French International Policy under de Gaulle and Pompidou: The Politics of Grandeur

French International Policy under de Gaulle and Pompidou: The Politics of Grandeur

French International Policy under de Gaulle and Pompidou: The Politics of Grandeur

French International Policy under de Gaulle and Pompidou: The Politics of Grandeur

Excerpt

"This war is not limited to the territory of our unfortunate country," said an obscure French general in a London radio message to his beleaguered countrymen on June 18, 1940. "The war has not been decided by the battle of France. This is a world war. . . . There still exist all the means we need to crush our enemies someday." . General Charles de Gaulle's hopes for France -- "her independence, security, and greatness" . -- depended on how well she enlisted the resources of the world in her favor. De Gaulle resumed the task of calling the world into France's employ when, after twelve years of selfimposed exile, he returned to power in 1958 to establish the Fifth Republic.

The immediate cause of de Gaulle's resumption of power was the Algerian War, which had brought France to the brink of civil war and destroyed the Fourth Republic. By ending the war, de Gaulle had the chance to resurrect his proposal, first elaborated at Bayeux in 1946, of a republic under strong presidential leadership. The resolution of the Algerian dispute also gave France an opportunity to reemerge as an independent force in world politics. Once the costly struggle was settled, de Gaulle proclaimed that France would no longer pit itself against the tide of history in the Third World. Rather, it would champion the principle of national self-determination as a means to transform the bipolarity inherited from World War II into a multipolar international order in which France would again find itself in the first rank. No longer would France conform to the bloc politics of the superpowers and, specifically, to the hegemonic dictates of the United States. No longer would France be supposedly weakened by submission to its Atlantic and European partners; it would contribute . . .

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