I mean, think about it in order: Bloody Revolution, Napoleonic Wars - A**es kicked by British, 1848 Revolution, A**es kicked by Mexicans, A**es kicked by Prussians (Germans) no. 1, A**es kicked by Germans no. 2, A**es kicked by Germans no. 3, A**es kicked by Vienamese, A**es kicked by Algerians, Jerry Lewis becomes national icon, Tour de France becomes annual festival for American with comic book hero name.
That's a lot for anybody to swallow (although the French have a special talent in that area) and has led to Nihilism (belief in NOTHING) becoming their national un-faith. When a "shrug" becomes your national all purpose form of expression, leaving a few thousand of your older relations to drop dead in a heat wave seems almost inevitable.