Between 1940 and 1945, France was the second most bombed country of the War after Germany. By liberation, the Allies had dropped 600 000 bombs on 1500 cities, towns and villages.
The Allied bombing campaign killed over 67 000 French civilians and wounded tens of thousands more. Most hit were, Boulogne, Clermont-Ferrand, Saint-Etienne, Caen, Le Havre, Brest, Lorient, Saint-Nazaire.
The French understood this was necessary, but anger at civilian deaths over five years could not always be entirely squelched. Despite this, American or British airmen who had been shot down by the Germans over France were NEVER treated with hostility by the civilian population, quite the contrary.
By 1944, the bombing of France was so intense; Churchill started having reservations over the potential negative impact of these campaigns. Oddly enough, it was not only Roosevelt who felt these were necessary, but Charles de Gaulle, leader of the Free French Forces.
The French knew what sacrifices were necessary to rid Europe of Nazi occupation, and today, the subject of French civilian deaths under Allied bombing campaigns in a subject rarely evoked. There is a collective acceptance of this tragedy, a quiet knowledge that it was an inevitable prelude to D-Day.
Sadly, today’s game designers at Electronic Arts believe the bombing of France is nothing more than a joke. In a video game replete with Anti-French comments and stereotypes, Medal of Homer pushes the boundaries of taste with a dancing Homer Simpson chanting: “Look at me, I’m French, I’m a scared girl, I don’t like being bombed and attacked”.
If you think the death of 67 000 civilians under Allied bombs is funny, if you think 212 000 military deaths is a joke, if you think another 200 000 civilians deaths during the entire war is laughable, then this game is for you.
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Note: large portions of this editorial were adapted from a previous entry, dated March 29, 2003.
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