Isabelle Bonhomme, a high-school teacher at the Lycée Saint-Louis in Paris, said her students had a "very simplified idea" of America.
"They have a vision of an America that believes it knows the truth and that tries to impose it on others," she said.
Americans "are people who need oil because of the way their economy works and thus they started the war in Iraq," she said, summarizing her students' views.
"There is a sort of consensus on this," Bonhomme said. "I've never had a student say, 'No, it's not true, Americans are not like that.'" …
Most French high school history textbooks are skimpy on the details of D-Day. They tend to focus closely on the challenges and dilemmas of living in occupied France. In a leading text, the Normandy invasion is described in just two paragraphs.
"On the Normandy coast, the Anglo-Saxons led operation Overlord," says the history text, "The World from 1939 to the Present Day," used by many students in their final year of high school.
The text notes the number of ships involved and concludes: "Surprised by the choice of location for the attack and dominated in the air, the Germans were not able to repel into the sea the Americans, Canadians and British who established three beachheads."
This matter-of-fact description seems to assume that students already know about D-Day; the book does not mention that it was history's largest amphibious military operation.
Saturday, June 05, 2004
D-Day Softens Few Anti-U.S. hearts
Thomas Fuller has this in the International Herald Tribune: