Humiliation, National Identity and Foreign Policy: A Study of France and China.

27 October, 2009

A dissertation submitted by 42800 to the Department of Government, the London School of Economics and Political Science, in part completion of the requirements for the MSc in Comparative Politics (Empire) Septembre 2007 Word Count 10519



Humiliation distorts human and State relations by violating the sense of integrity of an individual or nation. In their pursuit of power, Empires have repeatedly abused other ‘lesser’ nations through invasions, diplomatic insults and economic exploitation without taking into account the damage they create and potential future repercussions. The importance of humiliation has largely been ignored by both policy makers and political theoreticians. This study aims to fill that gap by examining the theoretical and practical effects of humiliation on a national level.

China and France are two important nations that have experienced humiliation at the hands of foreign powers. This is particularly significant because both nations perceive themselves as military and cultural leaders, and consequently expect certain privileges. Their humiliation has been especially humbling because of their desire to be global players, and the nations’ identities have suffered greatly from the abuse and loss of self-respect. France and China are two good examples of nations that have been humiliated, and seek to overcome that historical burden by playing important roles in international affairs and pursuing dynamic foreign policies.

Although humiliation shapes the foreign policies of France and China, each country has managed the experience in a different manner: while China manipulates the past injuries to rally the population and justify an expansionist foreign policy, France has denied its own humiliation, hiding it from the public while pursuing a ‘politique de grandeur’ which it cannot support economically. France’s national identity is plagued by ambitions that it cannot justify historically, leading to a social malaise; China however, has managed to unite the population and engage its support behind the common goal of avenging its past militarily, politically and economically.

In this study, I will highlight the impact of humiliation on Chinese and French foreign policy, and suggest that, when forming policies, decision-makers take into account the potential psychological damage that can result from an over-ambitious foreign policy and its repercussions in the country’s international relations.





CHAPTER I: Theories on humiliation………………..……………………………………

  1. What is Humiliation? …………………………………………………………………..

  2. Humiliation motivates Politics…….………………………………………….………

CHAPTER II: Universal Empires………..…………………………….…………............

  1. The weight of History………………………………………….……………………...

  2. Losing Face…..…………………….……………………………………………...….

CHAPTER III: Humiliation in France and China……………………….………….…….

  1. National Humiliation in China and France……………………………………………

  2. Humiliation affects national identity………………………………………………….


CHAPTER IV: Humiliation and foreign policy…………………………………..………

A) Humiliation justifies Chinese foreign policy………………………………………….

B) Humiliation drives French foreign policy……………………………..………………


CONCLUDING REMARKS……………………………………………………………..






Countries in pursuit of power have repeatedly humiliated their neighbours, leading to political and military repercussions in the form of retaliation and revenge. France and China have both been victims of other nations’ lust for power, and their foreign policy reflects the effects of humiliation on national pride.


The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) uses a political rhetoric that emphasizes their past humiliations in order to reinforce their own national identity and justify their foreign policy to the citizens. China experienced a ‘Century of Humiliation’ from the Opium Wars to the invasion of Japan, which has since shaped its national identity and the memory of which is now being manipulated as a political tool. When analysing Chinese foreign policy, it is necessary to take into account the impact that humiliation has had on unifying of the citizenry around a common experience and on the foreign policies of the CCP, particularly with regards to those nations perceived as perpetrators of humiliation: the UK, US and Japan.


France is a nation that has also suffered a ‘Century of Humiliation’ with its gradual decline in power precipitated by foreign invasions and military defeats. The French government, however, has declined to acknowledge any experience of humiliation, censoring public speech and framing its history in a glorious light; yet French national identity is heavily shaped by the military defeats of 1870 and 1940, Petain’s treason and the Vichy administration’s collaboration with Hitler. This has led to a ‘Malaise’ where the population is conscious of the nation’s past humiliations but also denies its impact on French national identity. The reputation of the French is still plagued by the international perception of the country as defeatist and cowardly, particularly from the Anglo-Saxon perspective. In framing its foreign policy, the Quai d’Orsay 1 is very aware of the impact humiliation has had on their national identity and on international perception, and subsequently attempts to overcompensate with an aggressive stance in international affairs. While China has used humiliation to justify its policies, France has sought to overcome humiliation by acting as a strong world leader without encumbrance.


The experiences of humiliation in France and China are particularly humbling because they lost the status of ‘Great Empires’ which they had held for most of the millennium. France and China were great powers that dominated over their citizens and their neighbours. They sought recognition from other nations, and each was acknowledged as the strongest and most important regional presence. Both societies were hierarchical and pride was central to the established order; “they saw themselves in opposition to the rest of the world that was not yet conquered or not worth conquering” (Lindner 2006:38). Their pre-existing perception of greatness accentuated the feelings of humiliation when they suffered defeat: The fall from power was a crushing blow to the nation’s self-esteem, and revealed the weaknesses of the Chinese and French systems. The humiliation which each nation suffered also led to a revival in nationalism: the population identified themselves relative to an enemy which had robbed them of their pride, thus fuelling a need for revenge against the perpetrator, and a desire to reclaim eminence in the international arena. This experience of humiliation, resulting from a loss of self-assurance with regards to other nations, has had a significant influence on the strategies adopted by decision-makers in the country’s foreign policy.

The ‘Century of Humiliation’ in China covers the Opium Wars, the ‘Jiawu’ 2 War, the Boxer Rebellion and the Japanese occupation. France’s ‘Century of Humiliation’ starts with the 1870 German occupation, and stretches into the twentieth century with World War II, and arguably continues through the experience of Dien Bien Phu and the loss of colonies, which revealed the military and diplomatic weaknesses of the French State, particularly in Algeria.


This essay investigates the role humiliation has played in shaping national identity, and in turn, foreign policy. Chapter I presents the theories explaining the emotional importance of humiliation in shaping identity and politics. Chapter II places the Chinese Empire and the French State in a historical context and explains the similarities in status and self-perception of the two empires to show that they were equally vulnerable to the humiliating effects of defeat at the hands of foreign powers. Chapter III compares the humiliations experienced by France and China, and evaluates its impact on national identity generations later. Chapter IV investigates the influence of humiliation on foreign policy, with particular emphasis on the governments’ use of humiliation as a political tool to placate or stimulate the population.

To conclude, we will suggest that, in order to make foreign policy decision-making more comprehensive, it is important to have a clear historical and contemporary understanding of the importance of humiliation as a powerful emotional stimulant that can influence the way a country carries out its foreign policy.




It is necessary to discuss political theory to explain the importance of humiliation as an emotional stimulant in foreign policy.

In Morgenthau’s definition of Realism, Sovereign States are primary unitary actors and foreign policy is defined according to their national interests which are security, survival, and relative power. Realism assumes that nations are objective actors able to make rational decisions. Constructivist theory, on the other hand, maintains that the international system is not a fixed structure, but rather is the result of socially produced rules, norms and expectations resulting from the interaction between States (Wendt 1999). When making policy, actors rely on ‘background knowledge’ in order to interpret and predict a State’s reactions (Kratochwil 1978). Foreign Policy Analysis refutes classical realism by focusing on the “decisions taken by human decision-makers in positions of authority to commit the resources of the nation-states” (Hudson 2007: 4). Assuming this agent-oriented model, it is important to consider both the material and ideational factors that influence decision-making. Among the ideational factors, Holsti argues that the “national role conception” (Holsti 1970) contributes to the self-perception of the nation in the international community and can lead to differences in national behaviour. A nation’s “Heroic History” (Breuning 1997) also affects the actions of decision-makers, and can lead to more or less aggressive foreign policy.

Realism fails to explain why some nations act in a counter-productive or irrational manner, as is often the case in acts of retaliation or retribution which are related to humiliation. Taking into account the emotions and feelings that drive decision-making fill that knowledge gap and enable us to explain certain political behaviours.

This paper therefore takes a constructivist approach as it argues that the experience of ‘National Humiliation’ is an important element of a nation’s ‘Heroic History’ and contributes to the citizens’ self-perception of themselves in a wider world, driving decision-making. Although humiliation is not immediately apparent or measurable, its impact can be assessed by comparing nations with similar perceptions of self-importance as is the case with France and China.



This investigation aims to provide a thorough analysis of the impact of humiliation on national identity and foreign policy using cross national paired comparisons. It is assumed that a strong knowledge of the emotions influencing foreign policy can lead to better decisions with regard to a particular country. To avoid conceptual stretching, the term ‘humiliation’ is understood as ‘Losing face’, a metaphor shared by the Chinese and the French.

The method of research is mainly analytical, using historical and political publications on China and France. Theories on humiliation were a primary source to investigate the influence of emotions on identity and behaviour. In order to establish that ideational factors are relevant to foreign policy, it is important to compare and contrast realist and constructivist arguments.

There is undoubtedly selection bias in this comparative study, and the selection of countries under investigation is deliberate and intentional. China has been chosen because of the accessibility of information and publications relating to humiliation, identity and foreign policy. The analysis of humiliation in China is used as a benchmark to study and compare to the impact of humiliation in France. The selection bias is not problematic because of the theory-generating purpose of this investigation. To verify the hypothesis, it would be interesting to investigate the impact of humiliation in other former Empires such as the Russian, Ottoman and Iranian Empires, and determine whether the experience of humiliation has led to a particular foreign policy such as aggression towards the former aggressor or over-stretching resources in areas of national interest.

Chapter I : Theory of HUMILIATION

Il n’est rien que les hommes se fassent payer plus cher que l’humiliation” – F. Nietzsche, ‘Humain, trop humain’.

  1. What is humiliation?


Dr. Evelin Lindner, the world’s leading researcher on humiliation studies defines humiliation as “the enforced lowering of a person or group, a process of subjugation that damages or strips away their pride, honour or dignity” (Lindner 2002). Humiliation is relational by definition: it creates a distinction between two individuals, a master and a slave, or those who have the right to honour, and those who don’t (Enriquez in Déloye et Haroche 2006: 37).

Humiliation is therefore an attack on human dignity against an individual or on a national level. Bloch explains that human integrity is founded in the approval and recognition of others (Bloch 1976). Humiliation is consequently an insult to a person’s or a nation’s integrity and sense of identity and it is therefore regarded by Honneth as the most fundamental and degrading insult to humanity (Honneth 1999). On the individual level, humiliation places a person in a situation where he is unable to respond to violence inflicted upon him without risking his life. Submission becomes the only option and is often complemented with feelings of shame. The individual is thus considered as inferior and loses his rights relative to others. On a national level, the humiliated nation is vanquished and degraded in its collective pride, in its identity, and in its will (Ansart in Déloye and Haroche 2006: 131). Humiliation is then characterised by an absence of reciprocity which leads to feelings of powerlessness.

Humiliation produces an extremely unequal relationship when the victim is debased to the level of an animal or an object. The objectification of the other is felt by the victim as deeply debilitating and painful because it reduces his status to a subhuman one, thus striping him of dignity and rights. Marx identifies this process of objectification as the plague inflicted on the proletariat while Fanon shows that the “language of the colonizer, when talking to the colonized, is a zoological language”; together these authors illustrate the universal use of debasement to reinforce inequality between groups (Fanon in Déloye and Haroche 2006:167).

Although the expression of humiliation is subject to cultural differences, it can be safely assumed that the potential to experience humiliation is a universal phenomenon. While different cultures define humiliation in various ways - the Chinese, Japanese, Indian Caste System and the French Court all represent societies with a culture of subjugation and a systematic practice of humiliation as a form of ‘civilizing’ (Lindner 2006:21) - it appears that all people seek to be recognised as equals and enjoy a sense of dignity which they expect as their due as human beings (Zawadzki in Déloye and Haroche 2006: 164). Respect remains a priority in human relations, and the breach of it is universally humiliating and can lead to damaging consequences. Although honour demands the right to avenge humiliation, it is important to note that some societies perceive humiliation as indelible and insurmountable; humiliation can become an obsession, which makes it a powerful tool for manipulating an individual or a population. Humiliation is perhaps one of the most potent emotions, and it is capable of transcending generations: it is an intolerable injustice of which both victims and their descendents conserve a memory and aspire to avenge.

The symptoms of humiliation also tend to be similar across cultures; “it is the moral degradation which impacts the psychological and physical integrity of the subject, it hurts the moral identity of the individual and breaks his perception of the self. Being humiliated means questioning one’s honour; this is related to the idea of the self and the preservation of one’s morals.” (Lopreato in Déloye and Haroche 2006:148). According to Febre, honour is a sign of external recognition and consideration by other men in society, but also an indication of self-value which elevates the individual and maintains one’s moral identity (Febre in Déloye and Haroche 2006:149). Honour is inherently tied to identity, which is why humiliation can be so devastating to national identity: because it attacks the nation’s sense of self-worth.


  1. Humiliation motivates Politics


Emotions such as ‘pride, honour, dignity, humiliation, and humility’ as well as resentment, hatred and fear are powerful determinants of the individual’s behaviour and mind set, and can influence his decision-making process. Lindner argues that humiliation, more than any other emotion, leads to violence through retaliation: “as soon as sufferings are translated into overarching narratives of illegitimate humiliation that must be responded to by humiliation for humiliation, the desire for retaliation is on the table. Victims may yearn for and plan acts of humiliation against perceived humiliators (real or imagined), and they may become ruthless perpetrators and humiliation entrepreneurs” (Lindner 2006:169). It is evident that the experience of humiliation influences the individual’s behaviour, but this can also be the case on a mass scale when national humiliation is inflicted upon a people. Karl Marx outlined the danger of national humiliation explaining that “shame is a kind of anger turned in on itself. And if a whole nation were to feel ashamed it would be like a lion recoiling in order to spring” (Marx in Gries 2004:43).

The importance of understanding humiliation lies in its destructive potential: it is often tied to terrorism and acts of great violence on behalf of an individual or in the name of an entire society (Ansart-Dourlen in Déloye and Haroche 2006:58). Politics can be motivated by a nation’s desire to avenge a former humiliating experience or to achieve a status where humiliation at the hands of foreign powers is no longer possible.

The extent to which one can be humiliated is often related to the status and self-perception of the victim prior to the humiliation. Colonisation was perceived as the economic exploitation and political domination of a lesser people by a superior power. The experience of humiliation in the colonies has engendered feelings of resentment towards the colonial Empires and produced consequences that sometimes reverberate for generations, such as acts of terrorism originating from former colonies. It is this author’s argument that foreign intervention in the domestic affairs of countries that consider themselves as leading powers is the height of humiliation. This can lead to particularly dangerous situations for a country when dealing with a nation it once humiliated and it needs to be factored into foreign policies in order to assess the possible responses and attitudes of the country.

Honour plays an enormous part in foreign policy and determines many courses of action. Kagan suggests that “a passion to retain a state’s ‘honourable’ pre-eminence applies in today’s world no less than it did earlier” (Kagan 1998). Ansart develops four different forms of dealing with humiliation in ‘Les Humiliations Politiques’ (p131-146): 1) Revolt against humiliation, in which the entire society is mobilized to “throw off, deny, denounce and surpass” the experience through writing and public denouncements, as evidenced in the Soviet Union by the ‘dissidents’, or in China where the literature is full of references to the humiliation by the foreign ‘devils’, the US, UK and Japan. A rhetoric of humiliation is also used to justify lust for power and shield ulterior motives (Lindner 2006:85). 2) Humiliation can be entirely destructive, where there is no possible reaction against the oppressor (Arendt 2002:657), such as in the expulsion of citizens from Phnom-Penh in 1975. The destruction of all identity ties, associations and organisations and the subordination of all forms of resistance is perhaps the most ‘successful’ form of humiliation since there is no possible retaliation. 3) A third reaction of humiliation is the manipulation of the experience for political gains. The “ideological justification of humiliation becomes an instrument of power which reinforces its domination” (Ansart in Déloye and Haroche 2006:138). This is exemplified in the rise of the Nazis in Germany which played on the injustice of the 1918 defeat and exploited the theme of humiliation to rally and unify the population. According to Hitler, it was the government’s duty to erase the humiliation and give the populace the necessary means to avenge this affront. Likewise, Hughes shows that the exploitation of humiliation unites the Chinese government around a common issue: “humiliation at the hands of foreigners provides the conditions under which the apparently incommensurable positions of dogmatic conservatives and radical reformers can be reconciled” (Hughes 2006:6). The claim that “humiliation can lead to war, Holocaust, genocide and ethnic cleansing” (Lindner 2006:88) is supported by the cases of World War I and II, the Rwandan and Cambodian Genocides, Yugoslavia, as well as the Rape of Nanjing (in China) and France’s retribution for WWI at the Treaty of Versailles, which contributed to the rise of Hitler. 4) Finally, the experience of humiliation can also engender terrorism (ETA, IRA, Islamic) as a reaction against former or present ‘oppression’, as a unifying ideology 3, or for self-cleansing (Lindner 2006:32); the resistance movements in European countries against the German invaders illustrates the unifying potential of humiliation.

Chapter II : Universal Empires

The Chinese Qing Empire and the French State were, at their peak, military and cultural powers, and perceived themselves as central to regional and international politics. This section will briefly show the similarities between the Chinese and the French in the way they perceived themselves as world leaders and sought to be universal Empires: They were both regionally dominant in terms of population size in the seventeenth and eighteenth Centuries; and both countries developed a strong culture of pride which made them particularly vulnerable to humiliation, especially at the hands of ‘lesser’ foreign powers.

Experimental research in social psychology has shown that individuals identify themselves with groups which “they imbue with positive value and go to great lengths to maintain intergroup positivity, or group face” (Cooley, Festinger and Mead in Gries 2004: 27). Indeed, threats to the group dynamic that has high collective self-esteem are received with more resentment and lead to outgroup belittling and favouring ingroups (Gries 2004:66). France and China, with their centuries of high civilization, have developed a strong sense of national identity and pride in their achievements and history, and their reactions to humiliation have consequently been markedly more forceful.


  1. The weight of History


The Qing Empire lasted from 1644 to 1911, during which time the sustained peace of the Chinese empire led to a rise in population growth. The Qing managed to neutralize its neighbouring countries which acknowledged its dominance and paid tribute to the Empire. The Sino-centric philosophy of the Qing Empire and prior Chinese empires is evidenced in the perception of China as the ‘Middle Kingdom’ ruled by a Mandate from Heaven. The unifying factor in China was the “power and resilience of the State; the very idea of China and the superimposition of a common written script which allowed everyone to participate in a national culture” (Dittmer 1993:86). The Chinese social system also followed a caste-like hierarchical structure, especially during the Qing Empire as the Manchu were favoured as a superior civilization, whereas the Han and other minorities were treated as inferior and disposable. The rigid discipline of Confucianism also contributed to the social structures of the Chinese Empire, although Confucian culture was limited to the gentry, and the majority of Chinese believed in native gods and religions such as Taoism; nonetheless the shared religious identity of the Chinese played a significant role in shaping cultural norms and expectations. The domestic practice of subjugation and humiliation was analogous to a system in which the Chinese viewed themselves as superior to the rest of the world, as did the French in Europe. This led to xenophobic and isolationist policies where the Chinese would refuse foreign economic and political penetration. The Chinese population, particularly the elite viewed China as a privileged empire which should dominate over its neighbours and resist relations with lesser nations. Chinese civilization was perceived as “universal and superior” (Gries 2004:47) and was courted by all its neighbours, and even by the Western traders and missionaries. A perception of China as the ‘Central Kingdom’ protected by heaven was prevalent, and the foreign invasions, not only in a military but also in a cultural sense, created a feeling of failure and vulnerability which “unsettled narcissistic investments and desired self-images” (LaCapra in Gries 2004:47); the Chinese were no match for the technological superiority of the European civilizations.


Although the French State was more inclined to develop relations with its neighbours than the Chinese were, the prevalent view of France was also that of a great nation with a civilising mission originating from the country’s privileged position as a cultural and military leader. The empire was shaped over two thousand years of conquest by the various kings from Clovis to Napoleon; this created a perception of the French State as a military protector responsible for the well-being of the country. Religion also played an important role in French history and national identity and was a significant force in French society and politics until the Revolution. The Roman Catholic Church reinforced a system of hierarchy, particularly during the Feudal Era, and motivated military expeditions where the French ‘purified’ the non-Catholics. In 1682, a Treaty proclaiming the gallicanism of France gave the nation special privileges with regards to the Catholic Church, and declared France autonomous from the Church. France was nonetheless perceived as the champion of Catholicism in Europe with universal ambitions.

An ideology of freedom and nationalism originated in the French Revolution in 1789 and was promoted around the world, along with the celebration of two thousand years of French culture and French heroes, extending France’s claim as a universal model (Baquiast 2007). This is exemplified by the nation’s propensity to go to war and lay claim to colonies, which were a mark of power, while remaining competitive as an industrial and military power. The constant competition with the United Kingdom and newly developed Germany is evidence of France’s efforts to remain the leader of its region. France’s confidence in its own power is well illustrated in its many wars, particularly in 1870 when it declared war on Germany with the illusion of a quick and victorious battle.


France and China shared a comparable perception of themselves as quasi-invulnerable powers dominating international affairs. This illusion was the result of centuries of history during which both their civilizations thrived relative to others. Their respective defeats and loss of prestige were made worse because of their culture of self-importance which exacerbated the insult and contributed to their reactions against those who had humiliated them.


  1. Losing Face


The Western concept of pride is construed as ‘saving face’ in China (humiliation by opposition is ‘losing face’), and is evident in its desire to establish its rightful place in the international community as a respected world power. “Face” in China means two things: “decency” or “good reputation”, and “”extra reputation”. China is particularly sensitive to its characterization in foreign countries, and especially in the “indifferent and condescending West” (Peel 2007). Therefore Huntington’s hypothesis of a future clash between the East and the West pleased the Chinese who understood that America saw them as a threat, i.e. powerful (Gries 2004:40).


The former French Empire has moved from a powerful world leader to a middle power determined to save face by keeping its influence in a new international system. France ‘punches above its weight’ by using its privileged international position and remaining involved in its former colonies and areas of influence: “Post-war France has cultivated a myth of power by hiding behind a right to Veto in the UNO and a military force that is no longer convincing” (Wolton 2004:13). France is traditionally guided by national pride and its glorious history. It occasionally reminds the world of French power by threatening to act alone or expelling international organisations as in the case of NATO in 1966 4 . France uses isolation as a threat when it feels the country does not have sufficient power within international politics. Because of France’s central role in the EU and as a major economic power, this policy is generally persuasive. French stature is central to policy-making and follows from a history where France was a Great Power, something it continues to strive for today.


In order to avoid ‘losing face’, the historical narratives of countries have changed through time to portray the nation in a desired light. “Many Chinese narratives of Sino-American and Sino-Japanese military encounters transform defeats into heroic victories” (Gries 2004:28), and France too has attempted to shape French identity by manipulating history; for example with De Gaulle’s portrayal of all Frenchmen as résistants, describing the collaborators as the few exceptions, or in his speech to the French people on August 25th 1944 in which he neglected to mention the Allies as he celebrated the Liberation. This strategy of doctoring the past fulfils both France and China’s need for “Heroic history,” which alleviates the fears of repeated humiliation and dispels the trauma of previous experience. Furthermore, both nations attach a lot of importance to saving face, and their public image must be protected and empowered by a defensive military strategy both to discourage aggression and to justify their position as leaders in foreign affairs.

Chapter III: Humiliation in France and China

The Chinese “Century of Humiliation” begins “with China’s defeat in the First Opium War and the British acquisition of Hong Kong in 1842” (Gries 2004:46) and arguably ends in 1997 with the recovery of Hong Kong. Taiwan’s ‘independence’, however, still plagues China’s self-perception in the international arena. The French “Century of Humiliation” begins in 1870 with the German invasion, lasts until the liberation of Paris in 1944, and arguably continues through De Gaulle’s relationship with Churchill and Roosevelt and the loss of the colonies in the 1950s.

Both France and China share an experience of humiliation when they were invaded by foreign powers. This sets them apart from other Empires such as the United Kingdom and the United States whose territory was never occupied by an invading army. These experiences of humiliation changed national identity and came to influence future policies driven by a desire for retribution and respect in order to erase the injuries of the past.

    1. National Humiliation in China and France


In the nineteenth century, Western powers became increasingly interested in expanding their influence into Chinese territory, particularly in the form of trade. The Opium trade led by the British Empire disrupted Chinese society, leading to inflation (as a large amount of money left the country) and peasant unrest (a result of the addiction). Consequently, the Qing abolished the Opium trade in 1839, setting off the Opium Wars with Great Britain which the Chinese subsequently lost. The resulting ‘Unequal Treaties’, starting with the Treaty of Nanjing in 1842 ceded the Chinese territory of Hong Kong to Britain, forced China to pay indemnity to Britain and opened 5 ports (11 ports with the Treaty of Tientsin) to foreign trade. The ‘Unequal Treaties’ also required that China recognise diplomatic equality between British and Chinese officials and imposed the Most Favoured Nation principle on China by which Britain would benefit from any agreements the Asian country would make with any other. The second Opium War in 1857 further turned China into a British colony, exposing the country’s military and thus political vulnerability. The ‘Unequal Treaties’ were further exploited through the Treaty of Wanghia with the USA in 1844 by which the Americans demanded the same favourable treatment as the British and insisted on extraterritoriality, and the Treaty of Whangpoa with France in 1844 which opened China to Catholic missionary activities. Through the Unequal Treaties, the Qing dynasty thus lost its political sovereignty by ‘agreeing’ to the presence of foreigners and their armies, and its economic sovereignty through the influx of cheap goods from abroad and the heavy payments imposed on the Chinese by the foreign powers. These treaties were a humbling experience to a nation that had previously perceived itself as divinely privileged. The “Century of Humiliation” officially ends with the Korean War in 1953 which left the Chinese victorious against the imperial power of the United States. Although China was rid of Japan in 1945, “many Chinese are haunted by the belief that Japanese and Westerners do not acknowledge China’s victor status in World War II” (Gries 2004:57). Indeed, even if they did, the Japanese are considered as an inferior race, and there is no glory in defeating them while the Westerners are somewhat excused as a dominant power, which lessens the humiliation. “Many Chinese today see the 1895 loss to Japan and the ensuing Treaty of Shimonoseki as the darkest hour in the ‘Century of Humiliation”(Gries 2004:70), they perceive Japanese demands as “unreasonable” and “a milestone in evil” and insist that the Japanese “took pleasure in making China lose face” (Gries 2004:71). The public nature of the Treaty emphasizes the ‘national’ humiliation of the Chinese before the world. The humiliation of China is conveniently attributed to the corruption of the ‘foreign’ Manchu dynasty which was ruling the country at the time, and later served as an excuse to be rid of the Qing, while ‘saving face’ for the Han Chinese who “fiercely resisted the Japanese in Taiwan, Shandong and elsewhere” (Gries 2004:72) as would be the case of the Resistance in France. The humiliating experience of the nineteenth century continues today: Taiwan remains a symbol of China’s humiliations, and its sovereignty is denied by the Chinese Communist Party. The symbolic importance of Taiwan is evidenced in China’s policies that it considers an integral part of the Chinese Empire to the point of jeopardizing potential lucrative trade and inviting international condemnation. The handover of Hong Kong in 1997 was consequently a crucial event in Chinese history and represented justice and the end of the ‘Century of humiliation’. The historical symbols of Taiwan and Hong Kong play an important role in shaping China’s national identity, and drive the country’s relations with the US and the UK.


Although France has a long history in which political and military defeats feature repeatedly, the war of 1870 with Prussia suggests the end of the French Empire as a predominant power. This event was particularly humiliating since France was perceived to have the strongest army in Europe at the time and had indeed declared war on Prussia. Incidentally, the defeat in 1940 has been portrayed by the French Generals as inevitable even though Germany’s military superiority was not apparent. World War One is not considered as a humiliating event since the country was never completely invaded or capitulated, but fought against the Germans throughout the war and emerged as one of the victors. Furthermore, it can be assumed that World War One was the event in which France won back Alsace-Lorraine, thus avenging its humiliation in 1871. The invasion of France in June 1940 is perhaps the most stringent humiliation of the French in contemporary memory and has a drastic effect on national identity. The defeat by and collaboration with Nazi Germany still plague French mentality and undermine its credibility at home and abroad. Yet, France has attempted to avoid this situation by purposefully trying to rewrite the accounts of the War to portray itself as one of the winners, and forgetting its own responsibility: “At the time, we did everything to forget our humiliating defeat of 1940, the shameful Petain regime, the active collaboration, the general passivity. From vanquished, we did everything in our power to convince ourselves that we were victors” (Wolton 2004:12). The loss of its African and Asian colonies further signalled the end of a powerful empire, and was punctuated with the humiliating military defeat of Dien Bien Phu in 1954 and the incapacity of the French government to deal with Algeria until De Gaulle took over in 1962, at which point some perceive the decolonisation of Algeria as a Gaullist victory. Both humiliations reflect the fall of the French Empire in the eyes of the world, but it is interesting to note the failure of French literature to admit the events as reflecting a fault with the French regime. Indeed, French culture seems to deny the possibility of humiliation by ignoring the events and refusing to report it through education and publications. This strategy is the opposite of the Chinese manipulation of humiliation as a political tool to encourage popular support.


B) Humiliation affects national identity


The contemporary Chinese identity reflects a discourse of victimization and suffering “at the hand of Western imperialists” (Gries 2004:4). This perception is particularly appreciated by the ‘fourth generation’ 5 , but has weighed on Chinese relationships abroad at least since the fall of the Qing dynasty and possibly before. The resulting xenophobia is evident in the “recurring figure of China as a raped woman (which) has recently re-emerged in nationalist discourse, and many of its young male exponents are enraged by the very idea of white men intimately involved with Chinese women” (Gries 2004:10). Honneth describes the debilitating effects of rape, explaining that it strips the victim of his physical autonomy and destroys its sense of confidence towards itself and in the world (Honneth 1999), which illustrates the extent of China’s suffering.

It has been argued, however, that the re-emergence of Chinese nationalism and identity of victimization is a construction of the Chinese Communist Party undertaken in order to increase its legitimacy and unify the populace. While this may hold some truth, it does not deter from the impact that humiliation has had on Chinese national identity: “Chinese, like all people, have deep-seated emotional attachments to their national identity (which) involves both the Chinese people and their passions” (Gries 2004:19). The experience of a “Century of Humiliation” has scarred Chinese self-perception and standing in the world. This traumatic experience shattered the pre-existing Chinese view of the world. Psychologist Dr Vamik Volkan describes the Chinese experience as “a history of the struggle of the indomitable Chinese people against imperialism and a tragic history of suffering, beatings, and extraordinary humiliations” (Volkan in Gries 2004:50)


France’s military history includes defeats and victories, but its most important defeat in terms of its impact on modern French society is the invasion by Nazi Germany in June 1940. Charles de Gaulle encouraged the “legend of a people in arms against the invader” (De Gaulle 2000) to reduce the impact of defeat on French consciousness, and was supported by the French Communist Party which claimed to be the force behind the Resistance. It should be pointed out, however, that the resistance by the Communist Party only picked up after the invasion of Russia in June 1941. Nonetheless, the resistance was portrayed as the “continuity of France, as opposed to the Vichy regime” (Wolton 2004:17). The new historical discourse was justified by General de Gaulle as giving the French people “dreams that elevate them instead of truths that degrade them” (De Gaulle 2000). He explained that it would have been impossible to form a provisional government in a demoralized and humiliated France, hence the necessity for redefining the War. The ‘Spectre’ of the humiliation has not disappeared, however, and the consequences of France’s involvement in the war still plague French consciousness, as was evident in Papon’s trial for collaboration in 1981 6. It appears that the humiliation of WWII is even more destructive in France because of the extent of French collaboration: the anti-Jewish laws were adopted by Petain’s administration without, it seems, any instruction from the Germans. After the war, there was very little cleansing, with most Vichy officials remaining at their post, and sometimes even being promoted. The collaboration during the war is undoubtedly responsible for the current moral malaise of French society: “the obsession with the past which characterized the era is evidence that the country was having trouble digesting this part of its history. This is still apparent today: references to Vichy are frequently used by the Left against the Right as a political weapon, and the term “collabo” remains an insult. It is as if the collective subconscious continues to bear the burden, just like an Original Sin” (Wolton 2004 :20). For 25 years after the war, collaboration and the treason of Vichy were swept aside in a total literary silence in France, which was only broken in 1973 with the publication of Paxton’s book “La France de Vichy”. While the archives remain closed, the publication opened Pandora’s box, setting French society into an era of scandals relating to the war, as described above (Montbrial 2003). The lies covering the humiliation and the war have also prevented the French from facing the trauma of that experience, leaving them with a malaise which is manifested in its domestic and foreign policy. This melancholy is translated into a general feeling of inadequacy and hostility towards those who are perceived as more successful : “the inadequacy between former splendour and the present reality creates a feeling of nostalgia which, in certain situations, can lead to hostility when faced with the insolent success of other people, particularly the United States” (Wolton 2004:10).

While the French suffered humiliation at the hands of foreign powers, a crucial difference from the Chinese is that many French humiliations were instigated by the government (1870 declaration of war; Vichy administration). This is not the case in China, except for the Qing’s closed-mindedness in the nineteenth Century which has been blamed for the nation’s ills. Even 1940, which was the result of a direct aggression by a foreign power, is humiliating not only because it illustrates French weaknesses, but further because of collaboration by the government and population, which weakens the case for victimization. Consequently, the propensity of the French to ignore humiliating events in their history is understandable since it reveals failures in the French government and population, not only the abuse of a nation by another. The Qing dealt with this failure by emphasizing the foreignness of the Qing Dynasty.



Experiences of humiliation have led to an identity crisis in France and China, characterised as a malaise in France that is imbedded in the inability of the French government to accept and denounce the humiliations of the past and the collaboration with the enemy. China’s policy of denunciation and expression has allowed a healing process to begin, as well as creating the necessary conditions in which to exploit national resentment against perpetrators of Chinese humiliation. The policy of requesting apologies can be perceived as part of the healing process, and explains the continued animosity between China and Japan who refuses to accept responsibility for the atrocities during the War. France, on the other hand, has overcome its historical disputes with Germany, partly thanks to the reconciliation process, although France’s rejection of the European Defence Community reflects the nation’s reluctance to see the military rise of its old rival.

France’s approach shows that the political elite recognises the psychological impact of humiliation on national pride, and De Gaulle’s tactics emphasize the need to recover by recuperating a notion of ‘heroic history’, something for the people to believe in. The illusion of France as a strong country remains prevalent in national identity and is supported by the nation’s foreign and domestic policies. The projection of power abroad also carries weight, for example in the Security Council, although stronger powers and traditional opponents such as the US and UK still refer to France’s humiliation and its position as an aging ‘Middle Power’. On the other hand, China remains a fierce ‘tiger’ that uses its humiliation to justify its reactions to foreign interference and demand certain policies to make up for past injuries. The manipulation of humiliation by the Chinese government has thus allowed for a domestic healing process, but has also imbued Chinese identity with a drive for retribution and the return of China to its rightful position as a leading power.

Chapter IV : Foreign Policy and Humiliation

  1. Humiliation justifies Chinese foreign policy.

China utilises real or perceived humiliation to justify its foreign policies. The Century of Humiliation in China has left a desire for revenge in the form of a blistering rhetoric against the humiliators which is frequently endorsed through foreign policy. The masses no longer accept a submissive position in the international community, and they express their outrage in the public sphere: “this is 1999, not 1899. This is not the age when people can barge about in the world by sending a few gunboats. It is not the age when the Western powers plundered the Imperial Palace at will, destroyed the Old Summer Palace, and seized Hong Kong and Macao. China is a China that has stood up; it is a China that defeated the Japanese fascists; it is a China that had a trial of strength and won victory over the United States on the Korean battleground. The Chinese people are not to be bullied, and China’s sovereignty and dignity are not to be violated.” (People’s Daily January 6th 1986 in Gries 2004). Retribution also takes shape in the media where “efforts to contrast a good China with an evil West are not confined to elite academic discourse, but inform popular culture as well. Humiliated by past Western aggressions, China turns the tables, humiliating the West and getting its revenge” (Gries 2004: 42). Interestingly, Chinese victory over the Japanese in 1945 did not cleanse their suffering at the hand of the “Jap Devils” (guizi) (Gries 2004:51), and the recurrent visits of the Japanese Prime Minister to the war shrines still causes outrage in China.7

The experience of humiliation in China has shaped expectations and perceptions. Thus Japanese and American actions are frequently understood by China as arrogant, aggressive and intrusive. The interpretation of such events has led the Chinese government to view their dealings with other nations suspiciously. Popular desire for retribution and revenge is translated by individual decision-makers through their foreign policy and international relations. China still uses all its influence, short of military action, to isolate Taiwan diplomatically and economically. American ‘aggression’ in the Belgrade bombing in 1999 and the plane collision in 2001 “fit perfectly into an emerging Chinese ‘victimization narrative’ in which the Chinese chronicle a long history of injury at the hands of Western aggressors” (Gries 2004:139); especially against a backdrop of humiliation. Freedom and greatness, in China, have historically been related to the Han Chinese, while foreigners are scorned and blamed for the nation’s ills. The motivation to avoid humiliating situations while attempting to shame more powerful nations also stems from the Han-Chinese belief in their own racial superiority. Indeed, the Chinese are “proud of having driven America back to the thirty-eighth parallel, and that China had ‘humiliated’ America” in the Korean War (General Yuan Shengping in Gries 2004:58). General Yuan’s statement evokes the theory that nations, once humiliated, seek retribution by returning the disgrace on their opponent. Other examples in which China has sought retribution include their negotiations with the Americans in the 1970s: During his visit to China, Nixon received a “drab reception” (Gries 2004:64), granting the president his request to visit instead of an official invitation. The Foreign Minister interpreter explained later that this event “restores to China the face it had lost during the “Century of Humiliation” (Ji Chaozhu in Gries 2004:64). China also exerts an “Apology Diplomacy” in its foreign relations, demanding not only recognition of its suffering at the hands of and victory over the Japanese, but systematic apologies in diplomatic incidents. This is illustrated by the 2001 collision between an American surveillance plane and a Chinese jet fighter over the South China Sea which led China to imprison twenty four American servicemen until they received what they perceived as an apology. China has also demanded an apology, recognition and reparations from Japan for War atrocities. The diplomatic strategy of apology is explained by the desire to “restore social actors to their rightful place in relationships” (Barbalet in Gries 2004:89), and is linked to vengefulness and a need for retribution. China views its relations with America and Western powers suspiciously because of their “history of victimization at the hands of Western imperialists” (Gries 2004:88).

Another crucial aspect of Chinese foreign policy is the dealings with Hong Kong and Taiwan. The possessions of the islands are the result of the ‘Unequal Treaties’ and thus represent the continued humiliation of China two hundred years later: “the occupation of Hong Kong was the epitome of the humiliation China suffered in modern history” (Jiang Zemin in Callahan). Although the country has presently recuperated Hong Kong, its pursuit of Taiwan represents the desire to avenge humiliation, to reunite China as a whole, and to return to the world stage as powerful as it formerly was. Nonetheless, it is interesting to consider the possibility of Taiwan’s continued independence being used by the Chinese government; indeed, China has all the necessary resources to reclaim the island (regardless of potential US intervention), yet it has not done so. One possibility could be that Taiwan is a useful scapegoat representing powerful emotions and a symbol and reminder of the abuse of the Chinese nation 8. Consequently, it serves a purpose by empowering the Chinese and uniting them towards a common goal: the avengement of history.

When discussing Chinese foreign policy, analysts have frequently referred to China’s capabilities, economic and military, without taking into consideration its cultural and psychological pre-dispositions. Foreign policy cannot only be measured with a cost-benefit approach, but needs to take into consideration the cognitive maps and emotions that drive decision makers. Humiliation is a defining experience in Chinese history and national identity, and it influences their perception of themselves and of other nations, thus influencing China to act in a certain way to preserve ‘face’ and exert retribution for past evils.



  1. Humiliation drives French foreign policy

By contrast to China, France has become a ‘Middle Power’ and humiliations of the past motivate a foreign policy in which France’s rank can be kept. Similarly to the Chinese, French evocations of past events are twisted into a splendid light with the glorification of the armies and the failure to mention mistakes made by the French. A rhetoric of revenge emerged after the 1870 war, but nothing came of it until the signing of the Treaty of Versailles when France insisted on humiliating Germany (Joly in Audoin-Rouzeau 2004:111).

Digeon describes the trauma in the French intelligentsia and its impact on literature generations after the end of the war; reaction to the 1870 defeat is manifested in three ways: evocation of combats through monuments, art, literature (Hugo, De Bornier, Laprade) etc…; loyalty to the lost territories; and exaltation of the army (Joly in Audoin-Rouzeau 2004:110). Thus, the French dealt with their humiliation in a manner similar to that of the Chinese: through the artistic and literary expression of memories. A rise of patriotism and nationalism subsequently emerged in 1905 as is evidenced in the “delirious passion of the French for their armies, despite their mediocre performance against the Prussians” (Joly in Audoin-Rouzeau 2004:113).

Joly emphasizes that the French government capitalized on popular sentiments to legitimize their rule and encourage solidarity within the nation. The political discourse stated that the French army had performed very well in 1870 and had only succumbed to a better prepared army. A “political stance of pseudo-revenge by the government remained distanced from decisive action; it nonetheless imbued the population with courage without peril and pride without sacrifice” (Jaurès in Audoin-Rouzeau 2004:117). Revenge remained in the realm of rhetoric while serving a political purpose. Although the French refused to go to war again until 1914, they also maintained a culture of glorification and solidarity with Alsace-Lorraine in a bid to keep up their pride and erase the humiliation which was necessary for the consolidation of French national identity, as evidenced in Clemenceau’s speech in 1908 “What kind of men would we be if we were capable of forgetting Alsace from our history? That, nobody has the right to ask from us”. The French memory of 1871 was for a long time reflected in its foreign policy, which remained distant though peaceful vis-à-vis the Germans, despite efforts made by the latter to create good relations. Edgar Faure 9 went so far as to express that if Germany wanted a permanent peace, it would first have to dispel the issue of Alsace-Lorraine. The subsequent alliances with Russia represented France’s desire to avoid political isolation while its colonial expansion reflected a need for the Republic to position itself as a Great Power in the international community after the 1871 disaster.

France’s occasional antipathy to Anglo-Saxons can also be understood in terms of humiliation and as a bid to restore national pride: The Communist Party resisted the German occupation after 1941, and after the war they portrayed themselves as the unique element of resistance to an oppressive regime: “France has never ceased to be at war. While Petain capitulated shamefully in June 1940, thus perpetuating the betrayal of Bazaine 10 , our party expressed on French soil the determination of the French never to be an enslaved people, and we called the French to battle in the name of freedom and independence of our nation” (Duclos in Wolton 2004 :45 11 ). Many politicians went over to the Communist Party “to recreate a political virginity” (Wolton 2004:44). The Communist Party was extremely anti-globalisation, anti-capitalism and furthermore, they viewed all non-communists as ‘collaborators’ (Macciochi 1977). Consequently, Americans and Anglo-Saxons were perceived as enemies, and many politicians ‘resisted’ the American ‘invasion’ to compensate for their individual passivity during the war, which partially explains the anti-American policies after the war, and the continuing tensions between the two countries. This is also evidenced in De Gaulle’s resistance to letting the United Kingdom join the European Community.

By covering up the past and portraying France as a victorious nation, “illusions were born, behaviour patterns appeared, and politics were justified” (Wolton 2004:52), which explains why France still entertains the ambition of being a Great Power and acts accordingly. In an exercise of military and diplomatic power, the French government sends ‘peacekeeping troops’ to Rwanda 12 , and to many of its former African colonies where it still maintains permanent military bases. The French government’s policies concerning language are further evidence of the country’s desire to maintain a leading position, in this case by privileging its culture. France has managed to enforce French as a working language of the United Nations and the European Union, thereby demonstrating its continued influence through its role in international organizations. Furthermore, the nation finances education in French through the Lycées Français found throughout the world, a tactic which encourages the propagation of French culture and the glorification of French history. These methods are equally used by the Chinese whose government has sponsored Mandarin language schools abroad.


Foreign policy decision-making is the result of human agency and a compromise of various factors. One of the forces determining human agency is emotion, and humiliation has been a powerful motivation when conducting foreign policy. According to Callahan, “one of the goals of Chinese foreign policy has been to “cleanse national humiliation” (Callahan 2004). He argues that “international politics has been transformed from “conquer or be conquered” to “humiliate or be humiliated”. While this may be the strategy adopted by China, it appears that France has opted to deny the importance of humiliation in national history by attempting to rewrite history. This is nicely illustrated in the differences in relationships between France and Germany on one side, and China and Japan on the other. The two European countries seem to have overcome their historical hostility to form a strong alliance in the European Union, while China and Japan struggle to acknowledge each other diplomatically.

In analyzing the policies of China and France in response to humiliation, it is interesting to note the similarities. The French Fifth Republic and the Chinese Communist Party adopted similar military strategies to compensate for their country’s inferior status in the international community. The nuclear programs adopted by the countries were established as part of the defence strategy, and act as an insurance against further military defeats. France is the only European country to have increased its military budget since the end of the Cold War while China has “2.8 million active soldiers in uniform and is the largest military force in the world. Approximately 1 million reservists and some 15 million militia back them up. With a population of over 1.2 billion people, China also has a potential manpower base of another 200 million males fit for military service available at any time” (Wortzel 1998). Both countries export weapons all over the world, and are heavily involved in foreign aid, particularly in Asia and Africa. The military strategies adopted by China and France illustrate a lack of confidence which they both have compensated for by a show of force. This strategy is successful in maintaining the historically powerful countries at the fore-front of international politics, but many accuse France of playing a role to which it is not entitled. The country’s economy and resources place it as a ‘Middle Power’, yet it walks the international stage as a ‘Great Power’. China’s economic ascent can be compared to that of Germany, and is potentially fuelled by the desire to overcome a humiliating past and recover a leading role.

While neither China nor France can realistically act alone in international matters, both use isolation as a policy when necessary to impose its weight on global politics in a statement that implies nothing can be done without their cooperation. Both nations are key players in international decision-making, and their cooperation is usually required in regional matters. Nonetheless, France is arguably less powerful in Europe than China is in Asia, both economically and politically. Therefore it can be assumed that France overestimates its role and acts accordingly in order to maintain a political position that it does not have the means to enforce (Montbrial 2003). France’s policies in international relations not only serve to protect its interest abroad, it also compensates for a certain malaise governing French mentality. Indeed, national identity and pride are reinforced through, and the weight of history is counterbalanced by, the illusion that France remains a great nation. Foreign Policy is thus linked to domestic policy in a bid to unify the population and maintain a strong national identity. Experiences of humiliation have injured the nation’s pride, which must be re-established through a strong foreign policy demonstrating the country’s lasting power to the international community and to the French population.


Concluding Remarks


When shaping foreign policy, few countries consider the consequence of their actions on the national psyche. China, once considered a weak power, was humiliated in the nineteenth century with the assumption that the country’s status would remain inferior. Since the mid-Twentieth Century, China, the largest nation in the world population-wise, has started to wield great economic power, and has the means to defend itself and face the military might of any nation. The policies adopted two hundred years ago by the West still impact Chinese foreign policy today. Now that China is born again as a Great Power, it has the means and the ambition to be respected and to avenge its past humiliations, which could potentially be very damaging to its enemies. Similarly, France has been humiliated militarily and diplomatically; these humiliations have driven the country towards a more aggressive foreign policy through which it seeks to overcompensate for its weaknesses. While its actions are not motivated by a desire for revenge, France seeks to play a leading role in the world, despite not having the means to uphold that position; and in the process, it has become involved in the affairs of other nations, particularly in Africa.


The importance of national pride is often wrongfully underestimated by foreign policy decision makers, and this can lead to disastrous consequences. The current identity crisis in former African colonies and in the Middle East is evidence of the impact of humiliation at the hands of foreign powers. In a world where globalization means the availability of information and technology, new weapons have unexpectedly given power to weak nations and terrorist groups; this has provided them with the necessary resources and opportunity to avenge their humiliating past and exert more weight in international affairs. Some governments have identified the power of humiliation as a means of unifying their country, but also as a dangerous force that can lead to aggressive behaviour. When making peace with Austria and France, Bismarck firmly stated his aversion to humiliating the defeated nations, stressing that it was important to maintain good relations in the long run.


The domestic and foreign policies of France and China are dominated by the psychological emotions that govern national identity and motivate political behaviour. Humiliation has acted as a unifying stimulus, a common sentiment that rallies the masses behind a policy and justifies political behaviour. When considering the foreign policies of these two countries, it is necessary to understand their historical background in order to assess their potential reaction, in the short and in the long term. Although it would be very difficult to quantitatively measure national levels of humiliation and its effects on national identity, it is useful to have cultural knowledge about a nation and its sensitivity to humiliation. One can regularly observe the extent to which Chinese and French foreign policies are moulded by their history and their past humiliations which stimulate their ambitions and their desire to achieve a leading role in international affairs. A thorough understanding of humiliation as a primary emotional factor in human and State behaviour can help form responsible foreign policy, strengthen international relations in the long run and avoid potentially damaging or lethal consequences.



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  1. 1. Ministry of foreign affairs in France
  2. 2.  War between Qing Dynasty China and Meiji Japan over the control of Korea in 1895 
  3. 3.  This paper does not refer to terrorism in its debate about humiliation. For further information, see Arendt 2000 pp 139-146 
  4. 4.  The expulsion of NATO is a rational reaction to France’s loss of military sovereignty on its own territory; De Gaulle refused to have troops posted on French territory that were not required to answer to French Head of State.
  5. 5.  Mao is the benchmark for the first generation.
  6. 6.  Papon was a French civil servant who collaborated with the Nazis during World War II, and later became a Gaullist politician before his trial when he was charged for crimes against humanity.
  7. 7. Indeed in 2007, Prime Minister Abe has refrained from visiting the shrine. 
  8. 8.   Conversely, China seeks to avoid international condemnation for a situation which they perceive as an internal matter.
  9. 9.  Leader of the conservative wing of the Radical Party in the 1950s. 
  10. 10.  Hhere, we have a reference to a humiliation in 1870 when the Maréchal Bazaine sought to take power from Napoleon III 
  11. 11.  Duclos was the head of the French Communist Party.
  12. 12.   Where it had no claim other than linguistic.