Gérard Araud presents: “We Were Alone: A Diplomatic History of France”
On Thursday, June 1 at 6pm, join former Ambassador of France to the United States, Gérard Araud as he presents Nous étions seuls: Une histoire diplomatique de la France, his latest book, just published in France by éditions Taillandier.
“With these kinds of allies, one doesn’t need enemies!” notes Gérard Araud undeniably in Nous étions seuls: Une histoire diplomatique de la France, an invitation to revisit the years in between WWI and WWII, a decisive time when France — lucid but incredibly alone — was fighting to preserve peace.
In the immediate aftermath of WWI, France is victorious but bled dry, seriously wounded at its core. Germany hasn’t accepted its defeat and feels humiliated by the Treaty of Versailles. And Great Britain — which has been relatively spared, thanks to her geography — thinks that France is excessively complaining. Meanwhile, the U.S. is obsessed with being reimbursed for the money that they’ve loaned to old Europe.
Through the gaze of a diplomat, Gérard Araud traces this complex story, studded with flamboyant portraits of Poincaré, Briand, Berthelot, Lloyd George — described by Clemenceau as able to lie up to 8 times in the same day — Saint-John Perse, Keynes, Barthou and Daladier. Araud focuses on revealing the breakthroughs, the steps backward, the hopes and betrayals of each of these actors until the tragedy unfolds. Here’s a wonderful and necessary lesson of history.
At a time of an increasing rivalry between the world’s key economic powers, and when the European continent is at war again, we can’t be fooled by the same illusions that have proven to be so deadly by the past. The echo of this tragic past calls us to rearm our souls, our spirits and our bodies.
The conversation will be in English. It is free with RSVP. Click here for tickets.
image copyright: (Jean-François PAGA/opale.photo)
Gérard Araud, a career diplomat, has retired from the French foreign service as Ambassador of France to the United States (2014-2019). He previously held numerous positions within the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, notably Director for Strategic Affairs, Security and Disarmament (2000-2003), Ambassador of France to Israel (2003-2006), Director General for Political Affairs and Security (2006-2009), and Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations in New York (2009-2014). He has reached the highest rank in the French diplomatic service (Ambassadeur de France).
Over the course of his career, Mr. Araud has developed specialized knowledge in two key areas: Middle East and strategic & security issues. As regards the latter, he was the French negotiator on the Iranian nuclear issue from 2006 to 2009. In New York, at the Security Council, he notably contributed to the adoption of resolutions on Libya (#1970 and #1973), Côte d’Ivoire (#1975), the Democratic Republic of Congo, Mali and the Central African Republic, and participated in debates on the Syrian and Ukrainian crises.
He has written numerous articles in French reviews. He has published his Memoirs in 2019 (Passeport diplomatique), a biography of Henry Kissinger (Henry Kissinger, le diplomate du siècle’) in 2021, a book of French diplomatic history in 2022 (Histoires diplomatiques) and recently a diplomatic history of France between the two world wars (Nous étions seuls).
After retiring, he is advising several companies. He is trustee of the International Crisis Group and Senior Distinguished Fellow of the Atlantic Council in Washington DC. He is a columnist for the French weekly Le Point and has frequently been interviewed as an foreign affairs expert by French and Canadian medias and by CNN International, the BBC and other English speaking TV and radios.