VII. The Contemporary Period, 1945–2000 > B. Europe, 1945–2000 > 6. Western Europe, 1945–2000 > d. France
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  The Encyclopedia of World History.  2001.
 
(See Oct. 23)
 
d. France
 
Postwar provisional government: Gen. C. de Gaulle (1945–46), F. Gouin (1946), G. Bidault (1946–47).  1
Fourth Republic presidents: V. Auriol (1947–53), R. Coty (1953–58).  2
Fifth Republic presidents: Gen. C. de Gaulle (1958–69), G. Pompidou (1969–74), A. Poher (1974, April–May, interim), V. Giscard d'Estaing (1974–81), F. Mitterrand (1981–95), J. Chirac (1995– ).  3
 
1944, Aug. 23–24
 
German forces in Paris were compelled to capitulate as Allied armies approached and armed citizens liberated the city. The administration was turned over to Charles de Gaulle with the approval of the Allied commanders.  4
Through the 1940s and beyond, the issue of collaboration remained a central question in French political life. French society was divided on the degree to which those who had collaborated with the Nazis should be punished. Communists favored harsh sentences; Catholic groups advocated forgiveness in the name of national reconstruction; prominent existentialists and socialists took a more moderate approach.  5
The épuration, or purge, of persons known or suspected to have collaborated with the Germans began during the war itself but intensified in the immediate postwar period. Some nine thousand summary executions were carried out by the population, three-quarters of them before the Allied landing or during the fighting, the remainder occurring as a result of popular impatience with the slowness of the court system. An additional 767 executions were carried out in the years following the war by state authorities, after prosecution and conviction of the accused.  6
 
Sept. 27
 
The first phase of nationalizations designed to restore prewar levels of production in the transport, fuel, and heavy-machinery sectors of the economy began when de Gaulle's government took over the coal fields of the Nord and Pas-de-Calais departments.  7
 
Oct. 4
 
The French state seized control of Renault automobile factories.  8
 
Nov. 7
 
A consultative National Assembly, summoned by de Gaulle, held its first session. Municipal and departmental elections for the 89 départements were set for February 1945, and the franchise was extended to all citizens, male or female, older than 21.  9
 
Dec. 10
 
A Franco-Soviet treaty of alliance and mutual security was negotiated. It was to run for 20 years.  10
 
Dec. 18
 
Nationalization of the French merchant fleet.  11
 
 
 
The Encyclopedia of World History, Sixth edition. Peter N. Stearns, general editor. Copyright © 2001 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Maps by Mary Reilly, copyright 2001 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.

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