History of France

By | April 28, 2022

According to historyaah, the territory of France has been inhabited by people since ancient times. The first known people to settle on it were the Celts (from the 6th-5th centuries BC). Their Roman name – the Gauls – gave a name to the country (the old name of France is Gaul). All R. 1 in. BC. Gaul, conquered by Rome, became its province. For 500 years, the development of Gaul proceeded under the sign of Roman culture – general, political, legal, economic. In the 2nd-4th centuries. AD Christianity spread in Gaul.

In con. 5th c. Gaul, conquered by the German tribes of the Franks, became known as the Frankish kingdom. The leader of the Franks was a talented military leader, an intelligent and prudent politician Clovis from the Merovingian dynasty. He largely retained Roman laws and established social relations, and was the first of the German leaders in the former Roman Empire to make an alliance with the Roman Catholic Church. The mixing of the Franks with the Galo-Roman population and the merging of their cultures created a kind of synthesis – the basis for the formation of the future French nation.

Since the death of Clovis in the beginning. 6th c. The Frankish kingdom was subjected to continuous divisions and reunifications, and was the scene of countless wars of various branches of the Merovingians. K ser. 8th c. they have lost power. Charlemagne, who gave the name of the new Carolingian dynasty, founded a huge empire consisting of almost all of modern France, part of Germany and, as tributaries, Northern and Central Italy and the Western Slavs. After his death and the division of the empire (843), the West Frankish kingdom emerged as an independent state. This year is considered the starting point of the history of France. See ehistorylib for more about France history.

To con. 10th c. the Carolingian dynasty ended; Hugh Capet was elected king of the Franks. The Capetians (their various branches) originating from him reigned until the French Revolution (1789). In the 10th century their kingdom became known as France

France of the era of the first Capetians, formally united, was actually divided into a number of independent fiefs. The desire of the kings for centralization ensured the gradual overcoming of feudal fragmentation and the formation of a single nation. The hereditary possession of kings (domain) expanded through dynastic marriages and conquests. Endless wars and the needs of a growing state apparatus required more and more financial resources. To con. 13th c. the taxation of the clergy provoked a sharp protest from Pope Boniface. Trying to enlist the support of the population in the fight against the pope, King Philip IV the Handsome (1285-1303) convened in 1302 the States General – a representation of all 3 estates. So France became an estate monarchy.

To the beginning 14th c. France was the most powerful state in Western Europe. But its further development was slowed down due to the Hundred Years War with England (1337-1453), which took place entirely on French territory. By 1415, the British had captured almost all of France and threatened its existence as a sovereign state. However, under the leadership of Joan of Arc, the French troops achieved a turning point in hostilities, which ultimately led to the victory of the French and the expulsion of the British.

To con. 15th c. the completion of centralization led to the autonomy of the royal financial apparatus from estate representation and the actual cessation of the activities of the States General. The transformation of the estate monarchy into an absolute one began.

In con. 15 – ser. 16th century France, trying to achieve hegemony in Europe and annex Northern Italy, waged the Italian Wars (1494-1559) with Spain and the Holy Roman Empire. Without bringing any political results, they completely depleted the financial resources of France, which led to a sharp deterioration in the country’s economic situation. The growth of social protest was closely intertwined with the spread of reform ideas. The split of the population into Catholics and Protestants (Huguenots) resulted in the long Wars of Religion (1562–91), which culminated in the massacre of the Huguenots in Paris (St. Bartholomew’s Night, 1572). In 1591, the representative of the younger branch of the Capetians, Henry of Bourbon, the leader of the Huguenots, who converted to Catholicism, was proclaimed king of France under the name of Henry IV. The Edict of Nantes published by him (1598), equalizing the rights of Catholics and Huguenots,

17th century was a time of strengthening French absolutism. In the 1st third, his Cardinal Richelieu, who actually ruled the country under Louis XIII, basically eradicated the opposition of the nobility; its last manifestation was the Fronde, a mass movement led by the princes of the blood (1648-53), after the defeat of which the big nobility lost political significance. Absolutism reached its peak during the independent reign of Louis XIV (1661-1715). Under him, nobility was not allowed to govern the country; it was administered by the “sun king” himself, relying on the secretaries of state and the general controller of finance (this post was held for 20 years by J.-B. Colbert, an outstanding financier and mercantilist who did a lot for the development of French industry and trade).

In the 17th century France waged wars in Europe aimed either at eliminating the dominance of other states (the Thirty Years’ War) or at securing its own hegemony (against Spain in 1659, the Dutch Wars in 1672–78 and 1688–97). All territorial gains gained during the Dutch Wars were lost as a result of the War of the Spanish Succession (1701–14).

From the 2nd floor. 18th century obsolete absolutism experienced an acute spiritual and economic crisis. In the spiritual sphere, its expression was the appearance of a galaxy of philosophers and writers who rethought the acute problems of social life in a new way (the Age of Enlightenment). In the economy, persistent budget deficits, prolonged increases in taxes and prices, combined with prolonged crop failures, caused the impoverishment of the masses and famine.

In 1789, in an atmosphere of a sharp deterioration in the socio-economic situation, under the pressure of the Third Estate (merchants and artisans), the States General were convened after a long break. Deputies from the Third Estate declared themselves the National Assembly (June 17, 1789), and then the Constituent Assembly, which adopted the Declaration of the Rights of Man and Citizen. The rebellious people took and destroyed the symbol of the “old regime”, the royal prison Bastille (July 14, 1789). In August 1792, the monarchy was overthrown (King Louis XVI was executed); In September, the Republic is proclaimed. The uprising of the extreme left of its supporters led to the establishment of a bloody Jacobin dictatorship (June 1793 – July 1794). After the coup on July 27–28, 1794, power passed to the more moderate Thermidorians, and in 1795 to the Directory. new coup, who led the Directory to the fall (November 1799), turned France into a Consulate: the board was concentrated in the hands of 3 consuls; The functions of the First Consul were assumed by Napoleon Bonaparte. In 1804 Bonaparte was proclaimed emperor, France turned into an empire.

During the period of the Consulate and the Empire, continuous Napoleonic wars were fought. Constant recruitment into the army, tax increases, the unsuccessful Continental blockade exhausted the forces of France; the defeat of the Napoleonic troops (Great Army) in Russia and Europe (1813–14) hastened the collapse of the empire. In 1814 Napoleon abdicated; The Bourbons returned to power. France became a monarchy (constitutional) again. Napoleon’s attempt to regain the throne (1815) was unsuccessful. By decisions of the Congress of Vienna (1815), France was returned to the borders of 1790. But the main achievements of the revolution—the abolition of estate privileges and feudal obligations, the transfer of land to peasants, and legal reforms (Napoleon’s Civil and other codes)—were not repealed.

In the 1st floor. 19th century France was shaken by revolutions. July (1830) was caused by the attempts of supporters of the Bourbons (royalists) to restore the “old regime” in its entirety. It cost the power of the main branch of the Bourbons, who were finally overthrown by the revolution of 1848. Napoleon’s nephew, Louis Napoleon Bonaparte, became president of the newly proclaimed Second Republic. After the coup d’état of 1851 and the year of military dictatorship that followed, Louis Napoleon was crowned emperor under the name of Napoleon III. France has become an empire again.

The Second Empire (1852-70) became a period of rapid development of capitalism (mainly financial and speculative), the growth of the working-class movement and wars of conquest (Crimean, Austro-Italian-French, Anglo-French-Chinese, Mexican, wars in Indochina). The defeat in the Franco-Prussian War of 1870 and the disadvantageous Peace of Frankfurt (1871) were accompanied by a failed attempt to overthrow the government (the Paris Commune).

In 1875 the Constitution of the III Republic was adopted. In the last quarter of the 19th century power in France stabilized. This was the era of wide external expansion in Africa and Southeast Asia and the formation of the French colonial empire. The question of the optimal form of government, not completely resolved by the nation, resulted in a fierce struggle between clerical monarchists and anti-clerical republicans. The Dreyfus affair, which sharply aggravated this conflict, brought France to the brink of civil war.

In the 20th century France entered as a colonial empire, while at the same time having an agro-industrial economy that lagged behind the leading industrial powers in industrial development. The rapid growth of the working-class movement was expressed in the formation in 1905 of a socialist party (SFIO, the French section of the Socialist International). In the same year, the anti-clericals won a long-term dispute: a law was passed on the separation of church and state. In foreign policy, rapprochement with Great Britain and Russia marked the beginning of the Entente (1907).

On August 3, 1914, France entered World War I, which it ended 4 years later, in November 1918, as a victorious power (along with Great Britain and the USA). The Versailles Treaty of 1918 returned Alsace and Lorraine to France (which had gone to Prussia under the Treaty of Frankfurt). She also received part of the German colonies in Africa and large reparations.

In 1925, France signed the Locarno Treaties, which guaranteed Germany’s western borders. At the same time, colonial wars were waged: in Morocco (1925–26) and in Syria (1925–27).

The war, having significantly stimulated the development of the previously lagging French industry, ensured the acceleration of economic development. Positive structural shifts in the economy – the transformation of France into an industrial-agrarian power – were accompanied by the growth of the labor movement. The French Communist Party (PCF) was founded in 1920. The Great Depression began later in France than in other countries, and was less severe but more prolonged. OK. One-half of wage laborers turned out to be partially employed, and almost 400,000 were unemployed. Under these conditions, the labor movement intensified. Under the leadership of the PCF, the Popular Front association was created, which won the parliamentary elections of 1936 by a large margin. 2-week paid holidays, conclusion of collective agreements, introduction of a 40-hour work week. The Popular Front was in power until February 1937.

In 1938, French Prime Minister Daladier, together with N. Chamberlain, signed the Munich Agreements aimed at postponing war in Europe. But on September 3, 1939, F., fulfilling her allied obligations towards Poland, declared war on Germany. The “strange war” (an inactive stay in the trenches on the fortified Franco-German border – the “Maginot Line”) lasted several months. In May 1940, German troops bypassed the Maginot Line from the north and entered Paris on June 14, 1940. On June 16, 1940, Prime Minister P. Reynaud handed over power to Marshal A. Petain. According to the truce signed by Petain, Germany occupied approx. 2/3 French territory. The government, which moved to the city of Vichy, located in the unoccupied zone, pursued a policy of cooperation with the fascist powers. November 11, 1942 German and Italian troops occupied the unoccupied part of France.

Since the beginning of the occupation, a resistance movement has been active in France, the largest organization of which was the National Front created by the PCF. General Charles de Gaulle, who held the post of Deputy Minister of Defense before the war, spoke on June 18, 1940 by radio from London, calling on all French to resist the Nazis. De Gaulle, through great efforts, managed to create the Free French movement in London (from July 1942 – Fighting France) and ensure that military units and the administration of a number of French colonies in Africa join it. On June 3, 1943, while in Algiers, de Gaulle formed the French Committee of National Liberation (FKNO). On June 2, 1944, the FKNO, recognized by the USSR, Great Britain and the USA, was transformed into the Provisional Government of the French Republic.

With the landing of the allied troops in Normandy (June 6, 1944), the resistance detachments went on the offensive throughout the country. During the Paris uprising (August 1944), the capital was liberated, and in September, all of France.

After liberation, the extremely difficult economic situation, combined with the high prestige of the communists and socialists, who did a lot to win, guaranteed them massive support from the voters. The leftists were in power from 1945–47. In 1946, the Constitution of the IV Republic was adopted, which provided for the responsibility of the government to parliament (parliamentary republic). The Constitution proclaimed, along with civil liberties, socio-economic rights: to work, rest, health protection, etc. Widespread nationalization was carried out. In May 1947, when the Communists left the government, replaced by representatives of the Unification of the French People party created by de Gaulle, the government’s course shifted to the right. In 1948, an agreement was signed on Franco-American cooperation (the Marshall Plan).

In 1946–54, France waged a colonial war in Indochina, which ended with the recognition of the independence of the former colonies. From the beginning 1950s the national liberation movement in North Africa intensified. Morocco and Tunisia were granted independence (1956). Since 1954, fighting has been going on in Algeria, where France could not succeed. The war in Algeria again split the country, parties and parliament, causing a continuous governmental leapfrog. An attempt by the government of F. Gaillard to grant independence to Algeria caused a revolt of the Algerian French – supporters of its preservation as part of France, supported by the command of the French troops in Algeria. They demanded the creation of a government of national salvation headed by de Gaulle. On June 1, 1958, the National Assembly granted de Gaulle the appropriate powers. By September 1958, his team prepared a draft of a new Constitution, which provided for a radical change in the balance of power between the branches of government in favor of the executive branch. The project was put to a referendum on September 28, 1958; it was approved by 79.25% of the French who took part in the vote. So in the history of France began a new period – the V Republic. Ch. de Gaulle (1890-1970), one of the outstanding political figures of the 20th century, was elected president of the country. The party he created, the RPR, which in 1958 was transformed into the Union for a New Republic (UNR), became the ruling party. Ch. de Gaulle (1890-1970), one of the outstanding political figures of the 20th century, was elected president of the country. The party he created, the RPR, which in 1958 was transformed into the Union for a New Republic (UNR), became the ruling party. Ch. de Gaulle (1890-1970), one of the outstanding political figures of the 20th century, was elected president of the country. The party he created, the RPR, which in 1958 was transformed into the Union for a New Republic (UNR), became the ruling party.

In 1959, France announced the recognition of the right of the Algerian people to self-determination. In 1962, the Evian Agreements were signed on the cessation of hostilities. This meant the final collapse of the French colonial empire, from which all the colonies in Africa left even earlier (in 1960).

Under de Gaulle’s leadership, France pursued an independent foreign policy. She left the military

NATO organization (1966), condemned the US intervention in Indochina (1966), took a pro-Arab position during the Arab-Israeli conflict (1967). After de Gaulle’s visit to the USSR (1966), a Franco-Soviet political rapprochement emerged.

In the economic sphere, the course was taken on the so-called. dirigisme – large-scale state intervention in reproduction. The state often tried to replace business and considered it as a junior partner in economic activity. This policy, which ensured industrialization with con. 1950s, to the end. The 1960s turned out to be ineffective – France began to lag behind both in economic development and in social transformations. In May 1968, the country was shaken by an acute social and political crisis: violent student unrest and a general strike. The President dissolved the National Assembly and called early elections. They showed the strengthening of the positions of the UNR (since 1968 – the Union of Democrats for the Republic, YDR), which won St. 70% of mandates. But de Gaulle’s personal authority was shaken. In an effort to strengthen it the president decided to hold a referendum on administrative-territorial reform and reform of the Senate (April 1969). However, the majority of French people (53.17%) were against the proposed reforms. April 28, 1969 de Gaulle resigned.

In 1969 JDR candidate J. Pompidou was elected president of France, and in 1974, after his death, V. Giscard d’Estaing, leader of the center-right party National Federation of Independent Republicans, was elected president of France. During their reign, the government was headed by the Gaullists (including J. Chirac in 1974–76). From con. 1960s a gradual departure from dirigisme began, and a number of social reforms were carried out to meet the demands put forward during the crisis of 1968. In the field of foreign policy, France continued to pursue an independent line, which, however, was less rigid and more realistic. Normalized relations with the United States. With the lifting of the veto on Britain’s accession to the EU (1971), France’s efforts to expand European integration intensified. Soviet-French relations continued to develop;

The first “oil shock” of 1973–74 reversed the trend of France’s accelerated economic development; the second (1981) is the “tendency of power”: it has passed from the right, in whose hands it has been since 1958, to the socialists. In the recent history of France, the modern period has begun – a period of “coexistence”, political and economic instability, strengthening the position of business, and the gradual modernization of society.

History of France