THE FRENCH ARMY by Paul Marie de la Gorce


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Latter-day intervention of the Army's upper echelon in French political matters can in this author's view best he understood by reviewing a century of domestic, diplomatic, and military history. From the preliminaries to the Dreyfus Affair to the Algerian cease-fire political overtones can be traced in every change in the Army's fortunes. As the original unity of outlook between Army and people gradually deteriorated, Army personnel developed a sense of alienation from public policy. The effects of the Bolshevik Revolution, Rhenish separatist activity, Versailles, the Depression and the disgrace of Vichy, the peculiarities of Indo-Chinese counter-guerrilla operations, Suez, and the progressive decline of Gallic power in North Africa are so minutely detailed here that the book largely fails to be compelling. The Army, recalls Gorce, seized upon anti-communism as justification of its own continued existence after World War II, and the threat of retrenchment to the boredom of garrison life in metropolitan France, should Algeria be lost, was the ultimate provocation of the Generals' Revolt. De Gaulle's continued resistance to internal and external pressures bodes well for France's economic future, but the Army, says Gorce, will have to rest content with its role in the Atlantic Alliance, however regretfully abandoning its dream of a return to former glory.

Pub Date: Feb. 25th, 1962
Publisher: Braziller