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This work examines assertions of consensus and continuity in, and surrounding, France's defence since 1958, with primary reference to the political career of Francois Mitterrand's influence over defence and security, before and after his election to the presidency, is often underestimated. Nonetheless his impact was substantial, if ultimately for his lack of concern to preserve consensus and his reluctance to instigate necessary changes in France's defence despite the end of the Cold War, and the military deficiencies and limitations of national independence it exposed.
RACHEL UTLEY was educated at the University of Leeds, where she was awarded her doctorate in 1998. She has previously taught at the Universities of Leeds and Leicester, and has published a number of articles relating principally to France's external military interventions during the presidency of Frangois Mitterrand.