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Our Oldest Enemy: A History of America's Disastrous Relationship with France

Recorded on October 14, 2004

Location: The Heritage Foundation's Lehrman Auditorium

In a provocative and well-researched assessment, John J. Miller and Mark Molesky debunk the myth of friendship between France and America and chronicle the rivalries and betrayals that have marked relations between the two countries over the course of history. Returning to America's earliest history, the authors relate the little-known story of the Deerfield Massacre of 1704, when a group of French and Indians massacred settlers in northern Massachusetts. They show that the French came to America's aid only at the end of the Revolution and then with the interest of harming the British; and during the Civil War, they supported the Confederacy. In the 20th Century, French demands at the Versailles Peace Conference paved the way for the rise of fascism in Germany and eventually required America to rescue France during World War II. The postwar period was also rife with disastrous actions, including Charles de Gaulle's decision to pull out of NATO and his obstruction of American efforts to turn back Soviet expansion. French imperialism also left troubling legacies in Vietnam, Cambodia and even Syria and Iraq as well.