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The Fall of the Fourth Republic: 1951–1958

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France, 1934–1970

Part of the book series: European Studies Series ((EUROSTUD))

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In 1959, Nathaniel Leites published a book on French politics between 1951 and 1958. The Game of Politics in France argued that the activities of the French parliament were connected with small-scale struggles over local issues or personal prestige and that they bore little relation to grand ideological debates. The last seven years of the Fourth Republic were marked by a series of scandals, quarrels, and party schisms that often made it seem impossible to provide any rational account of political motives. The large-scale disciplined parties, in which so many had placed their hopes after the Liberation, lost influence. Politics came to be dominated by small formations with modest ambitions. There were five separate ‘Independent’ groups in France between 1949 and 1953: Chanoine Kir of Dijon even contested the 1951 election as an ‘independent Independent’. In addition to this, lists to represent professional groups, taxpayers, motorists and mécontents were all presented at elections. The parties that did well in the 1951 election were gathered into loose alliances which did not seek to exercise much discipline over their members. Two of these groups were particularly important. The Rassemblement des Gauches Républicaines was founded in 1946 by the Radical party, the Union Démocratique et Socialiste de la Résistance and several Third Republic parties that had been discredited by their support for Pétain.

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  1. François Mitterand, Aux frontières de l’Union Française (1953).

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© 1996 Richard Vinen

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Vinen, R. (1996). The Fall of the Fourth Republic: 1951–1958. In: France, 1934–1970. European Studies Series. Palgrave, London.

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  • Publisher Name: Palgrave, London

  • Print ISBN: 978-0-333-61360-3

  • Online ISBN: 978-1-349-24568-0

  • eBook Packages: Palgrave History CollectionHistory (R0)

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