Oh good, well at least the man is honest. Now is time to put history straight and unravel some of the absolute fluff de Gaulle inserted into the world about the Second World War.
Firstly, when Germany invaded the French and their allies defending their borders were ill prepared, it took the Axis from 10 May to 22 June to take France. The government hightailed it from Paris to Bordeaux and eventually over to London. The Resistance were undoubtedly exemplary, but what had preceeded that is shocking.
When the Normandy and South of France invasions happened there were a few hundred thousand Free French Army only. Compared with the rest of the invasion forces they did very little. When de Gaulle later did the victory parade and liberation speech in Paris he made out it was ONLY the Free French Army who had liberated France.
A million and some hundreds of thousands took part in the invasion and conquest of Germany. That they were allowed to be part of the partitions of Germany and Austria and were granted sectors of both countries, plus in Berlin and Vienna in astonishing. Again, de Gaulle made out to the French that France had single-handedly invaded and conquered Germany.
I have no issue with the French themselves. They were as courageous as anybody else, indeed wounded and dead troops were enormous numbers in both 1940 and 44/45. It remains to be very publicly acknowledged that it was French politicians who would not listen and arm their country adequately, then that a great deal of gratitude is owing to the American and British military personnel who were in France and gave support to the Resistance, especially arranging for drops of weapons and explosives to enable the Resistance to give the Germans as hard a time as imaginable. Then with regard to the actually relatively small role the undoubtedly highly motivated and courageous Free French Army was able to play in the invasion of Europe in 1944, then the occupation of Austria and Germany and the propaganda that fed the French people with fantasy notions of their leading role in the victory.
It is not about France or its people at all, it is more to do with politics. Whilst France was one of the motivating countries to create a union of European countries in the 1950s with de Gaulle being an enthusiastic European, earlier than that he instilled some of the attitudes that persist today. Hence French governments have a tendency not quite to get on with their former Allies as they might. It is time that ended, the world needs unity. Apologising for collaborating to exterminate Jews is just one of the bits of putting history straight the French people deserve to hear, because they have a right to the truth.