how France made a place for itself among the greats

This Sunday, November 22, 2020, at 10:25 p.m., France 5 is rebroadcasting the documentary “UN, 1944-1955, the Battle of De Gaulle” in La Case du siècle. Or how the general snatched a place for France among the 5 members of the world elite …

Since 1945, France has been one of the five permanent members to sit on the UN Security Council, along with the United States, the United Kingdom, Russia and China. A privilege which, among other things, allows Paris to veto Council resolutions and which makes France one of the five great leaders of the world and diplomatic order. This privilege could however pass like an anomaly today, while some are pouring out on the French decline, proven or presumed. But this position is above all the result of one of the great battles of General de Gaulle. A decisive diplomatic and military battle, after the Liberation of Paris and even a little before, for France to obtain this status and return to the big leagues. The documentary UN, 1944-1955, the battle of de Gaulle recounts this incredible tour de force on France 5, in the Case of the Century, this Sunday, November 22, 2020 at 10:25 p.m. Directed by Philippe Saada and released for the first time in 2018, the film is rebroadcast on the occasion of a cycle of France Télévisions dedicated to the 50 years of the death of the one who liberated France in 1945, before directing it for 10 years. , from 1958 to 1969.

UN, 1944-1955, the battle of de Gaulle takes its first anchoring point in 1944, when devastated France begins its titanic work of recovery after five years of war and Occupation which considerably tarnished its image. When the creation of the United Nations is launched, on the still smoking ashes of the League of Nations, no one imagines for a moment that Paris could have a place among the future great decision-makers of this world. All the more so as the UN is the great project of American President Franklin Roosevelt, who considers that France does not deserve its place in the front row after the debacle of 1940 and the collaboration and who cordially hates de Gaulle. France was, moreover, left at the time minutely away from the victors, as evidenced by the absence of General de Gaulle at the Yalta conference in February 1945.

How the absent Yalta made a place for himself in the concert of nations

While Roosevelt, Churchill and Stalin pose in front of the photographers in the seaside resort of Crimea and apply themselves to settle the fate of Europe alone, de Gaulle, he will work to find a place in this very closed club. . Contrary to appearances and to the image that Yalta was able to convey, the fight of the “Grand Charles” is then close to its conclusion, it simply lacks a tipping point. The general meticulously constructed the image and the very idea of ​​Free France as early as 1940, from London, then by relying on the colonized territories of Africa, particularly from Brazzaville and then from Algiers in 1943. When the UN is emerging, so he has been working for years to embody this authority that the Anglo-Americans will hardly recognize.

Between the end of 1944 and the beginning of 1945, de Gaulle will therefore be working together to achieve his objective. The documentary describes in detail his operation to seduce Winston Churchill, with whom relations were strained after the Liberation, his complicity with Eisenhower, an American ally with more conciliatory positions than those of Roosevelt, his trip to Russia where he will meet Stalin. and show the Americans and the English that they will have to be counted on in the early days of the Cold War … De Gaulle will also benefit from the (admittedly temporary) stagnation of the front in eastern France at the end of the year 1944. The opportunity to show that the French army is indeed part of the liberators. The liberation of Strasbourg and more generally the battle of Alsace, completed with the victory over the pocket of Colmar in February 1945, will be decisive militarily and diplomatically. Led by General de Lattre while Eisenhower would have preferred to retreat in the face of the German counter-offensive, it will militarily put France back in the game. France will then pay “the blood tax”, with several thousand deaths , as the documentary indicates. A sort of entry fee into the winner’s club …

It is on these years of war still upset and on the following years that the film UN, 1944-1955, the battle of de Gaulle returns, describing the diplomatic struggle, close, intense and difficult that General de Gaulle, then head of the provisional government, supported by his diplomats and a number of personalities, led to obtain that at the end of the race, France is a members of the world police.

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