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French Foreign Policy since 1945

An Introduction

Frédéric Bozo
Translated by Jonathan Hensher

220 pages, 6 tables, bibliog., index

ISBN  978-1-78533-276-0 $120.00/£85.00 Hb Published (August 2016)

ISBN  978-1-78533-306-4 $34.95/£24.00 Pb Published (August 2016)

eISBN 978-1-78533-277-7 eBook

Hb Pb   Request a Review or Examination Copy (in Digital Format) Recommend to your Library Buy the ebook from these vendors

“This work provides a concise and cogent overview of French foreign policy, written in a straightforward style. The main contours of French policy are well laid out, both in terms of its dealings with key countries and institutions, especially the US, the Soviet Union (later Russia), Germany, NATO, and the European Union, and in terms of long-term goals…The reader is rewarded with a good grasp of the principles behind the foreign policies of succeeding governments as they wrestled with the vagaries of the Cold War, globalization, and perceived attempts by the US to dominate European politics.” · Choice

“[Bozo] historical account will be useful to anyone interested in understanding post-war France. The new Trump administration and the outcome of France’s presidential elections in May 2017 will have a transformative effect on French foreign policy. To evaluate the depth and scope of this impact, one needs to understand France’s modern diplomatic history. Frédéric Bozo’s book provides a concise and useful introduction to the subject.” · Israel Journal of International Affairs

“Bozo commands the details of his country’s foreign policy, and he never gets lost in them. French foreign policy, in his view, changes far less than the grand rhetorical declarations of successive presidents might lead one to expect.” · Foreign Affairs

“This is a rational, objective and well-documented book. It is essential for understanding the conduct of one of the few countries in the world that do have a distinctive foreign policy, and indispensable for France's allies and partners alike.” · Hubert Védrine, former French Minister of Foreign Affairs

“For half a century, with limited means, France successfully juggled its own diplomatic exceptionalism, its schizophrenic relationship with the USA, its gamble on Europe as a multiplier of national influence, and its global reach. But as Frédéric Bozo demonstrates in this beautifully concise yet comprehensive study, the factors underpinning the old Gaullist consensus are shifting. Globalization, power transition, multi-polarity and the crisis of the EU pose new challenges as France continues nevertheless to punch above its weight in the international arena.” · Jolyon Howorth, Yale University

When Charles de Gaulle declared that “it is because we are no longer a great power that we need a grand policy,” he neatly summarized France’s predicament on the world scene. In this compact and engaging history, author Frédéric Bozo deftly recounts France’s efforts to reconcile its proud history and global ambitions with a realistic appraisal of its capabilities, from the aftermath of World War II to the present. He provides insightful analysis of the nation’s triumphs and setbacks through the years of decolonization, Cold War maneuvering, and European unification, as well as the more contemporary challenges posed by an increasingly multipolar and interconnected world.

Frédéric Bozo is Professor of History and International Relations in the Department of European Studies at the Sorbonne Nouvelle (University of Paris III). His publications include Visions of the End of the Cold War in Europe, 1945-1990 (2012) and Mitterrand, the End of the Cold War, and German Unification (2009), both with Berghahn Books.

Subject: Postwar History
Area: France

LC: DC404 .B6613 2016

BISAC: HIS013000 HISTORY/Europe/France; POL011000 POLITICAL SCIENCE/International Relations/General

BIC: HBJD European history; JPS International relations


List of Figures



Chapter 1. France’s Difficult Entry Into the Cold War
Chapter 2. French Powerlessness


Chapter 3. Re-establishing France’s ‘Rank’
Chapter 4. Challenging the Established Order
Chapter 5. The Apogee of de Gaulle’s Grand Policy


Chapter 6. Opting for Continuity
Chapter 7. The Education of a President


Chapter 8. New Cold War, New Détente
Chapter 9. The End of ‘Yalta’


Chapter 10. In Search of a Multipolar World


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