French President Charles de Gaulle (1958-1969) has consistently fascinated contemporaries and historians. His vision—conceived out of national interest—of uniting Europe under French leadership and overcoming the Cold War still remains relevant and appealing. De Gaulle's towering personality and his challenge to US hegemony in the Cold War have inspired a vast number of political biographies and analyses of the foreign policies of the Fifth Republic mostly from French or US angle. In contrast, this book serves to rediscover de Gaulle's global policies how they changed the Cold War.
Offering truly global perspectives on France's approach to the world during de Gaulle's presidency, the 13 well-matched essays by leading experts in the field tap into newly available sources drawn from US, European, Asian, African and Latin American archives. Together, the contributions integrate previously neglected regions, actors and topics with more familiar and newly approached phenomena into a global picture of the General's international policy-making. The volume at hand is an example of how cutting-edge research benefits from multipolar and multi-archival approaches and from attention to big, middle and smaller powers as well as institutions.
Christian Nuenlist —
Christian Nuenlist is a lecturer in contemporary history at the University of Zurich and a foreign desk editor at the Swiss daily Aargauer Zeitung. He is the author of Kennedys rechte Hand (1999) and the co-editor of Origins of the European Security System (2008).
Globalizing de Gaulle: international perspectives on French foreign policies, 1958-1969, ed. by Christian Nuenlist, Anna Locher, and Garret Martin. Rowman & Littlefield, 2010. 318p index afp; ISBN 9780739142486. Reviewed in 2011mar CHOICE.
Fourteen essays by scholars from four continents evaluate de Gaulle's foreign policy during his decade as president. The more useful essays track his diplomacy during the US era of the Vietnam war; his role in the 1958 Middle East crisis involving the civil war in Lebanon and the coup d'état in Iraq, which brought Saddam Hussein to power; his negotiations with the Algerian National Liberation Front (FLN) and his subsequent role in decolonizing French sub-Saharan Africa and his development efforts there on behalf of French enterprises. A chapter on Franco-German relationships makes clear that de Gaulle and Konrad Adenauer worked well together, but the 1963-66 Ludwig Erhard chancellorship was disastrous. Joaquin Fermandois provides an excellent essay on de Gaulle's triumphal, ten-country tour of Latin America in 1964, concentrating mostly on his visit to Chile and President Eduardo Frei's return visit to Paris the next year. The theme that unites these disparate foreign policy adventures was de Gaulle's perceived anti-Americanism. This had appeal for the USSR, PRC, Mexico, Vietnam, and many of the Arab states. One wishes for coverage of the Quebec fiasco, Castro's Cuban revolution, and de Gaulle's reaction to the September 1965 failed communist coup in Indonesia.
Summing Up: Recommended. Upper-division undergraduates and above. -- W. J. Parente, University of Scranton