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date: 25 April 2017

U.S.-Franco Relations

Summary and Keywords

U.S.-French relations are long-standing, complex, and primarily cooperative in nature. Various crises have punctuated long periods of stability in the alliance, but after each conflict the Franco-American friendship emerged stronger than ever. Official U.S.-French relations began during the early stages of the American Revolution, when Louis XVI’s regime came to America’s aid by providing money, arms, and military advisers. French assistance, best symbolized by the Marquis de Lafayette, was essential in the revolution’s success. The subsequent French Revolution and Napoleon Bonaparte’s rise to power also benefitted the United States when Napoleon’s woes in Europe and the Caribbean forced him to sell the entire Louisiana territory to the United States, in 1803. Franco-American economic and cultural contacts increased throughout the 19th century, as trade between the two countries prospered and as Americans flocked to France to study art, architecture, music, and medicine. The French gift of the Statue of Liberty in the late 19th century solidified Franco-American bonds, which became even more secure during World War I. Indeed, during the war, the United States provided France with trade, loans, military assistance, and millions of soldiers, viewing such aid as repayment for French help during the American Revolution. World War II once again saw the United States fighting in France to liberate the country from Nazi control. The Cold War complicated the Franco-American relationship in new ways as American power waxed and French power waned. Washington and Paris clashed over military conflict in Vietnam, the Suez Crisis, and European security (the North Atlantic Treaty Organization or NATO, in particular) during the 1950s and 1960s. Ultimately, after French President Charles de Gaulle’s retirement, the Franco-American alliance stabilized by the mid-1970s and has flourished ever since, despite brief moments of crisis, such as the 2003 Second Gulf War in Iraq.

Keywords: U.S.-French relations, Franco-American alliance, Marquis de Lafayette, American Revolution, Napoleon, Louisiana Purchase, Statue of Liberty, World War I, World War II, Cold War, North Atlantic Treaty Organization, Vietnam, Suez Crisis, Charles de Gaulle, Second Gulf War

Many government officials, pundits, and scholars view the history of U.S.-French relations from the American Revolution to the present as a series of conflicts. While points of crisis certainly peppered historical relations, cooperation often outweighed conflict. Indeed, when examining the relationship in its entirety, Franco-American crises have proved remarkably short-lived. The Franco-American alliance has been primarily amicable in nature, and when it has not, leaders and citizens on both sides of the Atlantic have moved quickly to remedy the situation. A long line of official, semi-official, and unofficial diplomats, beginning with the Marquis de Lafayette’s staunch support of the American Revolution, has ensured the lasting success of the Franco-American alliance.

The American Revolution to 1815

Beginning with the American Revolution, forward-looking citizens on both sides of the Atlantic understood that the Franco-American relationship should be one of cooperation for mutual benefit. America’s first foreign office, the Committee of Secret Correspondence, sent Silas Deane, Benjamin Franklin, and Arthur Lee to Paris to acquire aid and trade from France. On the French side, Pierre-Augustin Caron de Beaumarchais—who served as an intermediary between the American agents and Louis XVI’s able foreign minister, Charles Gravier, the Comte de Vergennes—persuaded Vergennes to provide secret support to the American cause through the auspices of his dummy corporation, Roderigue Hortalez et Cie, and to recognize American independence. Millions of dollars flowed into the revolutionaries’ hands as a result. By the Battle of Saratoga in October 1777, Beaumarchais’s ships had supplied about 90 percent of the Northern Army’s military supplies at the time, including hundreds of field artillery pieces and thousands of muskets and kegs of powder. After successfully defeating British forces at Saratoga, Vergennes resolved that the time had come to provide additional aid and to create a military alliance, which the Americans had come to view as essential.1 The Marquis de Lafayette would help with both.

Gilbert du Motier, the Marquis de Lafayette, was perhaps the first non-official Frenchman to assist the American cause, as he did not have the official backing of his government when he arrived in Philadelphia and offered his services without pay to the Continental Congress. He was then commissioned, at nineteen, as a Major General in the American Revolutionary Army and became a member of George Washington’s staff. As a private citizen, he had a profound effect on government policy. He cooperated with but also pushed the French government and public to take additional action. He contributed technical expertise, troops, and money to the war effort and won over George Washington, who came to view him as a son, as well as the rest of the army when he was injured during his first battle and when he shared the hardships at Valley Forge. Lafayette, as the selfless aristocrat turned revolutionary, who eschewed advancement and riches, came to be perceived on both shores of the Atlantic as the embodiment of Franco-American goodwill.

Benjamin Franklin practiced a similar type of diplomacy aimed at the entire French nation. Franklin presented himself as the down to earth but noble American, who exuded simplicity and espoused universalist values. Using his folksy charm and patented American mannerisms and dress to acquire French help for the American Revolution, Franklin displayed a shrewd understanding of the need for a military alliance with France and seized every opportunity to promote the American cause in Paris. In turn, Franklin symbolized what French public opinion wanted to believe about America—it was a land of simplicity, virtue, tolerance, prosperity, liberty, and scientific achievement.

The good will generated by Lafayette and Franklin helped lead to the 1778 commercial and military treaties, which far exceeded American expectations. The key point in the Treaty of Amity and Commerce was that France became the first country to recognize U.S. independence, while America promised special trading privileges. In the Treaty of Military Alliance, both sides agreed they would not conclude a separate truce or peace until American independence was guaranteed. The alliance and its promise of independence helped sway American public opinion in support of the revolution and toward greater appreciation of France. Furthering this sentiment was the arrival of the greatest gun warship of the time—Admiral Giscard d’Estaing’s Languedoc, which carried the first accredited minister to the United States (Conrad Alexandre Gérard). With it went 4,000 troops on sixteen other battleships.

Still, French aid flowed slowly. To speed up the process, Lafayette went back to France in 1779 to plead the American cause. The result was a major French force, which included six ships of the line and 6,000 troops, led by the Comte de Rochambeau. After rejoining the American Army, Lafayette took command of a contingent of light infantry and French troops that began the siege at Yorktown. By the time Washington and Rochambeau arrived at Yorktown, Lafayette had closed off British General Charles Cornwallis’s retreat. With French Admiral François-Joseph Paul De Grasse able to fend off the British naval forces at precisely the right moment, the daring plan to corner the British at Yorktown succeeded on October 17, 1781. When the British tried to surrender to Rochambeau, he refused, allowing Washington that honor, as Lafayette had Yankee Doodle played.

As William Doyle writes, “When British forces surrendered at Yorktown in 1781, the victory was more French than American.”2 Indeed, it had been French money that paid American soldiers, French ships that transported them, French soldiers who outnumbered them, the French fleet that protected them, and French political and military leaders who had chosen Yorktown as a battle site.3 The Franco-American alliance was thus the crucial factor in ensuring the American Revolution’s success.

Despite their agreement not to enter into negotiations separately, both the Americans (John Jay and John Adams) and the French (Vergennes’s secretary Joseph Rayneval) secretly did so. The Americans saw an opportunity to gain a territorial windfall, while Vergennes planned to end the resource-draining war and disassociate France from its Spanish ally’s claims to Gibraltar.4 Ultimately, both countries approved the final treaty, signed in Paris on September 3, 1783. Moments of friction aside, supporters of the alliance had achieved exactly what France and the United States sought—American independence from a weakened Britain.

It was not until the excesses of the French Revolution in the 1790s that a serious divide in American public opinion about remaining partners with France would occur. The American government and public cheered the French Revolution when it began in 1789, but as France descended into chaos and war with Britain, President George Washington proclaimed neutrality. The French Republic’s first representative to the United States, Edmond Charles Genet, did not improve relations as he tried to rouse American public opinion in support of the revolution and arm vessels in American harbors. Pro French supporters—including Thomas Jefferson (who had served as U.S. Minister to France from 1784–1789), James Madison, and Robert Livingston—continued to defend the alliance with France and formed the Republican Party. Alexander Hamilton and other Federalists urged voiding the 1778 treaties.

Relations between the two governments remained problematic for the rest of the century while trade and public good will continued. The French government broke relations with the United States in 1795 over the signing of John Jay’s Treaty, which permitted British confiscations of French goods on American ships. The treaty proved unpopular with the American public, but so did French Minister Pierre Adet’s attempts to ensure an anti-Federalist outcome in the 1796 election and French seizures of American ships with British goods. Washington, in his Farewell Address, continued to chart a neutral course, arguing that “the nation which indulges toward another an habitual hatred or an habitual fondness is in some degree a slave. It is a slave to its animosity or to its affection.”5 The new Federalist president, John Adams, tried to resolve differences by sending a diplomatic mission to Paris, which failed once he revealed three French agents had demanded bribes and a loan before they would consider negotiating. As a result of the XYZ Affair, named for code letters given to the three agents, American support of France plummeted, and the two countries engaged in a two-year so-called Quasi War at sea. Still, Adams managed to avoid a full-scale war and led the way back to diplomacy. As a result, the 1800 Treaty of Mortefontaine officially dissolved the alliance, and the United States paid $20 million in financial claims to France.

With Jefferson’s election to the presidency, relations improved. As president, Jefferson openly acknowledged his Francophilia, famously quipping that “every man has two countries—his own and France.” Jefferson would capitalize on Napoleon’s woes in the Caribbean to conclude the Louisiana Purchase and more than double American territory in one fell swoop.6 Jefferson also worked with Lafayette, who had become a close friend during his Paris years, to act against the Barbary pirates who were decimating American shipping. The Americans did suffer in the lead up to the War of 1812 as both Britain and France used them as pawns in an increasing naval war of attrition. Once the United States was assured of its continued independence—and France stabilized after Napoleon’s defeat—Franco-American relations improved.

1815 to the Versailles Treaty

The determined cultural efforts on the part of successive French and American governments, as well as prominent citizens who served as unofficial ambassadors, preserved the friendship until World War I, when it would be reinforced through the more traditional method of military alliance during a time of war. David McCullough’s The Greater Journey draws attention to the cultural streams operating between the two countries in the 19th century, examining how Americans traveling to Paris observed, absorbed, and brought back to the United States French concepts of architecture, science, art, music, and literature, thus creating a solid cultural bond and improving themselves and their country.7 In this period, French cultural power—along with political, military, and economic—would dominate relations between the two countries.

Periodic tempests buffeted the two counties throughout the 1800s, but while annoying, they were not harmful in an enduring way. During the Civil War, Napoleon III’s sympathies for the South and interest in military intervention, as well as French Minister Edouard Henri Mercier’s negotiations with the Confederacy must be counterbalanced by French popular opinion, which overwhelmingly favored the Union, evidenced by the positive reaction to the war’s outcome and massive outpouring of sympathy in the wake of President Abraham Lincoln’s assassination on July 4, 1865. In addition, French puppet Archduke Maximilian’s 1867 execution by firing squad in Mexico ended Napoleon III’s scheming to maintain a foothold on the continent, easing the last of American concerns about French meddling in the U.S. sphere of influence. Moreover, during the siege of Paris in 1870, a result of the Franco-Prussian War, individual Americans rushed to provide aid despite the official policy of neutrality. The United States became the first country to recognize the Third Republic that emerged.

The most obvious 19th century symbol of continued friendship was the French decision to offer the Statue of Liberty (La Liberté éclairant le monde) to the American people in honor of their centennial. Such a massive gift from one country to another had never been envisioned, let alone implemented. American expert Edouard-René Lefebvre de Laboulaye had initially conceived of a collaborative monument to liberty and independence in response to Lincoln’s assassination. Running behind schedule, it was in 1884 that Ferdinand de Lesseps, representing the Franco-American Union, formally presented the most impressive gift the United State has ever received from another country. In 1886, Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi’s Lady Liberty finally arrived in New York harbor. This disproportionate token of French affection—hailed as the eighth wonder of the world and first modern wonder—had caused major headaches for Congress and the New York authorities, who could not pay for the required pedestal. A national subscription and press campaign led by Joseph Pulitzer finally raised the required funds.

A number of reciprocal gestures of goodwill followed, the first being the impressive American presence at the 1889 World’s Fair in Paris, where Annie Oakley captivated French crowds.8 In another act of gratitude—timed perhaps to calm French hostility against the 1898 American war against Spain—five million American schoolchildren raised enough money to present “The Children’s Statue of Lafayette” to France. President William McKinley had approved a congressional resolution announcing the gift to recognize France for its advice and arms during the American Revolution.

The continued strengthening of ties can also be attributed to the special relationship French Ambassador to the United States Jules Jusserand and President Theodore Roosevelt enjoyed. Jusserand was the closest French ambassador to a sitting American president in the two nations’ history. They played tennis, swam together in the Potomac, and engaged in deep philosophical conversations on literature and the intricacies of diplomacy, leading to a high point in relations. Unsurprisingly, Roosevelt intervened against Germany on France’s behalf at the 1906 Algeciras Conference, denying Germany’s claim to Morocco. Upon leaving office, Roosevelt remarked, “there was never such a relationship between an ambassador and president or ruler of a country.”9 Roosevelt would continue to be a strong supporter of France during World War I, urging early U.S. intervention.

With over a hundred years of mostly smooth sailing in Franco-American relations, World War I simultaneously tested and reinforced the alliance in ways unseen and unanticipated since the days of Lafayette. Once again, the two countries entered into a military and moral alliance to defeat an authoritarian regime personified in one man—George III during the American Revolution, and Kaiser Wilhelm II during World War I. World War I also denoted the beginning of the modern Franco-American relationship. France had been the dominant power to this point, but American economic and military aid during the war would turn the established dynamic upside down.

At first glance, declared American neutrality at the outbreak of World War I created dismay in France. However, it quickly became clear the Americans did not practice what President Woodrow Wilson preached, as both trade and loans benefitted France and Britain far more than Germany. Moreover, American volunteers flocked to France, finding spots in the French Foreign Legion, unofficial ambulance brigades, and in banks and other institutions concerned with financing the French war effort. In 1916, an organization of American volunteers in the French Aviation Service formed what would become known as the Lafayette Escadrille. Their exploits increased American support of France and French appreciation for American capabilities while serving as a reminder of joint military efforts.

Of more direct importance to the French war effort was the daughter of John Pierpont Morgan—Anne Morgan. The Morgan Bank financed the first loans to France, and Morgan transformed her villa at Versailles into the first ambulance center. In 1916, she created the American Committee for French Wounded. Morgan was at the front lines with her teams of nurses in 1917, before the first American soldier stepped onto French soil. Her committee was reborn as The American Committee for the Devastated Regions of France. She raised more than five million dollars for food, medicine, and rebuilding of villages and churches after the war. Her efforts, along with Ambassador Myron T. Herrick’s formation of American Volunteer Corps, had an overwhelmingly positive impact on French and American perceptions of one another.

The arrival of American General “Black Jack” Pershing’s troops on French soil, in 1917, marked the first time the United States would play a decisive role in European continental affairs. Equally critical, not only did the American entry bring physical salvation for the French in the form of Pershing’s army but also financial succor as Washington took over the funding for the Allies.10 Most cognizant of American aid, President Raymond Poincaré and the rest of Paris enthusiastically celebrated American Independence Day in 1917. At Lafayette’s tomb in Picpus Cemetery, Pershing’s chief of staff, Colonel Charles E. Stanton uttered the historic words, “La Fayette, nous voilà,” or “Lafayette, we are here,” acknowledging America’s Revolutionary War debt to France was being paid.11

Despite Pershing’s refusal to send his troops into action until 1918, rather than sending them in piecemeal battalions to various French commanders, the alliance was a fraternity of arms. Marshal Joseph Joffre persuaded Wilson to reestablish a Franco-American military relationship, which made France, rather than Britain, America’s principal partner. American soldiers went into battle with French artillery, automatic rifles, machine guns, tanks, and aircraft. French instructors trained approximately 80 percent of the U.S. soldiers who saw combat during the war. American divisions served under the French corps, French army, and French army group command. Every “American” engagement of the war was in fact a Franco-American one.

There is no doubt that just as French aid and military forces had saved the day for Americans at Saratoga and Yorktown, the United States returned the favor in WWI through its economic aid and military victories at Belleau Woods and during the Meuse-Argonne campaign. Massive Paris crowds greeted American president Woodrow Wilson as a hero when he arrived at the end of 1918, for the six-month negotiations that would result in the Versailles Treaty. Much has been made of the clashes between Wilson’s quest for a League of Nations, and French Premier Georges Clemenceau’s determination to punish Germany. It is easy to forget that the first time a sitting president left the country, he did so on behalf of France, and that the final version of the treaty placed a priority on French security.

1919 to the Cold War

Given the two million American troops mobilized in France, concomitant nurses, Red Cross, YMCA, Salvation Army, and support staff, it is unsurprising Americans flooded Paris in the post war years. The number of American expatriates in Paris rose from 8,000 in 1920 to around 40,000 by the end of the decade, in addition to the hundreds of thousands of American tourists visiting each year. A growing English language press, the beginning of the American junior year abroad experience, and expats writing about their experiences—Ernest Hemmingway, Henry Miller, and F. Scott Fitzgerald, to name a few—acted as cultural transmitters, as did journalists and businessmen. All of these interactions took place against the backstory of the continued French search for security after World War I. International adjustments such as the Washington Naval Conference—which ranked France behind the United States and Britain in terms of naval tonnage allowed, and the Dawes and Young Plans—which eased the German, but not French, debt—spurred French concern about their diminished role in the world. At the same time, citizens worked hard to memorialize each other’s contributions to World War I, evidenced in the many monuments and commemorations honoring collective war losses that occurred throughout the 1920s. Certainly the American presence in France weighed heavily at times, but diplomatically France sought closer, not looser, ties with the United States, as evidenced by French Foreign Minister Aristide Briand’s attempts to obtain a bilateral security agreement with the United States. The 1928 Kellogg-Briand Pact, which outlawed war as an instrument of national policy, proved a poor substitute.

The 1930s brought retrenchment as the two republics struggled with the Great Depression and Hitler’s increasingly aggressive moves. France would once again attempt closer cooperation with the United States against the Nazi threat, only to be rebuffed. In the six weeks of brutal fighting during the 1940 Battle of France, France lost 120,000 men. The fall of France in June of that year galvanized American public opinion, leading to the expectation that the United States would eventually become involved. But with whom should the neutral United States work? The legally constituted Philippe Pétain Vichy government? Charles de Gaulle and the Free French in London? Or another military strongman, such as Admiral François Darlan or General Henri Giraud? President Franklin Roosevelt chose to work with Vichy in the short term, in part because of his deep distrust of de Gaulle. While scholars have focused on the difficult relations between FDR and de Gaulle and the legacy of FDR’s distrust, General Dwight Eisenhower and de Gaulle agreed that it would be Free French troops who would liberate Paris, and FDR would eventually recognize de Gaulle’s provisional government in late 1944. Excluded at the Yalta and Potsdam conferences, France did manage a place on the UN Security Council, an occupation zone in Western Berlin, and membership in the Allied Control Council that would supervise the occupation, all of which would not have occurred without American acquiescence.

Despite tensions at the highest levels, thousands of Americans, motivated by their love of France, worked hard to save it during and after World War II. As the Germans prepared an all-out assault on Paris, American Ambassador William Bullitt relayed a message to Berlin through the American Embassy in Berne requesting a parley, which was successful. Paris thus owes its architectural survival to an American. Vehemently anti-Nazi, Bullitt had worked tirelessly to persuade Congress to send planes, tanks, and armaments. He had even arranged for clandestine testing of the latest American warplanes by French pilots. Anne Morgan returned to service as well in WWII, organizing American field service ambulances and the American Relief Service. So many Americans tried to join the French Army that they could not be accommodated. Some tried to reconstitute the Lafayette Escadrille. Ultimately, it would be D-Day, at the time, and ever since, that epitomized the Franco-American alliance during WWII. Both sides have painstakingly constructed and nourished that memory. One need only look to the annual D-Day celebration in France or at the hordes of American tourists descending on the exhibits, memorial sites, cemeteries, and ceremonies surrounding Omaha and Utah Beaches to understand its power.

The end of the war and its immediate aftermath brought additional difficulties. As the two countries worked together to rebuild Europe, the heavy weight of the American presence could be felt at all levels and led to periodic rancor. American productivity, technology, academic examples, business models, modernization, consumerism, and cultural diffusion through Coca Cola and Hollywood movies percolated in French society. The French government caved to American pressure to allow free trade and American films into the country, endured American tutelage under the Marshall Plan, and agreed to purge communists from the government. As the dominant power, the United States exerted a good deal of influence on France; at the same time Fourth Republic French officials had some room to maneuver by challenging Truman administration officials every step of the way.

The culmination of this chaotic postwar period would be America’s second standing military alliance—the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). NATO stemmed from the French search for security that had been thwarted in the 1920s and 1930s. Once the groundwork had been laid, NATO gave the United States a greater role in French domestic affairs and also rights to bases there. France would be able to reassert itself as a vital junior partner, especially with its presence on NATO’s standing committee. The process that had begun in WWI was thus complete by the immediate post-WWII period—the United States held the upper hand militarily, economically, and politically, but France now had an iron-clad American obligation to come to its defense.

The Globalizing Cold War to 1975

As the new Franco-American power dynamic solidified in the 1950s and 1960s, the dual threats of Cold War and decolonization concerns would challenge the alliance in unprecedented ways. Unity became increasingly difficult to maintain each time the United States and France tried to devise a coordinated response to successive hot spots around the globe. One of the biggest Franco-American divisions occurred over the Franco-Vietminh War playing out in Indochina. Washington funded the bulk of the French war effort by 1954, but it would not be enough to stop Ho Chi Minh’s Viet Minh forces from over-running the French garrison at Dien Bien Phu. Eisenhower and Secretary of State John Foster Dulles stopped short of the military intervention that had been requested by the French government to save the military base. When the French lost the battle at Dien Bien Phu, both they and their American allies saw this loss as a setback, not only for the free world but also for Franco-American relations. French feelings of betrayal would be compounded by American ones as the French negotiated with the communists during the Geneva Conference to settle the Indochina problem. In addition to Vietnam, the biggest Franco-American conflict would occur during the 1956 Suez crisis, when Britain, France, and Israel responded to Egyptian leader Gamal Abdel Nasser’s seizure of the Suez Canal by attempting to retake it. Eisenhower and Dulles placed pressure on Britain and France to withdraw by refusing to ship replacement oil to Europe, and by taking the issue to the United Nations. In part, the American response could be attributed to the French and British failure to notify their most important ally about their actions. French bitterness over Eisenhower’s lack of support once military operations were underway also jeopardized cooperation.

Despite the Vietnam and Suez crises, many historians have identified the 1960s as the lowest point of Franco-American relations. The de Gaulle-Kennedy rivalry was not based simply on the fact that the two did not get along; real differences, already visible in the 1950s, about the nature of the Western Alliance had developed. When de Gaulle returned to power, he sought to reorganize the alliance to put Paris on an equal footing with Washington and London. When President John Kennedy rejected de Gaulle’s vision, he responded with a double non to Kennedy’s “grand design”—a European Common Market (including Britain) and a nuclear Multilateral Force (MLF) dominated by the United States. Specifically, in December 1962, de Gaulle refused the offer of American-controlled Polaris missiles, as he viewed them as an infringement of French national sovereignty, thus ending the MLF. Instead, the French would develop their own independent force de frappe. De Gaulle then vetoed the British application to the Common Market and emphasized closer ties with the rest of continental Europe. Tensions had also been rising over the Algerian War, de Gaulle’s urging for the neutralization of Vietnam, how to handle Berlin, agricultural issues, international finance, and European integration, which the United States supported (on its own terms) as a way to counter the Soviet Union. Still, during moments of genuine crisis, the alliance held. When American adviser Dean Acheson requested de Gaulle’s support at the height of the Cuban Missile Crisis, and offered to show him proof of Soviet weapons, de Gaulle considered Kennedy’s word sufficient.

The biggest crises in the alliance would occur during Lyndon Johnson’s presidency, when de Gaulle opted to drastically reduce the French presence in NATO. De Gaulle withdrew French troops from NATO commands, the United States shut down thirty bases and removed 60,000 soldiers, and NATO headquarters went from Paris to Brussels. In 1967, General Charles Ailleret declared the French nuclear arsenal should be directed against tous azimuts (all possible threats), a dig at the United States. Still, Johnson did graciously announce that an open seat in NATO always awaited France, and French participation continued in the North Atlantic Council, the alliance’s key decision-making body.

1969 to the Present

While few dispute that the 20th-century Franco-American relationship reached its nadir somewhere in the mid-1960s, a multitude of high level talks and substantive policy changes resulted in a rebirth of friendship. Repairs began in May 1969, when, mere months after his inauguration, Nixon paid an official state visit to de Gaulle, thus ending the five-year stalemate of which Western leader would be the first to visit the other. In Paris, the two leaders discussed substantive issues, including the bilateral alliance and how it fit into the building of a European Community. De Gaulle’s successor, Georges Pompidou, would visit the United States, in February 1970, to continue the conversation. Shortly after the visit, a covert program of aiding the French ballistic missile program and nuclear safety procedures through “negative guidance” began. The offer was in keeping with Nixon’s clearly stated goal at the outset of his administration to “place U.S.-French relations on a better footing.”12 Nixon and Pompidou would ultimately agree to the devaluation of the dollar and revaluation of the franc, also easing tensions over monetary policy.

Despite minor setbacks, such as National Security Adviser Henry Kissinger’s unfortunate reference to France having “regional interests” as opposed to “global American interests and responsibilities,” additional meetings between Nixon and Pompidou led to a continued thaw.13 The two leaders met at Reykjavik, in late 1973, to discuss U.S.-European relations as well as arms limitations, the Middle East, Vietnam, and nuclear cooperation. The discussions forced Pompidou to acknowledge that, when push came to shove, a U.S. presence in Europe was essential, and for Nixon and Kissinger, the visit made clear that success in European security affairs hinged on France, as they would be unable to isolate France completely from the rest of the European Community.14 In the Declaration of Ottawa that emerged from the North Atlantic Council 1974 meeting, NATO recognized, for the first time, that the nuclear force of France “contributed” to the overall nuclear deterrent of the Atlantic Alliance.15 In addition, a summit meeting in 1975 brought the two countries much closer on a common international monetary policy.

Despite moments of friction, the renewal of friendship begun in 1969 remained steady in the 1980s as a surprising friendship sprung up between Socialist leader François Mitterrand and Republican President Ronald Reagan. Mitterrand would eventually declare that the worst danger would be if “America were to withdraw from the shores of our continent,” viewing the force de frappe and the Atlantic Alliance as the two pillars of French security.16 Over time, both leaders worked together toward a policy of cooperation rather than confrontation with the Soviets, with Mitterrand serving as mediator between Washington and Moscow. As Eastern European communism was being dismantled, Mitterrand and President George H. W. Bush cooperated on German reunification and then its integration into NATO and the European Union. Mitterrand thus moved France closer toward the United States and NATO, while Bush reiterated the American commitment to Europe even with the communist threat gone.

The 1990s proved more difficult as both France and the United States adapted to a post-Cold War world. The United States sought to expand NATO, whereas France wanted to focus on European economic integration. Massive American power used during the First Gulf War, the U.S.-led campaign against Serbia, and American trade barriers against French agricultural products led French Foreign Minister Hubert Védrine to refer to the United States as a hegemonic or “hyper” power. Examples of 1990s anti-Americanism were usually a result of anxiety about the Americanization of France, not simply scapegoating, jealousy derived from an inferiority complex, or long-term hostility to the United States. The post-Cold War European continent represented a convergence of French and American visions of it by the end of the 1990s. Perhaps French President Jacques Chirac summed it up best when he stated relations “have been, are, and will always be conflictive and excellent …”17

The terrorist attacks of 9/11 served as a stark reminder of shared values and goals, as well as the military importance of the alliance, symbolized by Le Monde’s headline the day after, claiming “We are all Americans.” NATO issued its first invocation of Article V (which made an attack on one country an attack on all), and Chirac became the first head of state to visit after the attack, standing with President George W. Bush in the oval office. He was also the first foreign leader to visit Ground Zero. In another symbolic move, the importance of the Franco-American alliance could be seen in the July 2002 Act of Congress to make Lafayette an honorary American citizen, a distinction shared only with Mother Teresa. Many would conclude that the spirits of Lafayette, Pershing, and the liberators of Normandy seem to dominate the two countries once again.”18 And yet, this solidarity would be severely challenged in 2003.

The most recent low point in Franco-American relations, ranking alongside the Quasi War, Suez Crisis, and mid-1960s in its seriousness, was the 2003 Iraq War. In November 2002, the Security Council still appeared to be working together when it voted unanimously, in UNSC Resolution 1441, to require Iraq to reinstate weapons inspectors after a four-year absence, with stark consequences if Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein did not cooperate. Franco-American differences emerged over the 12,000-page Iraqi dossier disclosing Iraq’s programs of weapons of mass destruction, which the Americans viewed with skepticism. Paris and Washington also disagreed over whether UNSC 1441 already contained an authorization to use force if Hussein failed to comply with weapons inspectors. Finally, the French government and people were uncomfortable with the Bush administration’s declared policy of using preemptive military strikes against perceived national security threats.

In a formal press conference after a UN meeting in January 2003, Védrine was explicit that France would veto a resolution authorizing force. After this breakdown in allied diplomacy, French Ambassador to the United States Jean-David Levitte went to White House in a final attempt to obtain a “gentlemen’s agreement”—Washington would avoid forcing Paris to give UN sanction to a war it did not support, and in exchange, France would agree to disagree about using force. The Bush administration categorically rejected this proposal, evidenced in Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld’s provocative statement that France and Germany represented “old Europe,” and set the alliance on a path toward direct confrontation. The final confrontation came on March 5, 2003, when the foreign ministers of France, Russia, and Germany released a joint declaration stating that they would not allow a resolution authorizing military action to pass the UN Security Council.

Meanwhile, American officials made it clear they would proceed with Britain and other allies. The American invasion of Iraq followed, as did various American acts designed to punish France—no U.S. military participation in the annual Paris Air Show, and the more serious banning of French firms from bidding on primary contracts for Iraq, and barring of French participation in long-planned military exercises. Continued American vitriol, including gems such as “axis of weasels,” “freedom fries” and “cheese-eating surrender monkeys” directed at France benefited the Bush administration as it drew attention away from American floundering in Iraq.

Ultimately, such incendiary rhetoric, although damaging, was short-lived and masked more important long-term Franco-American cooperation and attempts by both sides to repair the alliance that “serves a vital—indeed irreplaceable—role in maintaining international security and prosperity.”19 French president Nicolas Sarkozy (Sarko l’américain) and American president Barack Obama worked together on a number of foreign crises, most notably in Libya. During his first term Obama declared France America’s “biggest ally,” claiming that “we don’t have a stronger friend and stronger ally than Nicolas Sarkozy and the French people.”20

This relationship continued with Socialist François Hollande’s election in 2012. In recent years the focus has turned to renewed military cooperation in the face of terrorist attacks on the headquarters of the French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo on January 7, 2015, which killed twelve people, and the even more shocking November 13, 2015 ISIS-led attacks in various parts of Paris and its northern suburb St. Denis. The attacks resulted in a massive outpouring of American public support for France, most prominently symbolized in Jean Jullien’s rendering of the Eiffel Tower as a peace sign, which millions of Americans adopted on their social media platforms. The attacks have also led to closer Franco-American coordination in the fight against various terrorist organizations.

Points of crisis are natural in an alliance between two countries with different histories, cultures, and goals, but whose histories and cultures are inextricably linked. In describing the Franco-American relationship, perhaps the best analogy is one of two siblings or partners, who bicker heatedly, but at the end of the day still need each other and whose identity is anchored in shared history, memory, and alliance. Despite much satire and periodic policy divergences, the Franco-American alliance is alive and well, because both sides have worked hard to ensure its success.

Discussion of the Literature

Scholarship on U.S.-French relations is abundant; however, much of it is focused on the post WWII period. Earlier works that cover the entirety of Franco-American relations include Jean-Baptiste Duroselle, France and the United States: From the Beginnings to the Present and Marvin Zahniser, Uncertain Friendship: American-French Relations through the Cold War. For relatively recent overviews that emphasize Franco-American crises during the Cold War, see Frank Costigliola, France and the United States: The Cold Alliance since World War I, Charles Cogan, Oldest Allies, Guarded Friends: The United States and France since 1940, and Richard Kuisel, Seducing the French: The Dilemma of Americanization.21

Quite a bit of older scholarship exists on Franco-American relations during the revolutionary period. For recent treatments of key figures who helped form the Franco-American alliance, see Joel Richard Paul, Unlikely Allies: How a Merchant, a Playwright, and a Spy Saved the American Revolution and Harlow Giles Unger, Improbable Patriot: The Secret History of Monsieur Beaumarchais, the French Playwright Who Saved the American Revolution. Unger also provides a relatively up-to-date accounting of Lafayette’s tremendous, positive impact on the United States in Lafayette and H. W. Brands does the same for Franklin in The First American: The Life and Times of Benjamin Franklin. The most useful, though dated works on the 1778 alliance and its outcomes are Ronald Hoffman and Peter Albert, eds., Diplomacy and Revolution: The Franco-American Alliance of 1778, Lawrence Kaplan, ed., The American Revolution and “A Candid World,” and William Stinchcombe, The American Revolution and the French Alliance. For an overview of the entire period see Jonathan Dull, A Diplomatic History of the American Revolution.22

The post-revolutionary period complicated Franco-American relations. Albert Hall Bowman, The Struggle for Neutrality: Franco-American Diplomacy during the Federalist Era, and Alexander DeConde, Entangling Alliance: Politics and Diplomacy under George Washington provide sympathetic accounts of French policy. See William Howard Adams, The Paris Years of Thomas Jefferson for Jefferson’s positive effect on Franco-American relations. Alexander DeConde’s The Quasi War: The Politics and Diplomacy of the Undeclared War with France, 17971801 and William Stinchcombe’s, The XYZ Affair are more critical of the Republicans and France. Clifford Egan, Neither Peace Nor War: Franco-American Relations, 18031812 and Peter Hill, Napoleon’s Troublesome Americans: Franco-American Relations, 18041815 focus on the tribulations the alliance underwent during the Napoleonic period.23

For 19th century Franco-American relations, David McCullough’s, The Greater Journey: Americans in Paris emphasizes the profound effect Americans travelling to Paris had on both countries. Prior to this, one must reach further back to Henry Blumenthal’s France and the United States: Their Diplomatic Relations, 17891914. Lynn Case and Warren Spencer assess U.S.-Franco diplomacy during the Civil War in The United States and France: Civil War Diplomacy as does Don Doyle’s recent The Cause of All Nations: An International History of the Civil War. The best work on the importance of the Statue of Liberty for Franco-American relations is Yasmin Kahn’s Enlightening the World: The Creation of the Statue of Liberty.24

Franco-American relations during WWI have attracted some recent scholarship as well. Charles Bracelen Flood’s First to Fly: The Story of the Lafayette Escadrille, the American Heroes Who Flew for France in World War I details the unofficial American military assistance provided in the form of pilots prior to U.S. entry into the war. Robert Bruce’s A Fraternity of Arms: America and France in the Great War emphasizes the renewal of the military alliance during WWI. Julia Irwin’s Making the World Safe: The American Red Cross and a Nation’s Humanitarian Awakening analyzes the role vast numbers of unofficial or semi-official Americans played in aiding war torn France. Margaret MacMillan in Paris 1919: Six Months That Changed the World and Manfred Boemeke, Elizabeth Glaser, and Gerald Feldman, in The Treaty of Versailles: A Reassessment after 75 Years provide positive assessments of the Versailles Treaty. Norman Graebner and Edward Bennett, in The Versailles Treaty and Its Legacy: The Failure of the Wilsonian Vision, are more critical.25

The interwar period has also seen renewed interest with Nancy L. Green, The Other Americans in Paris: Businessmen, Countesses, Wayward Youth, 18801941 outlining some of the pragmatic reasons (money and trade) that drew Americans to Paris rather than the usual focus on cultural inspiration or specialized training. See Brooke Blower’s Becoming Americans in Paris: Transatlantic Politics and Culture between the World Wars for an excellent account of how Americans transformed Paris and themselves during the interwar period. Robert J. Young in Marketing Marianne: French Propaganda in America, 19001940 examines how successive French governments tried to influence American public opinion. See Whitney Walton, Internationalism, National Identities, and Study Abroad: France and the United States, 18901970 on the impact of student exchanges. Finally, for a critical account of the 1928 Kellogg-Briand Pact, see Robert Ferrell, Peace in Their Time: The Origins of the Kellogg-Briand Pact and for an equally critical view of U.S.-French relations during the entire interwar period see Marvin Zahniser, Then Came Disaster: France and the United States, 19181940.26

For WWII relations, a general account can be found in Julian Hurstfield’s America and the French Nation, 19391945. Jean Lacouture’s De Gaulle: The Rebel, 18901944 and Mario Rossi’s Roosevelt and the French provide a detailed analysis of FDR’s distrust of De Gaulle. A more recent twist on assessing FDR’s views of France is David Haglund, “Roosevelt as ‘Friend of France’—But Which One?” in Diplomatic History. Haglund argues that FDR’s wartime policies toward de Gaulle subverted postwar cooperation. Charles Glass, Americans in Paris: Life and Death Under Nazi Occupation examines how official and unofficial Americans worked to save occupied France from the Nazis. Eric Touya de Marenne in French American Relations: Remembering D-Day after September 11 revisits the experiences at Normandy through a series of dialogues with American and French veterans. Finally Mary Louise Roberts in What Soldiers Do: Sex and the American GI in World War II France looks at the negative impact of American soldiers in France.27

The vast majority of scholarship on U.S.-French relations concerns the post-WWII period through the 1960s. Most of this literature tends to view the alliance as problematic. A good overview, though dated, is Alfred Grosser, The Western Alliance: European-American Relations since 1945. In the initial recovery period following WWII, Irwin Wall in The United States and the Making of Postwar France, 19451954, and Will Hitchcock in France Restored: Cold War Diplomacy and the Quest for Leadership in Europe, 19441954, challenge traditional assumptions that the United States ran the show in French reconstruction, arguing for French agency. On the other hand, Brian Angus McKenzie in, Remaking France: Americanization, Public Diplomacy, and the Marshall Plan argues that U.S. loans and Marshall Plan administrative oversight gave the United States a privileged role in internal French affairs. Alessandro Brogi, A Question of Self-Esteem: The United States and Cold War Choices in France and Italy, 19441958, and Jeffrey Giauque, Grand Designs and Visions of Unity: The Atlantic Powers and the Reorganization of Western Europe, 19551963, point to allied conflict in combatting the communist threat. See John Young, France, the Cold War, and the Western Alliance, 194449: French Foreign Policy and Post War Europe, Ronald Powaski, The Entangling Alliance: The United States and European Security, 19501993, and, most recently, Lawrence Kaplan, NATO 1948: The Birth of the Transatlantic Alliance, on the formation of NATO and its legacy. Michael Cresswell’s A Question of Balance: How France and the United States Created Cold War Europe details Franco-American cooperation in rearming West Germany during the Cold War. Christopher Endy notes the impact of a massive influx of American tourists on French and U.S. government policy in Cold War Holidays: American Tourism in France. Regarding Franco-American disagreement over Vietnam in the 1940s and 1950s, see Mark Lawrence, Assuming the Burden: Europe and the American Commitment to War in Vietnam, and Kathryn Statler, Replacing France: The Origins of American Intervention in Vietnam. See also, Frederik Logevall, Embers of War: The Fall of an Empire and the Making of America’s Vietnam. For Algeria, Matthew Connelly’s, A Diplomatic Revolution: Algeria’s Fight for Independence and the Origins of the Post-Cold War Era is a good start.28

Most scholars view the 1960s as the low point of U.S.-French relations. A counter point is Frédéric Bozo’s Two Strategies for Europe: De Gaulle, the United States, and the Atlantic Alliance, which argues that the alliance emerged strengthened in some ways after de Gaulle’s assertion of French independence and American adaptation to it. Sebastian Reyn’s, Atlantis Lost: The American Experience with De Gaulle takes a critical look at de Gaulle’s actions. Erin Mahan, Kennedy, De Gaulle, and Western Europe, focuses on divisions over the international economy, defense strategy, and power politics.29

There is less scholarship on more recent periods. Luke Nichter offers a positive assessment of Franco-American relations during the 1970s in Richard Nixon and Europe: The Reshaping of the Postwar Atlantic World. More critical accounts of the alliance can be found in Marc Trachtenberg, ed., Between Empire and Alliance: America and Europe during the Cold War, and in Matthias Schulz and Thomas Schwartz, The Strained Alliance: US-European Relations from Nixon to Carter. On relations during the François Mitterrand period, see Frédéric Bozo, “‘Winners’ and ‘Losers’: France, the United States, and the End of the Cold War,” in Diplomatic History, and David G. Haglund, ed., The France-US Leadership Race: Closely Watched Allies. Richard Kuisel’s excellent study, The French Way: How France Embraced and Rejected American Values and Power, provides a detailed analysis of diplomatic and cultural relations in the 1980s and 1990s. For a balanced view of the Franco-American crisis over the 2003 U.S. intervention in Iraq, see Philip Gordon and Jeremy Shapiro, Allies at War: America, Europe, and the Crisis over Iraq. See also Charles Cogan, French Negotiating Behavior: Dealing with La Grande Nation.30

Primary Sources

In the United States, primary sources detailing Franco-American relations can be found at the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) II in College Park, Maryland, particularly in the records of the State Department (RG 59), the National Security Council (RG 273), the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) (RG 263), and United States Information Agency Paris Embassy (USIA) (RG 84). Primary sources are also available at all the presidential libraries. Scholars can also examine special collections, such as the Arthur H. and Mary Marden Dean Lafayette Collection, 1520–1849, at Cornell University, which contain many documents on the revolutionary and early Republic periods. Published records of official U.S.-Franco relations include volumes of the Foreign Relations of the United States (FRUS) series, available in print and online. Researchers might also find the United States Congress Senate Foreign Relations Committee meetings and House Foreign Affairs Committee meetings useful, all located in the Congressional Record, available in print or online.

The most important archival sources regarding U.S.-French relations in France are the Archives du Ministère des Affaires Etrangères (MAE) (Archives of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs) in Courneuve, a northern suburb of Paris. The records in Series Amérique, Etats-Unis, 91QO and Series Amérique B, Etats-Unis are the most useful. Personal papers of diplomats are available at the Archives Nationales (National Archives) in Paris. Researchers might also be interested in the collections at the Chateau de Vincennes, Service Historique de l’Armée de la Terre (Defense Archives) on the outskirts of Paris and the records dealing with the United States at the Institut Pierre Mendès France in Paris. The archives and library of the Musée Franco-Américain du Chateau de Blérancourt focus on Franco-American diplomacy, cultural contacts, and economic assistance. The most important published French source is the Documents diplomatiques français (DDF). The French equivalent to FRUS, the DDF series can be found at many American research university libraries. Also useful are the transcripts concerning the United States in the Journal Officiel. Débats parlementaires (Assemblée Nationale).

Further Reading

Blower, Brooke. Becoming Americans in Paris: Transatlantic Politics and Culture between the World Wars. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011.Find this resource:

Bruce, Robert. A Fraternity of Arms: America and France in the Great War. Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 2003.Find this resource:

Cogan, Charles. Oldest Allies, Guarded Friends: The United States and France since 1940. Westport, CT: Praeger, 1994.Find this resource:

Costigliola, Frank. France and the United States: The Cold Alliance since World War II. New York: Twayne, 1992.Find this resource:

Duroselle, Jean-Baptiste. France and the United States: From the Beginnings to the Present. Trans. Derek Coltman. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1978.Find this resource:

Gordon, Philip, and Jeremy Shapiro. Allies at War: America, Europe, and the Crisis over Iraq. New York: McGraw Hill, 2004.Find this resource:

Hill, Peter. Napoleon’s Troublesome Americans: Franco-American Relations, 1804–1815. Washington, DC: Potomac, 2005.Find this resource:

Hitchcock, William. France Restored: Cold War Diplomacy and the Quest for Leadership in Europe, 1944–1954. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1998.Find this resource:

Kahn, Yasmin. Enlightening the World: The Creation of the Statue of Liberty. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2010.Find this resource:

Kaplan, Lawrence. NATO 1948: The Birth of the Transatlantic Alliance. New York: Rowman & Littlefield, 2007.Find this resource:

Kuisel, Richard. Seducing the French—The Dilemma of Americanization. Berkeley: University Press of California, 1993.Find this resource:

Kuisel, Richard. The French Way: How France Embraced and Rejected American Values and Power. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2013.Find this resource:

Lawrence, Mark. Assuming the Burden: Europe and the American Commitment to War in Vietnam. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2005.Find this resource:

Logevall, Frederik. Embers of War: The Fall of an Empire and the Making of America’s Vietnam. New York: Random House, 2012.Find this resource:

McCullough, David. The Greater Journey: Americans in Paris. New York: Simon and Schuster, 2011.Find this resource:

Statler, Kathryn. Replacing France: The Origins of American Intervention in Vietnam. Lexington: University Press of Kentucky, 2007.Find this resource:

Unger, Harlow Giles. Lafayette. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley, 2002.Find this resource:

Wall, Irwin. The United States and the Making of Post War France, 1945–1954. Cambridge, U.K.: Cambridge University Press, 1991.Find this resource:

Zahniser, Marvin. Uncertain Friendship: American-French Relations through the Cold War. New York: John Wiley, 1975.Find this resource:

Notes:

(1.) See Chris Tudda, “‘A Messiah that will never come’: A New Look at Saratoga, Independence, and Revolutionary War Diplomacy,” Diplomatic History 32.5 (2008): 779–810 for the view that Saratoga merely put a “public face” on unofficial French support that began in 1775.

(2.) William Doyle, The French Revolution: A Very Short Introduction (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2001), 20.

(3.) David McCullough, “Vive la Similarité,” New York Times, July 14, 2011.

(4.) See Roger Morris, The Peacemakers: The Great Powers and American Independence (New York: Harper & Row, 1965); and Ronald Hoffman and Albert Peters, eds., Peace and the Peacemakers: The Treaty of 1783 (Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 1986).

(5.) George Washington, letter to Congress, January 1, 1796. The classic interpretation of Washington’s address remains Felix Gilbert, To the Farewell Address: Ideas of Early American Foreign Policy (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1961).

(6.) Jefferson had been primarily concerned with acquiring New Orleans, calling it the “one single spot, the possessor of which is our natural and habitual enemy.” Lawrence Kaplan, Thomas Jefferson: Westward the Course of Empire (Wilmington, DE: SR Books, 1999), 31. The solution would be to purchase it from, not go to war with, France. The United States paid about three cents an acre. See also Alexander De Conde, This Affair of Louisiana (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1976).

(7.) David McCullough, The Greater Journey: Americans in Paris. (New York: Simon and Schuster, 2011).

(8.) Jill Jonnes, Eiffel’s Tower, and the World’s Fair where Buffalo Bill Beguiled Paris, the Artists Quarreled, and Thomas Edison Became a Count (New York: Viking, 2009).

(9.) As quoted in William Keylor, “H-Diplo Review Essay,” November 17, 2010. See Robert Young, An American by Degrees: The Extraordinary Lives of French Ambassador Jules Jusserand (Montreal: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2009).

(10.) See Frank Freidel, Over There: The Story of Americans First Great Overseas Crusade (Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1990) on American experiences in France. For American financing of the war, see Martin Horn, Britain, France, and the Financing of the First World War (Montreal: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2002).

(11.) According to General Pershing in his autobiographical account, My Experiences in the World War (New York: Frederick Stokes Co., 1931), 93.

(12.) See Memorandum from Defense Secretary Melvyn Laird to President Nixon, January 23, 1973, FRUS 1969–1976, Vol. E-15 part 2, doc. 304.

(13.) See Henry Kissinger, April 23, 1973 speech, Kissinger, Years of Upheaval (New York: Little, Brown, 1982), 153.

(14.) Minutes of Defense Program Review Committee/Senior Review Group Meeting, May 25, 1973, FRUS, 1969–1976, Vol. E-15, part 2, doc 18; note, undated; Ministère des Affaires Etrangères (MAE), séries Amérique, Etats-Unis, 1971–75, 91QO, Vol. 1127.

(15.) Kissinger to Robert Galley, French Minister of Defense, August 31, 1973, FRUS 1969–1976, Documents on Western Europe, doc. 313. See, most recently, Marc Trachtenberg, “The French Factor in U.S. Foreign Policy during the Nixon-Pompidou Period, 1969–1974,” The Journal of Cold War Studies 13 (2011): 4–59.

(16.) François Mitterrand, Réflexions sur la politique extérieure de la France (Paris: Fayard, 1986), 9–11.

(17.) Quoted in Gilles Delafon and Thomas Sancton, Dear Jacques, cher Bill: Au Coeur de l’Elysée et de la Maison Blanche, 1995–1999 (Paris: Plon, 1999), 55.

(18.) Quote by Justin Vaisse, “Etats-Unis: le regain francophobe,” in Politique internationale 97 (Fall 2002): 97.

(19.) Philip Gordon and Jeremy Shapiro, Allies at War: America, Europe, and the Crisis over Iraq (New York: McGraw Hill, 2004), 186.

(20.) January 11, 2011.

(21.) For the entirety of Franco-American relations, see Jean-Baptiste Duroselle, France and the United States: From the Beginnings to the Present, trans. Derek Coltman (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1978); and Marvin Zahniser, Uncertain Friendship: American-French Relations through the Cold War (New York: John Wiley, 1975). For recent overviews during the Cold War, see Frank Costigliola, France and the United States: The Cold Alliance since World War II (New York: Twayne, 1992); Charles Cogan, Oldest Allies, Guarded Friends: The United States and France since 1940 (Westport, CT: Praeger, 1994); and Richard Kuisel, Seducing the French: The Dilemma of Americanization (Berkeley: University Press of California, 1993).

(22.) For primary figures of the Franco-American alliance, see Joel Richard Paul, Unlikely Allies: How a Merchant, a Playwright, and a Spy Saved the American Revolution (New York: Riverhead Books, 2009); also Harlow Giles Unger, Improbable Patriot: The Secret History of Monsieur Beaumarchais, the French Playwright Who Saved the American Revolution (Hanover, NH: University Press of New England, 2011); Harlow Giles Unger, Lafayette (Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley, 2002); and H. W. Brands, The First American: The Life and Times of Benjamin Franklin (New York: Doubleday, 2000). The American Revolution is explored in Ronald Hoffman and Peter Albert, eds., Diplomacy and Revolution: The Franco-American Alliance of 1778 (Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia for the United States Capitol Historical Society, 1981); Lawrence Kaplan, ed., The American Revolution and “A Candid World,” (Kent, OH: Kent State University Press, 1977); and William Stinchcombe, The American Revolution and the French Alliance (Syracuse, NY: Syracuse University Press). For an overview of the entire period see Jonathan Dull, A Diplomatic History of the American Revolution (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1985).

(23.) For the post-revolutionary period, see Albert Hall Bowman, The Struggle for Neutrality: Franco-American Diplomacy during the Federalist Era (Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press, 1974); and Alexander DeConde, Entangling Alliance: Politics and Diplomacy under George Washington (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 1958). See William Howard Adams, The Paris Years of Thomas Jefferson (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1997), for Jefferson’s positive effect on Franco-American relations. For more critical views, see Alexander DeConde, The Quasi War: The Politics and Diplomacy of the Undeclared War with France, 17971801 (New York: Scribner, 1966); and William Stinchcombe, The XYZ Affair (Westport, CT: Greenwood, 1980). Clifford Egan, Neither Peace Nor War: Franco-American Relations, 18031812 (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1983); and Peter Hill, Napoleon’s Troublesome Americans: Franco-American Relations, 18041815 (Washington, DC: Potomac Books, 2005) focus on the Napoleonic period.

(24.) On Franco-American relations in the 19th century, see McCullough, The Greater Journey; also Henry Blumenthal, France and the United States: Their Diplomatic Relations, 17891914 (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina, 1970); and Lynn Case and Warren Spencer, The United States and France: Civil War Diplomacy (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1970). A very recent work is Don Doyle, The Cause of All Nations: An International History of the Civil War (New York: Basic Books, 2015). On the Statue of Liberty, see Yasmin Kahn, Enlightening the World: The Creation of the Statue of Liberty (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2010).

(25.) For WWI scholarship, Charles Bracelen Flood, First to Fly: The Story of the Lafayette Escadrille, the American Heroes Who Flew for France in World War I (New York: Atlantic Monthly Press, 2015); Robert Bruce, A Fraternity of Arms: America and France in the Great War (Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 2003); Julia Irwin, Making the World Safe: The American Red Cross and a Nation’s Humanitarian Awakening (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013); Margaret MacMillan, Paris 1919: Six Months That Changed the World (New York: Random House, 2002); Manfred Boemeke, Elizabeth Glaser, and Gerald Feldman, eds., The Treaty of Versailles: A Reassessment after 75 Years (Cambridge, U.K.: Cambridge University Press, 1998); and Norman Graebner and Edward Bennett, The Versailles Treaty and Its Legacy: The Failure of the Wilsonian Vision (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2011).

(26.) For the interwar period, Nancy L. Green, The Other Americans in Paris: Businessmen, Countesses, Wayward Youth, 1880–1941 (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2014); Brooke Blower, Becoming Americans in Paris: Transatlantic Politics and Culture between the World Wars (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011); Robert J. Young, Marketing Marianne: French Propaganda in America, 1900–1940 (New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 2004); Whitney Walton, Internationalism, National Identities, and Study Abroad: France and the United States, 1890–1970 (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2010); Robert Ferrell, Peace in Their Time: The Origins of the Kellogg-Briand Pact (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1952); and Marvin Zahniser, Then Came Disaster: France and the United States, 1918–1940 (Westport, CT: Praeger, 2002).

(27.) WWII-era relations: Julian Hurstfield, America and the French Nation, 19391945 (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina, 1986); Jean Lacouture, De Gaulle: The Rebel, 18901944 (London: Collins Harvill, 1993); Mario Rossi, Roosevelt and the French (Westport, CT: Praeger, 1993); David Haglund, “Roosevelt as ‘Friend of France’—But Which One?” Diplomatic History 31.5 (2007): 883–907; Charles Glass, Americans in Paris: Life and Death Under Nazi Occupation (New York: Penguin, 2010); Eric Touya de Marenne, French American Relations: Remembering D-Day after September 11 (Lanham, MD: University Press of America, 2008); and Mary Louise Roberts, What Soldiers Do: Sex and the American GI in World War II France (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2013).

(28.) Post-WWII through the 1960s, Alfred Grosser, The Western Alliance: European-American Relations since 1945 (New York: Continuum, 1980); Irwin Wall, The United States and the Making of Postwar France, 19451954 (Cambridge, U.K.: Cambridge University Press, 1991); Will Hitchcock, France Restored: Cold War Diplomacy and the Quest for Leadership in Europe, 19441954 (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina, 1998); Brian Angus McKenzie, Remaking France: Americanization, Public Diplomacy, and the Marshall Plan (New York: Berghahn. 2005); Alessandro Brogi, A Question of Self-Esteem: The United States and Cold War Choices in France and Italy, 19441958 (Westport, CT: Praeger, 2002); Jeffrey Giauque, Grand Designs and Visions of Unity: The Atlantic Powers and the Reorganization of Western Europe, 19551963 (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina, 2002); John Young, France, the Cold War, and the Western Alliance, 194449: French Foreign Policy and Post War Europe (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1990); Ronald Powaski, The Entangling Alliance: The United States and European Security, 19501993 (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1994); Lawrence Kaplan, NATO 1948: The Birth of the Transatlantic Alliance (Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 2007). The Cold War and Vietnam are considered in Michael Cresswell, A Question of Balance: How France and the United States Created Cold War Europe (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2006); Christopher Endy, Cold War Holidays: American Tourism in France (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina, 2004). Mark Lawrence, Assuming the Burden: Europe and the American Commitment to War in Vietnam (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2005); Kathryn Statler, Replacing France: The Origins of American Intervention in Vietnam (Lexington: University Press of Kentucky, 2007); Frederik Logevall, Embers of War: The Fall of an Empire and the Making of America’s Vietnam (New York: Random House, 2012); and on Algeria, Matthew Connelly, A Diplomatic Revolution: Algeria’s Fight for Independence and the Origins of the Post-Cold War Era (New York: Oxford University Press, 2002).

(29.) On the strength of the alliance, see Frédéric Bozo, Two Strategies for Europe: De Gaulle, the United States, and the Atlantic Alliance (Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 2001); Sebastian Reyn, Atlantis Lost: The American Experience with De Gaulle (Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press, 2010); and Erin Mahan, Kennedy, De Gaulle, and Western Europe (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2002).

(30.) For works assessing the last few decades of the relationship: Luke Nichter, Richard Nixon and Europe: The Reshaping of the Postwar Atlantic World (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2015); Marc Trachtenberg, ed., Between Empire and Alliance: America and Europe during the Cold War (Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 2003); Matthias Schulz and Thomas Schwartz, The Strained Alliance: US-European Relations from Nixon to Carter (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2010); Frédéric Bozo, “‘Winners’ and ‘Losers’: France, the United States, and the End of the Cold War,” Diplomatic History 33.5 (2009): 927–956; David G. Haglund, ed., The France-US Leadership Race: Closely Watched Allies (Kingston, ONT: Centre for International Relations, Queen’s University, 2000); Richard Kuisel, The French Way: How France Embraced and Rejected American Values and Power (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2010); Philip Gordon and Jeremy Shapiro, Allies at War: America, Europe, and the Crisis over Iraq (New York: McGraw-Hill, 2004); and Charles Cogan, French Negotiating Behavior: Dealing with La Grande Nation (Washington, DC: United States Institute of Peace Press, 2003).