Oldest Allies, Guarded Friends: The United States and France since 1940

By Charles G. Cogan | Go to book overview

3
The Turning Point

There are a few occasions in history when a decision so purely technical on the surface has produced such tremendous consequences.

Jean-Baptiste Duroselle
on the interim aid to France in 19471


THE "MAL FRANCAIS" OF THE PERIOD

Jean Monnet, in his Memoirs, described penetratingly the "mal français" of the period of the Fourth Republic ( 1946-1958):

Resignation had become the habitual response of Governments in the face of difficulties and trials of strength. The chance of escaping burdensome responsibilities, together with the permanent danger of being outvoted by an Assembly which ran no risk of dissolution, had made governmental instability a political way of life. Crisis had become the most natural and simple way of dealing with problems that demanded courage: it was a case of solving them by default. 2

Democracy, snatched from the French nation by the parliamentary hara-kiri of July 10, 1940, at Vichy, was restored almost immediately following the peace. An assembly that was also constituent was elected on October 21, 1945. This formally ended the Third Republic, which had in reality been concluded by the "parenthesis" of Vichy.

There followed the resignation of General de Gaulle from the presidency of the Provisional Government in January 1946, in the midst of the work of the Constituent Assembly; the rejection by the electorate of the draft constitution

-55-

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Oldest Allies, Guarded Friends: The United States and France since 1940
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Foreword vii
  • Preface xi
  • Note xii
  • Introduction 1
  • Notes 17
  • 2 - The Falling Out 19
  • Notes 49
  • 3 - The Turning Point 55
  • Notes 71
  • 4 - La Grande Nation, La Grande Armée1 75
  • Notes 95
  • 5 - The Reversal 99
  • Notes 117
  • 6 - The Multilateral Force: The Two Hegemons 121
  • Notes 146
  • 7 - Posthumous Coronation and Détente: The Year of Europe 151
  • Notes 172
  • 8 - Euro-Corps: Return of the Ambivalences 177
  • Notes 195
  • 9 - Epilogue: by Default of Enemies? 199
  • Notes 215
  • Selected Bibliography 219
  • Index 227
  • About the Author 235
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