Forward by original authors/editors.

   

     AMERICANS believe in the right to criticize. We defend our right to "beef" or "gripe" or "sound off". We insist upon the right to express our own opinions.

     But we also believe in the right of others to express their opinions. For the right to speak involves the duty to listen. The right to criticize involves the responsibility of giving "the other side" a fair chance to make its point. We know that the truth can only be found through open and honest discussion, and that the common good is served through common attempts to reach common understanding. In one way, Democracy is the long and sometimes difficult effort which free men make to understand each other.

     This booklet tries to help some of us understand an ally - the French. It is not meant either to "defend" the French or to chastise those Americans who do not like the French. It is intended simply to bring into reasonable focus those irritations, dissatisfactions and misunderstandings which arise because it is often hard for the people of one country to understand the people of another.

     The booklet uses the Question-Answer form. It lists the criticisms, misconceptions and ordinary "gripes" which American troops in Europe express most frequently when they talk about the French. Each comment, or question, is followed by an answer -- or discussion. Some of the answers are quite short, because the question is direct and simple. Some of the answers are quite long, because the "questions" are not questions at all, but indictments which contain complicated and sweeping preconceptions.

     The purpose of the present publication is to present facts and judgments which even the well-intentioned may tend to overlook.

     There may be those who will consider this booklet a catalogue of (( excuses )) or (( justifications )). To them it can only be said that the truth is not denied by giving it a derogatory label.

     There may be others who will seize upon the questions with triumph - ignoring the discussions entirely. That kind of reader will ignore the truth anyway - in whatever form it is offered.

     This booklet may not convince those who are hopelessly prejudiced, but it may help to keep others from being infected by the same lamentable virus.