In This Review

France Restored: Cold War Diplomacy and the Quest for Leadership in Europe, 1944-1954
France Restored: Cold War Diplomacy and the Quest for Leadership in Europe, 1944-1954
By William I. Hitchcock
University of North Carolina Press, 1998, 291 pp
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Foreign authors have generally been kinder to the Fourth Republic than have the French. In this careful analysis, Hitchcock is no exception to this rule as he argues that the Fourth Republic's diplomacy was a success story that built the foundation for General Charles de Gaulle. Despite some compromises and setbacks, France managed to block American designs and obliged the United States to pay attention to French demands. The Fourth Republic also launched the adventure of western European integration in a way that both reintegrated and contained the new Federal Republic of Germany while magnifying French influence in Europe. Although the regime suffered from fatal institutional weaknesses, Hitchcock maintains that the "faceless technocrats" who led it helped build a stronger and more stable France. He does not quite manage to make this case for the fierce debate over the European Defense Community and the war in Algeria, but his argument otherwise is convincing and subtle.