General de Gaulle is one of the most distinguished political figures of the twentieth century. Often known as l'homme du 18 Juin, Charles de Gaulle was a hero of the French Resistance during the Nazi invasion of France, and later became the President of l'Hexagone'.
This essay will take a slightly different stance from the bulk of literature available about de Gaulle, focusing less on historical narrative, and more on analysing de Gaulle's own reasoning behind his policies and actions.
It will not be straightforward, as one of the remarkable aspects of de Gaulle's political career is how mutable his attitudes are; he took many policy u-turns suddenly. However, these foreign policy changes are usually intelligent political decisions, and will be analysed later in the essay.
As Cerny observes, Personality factors have always been at the core of most observers' analyses of de Gaulle. In this essay, de Gaulle's personality will be a key part of exploring his view towards France, which in turn will help to understand his view of France's international role.
[...] In an attempt to give the event some reason, Ledwidge puts forward that “Canada was in his eyes a self-governing American protectorate.” Unfortunately, due to the negative press coverage which accompanied the outburst, this stubborn and rebellious side to de Gaulle is what many foreign observers remember, not his political genius and complete devotion to the fulfilment of his country's grandeur. A vision achieved? After reviewing the main steps de Gaulle took in order to gain for France a higher role on the world stage, power, independence, and prestige, it is now possible to look back and state to what extent he accomplished this vision. [...]
[...] (Tome L'appel, 1940-1942, (Plon, 1954), p1 Cerny, P.G., The Politics of Grandeur, (Cambridge University Press, 1980), p13 De Gaulle, Mémoires de Guerre, p1 De Gaulle, C., Mémoires d'Espoir. (Tome Le renouveau 1958-1962, (Plon, 1970), p1 Ibid. Cerny, op. cit. p3 Lacoutre, J., Citations du président de Gaulle, (Éditions du Seuil, 1968), p42. Note: although this is a collection of phrases by de Gaulle, this quote was from Lacoutre's own commentary. Ibid De Gaulle, Mémoires de Guerre, p1 Werth, A., De Gaulle: A Political Biography, (Penguin, 1965), p311 Cerny, op. [...]
[...] As Werth points out, “Disappointed in Germany, hostile to the United States, de Gaulle now revived, in a different form, and in a new context, the old concept, so dear to him in his youth, and so dear to him even in 1944, of France and Russia cooperating at the two continental powers which stood staunchly for peace.” De Gaulle's fascinating ideological disinterest, which has attracted much interest from writers, is visible when examining Franco-Soviet relations. As Werth and Crozier emphasize, de Gaulle took little interest in communism and how it affected the Russian outlook on world affairs. [...]
[...] It is his role as an historical personality which dominates his self image.” This introduces the idea that one of de Gaulle's motivations is to improve the history of France, making the country live up to the ‘certain idea' and leave a favourable account of him in the history books. France's international role Let us consider objectively for a moment. We know that de Gaulle was ardent about the fulfilment of French grandeur, so what would his view of France's international role be? [...]
[...] As far as the opening of relations with China is concerned, Crozier explains that act of recognition in 1964 was of wider significance: it must be seen as part of the general policy of asserting French independence as a world power, and doing things calculated to displease Washington.” Girling argues that the withdrawl from NATO in 1966 symbolised his insistence on an “autonomous status for France.” This is a good point; the withdrawl would have been noted by all other countries as a sign of France's rejection for the Anglo-Saxon dominated NATO. [...]
using our reader.