May 05, 2004

Cinco de Mayo

On the 5th of May, 1862, as civil war raged to their north, a Mexican army defeated a French army twice their size. This victory is celebrated today as Cinco de Mayo, and paved the way for the defeat of Maximilian I and the expulsion of French armies from Mexico.

This defeat heralded a new phase of French military history. While not always sufficient to win, France was the strongest nation in Europe -- they may have lost the Napoleonic Wars, but they put up a good fight against a more or less united coalition of everyone else. From then on, the French had the the short end of the stick, facing defeat in the Franco-Prussian wars, disastrous loss of life in WW I, occupation in WW II, collapse in French Indo-China, abandonment of Algeria, etc. etc.

Even a 'misanfrankist' like me can see the downside of this -- a France not able to balance German power in Europe was not a happy event during the first half of the twentieth century. So here's a link to Liberté j'écris ton nom, an organization dedicated to reforming France and putting it back on the right track. There's an interview in English here with Sabine Herold, its pro-American spokeswoman. I'm praying that she succeeds.

Posted by jeffreyb at May 5, 2004 11:55 PM
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