Chapter

Charles De Gaulle and the Nuclear Revolution

Philip H. Gordon

in Cold War Statesmen Confront the Bomb

Published in print April 1999 | ISBN: 9780198294689
Published online November 2004 | e-ISBN: 9780191601538 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/0198294689.003.0010
 Charles De Gaulle and the Nuclear Revolution

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Charles de Gaulle recognized from the beginning that nuclear bomb would have immense consequences although he continued to believe in the continuation of past patterns of great‐power conflict, war, and behaviour. By the end of his two‐decade ’nuclear learning process’, he was convinced that the bomb would have profound effects on how statesmen would use military force. Furthermore, de Gaulle believed that nuclear weapons strengthened the most basic features of the international system by reinforcing the fundamental role of the nation‐state, and by freezing the world into a bipolar order. In short, for de Gaulle, France had to develop its own nuclear weapons in order to ensure French national security, provide great‐power status, respect, national independence, and political influence.

Keywords: Charles de Gaulle; deterrence; Force de frappe; France; national security; nation‐state; nuclear weapons; political influence

Chapter.  10703 words. 

Subjects: International Relations

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