of Iraq and 3) Iraqi oil could flow peacefully into the European and Asian economies, with the US benefiting indirectly via a lower world price for oil. 4) Iraq would be free to break the peace and resume his war against the West, at a time of his choosing, rather than ours. I weep for the high cost, but I am still very, very glad we chose to not only to continue that war, but also to end it in victory.

Marie Claude on :

John, you can't say it's a victory when terrorists kill so many civilians fast each day there The true war on terrorists was Afghanistan, but the means weren't there, so it's going to be like the russian campain, nothing really changed

Pat Patterson on :

I certainly wouldn't get the party hats and cake out just yet as the larger share of spending by the governments of those two countries, on maintaining emplyment levels, in the long run means that much less money available for hiring and expanding inventories. Especially worrying is the continued rise of gold prices as many are looking for a hedge against inflation. The truly good news will be the announcement that some of these companies are actually showing a profit and not just sales at slightly above cost simply to turn over the inventory.

Don S on :

Yes, that's the thing. France and Germany have been able to maintain existing employment for more of their citizens, which has helped keep consumer demand up. Which in turn helps part of their economy. The big problem remains for exporters and capital equipment firms, of which Germany has a great many. Export markets are in horrible shape, particularly for capital equipment of most kinds. And real recovery won't come in those areas until export markets recover. Which could be a while given the condition of Eastern Europe and Spain. Don't get me wrong; I'd love for this to be the end of the recession; that would be great news for everyone inclusing the US and the UK (where I live and work). Consitions seem better in UK labor markets, which are still tough but there seems to be some hiring going on. I think most businessmen here believe that (at very least) we are approaching the bottom. We're at the point where the rate of drop is slowing, and might even be at the inflection point where things begin slowly to turn upward in the fall. That means hey will be hiring well-qualified people, the kind of people who normally aren't easily hired. It's been a long time given that (in retrospect) this depression began in 2007, not last year. What worries me about Germany and France is that we haven't seen much movement of people in their labor markets. In countries like the US and the UK, firing and subsequent hiring signal that labor is going to companies ready to make better use of it, thus creating the conditions for future growth. The Germans operate differently, I think, with employees tied to their jobs over the longer term. That can work well, but it's bad news for those who lose out. They have spotted their blotter and may never recover completely.

Zyme on :

May I ask in which part of the UK you work?

Don S on :

London, Zyme. And you?

Zyme on :

So I remembered correctly - I was asking because I will likely be going to London for a few months during this winter. In this case it would provide us the opportunity of struggling with our opinions first hand :D

John in Michigan, US on :

"it's bad news for those who lose out. They have spotted their blotter and may never recover completely." From what I understand, this is an even worse problem in Italy. If you loose your job there, the chances are you will be unemployed for the rest of your life.

Don S on :

I'm not sure it is worse in Italy than in Germany, as far as people who have lost their jobs. One of the AR editors made a crack about 'Italian Conditions' in a recent post, and in certain respects that may be correct. I can't say for certain, my 'evidence' is entirely subjective. But from what I hear the German hiring process is far more precise and searching than anything seen in the UK or the US, outside of extremely elevated executive ranks. One hears of 50-page precises being required with every action (and period) precisely accounted for. One or two little spots on that and you may not be hireable, at least by a major corporation. The one case I do know of was a German who stayed at my guesthouse in Ipswich for a while last year. He'd been in the lower management ranks, or perhaps middle staff, for a good size corporation. Didn't strike me as the sharpest knife in the drawer. But why was he in Ipswich? Because he'd been let go and could not get a job in Germany, or so he claimed. I think he ended up working at Blockbuster.....

Zyme on :

Not sure about France but here in Germany government sponsored stimulus programs including subventions for buying new cars and replacing the old ones surely have contributed on a big scale to "end" this recession. We will have to wait to find out what happens once these programs are over. I once read that in the US the government has also introduced these subventions on buying new cars - is it a similar "success" there?

John in Michigan, US on :

Yes! It is called "cash for clunkers", a clunker is a car that is falling apart and "clucks" (makes irregular, metal-on-metal noises). A good friend of mine found out one morning his pickup truck would no longer shift into reverse. So he got in his ex-wife's truck and pulled his truck out of the driveway. He made it to the junkyard without having to reverse. He got $4,500 for a truck that he would otherwise have sold for scrap metal (about $150). This was a great idea when Republicans proposed it, back in the 80's. Back then it was seen as a pollution control measure, since even a new station wagon (we didn't have SUV's back then) pollutes less than the typical old car. Today the pollution benefits are still there, but mostly it is seen as a stimulus (or subsidy) for the auto industry. There is no limitation on what kind of car (US or foreign) you turn in, nor is there any limitation on what kind of car you buy. The result is, US taxpayers are helping Americans buy more Toyotas (and a few US brand cars as well). But who really knows were a car is made these days? GM's most popular car is mostly made in a factory in Mexico. Separately from "cash for clunkers", the administration is providing other funds (as well as threats!) to convince GM not to abandon the famous Orion plant in Michigan. These funds are an illegal subsidy, in my opinion.

John in Michigan, US on :

Oops, typo, that line was supposed to say: '...that is falling apart and "clunks" (makes irregular, metal-on-metal noises).'

Pat Patterson on :

That remains to be seen as the government is so slow on reimbursing the dealers that deliveries have slowed considerably. But it appears that even though the Cars for Clunkers program is popular it simply changed when people purchased cars and then only if, under the newer and tighter credit rules, they were eligible. At most the total amount involved is some $40 billion plus which is roughly 1/3% of the total GDP of the US. But as payback for the UAW and helping Sen Stabenow keep her seat it was probably successful.

John in Michigan, US on :

If your economists are anything like ours, their numbers are often revised 6 months later. If in fact the French and German economies are the first in the West (or the world) to recover from the recession, that would be huge news. Are there any economic historians here who can tell us when was the last time that happened?

Don S on :

Well, yes, John. I believe that France was less hard hit by the Great Depression than almost any other developed nation. And Germany came out of the Great Depression pretty quickly as well, I think. Though not faster than the UK that time.

Marie Claude on :

the last time you're referring was when UK was still an empire

Don S on :

So was France....

Marie Claude on :

yeah, but France apparently is a much better position

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