The internal dynamics of Gaullism, 1958-1969
This thesis assesses the contributions of Gaullists to the political practice of Gaullism during the 1960s. Many of those who have written about Gaullism - historians, political scientists, journalists and politicians alike - have tended to focus too narrowly on the personality, beliefs and actions of Charles de Gaulle. Much analysis has been devoted to the General's approach to government, both its substance and its style. However, neglect of the activities of his political associates and supporters has led to an incomplete understanding of the broader political phenomenon that he inspired. This thesis aims to redress this imbalance by highlighting the ways in which individual Gaullists sought to contribute to the policies of successive Gaullist governments during the 1960s and assesses the importance of these contributions in creating an identity for the Gaullist party which, while not always wholly distinct from de Gaulle and though it certainly never developed to the point of outright opposition to him, did lay the foundations for a political movement which could survive the President's eventual departure from office. The research reveals 1960s Gaullism as a much more volatile and heterogeneous phenomenon than has perhaps previously been admitted by some commentators. The thesis considers the political activities of Gaullists at all levels of the movement. First of all, it examines the way in which government was conducted by Gaullist ministers, and argues that their contributions to the identity of the Gaullist movement have been underestimated. In addition, it reveals how there were leading figures within the Gaullist party who attempted to define ways in which Gaullists could contribute to Gaullism in government. Although they never questioned the loyalty of the Gaullist movement to its leader, their awareness of the need for Gaullists to create their own political identity led them to place less emphasis on the importance of the historical figure of de Gaulle to the modern political force which Gaullism would become. The thesis then highlights the neglected fact that Gaullist deputies frequently sought to contribute in their own individual manner to Gaullist government policies in their speeches in the National Assembly. It concludes with an examination of the varied and conflicting comments made on the subject of Gaullism and Gaullist policies by local party members in their local bulletins.