The combination of political uncertainty, external crisis and internal economic expansion that characterized the French Fourth Republic renders the period 1944-1958 one of unusual complexity, and in this masterly survey Jean-Pierre Rioux unravels its often torturous rise and fall. Growing consumerism and demographic change were the most striking manifestations of the successful reconstruction of the war-ravaged French economy, yet the political foundations of the Fourth Republic became ever more fragile, as a series of unstable and short-lived ministries proved incapable of confronting the twin challenge presented by domestic indifference and bitter, often violent, interference from French colonist abroad. When, in 1958, the Algerian crisis threatened to provoke a full-scale military coup, the existing political orders swiftly crumbled, its authority either derided or ignored. The coexistence of prosperity and chronic instability is not the least intriguing aspect of the history of the Fourth Republic, and Professor Rioux's duly rounded account gives due weight to the cultural and social context in which such a paradox became possible.
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Weight: 912 g
Dimensions: 228 x 152 x 40 mm
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