Module Information

Module Identifier
Module Title
DE GAULLE'S FRANCE (1919 - 1970)
Academic Year
Intended for use in future years

Course Delivery

Delivery Type Delivery length / details
Lecture 14 Hours. (14 x 1 hour)
Seminars / Tutorials 10 Hours. (5 x 2 hours)


Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment 1 x 3,000 word essay  50%
Semester Assessment 1 x 3,000 word essay  50%
Supplementary Exam Students may, subject to Faculty approval, have the opportunity to resit this module, normally during the supplementary examination period. For further clarification please contact the Teaching Programme Administrator in the Department of International Politics. 

Learning Outcomes

On completion of this module, students should be able to:

1. Discuss the historical origins and development of modern France in the period covered
2. Compare the degree of menace to the established French political and social order in 1919-39 that came from Communism and fascism/proto-fascism
3. Identify reasons for the election of the reformist French Popular Front experiment in 1936, and illustrate and evaluate its achievements and failings
4. Describe and analyze de Gaulle's military role and impact on French defence policies
5. Evaluate how de Gaulle used British support and overcame American hostility to become leader of Free France from 1940-44.
6. Explain and illustrate de Gaulle's relations with collaborationist Vichy France and with the non-Gaullist Resistance
7. Illustrate French problems of decolonisation, explaining why France adopted peculiarly militarized responses to nationalist challenges to empire in the 1940s/1950s.
8. Demonstrate an understanding through written work and in seminar discussions of the chief constitutional and systemic features of the Gaullist Fifth Republic
9. Describe and discuss Gaullist France's foreign, defence and domestic policies, 1958-70

Brief description

This module provides students with an understanding of the nature of political, economic, social and constitutional changes in France in the middle fifty years of the C20th, attending to crises for the legitimacy of French regimes from the Third to Fifth Republics, the impacts of the 1914-18 and 1939-45 wars, France'r traumatic loss of empire from 1936 to the 1960s, and the character of the Gaullist 'renewal' of the French state and national confidence by 1970.


This module allows interested students to gain specialist knowledge of modern France'r evolution from a crisis of national confidence after the World War One bloodletting to economic success, the shedding of empire and a new assertiveness under de Gaulle'r Fifth Republic.


- The 'price of victory' for France after World War One
- The French Left between the Wars: PCF versus SFIO
- The extreme-right and proto-fascism in interwar France
- The Popular Front experiment (1936-8) and its legacies
- The German/Italian threat, rearmament and war (1933-40)
- France defeated: Petain and Collaboration
- France reborn: de Gaulle, Free France and the Resistance
- The Fourth Republic: political stalemate and economic resurgence
- France and the agony of decolonization (1945-57)
- The Algerian crisis and de Gaulle's return (1958-62)
- De Gaulle's Fifth Republic: nuclear weapons and the quest for 'Grandeur'
- De Gaulle's Fifth Republic: politics, society and the May 68 crisis.

Transferable skills

Students have the opportunity to develop, practice and test a wide range of subject specific skills that help them to understand, conceptualize and evaluate examples and ideas on the module. These subject specific skills include:

- Collect and understand a wide range of data relating to the module
- Ability to evaluate competing scholarly perspectives
- Demonstrate subject specific research techniques
- Apply a range of methodologies to complex political problems

Reading List

H Gough & J Horne (eds) (1994) De Gaulle and Twentieth Century France: Politics and Society Arnold Primo search M Larkin (1997) France since the Popular Front: Government & People, 1936 - 96 OUP Primo search M S Alexander (ed) (1999) French History since Napoleon Arnold Primo search


This module is at CQFW Level 6