France Restored: Cold War Diplomacy and the Quest for Leadership in Europe, 1944-1954

By William I. Hitchcock | Go to book overview

CHAPTER I
The Founding of the Fourth Republic and the Conditions for French Recovery

"We had gained our victory," Simone de Beauvoir remembered thinking in the summer of 1944. "The present was all we could desire; it was the future that made us uneasy." This was a common enough reaction among French men and women to the events of that August: the moment of victory was sublime but short-lived. The French could exult in their liberation only briefly before commencing the painful process of rebuilding a nation traumatized not just by war and the German occupation, but by a decade of bitter, partisan strife. Setting out on the path toward recovery, as de Beauvoir sensed, would not be easy. 1

The task was made more difficult by the fractured political landscape. From the opening days of the liberation, two conceptions of the priorities of the moment emerged. The first, expressed by the diverse resistance organizations that made up the Conseil National de la Résistance (CNR), demanded a new regime for France and an immediate settling of scores with a recent history marked by injustice and the subversion of democracy. The second, espoused by the president of the Gouvernement Provisoire de la République Française (GPRF), General Charles de Gaulle, sought to assure order, maintain France in the ranks of the great powers, and resume the life of a republican nation. 2 Both visions claimed to reflect the general desire of the country to put an end to the civil war that had been raging for the previous four years. In fact, these conceptions were fundamentally opposed. The resistance, in emphasizing the need for a new departure, continually pointed out the bankruptcy of an ancien régime that included both the Third Republic and Vichy, and condemned those complicitous in either. In seeking to confront and judge the immediate past, the resistance soon alienated those masses of French citizens who wanted nothing more than to forget the ugly war years and to move on. De Gaulle, by contrast, spoke of national reconciliation, and this implied a burying of hatchets along with the realities of the Vichy

-12-

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France Restored: Cold War Diplomacy and the Quest for Leadership in Europe, 1944-1954
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • TABLES & MAP viii
  • Foreword ix
  • Acknowledgments xi
  • Abbreviations xiii
  • Introduction 1
  • Chapter I The Founding Of The Fourth Republic And the Conditions For French Recovery 12
  • Chapter 2- The Limits Of Independence, 1944-1947 41
  • Chapter 3- No Longer A Great Power 72
  • Chapter 4- The Hard Road To Franco-German Rapprochement, 1948-1950 99
  • Chapter 5- Sound and Fury: the Debate Over German Rearmament 133
  • Chapter 6- The European Defense Community And French National Strategy 169
  • Conclusion 203
  • Notes 211
  • Bibliography 259
  • Index 281
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