France and Germany have an extensive history of conflict. Territories such as the Rhineland and Alsace-Lorraine have long been disputed. After the Allies defeated the Central Powers in World War I, the Treaty of Versailles was signed. The Treaty did limit Germany in certain ways, but some Germans perceived it as an aggressive move on the part of the French, arguing that it led to German failures. Thus, Nazi Germany eagerly occupied France during World War II, and saw an opportunity to assert dominance over the country they felt had once caused their difficulties. Karl Fuchs, a German soldier stationed in occupied France in 1940, felt that “in areas of cleanliness and morality, the French people have skidded to a new low” (Robert G. Moeller, 116). This animosity towards France was not new among the German people but stemmed from a long historical record of hostility.
To this day, tension between France and Germany remains. Far-right French presidential candidate Marine Le Pen has recently stated, “I want to be the president of the French Republic, truly. I am not going to become involved in a vague region in Europe. I don’t want to be the vice-chancellor of Madame Merkel . . . I don’t want to be the salesperson for a multinational or large group”. Le Pen alludes to the fact the United Kingdom recently chose to withdraw from the European Union. Angela Merkel, the Chancellor of Germany, plays a prominent role in the Union and is one of its longest-serving members. Le Pen’s words also prompt fear in the French people that perhaps Germany will once again occupy France. This “threat”, however, is clearly double-sided. The German “stab-in-the-back” myth was also formed due to fear of subjugation by a perceived “other”. For Hitler, this fear acted as a launching point into violent nationalistic conquest.