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. 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."
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:
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.
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.
Under Charles de Gaulle's presidencies (1961-1970), a series of events bolstered Francophobia :
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.
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).
The opposition of France to the Iraq War triggered a significant rise in anti-French movement in the United States, 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, 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 but did have historical roots in longstanding US resentment toward France. What is unique in this recent case is the degree to which many media personalities and politicians have openly expressed anti-French sentiments.
OVER THERE AMERICANS MAY LOVE TO HATE THE FRENCH. BUT A PARISIAN SCHOLAR SAYS THAT AMERICAN FRANCOPHOBIA IS NOTHING COMPARED TO THE 200-YEAR-OLD GALLIC TRADITION OF YANKEE-BASHING.
Apr 10, 2005; THE VOGUE FOR freedom fries may have waned, but more than two years after the diplomatic dustup between George W. Bush and...