The defeat of France by Prussia in 1871 marked the death of an illusion nurtured for much of the 19th century that the French could regain their Napoleonic role as arbiters of world affairs. France's subsequent history has been a sometimes successful, sometimes catastrophic attempt to come to terms with its diminished status. To this day, French politics remains saturated in the mythology of the Revolutionary and Napoleonic periods with their twin legacies of mass action (the Popular Front, the events of 1968) and, in effect, popular dictatorship (Petain, de Gaulle). This history describes the great political, economic, cultural and social events that have defined the period, from the convulsive establishment of a French republic to the apotheosis of French national culture in World War I, from the acrimonious failure of the 1930s and the Occupation to France's resurgence as a central focus of postwar Europe. The book ends with President Mitterand's retirement, an epochal event that marks the severing of France's last link with the Vichy government and the Fourth Republic.
Table of Contents
List of Tables - Preface - Abbreviations - PART ONE: THE BIRTH OF THE THIRD REPUBLIC, 1870-1885 - France in 1870 - The Franco-Prussian War, The Third Republic and the Paris Commune (1870-71) - The Triumph of Republicanism, 1871-1885 - The Social and Cultural Bases of Republicanism - PART TWO: TESTING TIME FOR THE REPUBLIC, 1885-1918 - Challenges to the Republic (1): Constructing the Modern Right - Challenges to the Republic (2): Constructing the Modern Left - The Cultural Revolution of the Belle Epoque - The Great War 1914-1918 - PART THREE: THE DECLINE OF REPUBLIC, 1919-1940 - France after the War 1919-28 - France in the Depression 1929-35 - The Popular Front 1936-37 - Culture Between the Wars - The Fall of France 1938-1940 - PART FOUR: THE VICHY INTERLUDE AND ITS AFTERMATH, 1940-46 - Vichy in Power - Resistance and Liberation - Liberated France 1944-46 - Existentialism: Culture of the Resistance? - PART FIVE: THE FOURTH REPUBLIC, 1946-58 - Cold War, Vietnam War - The 1950s - Of Coke and Culture - The Algerian War Erupts, 1954-57 - The Fall of the Fourth Republic and de Gaulle's Return to Power 1958 - PART SIX: THE FIFTH REPUBLIC UNDER DE GAULLE, 1958-69 - De Gaulle's Republic 1958-68 - A Cultural Explosion: New Theory, New Cinema, New Novel - A Social Explosion: May '68 - PART SEVEN: THE FIFTH REPUBLIC AFTER DE GAULLE - Pompidou and Giscard's Republic 1969-81 - Mitterrand's Republic I: The Rise and Fall of 'Socialist France' - Mitterrand's Republic II: Cohabitation to Socialist Resurrection - France Since 1995 - Suggestions for Further Reading - Index
CHARLES SOWERWINE is Reader in History at the University of Melbourne in Australia and Professor of History at the Universite de Versailles-Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines in France. He has published several books on French history, both in French and English.