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By Phillip H. Gordon

As France starts off to confront the hot demanding situations of the post-Cold conflict period, the time has come to check how French defense coverage has developed considering the fact that Charles de Gaulle set it on an self sustaining path within the Sixties. Philip Gordon indicates that the Gaullist version, opposite to extensively held ideals, has lived on--but that its inherent inconsistencies have grown extra acute with expanding ecu unification, the diminishing American army position in Europe, and comparable lines on French army budgets. The query this day is whether or not the Gaullist legacy will allow a robust and assured France to play a whole position in Europe's new defense preparations or even if France, as a result of its will to independence, is destined to play an remoted, nationwide function. Gordon analyzes army doctrines, suggestions, and budgets from the Nineteen Sixties to the Nineties, and in addition the evolution of French coverage from the early debates approximately NATO and the ecu neighborhood to the Persian Gulf conflict. He finds how and why Gaullist principles have for therefore lengthy motivated French safety coverage and examines attainable new instructions for France in an more and more united yet in all likelihood volatile Europe.

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Some of de Gaulle’s more vehement critics had ulterior motives, and their arguments were often exaggerated. But a more subtle critique makes some valuable points. De Gaulle’s personal pride and relentlessly national perspective did, it must be said, often get in the way of generally beneficial international cooperation, and his insistence on keeping his own hands free was not appreciated by France’s European and Atlantic allies. Surely de Gaulle did not, as Robert Aron wrote in 1966, “[oppose] every major effort .

To study the ideas of Charles de Gaulle in the context of this book, then, is not to “personalize” the policies of an entire nation but simply to recognize the inordinate role of a single individual on those policies. De Gaulle shaped French policy in ways that probably cannot be reversed, and it would be wrong to see his tenure as merely one more episode, albeit a remarkable one, in the recent history of France. DE GAULLE AND CHANGE: THE PROVISORY AND THE PERMANENT One of the most important lessons from a close reading of de Gaulle is the emphasis that he placed upon the importance of particular circumstances and the need to understand the nature of change.

But whereas some of de Gaulle’s rhetoric—the “flattery for reform” to Hoffmann— was doubtless employed toward the end of lifting France’s spirit, it is probably also true that Charles de Gaulle really believed that his country was “exceptional” and that it had universal qualities. 35 France in the late 1950s was indeed demoralized, having gone through perhaps the most trying two decades in the country’s long history, and badly needed a clear mission. But the patriotic passion and national sentiment of Charles de Gaulle cannot be reduced to tactics alone.

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