December 2, 2012 |
FONTAINEBLEAU, France - The single line of Napoleon's secret code told Paris of his desperate, last order against the Russians: "At three o'clock in the morning, on the 22nd I am going to blow up the Kremlin. " By the time Paris received the letter three days later, the Russian czar's seat of power was in flames and the diminished French army was in retreat. Its elegantly calligraphic ciphers show history's famed general at one of his weakest moments. "My cavalry is in tatters, many horses are dying," dictated Napoleon, the once-feared leader showing the strain of his calamitous Russian invasion, which halved his army.
February 18, 2011 |
O utside the Law , an Oscar-nominated foreign film from Rachid Bouchareb, is a gripping French-Algerian coproduction that makes Algeria's epic struggle for independence from France look like a gangster movie. Bouchareb reunites his leads from the acclaimed Days of Glory (2006) . Where that film explored the contradictions of Northern Africans fighting in the French army during World War II, this one, spanning 1954 to 1962, chronicles the Algerian resistance against the French.
March 15, 2012
Pierre Schoendoerffer, 83, an Oscar-winning French filmmaker who was held prisoner in Indochina and chronicled the pain of war on screen and on the page, has died. The French military health service confirmed that he died Wednesday. "France will miss him," President Nicolas Sarkozy said in a statement that praised the "legendary filmmaker and novelist" for risking his life for France and "helping us better understand our collective history. " Born in central France on May 5, 1928, Mr. Schoendoerffer was a cameraman in the French army in the 1950s and volunteered to be parachuted into the besieged fortress of Dien Bien Phu, where the decisive battle of the French war in Indochina was fought.
July 9, 2000 |
Of the many soldiers of fortune who served the patriot cause during the American Revolution, "Baron" John DeKalb may be among the least remembered. Today, those who daily use DeKalb Street in Norristown and DeKalb Pike in Upper Merion may know nothing of the baron's exploits. Yet his service contributed in significant ways to the colonies' fight for freedom. On a South Carolina monument erected to DeKalb, a native of Alsace, now a part of France, are written these words: "His love of liberty induced him to leave the old world to aid the citizens of the new in their struggle for independence.
January 21, 2012 |
KABUL, Afghanistan - France's threat Friday to withdraw early from Afghanistan after an Afghan soldier killed four French troops and wounded 15 was a setback for the U.S.-led coalition's efforts to build a national army and allow foreign troops to go home. The deadly shooting - the second against French forces in a month - is the latest in a rising number of disturbing attacks in which Afghan security forces or infiltrators have turned their guns on coalition forces. French President Nicolas Sarkozy, who faces a potentially tough reelection campaign in the spring, reacted swiftly and sternly to the killing of the French troops, who were unarmed when they were shot during a physical training exercise.
December 17, 2012
Albert Hirschman, 97, who worked at prestigious colleges and institutes and wrote some of the most perceptive works of social science in his era, has died. Through his books, lectures, and essays, Dr. Hirschman, who died Dec. 10, sought to apply rigorous and rational social-science scholarship to clashes of political ideology and economic impasses - conflicts that have often fueled violence and repression. Having learned the stakes firsthand, he devoted his career to advancing economic development and the spread of democracy.
January 23, 2013 |
SEGOU, Mali - American planes transported French troops and equipment to Mali, a U.S. military spokesman said Tuesday, as Malian and French forces pushed into the Islamist-held north. The town of Douentza had been held by Islamist rebels for four months, 120 miles northeast of Mopti, the previous line-of-control held by the Malian military in Mali's narrow central belt. The Islamist fighters have controlled the vast desert stretches of northern Mali, with the weak government clinging to the south, since a military coup in the capital in March unleashed chaos.
October 18, 1990 |
Bertrand Tavernier's films, which include 'Round Midnight and A Sunday in the Country, are very much like his favorite actor, Philippe Noiret. Lumbering and bottom-heavy, they plod the landscape, covering a lot of ground while unearthing deeply buried emotions. Although rarely graceful, Tavernier's movies always strike a nerve. His extraordinary Life and Nothing But stars Noiret (most recently seen here as the grizzled projectionist in Cinema Paradiso) as a French army major, a specialist in identifying the corpses of missing World War I soldiers.
August 4, 1986
A couple of the nastiest terrorists on earth have been turned loose, returned to the shadowy killers who employ them. There was no protest, not even from President Reagan, who has gotten considerable mileage out of condemning terrorism, even if he hasn't done awfully much about it. In fact, there was hardly a sound from any of the usual people. These were public relations terrorists, after all, employees of a sovereign government that would rather kill people than be embarrassed.
July 14, 2002 |
They looked like any old family pictures at first. My uncle said in his note that he had taken them during his trip to France in 1948, and had just found them while sorting through old papers. Then the faces came into focus: Bernard DuPotet's angular jaw; his lovely wife, Madeleine; brunette Marie-Christine; and blonde Anne-Marie. And a boy, Dominique, who I knew had died young. My grandfather, my uncle's father, had been an ambulance driver attached to the French army during World War I. The crew had gone en repose, on leave, to a little town called Wassy in July 1917.