Difficulty in Indochina and North Africa. – Meanwhile the situation in Indochina (see, in this App.) Was becoming more and more serious.
The French government had to face on the one hand the communist rebellion of the Vietminh, on the other the national demands of Bao Dai, aimed at practically obtaining independence. On December 30, a series of agreements with Bao Dai put an end to the Franco-Indochinese Federation, replacing it with three independent states: Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam.
After the communist troops of Mao Tse-Tung had established themselves at the border and that Beijing had officially recognized (January 19, 1950) the Ho Chi-Minh regime, the situation seemed to most people to be prejudiced. In March, violent incidents broke out in Saigon, while Vietminh troops launched the first major offensive in the Travinh province. In the following autumn the French troops suffered a series of serious defeats; the government decided the hasty dispatch of the gen. J. De Lattre de Tassigny and his subsequent travels to Washington and London.
In the metropolis, the communists’ agitation against the Indochinese war caused incidents, which the president of the republic, V. Auriol, publicly stigmatized as attempts at sabotage. The council of ministers was induced to strengthen supervisory measures, especially against foreign communists. At the end of April, the Communist scientist France Joliot-Curie was dismissed from the post of High Commissioner for Atomic Energy, which was then entrusted to Francis Perrin.
According to hyperrestaurant, the France experienced, starting from 1950, other difficulties: the beginning of the terrorist activity in Tunisia, where the future head of state, Habib Bourguiba, formulated the nationalist claims of the Neo-Destur, and in Morocco, where the nationalist party Istiqlal attacked the protectorate regime. After a series of increasingly bloody incidents, the French government decided to exile Bourguiba to Ile de Groix (January 1952) and Sultan Sidi Mohamed Ben Youssef and his two sons to Corsica (summer 1953). Sidi Mohamed Ould Moulay Arafa was elected new sultan; the Minister for European Affairs, France Mitterand, resigned in protest against this policy.
External and internal conditions pushed France to change its attitude towards Germany, which thus quickly moved towards equality and the status of ally. The Pleven plan for the constitution of a European integrated defensive force (EDC) with the participation of Germany, however, opened a long internal debate. New agreements were concluded between France and the Saar, a convention for the Franco-Italian customs union (23 June 1950), the Italian-French consultation agreements, known as Santa Margherita (14 February 1951), and the very important Schuman plan for the European coal and steel pool (13 April).
Elections of June 17, 1951. – Under the president of the Queuille council, who had replaced R.-J. Pleven in March, general elections took place. The results, if they confirmed, in part by moderating it, the orientation indicated by the administrative consultations of 1947, constituted a profound change compared to the elections of 1946. Overall, the shift to the right of the electorate was remarkable.
Two winners: the RPF (Rassemblement du peuple français) and the RGR (Rassemblement des gauches républicaines); two defeated: MRP (Mouvement républicain populaire) and PCF (Parti communiste fr.); moderates and socialists maintained their positions. De Gaulle’s party (RPF) obtained the highest number of elected representatives: 117. The PCF and allies followed with 101 (- 78): the latter, however, remained, with its 4,910,547 votes (25.67% of the voters) the strongest party. The RPF followed with 4,125,492 votes (21.56%). The RGR, which since 1946 brought together in addition to the radical socialists and the UDSR (Union démocratique et socialiste de la résistance) also minor formations (such as the Parti républicain socialiste and the Socialiste démocratique, Réconciliation française, the Socialistes indépendants), obtained 94 deputies with a earnings of 34. But this thanks to the appearances within the “Third Force” (RGR, MRP, SFIO [Section française de l’ternationale ouvrière]), and between it and the moderates, rather than as a net gain of votes. The MRP with a total of 84, alone lost 59 seats, dropping from 5,058,307 votes in 1946 to 2,369,778 in 1951. The bleeding of socialist votes also continued: the SFIO, with a total of 2,744,842, he lost about seventy thousand, although he managed to win five seats (total 104). The moderates, who had gathered their forces in the Center national des républicains indépendants et paysans (founded by Sen. Roger Duchet in February 1951) and into which the PRL (Parti républicain de la liberté) merged (July), became the fourth party after Communists, Gaullists and Socialists. They got about two and a half million votes and 98 seats (+ 12).
A curious situation indeed is that of the Fourth Republic, born precisely thanks to the joint contribution of the Gaullists and the Communists, and which now owes its survival to men of the Third such as Queuille, A. Pinay, J. Laniel. But at the very moment in which the latter were forced into a desperate struggle on two fronts, the Third Force split about the Barangé law, approved in November 1951 and which granted a subsidy to all primary schools, including Catholic ones. The socialists, defenders of secularism at all costs, decided to go to the opposition: the new government formed by R.-J. Pleven, with an economic austerity program, had to rely on the moderates. In front of a sovereign assembly, it was forced into a precarious policy,