Vichy 1940-1944
the Economy
France 1949-1959
the Economy
France 1944-1949
Domestic Policy
France 1944-1949
Intellectual Life

France 1944-1949 : the Economy

France's losses in World War II were far below those suffered in World War I, about 600,000 human lives, also much less physical destruction. But France had been systematically exploited in order to support the German war machine. Scarce raw materials were practually unavailable, such as petrol. The invading troops had to bring in their own supplies; late in 1944 the approaching allied armies stopped due to lack of fuel - the war otherwise could have ended months earlier.

The PROVISIONAL GOVERNMENT which took over the administration of France tended toward the political left - the communists and socialists among the three parties almost equal in strength. The government pursued a policy of NATIONALIZATION OF KEY INDUSTRIES such as coal mines, providers of electricity and gas, the airline industry and car maker Renault (the owner had discredited himself by open collaboration during the war). Social security was introduced.

The SAARLAND - only slightly differing from the Saargebiet - was separated from Germany and again economically integrated into France; again a plebiscite was scheduled to be held on the territory's political future, in 1957. It was of importance because of its coal mines and steel industry.

In 1947 the status of Provisional Government was ended and, after yet another election, a regular government formed.
The US government, fearing the general trend toward a socialist policy in western Europe might restrict the free market, with the MARSHALL PLAN of 1947 (aid available from 1948 onward) provided interest-free loans in the hope to stimulate the economy. France became one of the major beneficiaries (2.9 billion US $). The idea was for the industry to pay high wages, which would create a demand which would stimulate the industry to respond, thus creating new jobs.

Files on German P.O.W.s in France, from, scroll down for France
Les Camps des Prisonniers de Guerre de l'Axe a Rennes (The P.O.W. Camps for Axis Prisoniers at Rennes), posted by 'l UTL du Pays du Rennes in French (shorter English version available)
Article Robert Schuman, from Wikipedia
Article Renault, Electricite de France, from Wikipedia
DOCUMENTS Le mouvement ouvrier francais et les immigres apres la seconde guerre mondiale. Quelques documents, posted by AHI
REFERENCE Roger Price, A Concise History of France, Cambridge Concise Histories, 1993, pp.228-246
W. Scott Haine, The History of France, Greenwood Histories of Modern Nations, 2000, pp.172-179
Article : France, in : Britannica Book of the Year 1945 pp.297-300, 1946 pp.325-328, 1947 pp.340-343, 1948 pp.325-329, 1949 pp.281-285 [G]
Article : France, in : Funk & Wagnall's New Standard Encyclopedia Year Book 1946 pp.176-179 [G]
Article : France, in : Americana Annual 1947 pp.267-272 (on events of 1946) [G]

This page is part of World History at KMLA
First posted in 2000, last revised on March 30th 2007

Click here to go Home
Click here to go to Information about KMLA, WHKMLA, the author and webmaster
Click here to go to Statistics

Impressum · Datenschutz