De Gaulle and the Atlantic Alliance
NATIONAL WAR COLL WASHINGTON DC
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In 1958 Charles de Gaulle again assumed the leadership of France. It was his third career. As an innovative military officer his prescient theories on the changing nature of war - had they been accepted by the French High Command - could have prevented the French disaster of 1940. His second career immediately followed his first as he assumed leadership of the Free French. By circumstance, persistence, and sheer force of personality he built a French military force, secured support from Roosevelt and Churchill, and established a provisional government which liberated Paris and ruled France from 1944 to 1946. In 1946 he resigned over the draft constitution for the Fourth Republic that, in his view, failed to give adequate power to the executive. The man who took power in 1958 was often described as arrogant and inflexible, but he also was a man who had reason to believe he had been right when others more numerous and powerful were wrong. He was supremely self-confident and accustomed to achieving his goals even when working from weakness. He now came to power with a vision of an independent and morally rejuvenated France, one that operated either as a full partner in a tripartite Atlantic Alliance or as the first among equals in a community of European States independent from the two superpowers.
- Government and Political Science
- Humanities and History