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Simone de Beauvoir: On American Anti-Frenchism
“An important man—I don’t know his credentials, but he considers himself important—makes an arrogant attack on France while talking to me: We are utterly decadent. Why did we allow ourselves to be beaten? Why are there so many communists in our country? He seems to thing he’s God the Father on Judgment Day. I’ve already heard this cutting voice and these insolent admonitions several times, and if I moved in certain circles, I know I’d hear them on a daily basis. The worst thing is that many French people agree with this attitude; our capitalists are creating active anti-French propaganda in America. Perhaps it’s their servility that gives certain Americans permission to speak to a Frenchwoman about France in this accusatory tone. It’s the tone German officers used when they occupied a village, saying, ‘There, your politicians and your Jews have been taken away.’” [Transl. Carol Cosman]

The original French:

“Un important—je ne sais à quel titre, mais il se considère comme important—me fait avec arrogance le procé de la France: nous sommes en pleine dé cadence; pourquoi nous sommes-nous laissé battre? Pourquoi y a-t-il tant de communistes chez nous? Il a l’air de se prendre pour Dieu le Père au jour du Jugement dernier. J’ai déjà entendu plusieurs fois ce genre de voix tranchante et d’insolentes admonestations; et si j’avais fréquenté certains milieux je sais qu’elles auraient sonné quotidiennement à mes oreilles. Le pire est que beaucoup de Français se font complices de cette attitude; nos capitalists font une active propaganda antifrançaise en Amérique; peut-être est-ce leur servilité qui autorise certains Américains à parler de la France à une Française avec ce ton accusateur: le ton des officiers allemands quand ils disaient en occupant un village: ‘Voilà où vous ont conduits vos politiciens et vos Juifs.’”


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