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Outline de Gaulle’s vision of France’s international role and discuss the ways in which his foreign policy sought to realise this vision

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  1. Introduction.
  2. The policy of grandeur: A world design?
  3. De Gaulle's vision of the world.
  4. De Gaulle and France's empire.
  5. France's autonomy vis-a-vis the United States protectorate.
  6. The end of French technical and economic subjection to the United States?
  7. The weapons of grandeur: The nuclear imperative.
  8. Europe a means for grandeur?
  9. The Franco-German entente.
  10. De Gaulle and the World.
  11. Conclusion.
  12. Bibliography.

The immediate cause of Charles de Gaulle's resumption of power (1958-1969) was the Algerian War, which had brought France to the brink of civil war and destroyed the Fourth Republic. By ending the war, de Gaulle had the chance to resurrect his proposal, first elaborated at Bayeux in 1946, of a republic under strong presidential leadership. The Fifth's Republic regime was designed to maximize executive dominance in foreign-policy-making. All key foreign-policy decisions of the Gaullist era, including Algeria, nuclear weapons development, withdrawal from NATO, important Common Market matters, and foreign interventions, took place with virtually no prior parliamentary debate and as a direct consequence of the General's vision. De Gaulle's conception of international relations and of France's global role heavily influenced France's foreign policy during and after his tenure in office. This study examines key parts of French global policy under the administration of President Charles de Gaulle. Within the framework of specific French strategic, economic, and diplomatic policy areas, it reviews some of the steps taken to revise international relations, from the point of view of France's bilateral relations with other states and international organizations.

[...] De Gaulle's conception of Europe was essentially that of a confederation of nations determining together a common policy a confederation in which French influence would therefore operate not merely through France (too small a power at global level), but through the intermediary of a politically united Europe which would have enough weight to influence world events, enabling France to reserve its global influence. It was clear that what really mattered for de Gaulle was not economics but the construction of a political Europe. [...]


[...] His language was even more direct in Romania, which he visited in may 1968 (at the height of the student crisis in Paris) and where he energically denounced the subjection of the many countries that, ?divided up between two opposing blocs, are subject to a political, economic and military direction from outside, and endure the permanent presence of foreign troops on their territory?. France's global policy often appeared to be clothed in anti-Americanism, given that the US dominated the bloc that most directly threatened the French desire for independence. [...]


[...] De Gaulle's vision of the world To understand France's international actions it is necessary to provide a brief analysis of the conceptions of the world and of France's role within it- held by the man who was the inspirer and architect of the foreign policy that bore his imprint. At the heart of the Gaullist vision lay the primacy of the nation-state.[4] This belief explains de Gaulle's distrust of all constructions that sought to replace it, be they based on a supranationalism that he rejected or on an alliance system in which the freedom of manoeuvre of individual nationals was restricted by a dominant partner; the tendency toward hegemonic rule was illegitimate, for it robbed the nation-state of its raison d'être. [...]

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