Story Behind-Anglo French War, France–United Kingdom relations are the relations between the governments of the French Republic and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (UK).
Story Behind-Anglo French War
The historical ties between the two countries are long and complex, including conquest, wars, and alliances at various points in history. The Roman era saw both areas, except Scotland and Northern Ireland, conquered by Rome, whose fortifications exist in both countries to this day, and whose writing system introduced a common alphabet to both areas; however, the language barrier remained.
The Norman conquest of England in 1066 decisively shaped English history, as well as the English language. In the medieval period, the countries were often bitter enemies, with both nations’ monarchs claiming control over France.
Hundred Years’ War stretched from 1337 to 1453 resulting in a French victory. Britain and France fought a series of five major wars, culminating in the Coalition victory over Napoleon in 1815. After that, there were some tensions, but peace generally prevailed and as the 19th century progressed, the relationship became better.
Closer ties between the two began with the 1904 Entente cordiale, particularly via the alliances in World War I and World War II, wherein both countries fought against Germany, and in the latter conflict British armies helped to liberate occupied France from the Nazis.
Both nations opposed the Soviet Union during the Cold War and were founding members of NATO, the western military alliance led by the United States. In recent years the two countries have experienced a quite close relationship, especially on defense and foreign policy issues; the two countries tend, however, to disagree on a range of other matters, most notably the European Union.
The British press relishes the chance to refer to France and Britain as “historic rivals” or emphasize the perceived ever-lasting competition that still opposes the two countries
Britain at this time was allied to the major powers of Europe; the Netherlands, Spain, Austria Prussia and Piedmont-Sardinia.
Had they combined and struck at France it is more than probable that the French Revolution would have been put down and the French Bourbon Monarchy restored. However, the allies failed to decide upon an organized strategy; The British concentrated their forces in overseas possessions, whilst squandering money to help finance her allies, who used the money for differing aims. By 1796, only Austria and Britain remained united against France, with Austria receiving so much British financial support that the British economy began to strain.
A punitive French expedition in 1796 failed, and William Pitt the younger sued for peace with France.
Anglo-French War-(1510-1513)-Also known as the War of the Holy League, England joined with the Pope, several Italian states, Swiss cantons and Spain against France. King Henry VIII of England won a favorable peace from France after winning the Battle of the Spurs on August 16, 1513. The rest of the Holy League continued fighting France until the Pope Julius II’s death, which helped cause the dissolution of the League.
When Julius Caesar invaded Gaul, he encountered allies of the Gauls and Belgae from southeastern Britain offering assistance, some of whom even acknowledged the king of the Belgae as their sovereign.
Although all peoples concerned were Celts (and the Germanic Angles and Franks had not yet invaded either country that would later bear their names), this could arguably be seen as the first major example of Anglo-French cooperation in recorded history. As a consequence, Caesar felt compelled to invade in an attempt to subdue Britain. Rome was reasonably successful at conquering Gaul and Britain and Belgica all, and all three areas became provinces of the Roman Empire.
For the next five hundred years, there was much interaction between the two regions, as both Britain and France were under Roman rule. After the fall of the Western Roman Empire, this was followed by another five hundred years with very little interaction between the two, as both were invaded by different Germanic tribes. Anglo-Saxonism rose from a mixture of Brythonic and Scandinavian immigration in Britain to conquer the Picts and Gaels.
France saw intermixture with and partial conquest by Germanic tribes such as the Salian Franks to create the Frankish kingdoms. Christianity as a religion spread through all areas involved during this period, replacing the Germanic, Celtic and pre-Celtic forms of worship.
The deeds of chieftains in this period would produce the legendaria around King Arthur and Camelot – now believed to be a legend based on the deeds of many early medieval British chieftains – and the more historically verifiable Charlemagne, the Frankish chieftain who founded the Holy Roman Empire throughout much of Western Europe. At the turn of the second millennium, the British Isles were primarily involved with the Scandinavian world, while France’s main foreign relationship was with the Holy Roman Empire.
The English boast of himself that he is so tough soldier that he does not know when he is beaten. Samuel Johnson wrote: “Our nation may boast, beyond any other people in the world, of a kind of epidemic bravery.” 🙂
Reading certain accounts of English mega-prowess at war, you wonder if the English casualties are not all caused by friendly fire. The authors have a knack of turning defeat into victory in the Dunkirk style. (Mind you, the catastrophe at Dunkirk was called by many as “It is a victory!” and was celebrated in speeches, paintings, and poems.)
You may even think they were never defeated. Actually the British troops were defeated not only by other Europeans (between 1750 and 1815 they lost more than 60 battles to the French alone) but also by about everyone they ever fought with; Albanians (78th Foot at Rosetta), Argentinians (in 1806-7 at Buenos Aires), Americans (at Cowpens and in 1815 at New Orleans), Poles (in 1810 at Fuengirola), native Indians (at Monongahela), Egyptians (1807 at El-Hamad or Hamaad) etc.
At Cowpens, the Americans demolished some of the best British infantry. Babies write: “When the British infantry reached a point ’40 or 50 yards’ or an even closer – ’30 to 40 paces’ – the militia commenced volley fire … The fire was returned but not with vivacity or impression. … They were by this time within 30 yards of us … ” The American commander said to his officers: “They (British) are coming like a mob. Give them a fire and I will charge them.” The Americans delivered a volley and the damage was great. Some British soldiers ‘threw down their arms and fell upon their faces.
‘ The ‘unexpected fire … stopped the redcoats and threw them into confusion. Exertions to make them advance were useless [and] an unaccountable panic extended itself along the whole line.” Howard ordered a charge with the bayonet, which order was obeyed with great alacrity.’ T. Young saw the ‘British broke and throwing down their guns and cartridge boxes, made for the wagon road, and did the prettiest sort of running.
Napoleons decision to invade Spain and Portugal in 1808 opened up a theatre of war in which the British took advantage, sending Wellesley with an expeditionary force to combat the French and provide assistance. This would be a serious hamper and drain on French resources over the next six years. After Napoleon’s failed invasion of Russia in 1812, a combination of powers managed to push him back in 1813 and by 1814 forced him to abdicate. His attempt to regain the throne in 1815 was defeated at the Battle of Waterloo where Wellesley, now Duke of Wellington, with Prussian support smashed the French and ended the war.
During the Hundred Years’ War, England and France battled for supremacy. Following the Battle of Agincourt, the English gained control of vast French territory but were eventually driven out. English monarchs would still claim the throne of France until 1800.
The English monarchy increasingly integrated with its subjects and turned to the English language wholeheartedly during the Hundred Years’ War between 1337 and 1453. Though the war was in principle a mere dispute over territory, it drastically changed societies on both sides of the Channel. The English, although already politically united, for the first time found pride in their language and identity, while the French united politically.
Several of the most famous Anglo-French battles took place during the Hundred Years’ War: Crécy, Poitiers, Agincourt, Orléans, Patay, Formigny, and Castillon. Major sources of French pride stemmed from their leadership during the war.
Bertrand du Guesclin was a brilliant tactician who forced the English out of the lands they had procured at the Treaty of Brétigny, a compromising treaty that most Frenchmen saw as a humiliation. Joan of Arc was another unifying figure who to this day represents a combination of religious fervor and French patriotism to all France.
After her inspirational victory at Orléans and what many saw as Joan’s martyrdom at the hands of Burgundians and Englishmen, Jean de Dunois eventually forced the English out of all of France except Calais, which was only lost in 1558. Apart from setting national identities, the Hundred Years’ War is often cited as the root of the traditional rivalry and at times hatred between the two countries.
During this era, the English lost their last territories in France, except Calais, which would remain in English hands for another 105 years, though the English monarchs continued to style themselves as Kings of France until 1800.
On the morning of 26 April, General Chappuis led two strong French columns, totaling some 30,000 men, from Camrai to attack the Allied position at Cateau. Under cover of dense mist, the French managed to drive in the Allied outpost line, capturing the villages of Inchy and Beaumont.
The French then began to form up for the main assault on the ground below the ridge on which the villages stand. As the mist cleared the Duke of York brought up his artillery and made a great show of a feigned attack on the French front. The Duke then brought the cavalry to his right and formed them up, out of sight of the French, in a fold in the ground between the villages of Inchy and Bethencourt.
His first line consisted of the 6 squadrons of the Austrian Zetchwitz Cuirassiers under Prince Schwarzenberg, the second was Mansel’s Brigade of the Blues, 3rd DG, and the Royals, and the third line was composed of the KDG, 5th DG, and the 16th Light Dragoons; the whole force being commanded by General Otto.
Otto advanced with caution to conceal his movements, then came face to face with a body of French cavalry, General Chappuis among them. The French were immediately charged, overthrown and scattered; General Chappuis was taken, prisoner. As the final ridge was cleared, the Allied force saw in front of them more than 20,000 French infantry drawn up in two lines with their guns all facing east, without any thought for an enemy approach from the north. Prince Schwarzenberg was an impetuous leader: the trumpets sounded and ‘the cavalry were not in the temper to conform too nicely to regulations; and with a British cheer, which had so disagreeably impressed the French at Dettingen, they swept down on the enemy’s left-flank totally regardless of the furious fire of grape and shot which was opened on them.