V. A. France guided by General de Gaulle (1944-1969)

→ The tormented Fourth Republic

Political reconstruction after the war:
 – the GPRF (Provisional Government of the French Republic) was established in Paris on August 25, 1944
 – desire to restore the authority of the state, which led to a purge of Vichy compromises
 – Three major political parties: the PCF, the SFIO, and the MRP.
– the elections in October 1945 put an end to the National Union

– charter of tripartism signed on January 23, 1946, by the PCF, the SFIO and the MRP
 – draft constitutions in 1946 by the socialists and communists, then by de Gaulle, then by the parties
 – on October 13, 1946, the Fourth Republic was adopted by 53% of the French people (31% abstention)
 – the legislative elections gave the PCF the first party, while the SFIO fell back
 – turning point in 1947: on May 5, the communist ministers were dismissed, marking the end of the tripartite system

Institutions of the Fourth Republic:
 – the National Assembly had the greatest role, voting on laws alone
 – it invested the President of the Council and his government, which it could overthrow
 – the Council of the Republic only gave its opinion on the laws voted by the National Assembly
 – the President of the Council also had only weak powers

→ The end of the Fourth Republic

The Third Force (1947–1952)
 – communism gained strength because of the Cold War
 – de Gaulle denounced it and wanted a reform of the Constitution
 – he won the municipal elections and asked for the dissolution of the National Assembly with the RPF
 – Socialists, Radicals, and MRP formed the Third Force
-ministerial instability of the Third Force because of divisions within the coalition
 – the Third Force won the 1951 legislative elections
 – dislocation of the Third Force

The troubled Fourth Republic (1952–1957)
 – the right in power from 1952 to 1954 with Antoine Pinay
-RPF dissolved in 1953
 – the left in power (1954–1955) with Pierre Mendès France (left-wing majority: communists, socialists, radicals, social republicans, some moderates)
– Edgar Faure leads a center-right government
– Poujadism and Mendésism
-Guy Mollet, President of the Council from February 1956 to May 1957

The end of the Fourth Republic (1957–1958):
 – questioning of institutions and the instability of governments
– immobilism
-Algerian war that divided politicians
General Salan in Algeria called for de Gaulle to take power
 – on June 1 de Gaulle was sworn in as President of the Council
-full powers for de Gaulle, who was able to amend the Constitution

→ Birth of theFifth Republic.

Establishment of theFifth Republic and new institutions:

—the Constitution grants predominance to the executive while leaving power to the Parliament
 – the President of the Republic is elected by an electoral college composed of 80,000 elected officials for 7 years
 – Constitutional Council and Parliament, the National Assembly is elected for 5 years, the Senate for 9 years
 – legislative elections of November 1958 dominated by Gaullists and moderates (70%)
 – settlement of colonial problems (1958 Community, independence in Africa, Evian agreements 1962)
 – de Gaulle appoints Georges Pompidou as Prime Minister on April 14, 1962
 – de Gaulle announces a constitutional reform submitted to a referendum to elect the President of the Republic by universal suffrage
 – communists, socialists, radicals, MRP, independents call for a “no” vote
– 62% approve the referendum

De Gaulle leads France from 1962 to 1969
 – de Gaulle leads a policy of greatness
-economic growth in France and modernization (liner France, Concorde, color television)
 – France acquires nuclear weapons (A-bomb in 1960, H-bomb in 1968)
 – “Vive le Québec libre !” in 1967
 – de Gaulle opposed to a supranational Europe advocates a Europe of Nations
 – de Gaulle wins the elections against Mitterrand (55.2%) in 1965
 – legislative elections of 1967, decline of the Gaullists
 – the demonstrations of May 68 (see below)
 – the end of de Gaulle’s presidency on April 28, 1969, after the failure of the referendum

→ Focus on May 68

→ Full course on May 68

3 phases:
 – student period from May 3 to 13
 – social period from May 13 to 27
 – political period from May 27 to June 30

On May 27 were rejected by the Grenelle agreements by the base
On May 28, François Mitterrand proposes “a provisional government” of Mendès France
From May 29, de Gaulle disappears for 24 h, and dissolved the National Assembly on May 30
1 million Gaullists gathered in a demonstration of support on the Champs-Elysées
During month of June the demonstrations dispersed
Success of the Gaullists in the legislative elections of June 23 and 30
De Gaulle replaced Pompidou who had become too strong, Edgar Faure’s university reform voted in September, reform of territorial administration submitted to a referendum, which proposes to decentralize decision-making places and redefine the role of the Senate.
The project was rejected by 52.41% of the votes, de Gaulle resigned on April 28, 1969. He died the following year, on November 9, 1970.

Examples of slogans from May 68:
 – It is forbidden to forbid
 – Be realistic, ask for the impossible.
– We buy your happiness. Still it.
– Elections, a trap for assholes.

→ 20 contemporary history worksheets (1945–2017)

8 thoughts on “V. A. France guided by General de Gaulle (1944-1969)

  1. Hello @Roxane is indeed 62% of French people who approve of the referendum which concerns the election of presidents in France. For more information, here is an extract from the government website life-public.fr: “This referendum, organized on the initiative of the President of the Republic Charles de Gaulle, resulted in a political victory for the Head of State: 62.2% of the votes cast approved the bill providing for the election of the President of the Republic by direct universal suffrage, with 37.8% voting against. This result must, however, be qualified due to the relatively high abstention given the stakes of the consultation: 23% of registered voters did not take part in the vote, against 15% in the referendum of September 28, 1958, approving the Constitution.” Thank you for your contribution which allows us to bring more precision in our files and hoping to find you in the forum’s History of the site, The Academics in Politics team.

  2. A big thank you for all the revision sheets and the posts in general: a big plus for preparing!

  3. don’t want to talk nonsense, but I think it’s about the political coalition that was formed after the war, bringing together parties from all political stripes in order to avoid internal quarrels that could harm France. in this time of crisis. Here, the term would designate the provisional government which was dissolved following the elections. But I think I’m making an amalgam with the Sacred Union of the First World War so info to be taken with a grain of salt…

  4. Hello, the elections in October 1945 put an end to the National Union I do not see what the National Union is could you enlighten me please? Thanks in advance.

  5. @Papy W. : Thank you very much @Papy W., it is really a good example, to think of others like this, thank you!

Comments are closed.