Courtesy Reuters

France and Europe a Gaullist View

TODAY France is threatened by Soviet imperialism, as yesterday it was threatened by German imperialism. The writer of this article has been an unwavering friend of the United States, and knows that nothing but the alliance of France and Europe with America can ward off the danger. I know, too, that if war should come this alliance would give France the only hope of saving her freedom and culture. It is just because everything depends upon this alliance that there is such wide and deep anxiety about it in France today. The policy followed so far in Europe since the war seems about to collapse. The force of inertia in the chancelleries carries the customary diplomatic procedure along, but the structure of Western European security offers no promise of real safety for the peoples of Europe--particularly for the French people--in the hour of supreme peril.

What should be done? First of all, the psychology of our people must be understood in America. It is a very different psychology from what must have been that of the American people following the last world war. The United States suffered during the war; but the country was not occupied by the enemy, Americans did not have to witness the slaughter of their fellow citizens in extermination camps, they did not watch their cities go up in flames, see their harvests destroyed by warring armies, roads, railroad lines and bridges cut, ports in ruins. The French went through all of that for four years, sharpened, too, by the bitterness of defeat. They cannot forget that for years before that experience they had trusted in the Maginot Line, which was supposed to preserve France from invasion. It proved a mirage. After such disillusionment and suffering they have no faith left in Maginot Lines of any kind, whether concrete or paper, strategic or diplomatic. Their first concern is to do whatever has to be done to prevent their territory from being invaded again.

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