The French have searched for five generations through five republics and several other regimes for a stable political system. The Fifth Republic, born in 1958, seems to be succeeding where many others have failed. What are the reasons and conditions for the French consensus on a system of government for the first time since the ancien regime?
The first twenty years of the Fifth Republic encompass four presidential elections, alternating political control of the National Assembly, and years of rapid economic growth and contraction. Thus a variety of events now allow an evaluation of the efficacy of the Fifth Republic. The chapters of this book examine: the governmental framework and various political groups that have vied for control of it; industrial development and modernization; education and culture; and foreign policy. Containing both favorable and critical assessments, the book provides a comprehensive balance sheet on the Fifth Republic and the influence of Charles DeGaulle.