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Cold War Statesmen Confront the BombNuclear Diplomacy Since 1945$
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John Gaddis, Philip Gordon, Ernest May, and Jonathan Rosenberg

Print publication date: 1999

Print ISBN-13: 9780198294689

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2004

DOI: 10.1093/0198294689.001.0001

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Charles De Gaulle and the Nuclear Revolution

Charles De Gaulle and the Nuclear Revolution

(p.216) 10 Charles De Gaulle and the Nuclear Revolution
Cold War Statesmen Confront the Bomb

Philip H. Gordon

Oxford University Press

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

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