Foreign Policy

France 1959-1968
Intellectual Life

Fifth Republic, Foreign Policy 1959-1968

In 1958 France had proposed the COMMUNAUTE FRANCAISE to its African colonies; in 1960 most of them (Mauritania, Senegal, Mali, Ivory Coast, Upper Volta, Niger, Togo, Dahomey, Cameroun, Chad, Central African Republic, Congo Brazzaville and Gabon) were released into independence. Yet France still held on to ALGERIA, where the insurgents' terror campaign reached a climax. In 1962 president Charles de Gaulle visited Algiers and held his famous speech ending with ALGERIE FRANCAISE. It only provoked a further escalation of terrorism; weeks afterward Algeria was released into independence; many thousands of settlers as well as of Algerians who had sided with the French emigrated to France.

Under President CHARLES DE GAULLE France pursued a policy increasingly irritating to the United States. In 1964, France recognized the People's Republic of China; in 1966 de Gaulle visited Moscow. In 1967 France decided to leave the military branch of NATO, planning to turn the European military alliance, the WEU (founded in 1955), into an organization replacing NATO. The FRG declared its intention to stick to NATO, but would continue her previous commitment to the WEU - the French policy had failed. NATO headquarters was relocated from Paris to Brussels. France developed, despite qualms of her western allies, the FORCE DE FRAPPE (nuclear force, 1964); test explosions were undertaken on the MURUROA ATOLL in French Polynesia. Charles de Gaulle twice blocked a British application to enter the EEC.

In 1967 BIAFRA declared independence from Nigeria. Here France supported Catholic Biafra, while Britain supported the central government. The war ended in 1967 with the victory of the central government. In 1967, France criticized Israel for her actions in the 6 Days War. The same year, while on a state visit in Canada, de Gaulle speculated on the idea of an INDEPENDENT QUEBEC, irritating both the host government and (again) the US administration.

WEU History, from assemblee ueo
Development of the French Arsenal, from FAS
Timeline French Foreign Policy : the 5th Republic (since 1959), from France Diplomatie
DOCUMENTS La guerre d'Algerie et la television française, from Voir et Revoir, posted by Institut National de l'Audiovisuel
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.172-191
Chapter 8 : The Army, Algeria, and Africa, pp.91-104, in : John Gunther, Inside Europe Today, NY : Harper & Bros., 1961 [G]
Article : France, in : Britannica Book of the Year 1961 pp.282-285, 1962 pp.275-277, 1963 pp.388-391, 1964 pp.379-381, 1965 pp.373-375, 1966 pp.327-330, 1967 pp.353-357, 1968 pp.357-360, 1969 pp.353-356 [G]
Article : France, in : Americana Annual 1961 pp.279-285, 1962 pp.280-286, 1963 pp.258-264, 1964 pp.254-259, 1965 pp.284-288, 1967 pp.286-293, 1968 pp.279-285, 1969 pp.298-305 [G]
Article : France, in : Funk & Wagnall's New Standard Encyclopedia Year Book 1961 pp.124-127 [G]

This page is part of World History at KMLA
First posted in 2001, last revised on March 30th 2007

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