Untying the Gaullian knot : France and the struggle to overcome the Cold War order, 1963-1968
On 14 January 1963, French President General Charles de Gaulle shook the Western world. During a press conference, he announced that France was not only vetoing the British application to join the European Economic Community, but that it was also rejecting US President John F. Kennedy's proposal to integrate the French nuclear de frappe into the Multilateral Force. In the aftermath of the Algerian War, De Gaulle's spectacular double non was meant to signal the shift to a more ambitious diplomatic agenda, which centred on the twin aims of recapturing France's Great Power status, and striving to overcome the Cold War bipolar order. In the next five years, France placed itself at the forefront of international affairs through a series of bold initiatives that affected all areas of the world. Yet, by the summer 1968, the General's grand design was effectively in ruins, following a series of domestic and international setbacks. Despite the fact that there is vast literature on the subject, there are still important divisions when it comes to assessing the exact intentions of the French President. Was he primarily pursuing revisionist goals, or was he in fact more interested by traditional Great Power interests. Was De Gaulle anti-American. This dissertation aims to present a more nuanced picture of French foreign policy between 1963 and 1968. It will attempt, thanks to its multi-archival and multi-national research, to place Paris' actions in a more international context. It will further argue that the General's grand design is best understood by underlining the role of linkages, which is to say by systematically studying the interactions between the various policy spheres, rather than considering them in isolation.