France History – The Liberation of France and the Provisional Government

With the Allied landing in Normandy (6 June 1944), all these forces come into operation: from 1 August the 2nd degollista armored division under the orders of General Ph. Leclerc takes place among the allied forces, while the maquis they are already in intense military activity; on 19 August – based on essentially Communist preparation and leadership – the insurrection broke out in Paris which on 25 gave Leclerc’s soldiers a capital completely liberated by the occupier. The Germans themselves have already swept away the last ruins of the Vichy regime with the transfer of the government to Belfort (20 August) and then to Germany, nor have the maneuvers of Laval (attempted convocation of the national assembly) and Pétain (attempted transmission of powers to De Gaulle, through Admiral P. Auphan) to sanction the legal nature of his power, which has already collapsed; on 25 August 1944 in the evening, De Gaulle arrived in Paris and on 5 September the first metropolitan provisional government took place (radically altered four days later).

This Gouvernement provisoire de la république française, which remains in office, with subsequent limited changes, until the elections of 21 October 1945 and is constituted on the level of national unanimity, faces an enormous task.

According to SHOPAREVIEW, the war, in fact, continues in the direction of Alsace and liberated France finds itself bleeding from a serious demographic wound (the occupation budget ended with 75,000 shot, 600,000 political deportees and 750,000 workers in Germany) and with its own economy totally paralyzed. If the factories had had not excessive damage, the deposits of raw materials were completely destroyed, the means of transport paralyzed and the communication routes destroyed, the ports partly requisitioned by the Allies and partly (Dunkerque, Saint Nazaire, La Rochelle) under the control of the Germans who will keep them until the end of the war. Add to the need for purge and the state of unease created by the autonomy of many liberation committees, most of the time in disruption with the regional commissioners of the provisional government. This, on the other hand, is not yet recognized de iure on the international level (it is, in fact, absent from the Dumbarton Oaks conference for the UN which is taking place in recent weeks).

The position of the GPRF, however, manages to consolidate itself with a triple order of successes: the recognition which took place on 24 October 1944 by the Allies and the establishment of regular diplomatic relations; the victory achieved by the government in the collision with the liberation committees, which, with the dissolution of the patriotic guards (October 28), came to lose all autonomous military power and, subsequently, also political power; the favorable outcome of the loan of the liberation, decided after a certain contrast between the thesis of a simple loan and the opposite of P. Mendès-France and the socialists of an exchange of the currency with withdrawal (the exchange of the currency, but at par, will be carried out only in June 1945). This strengthening is accompanied by a certain regaining of lost places in the international role on the French side: made manifest by the visit of Churchill and Eden to Paris (10 November), it takes the form of France’s participation as the fourth permanent member of the European advisory commission, as also at the air conference in Chicago and at the labor conference in Rye (November 1944), but above all in the conclusion with the Soviet government of a twenty-year alliance pact signed in Moscow on December 10, 1944 by De Gaulle: a weapon of pressure on Anglo-Saxon diplomacy, it denotes also the inclination of General De Gaulle towards bilateral agreements rather than towards general corporate agreements. However, this French return is not without friction: not admitted to Yalta, De Gaulle refused on February 17, 1945 d ‘ meeting in Algiers with Roosevelt; on the 27th, a declaration by Churchill to the municipalities on the Syro-Lebanese crisis which began at the end of January, is a grave warning to the French government; this on March 6 refuses the rank of “inviting power” at the conference of San Francisco.

The capitulation of Germany (May 7, 1945) did not diminish the difficulties of the French government. If the latter, who had already declared (28 February) the forfeiture of the 1896 convention for Tunisia towards Italy, and on 17 May made the request for corrections at the border, can now clearly set his German policy on the basis of security, French control of the Rhineland and the internationalization of the Ruhr (official position; but De Gaulle also inclines towards a Westphalian solution of the German problem) and obtaining an occupation zone in Germany (Palatinate, Saar and part of Baden, Württemberg and Rhineland) and Austria, and if De Gaulle’s August trip to Washington and Ottawa is an important element of relaxation;

Inside, on the other hand, the capitulation of Germany marks a decisive turning point: in fact, every obstacle to the free expansion of the political struggle ends (already alive, however, even if quietly, with the return to the legality of the parties which in the April-May they had a first opportunity to test their strength, to the considerable advantage of the Marxist left) and the previous dismissal of the constitutional problem ceases while the resistance groups themselves become totally politicized; in fact on 25 June the MLN split giving rise to the socialist Union démocratique et socialiste de la résistance (UDSR) and the pro-communist Mouvement unifié de la Rénaissance française (“MURF). This, once not realized after the liberation, Charte de la résistance voted on March 15, 1944 by the CNR and subsequently accepted by De Gaulle and all parties; but the efficiency of this charter, which tends to a profound transformation of the constitutional, economic and social structure of France, is linked to the persistence of the agreement between De Gaulle and the communists, an agreement which, despite very clear clashes at the time of the Paris insurrection and the dissolution of the patriotic guards, continued to function even after September 1944 and found good common ground in the nationalization, carried out in December 1944 by the government regarding the mines, the merchant navy and the Renault workshops, and in the purge. This agreement is instead broken on the problem of the constituent: if the general states of the resistance forces take on July 14, 1945, in Paris,

France History - The Liberation of France and the Provisional Government

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