France Between 1949 and 1959 Part VII

Only following Eisenhower’s exhortation, Gaillard decided to relaunch “good offices”, accepting the solution of the points already agreed and postponing the question of border control until later. But he was overthrown by the Chamber in a tumultuous session (April 15). Under the heated leadership of Soustelle, Duchet and Bidault, the right took the field, determined to defend Algérie Française “at all costs: all the more so since the first major oil loads from the Sahara had reached the Mediterranean shores. The Algerian question thus became the very center of French internal politics. Even the fighting army took an ever greater interest in politics. According to neovideogames, the malaise, the resentments, the recriminations left in it by the Indochina war, from the loss of Tunisia and Morocco, and from the interrupted Suez expedition, they coalesced in a vast conspiracy, which extended to a part of the moderates like the Duchet, the Gaullists and even the infamous “cagoule”. For all of them it was better to overthrow the unfortunate regime of the Fourth Republic, rather than accept a moderate solution to the Algerian problem.

The Pflimlin government and the coup of May 13, 1958. – French politics entered a convulsive period, of which a sure examination is still impossible. After Bidault’s attempt to form a government for the indefinite defense of Algeria, the fracture deepened between the nationalists and colonialists on the one hand and the National Assembly on the other. The latter, in the night between 13 and 14 May, gave the investiture to the Catholic leader P. Pflimlin (274 votes against 129 and 137 abstentions); but on the same day the European population of Algiers rose in fear of a new diplomatic Dien Bien-Phu and gradually gained the support of the army. The paratrooper general J. Massu, who became president of a public health committee, he sent a disrespectful telegram to President Coty – asking him for the formation of a government of Public Health – and an appeal to gen. De Gaulle. The National Assembly reacted by voting to Pflimlin, which had enlarged the government to include the socialists (Mollet vice president, Moch minister of the interior and A. Gazier minister of information, but not the independents who refused), the “state of urgency” with 462 against 112. While the gen. Fr. Ely resigned as head of SM general, gen. De Gaulle, who declared himself ready to assume power (May 19), attracted ever greater favors to him. The danger of a fratricidal war seemed imminent: in the metropolis, dissolved by law, the far-right formations (Front d’action national, Phalange française, Mouvement jeune nation, Revolutionary patriot parties) left and democratic parties in the Republican Defense Committee were organized underground. In Algeria, where Soustelle, among others, had arrived in a spectacular escape, daring plans were prepared for the invasion of France. Commandos from Algeria occupied Corsica (May 24) as a bridgehead for the invasion of the metropolis. De Gaulle appeared to most people as the only man capable of avoiding civil war, restoring the authority of the state and maintaining the republican regime. After an exchange of letters with Mollet and an interview with Pflimlin, De Gaulle announced that he had begun “the process necessary for the regular establishment of a republican government capable of ensuring the unity and independence of the country” (May 27). The next day the government resigned. A great anti-fascist demonstration took place in Paris: at the head of the imposing procession marched Daladier, Mendès-France, Mitterand, André Philip, etc.

Designated by President Coty with exceptional procedure, De Gaulle formed a “national” ministry, having Mollet, Pflimlin and France Houphouet-Boigny (UDSR) as ministers of state, Michel Debré for Justice, Pinay for Finance, M. Couve de Murville for the Foreign and the prefect E. Pelletier to the Interior. He obtained the investiture, without debate, with 329 votes to 224 (June 1). On June 2, parliament voted three bills wanted by De Gaulle: extension of special powers in Algeria, full powers for six months, revision of the constitution by referendum. The next day the parliament adjourned.

De Gaulle in powerconstitutional referendum and legislative elections. – Having repeatedly visited Algeria, De Gaulle, posting himself as arbiter of the destinies of the nation, laid the foundations for a new policy and a new strategy. With Tunisia he was able to conclude that liberal agreement which the previous governments had not been possible due to the opposition of the moderates, and which provided for the abolition of all French presidencies, except that of Bizerte (17 June). A large loan launched by De Gaulle and Minister Pinay met with great success (June 17-July 12). De Gaulle completed his government in early July, entrusting, among other things, the Ministry of Information to J. Soustelle.

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