Not fast enough! OK, the Irishman will translate it for you since the Frenchman has gone quiet.
Leclerc clearly took pride in confronting the challenges he set himself: not a very accomplished horseman, he made the effort to master this skill and chose the cavalry after graduation from Saint-Cyr. His qualities led to a brilliant career as an instructor. However, far more than his amibition, it was his independence of mind that characterised him. In 1930, he was relieved of his command for having subjected his Moroccan troops to disciplinary procedures that were contrary to regulations: aware that their poor rates of pay drove their wives to prostition, he had them beaten with sticks [PK note: as in flogged] rather than fined. Three years later, when an instructor at Saint-Cyr, he took advantage of a period of leave to return to Morocco. There, he took part in actions against «unsubmissives», thereby placing himself in a completely irregular position. On can only surmise that he was seeking, through this baptism of fire, a vindication of his worth as an officer and an discharge of a debt to his older relatives: his two uncles, themselves late of Saint-Cyr and his cousin Bernard had been killed in the Great War.
I suppose that the Comte de Hauteclocque felt that he was an enlightened commander, meting out painful, deeply humiliating and totally illegal beatings to the Arab solders under his command instead of fining them in accordance with military regulations in order that their wives, already prostituting themselves to feed their children, should not have to work overtime in the streets and brothels if their husbands’ army pay packets were light at the end of the month as a result of fines.
I wonder how the Arabs felt about it. Such was the Glory of the French Empire. Still, I suppose it was marginally better than being under the Belgians, or the Portuguese. So much for the nation that gave the world les Droits de l’Homme
. Leclerc appears to have had a problem with «unsubmissive» people, doesn’t he? Flogging his soldiers, jumping at the chance to go on “pacification expeditions” to kill other Arabs – rebels and civilians of all ages alike, regardless of gender - who simply wanted freedom from French tyranny and, to return to the topic in hand, young Frenchmen whose displayed une attitude insolente
on that May day outside Bad Reichenhall in 1945.
Leclerc was by no means untypical. Such attitudes persisted long after WW2, as evidenced by French behaviour in Algeria in the late 1950s and early 1960s. In the late 1940s, they used all sorts of methods against "unsubmissive" people. In Madagascar, for instance, the village elders or anyone they could grab from communities who were refusing to pay their taxes unless their treatment by French administrators, policemen and soldiers improved were thrown to their deaths from aircraft over their villages, in front of their families.
I could go on...and on...and on.