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302: Comparative Government
Outline of PBS, "De Gaulle:
A Vision of France" documentary video
revised 6 Nov. 2006 by Jeremy
Central figure in 3 French Crises:
1940, 1958, 1968.
Born 1890 into upper middle class family.
Vision of restoring glory of nation
through mil. service.
1930s: military maverick.
France paralyzed by Left-Right cleavage
& memories of destruction of WWI.
Crisis of 1940:
Failure of leadership after Nazi invasion;
1940 Petain collaborated.
Vichy Govt sentenced DG to death.
DG formed Free French Army.
Needed political skills to overcome lack of forces, developed myth of spirit
of France, themes of honor, tradition.
Early wartime difficulties:
Setback when allies bombarded Vichy
navy at Toulon, undercut DG's support.
Used Africa as base, lacking navy. Dakar
setback. Vichy supported by French Navy and conservatives.
French population mostly supporting
Vichy regime until Nazi abductions alienated some.
Early peripheral victories:
Syrian victory with Brits, and DG obliged
Brits to treat him as leading authority there.
Vigorous defense of French vision despite
weak negotiating position. Sensitive as man with skin flayed off; very
Built his name via radio speeches. Formal
yet warm & inspiring.
FDR deep dislike of DG, found him disloyal
and a dangerous threat.
Pearl Harbor, Dec 7 1941: power center
shifted west to Wash DC.
DG needed to reassert French authority,
via Free French navy.
French Islands off Canada taken independently:
Held Bir Hakim: minor land victory,
showed tenacity by small Free French infantry for two weeks against strong
Allied Invasion of Algeria, led by
Gen. Patton: favored Darlan over DG.
US did not notify DG in advance, captured
Petain's deputy Adm. Darlan and recognized him as official (if temp.) leader
of N. African forces -- outraged DG.
Darlan was assassinated Dec. 1942, as
traitor and replaced by Gen. Giraud, Vichy officer.
DG insists with Churchill on French
choice, outmanoevres Giraud.
Vichy loses support as PM Lavalle drafts
workers 1943, under STO program, for Nazis. Resistance develops by
army officers, communists, Gaullists and others. They unite under
Thousands of civilians rounded up by
Germans in resistance areas, many tortured and shot. Resistance grows.
D-Day & post-Liberation:
DG had limited role. Gave own speech,
the decisive battle, France, submerged but not defeated, is standing up
to take its part.
DG's trip to Washington successful with
speeches in English, but FDR still did not trust him.
Liberation speech in Paris, Paris has
won liberation with its own hands, but its people with the help of the
Leading role in post-Liberation trial
of Petain: DG brought back justice system to reduce recriminations against
DG declined to give opinion on trials
of Vichy leaders, let justice system run independently.
Disbanded Resistance for safety. Lavalle
executed, but DG commuted Petain's sentence.
DG toured provinces to unify country
under his leadership, presented as a mediaeval style Champion, heavily
DG reviewed troops but a poor interpersonal
communicator, stiff and distant.
Yalta conference: not invited; insulted
and never forgave the omission.
Had no party, remained above politics;
refused to lead a faction -- so failed to develop a power base.
Resigned, retreated to Colombey village
and retired to solitude for 12 years.
Return of the General
Post war Period:
DG spoke inspiringly of France's destiny,
of a free Republic, and formed RPF.
Called for strong Presidency, fear of
anarchy under Fourth Republic [government by weak assembly].
1947 municipal elections: 40% of seats
won by RPF. But gradually declined later.
More powerful presidency proposal attracted
support in poverty of late 1940s, but as economy recovered, there was less
interest in such reform.
unique among colonies: part of Metro
France with 3 Departments. 10% settlers (pieds noirs with French citizenship,
colons) and 90% Algerians.
1954, FLN begins bombing remote outposts;
by 1957, 400K troops sent.
Officer corps conservative; draftees
Torture & atrocities develop, damaging
France in world opinion.
Plastiquages, assassinations, thousands
French planes bombed village in Tunisia,
hit Red Cross camp, damaged Frech reputation.
Gov.t in Algeria collapses, Gen. Massu
leads Ctee of Public Safety. Delbeque reads DG speech to crowd.
DG insisted on strong exec. But said
67 too old to be dangerous. Paras pressured the politicians w/ threatened
Op. Resurrection. PM Pflimlin resigned.
Accession to Presidency:
DG comes to power with power to create
4 months to absolute power.
Algerian Crisis, 1958-62:
DG Fills vacuum of power.
1958 to Algerians: "I have understood
you!" But all, both races are Frenchmen with rights. "Long live French
Did not believe privately muslims could
be integrated with France: would lead to 80 Deputies for 1M black muslims.
Referendum on Constitution: "Oui!"
Costs of Algerian war increase: 10,000
[Already had lost in Indo-china.]
1960-62 DG calls for negotiations with
Colonists revolted as FLN flag was displayed.
Removed Gen. Massu ... general strike.
FLN rejected overtures, but French rebel officers collapsed.
1961 Referendum on Algeria in all
3 options of independence, union, or
association which he preferred.
Algerian independence legitimated.
DG's own paras revolted. "Aidez-moi"
speech for support from draftees against paras.
Evian negotiations: Sahara to remain
French. Needed for atomic testing and for oil.
1962 OAS violence and riots, Algeria
is given up.
French police clubbed Algerian demonstrators
in France to death. 350 OAS bombings in France. Massed funerals. DG seemingly
at a loss. Gave up Saharan position. Revenge terrorist against
noirs, and 90% of them left for France.
ROLE IN EUROPE, Balance of Power
1959 Atomic bomb
German alliance in EEC, as an equal
Fear of British as Trojan horse of American
Vetoed British entry to EEC because
of conditions attached after months of negotiations.
DG refused to subordinate to US, but
supported US in Cuba 1962.
Call for gold, not $ standard.
Removal from NATO structure.
Overtures to USSR for national friendship
Domestic Change & Reelection:
Direct Election of President. (ref 62%
Miner's Strike: rapid industrialization
creates social tensions.
DG: build France by whatever means necessary.
1965 DG failed to earn 1st ballot success.
"Devil in the Confessional speech" ridiculing party politics in presidency.
DG's address on his personal record
despite parties' carping.
Reelection on 2nd ballot as "arbiter"
"Vive Quebec libre" speech.
1966 NATO secession.
Visit to USSR: nations transcend ideological
(First statesman to step above the cold
war in favor of cultural exchanges.)
Against Vietnam war.
Trip to Cambodia: overtures to 3rd World,
Trip to Quebec: emotional speech with
off-the-cuff reference to Independence.
1967 Assembly elections: narrow Gaullist
The Generation Gap, & Decline
Evenements de 1968 ("Happenings.") Revealed
generation gap, DG out of touch.
DG never understood communists, esp.
DG radio speech built support (again.)
[Prague 1968 showed Communist repression.]
1968 election: too many Rightist Deputies.
Referendum (on DG himself) "Non!".
Resigns immediately, quits politics
forever, lives privately with family.
DG seems an anachronism.
May Day parade disrupted by young New
Riot police retake the Sorbonne: first
such intervention in history. Demos escalate for 9 hard days, & 5 weeks
of general protest.
DG lost 35 points of approval.
May 10th raised barricades, police charged.
DG left for Rumania believing order
would be restored. Spoke to Rumanian students and workers, not French.
Workers joined students in strikes.
Returned: "recess is over": Pompidou
must restore order.
Retake Odeon, TV and Sorbonne.
Pompidou gives 35% increase to Renault
... but rejected!
DG tv address failed. Too old at 78.
Secret trip en famille to West Germany, to Massu.
Returns to speak against the dangers
of the left, much stronger speech. Brought out the mainstream French against
the students and workers.