An Underdeveloped Peace Movement: The Case of France
AbstractUnlike its European counterparts, the peace movement in France is not very strong. The reasons for this are many: The Munich Syndrome, a contempt for pacifism confused with cowardice, a desire for na tional independence in defence, a belief in the global role of France, an absence of genuine defence al ternatives acceptable to the majority of French, the role played by the Communist party, the in capability of groups favouring disarmament to agree among themselves on a minimal platform, poor re lations between trade unions, the relative weakness of religious influence, and the compromises necessary in the race for power. It is difficult to unravel clearly causes from consequences, but it seems that dominant factors are national independence, a wish to avoid conflicts with an army traumatized by decolonization and lost wars, internal dissension among those who favour disarmament, and the ab sence of a real alternative despite the scepticism surrounding the question of effective deterrence stra tegy. The French look to the chief of state for their defence. However, there are discordant voices, al though these do not express themselves in pacifist terms. The last years of the 20th century will be marked by technological, strategic asnd social changes which will redistribute some cards, among them defence. The peace movement could profit by these uncertain developments for its reinforcement.