Connor asked in Arts & HumanitiesHistory · 7 years ago

Why was France never a superpower?

I mean, prior to the last Napoleonic wars and his invasion of Russia leading to a turning point in 1812 (I think?), Napoleon dominated most of continental Europe and many overseas territories. Obviously Britain was far more powerful when she became a superpower but I do think that France has been left out a bit. They had a huge influence on the world, almost equal to the UK. I mean, the US wouldn't exist if it wasn't for the French bogging the British down in India and so on.


@Sarge You're confusing England and Britain, after all, it was the british empire wasn't it?

9 Answers

  • Sarge
    Lv 4
    7 years ago
    Favorite Answer

    What the French have always wanted was to be better than England. They tried to complete with England over America, but England won in direct competition, although France did help America get out. So England had Jamaica, so France had Haiti. England had Shanghai, so France had Indochina. The problem was, England was much better at maintaining and controlling its colonies, and both kept them and spread more proactively. Evidence of this is seen as how Shanghai and Jamaica are more or less well off, where as Haiti(even before the earthquake) and Indochina(now Vietnam) are still trying to succeed. So while they were once considered powerful, they weren't quite English powerful. After WW2. No one ele in the world could compete with either the USA or the USSR, although it can be said that Charles De Gaulle tried.

  • 7 years ago

    The French have a system in which they are largely supported by the government. It's been said: "France is the only nation whose workers could go on strike and more goods would be produced." The French nation was actually born out Visigoth tribes that helped to defeat the Roman Empire and over time establish their nation. Also for centuries the French, Spanish, Dutch and British fought against each other. It wasn't that France was never a super power, it's that France's current system of government doesn't encourage innovation so France is known for being less capable then other nations. Just remember for centuries people trembled in fear when they heard the French were coming, for a long time they were a major power. However don't ever say the French military is a joke, they are patriotic, hard working and dedicated to protecting their country.

  • 7 years ago

    France was a major power - and recognized as such - from 1850s to 1940.

    French influence in India was severely curtailed after the Seven Years War - they were never a real threat to British expansion in India thereafter,and certainly didn't "bog down" any British forces - the East India Company used native Indian troops called sepoys,not British regulars.

    So,the initial premise in your question is wrong.

  • 7 years ago

    Well... France was a superpower for a few years in the Napoleonic wars, Napoleon was a brilliant military general that's all. But after their defeat, they were once again not a strong country anymore. France just sided with U.S. fighting Britain and not just France helping, Spain and Netherlands (Dutch Republic back then) helped as well. Their greed isn't heavy as Britain or Spain. They maybe strong, but not the strongest.

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  • 7 years ago

    That's unanswerable because France WAS a superpower. The pre-Seven Years War France was about just as powerful as Britain colonial wise and more powerful on the continent.

  • 7 years ago

    They were the most powerful empire in the world under Louis XIV.

  • 7 years ago

    The French were supposed to have the best and biggest army in the world in 1940 until the Germans destroyed them in ww2

  • Anonymous
    7 years ago

    Because the french arn't greedy like the rest of the world

  • 7 years ago

    Hard to be a superpower when you keep tossing your rifles into the dirt at the first sign of trouble mon ami.

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