Roundtable XX, 11 on Herrick Chapman. France’s Long Reconstruction: In Search of the Modern Republic

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Roundtable Review

Volume XX, No. 11 (2018)

2 November 2018



Roundtable Editors: Diane Labrosse and Michael C. Behrent

Roundtable and Web Production Editor: George Fujii


Introduction by Michael C. Behrent


Herrick Chapman.  France’s Long Reconstruction: In Search of the Modern Republic.  Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2018.  ISBN:  9780674976412 (hardcover, $45.00/£32.95/€40.50).




Introduction by Michael C. Behrent, Appalachian State University. 2

Review by Nicolas Delalande, Sciences Po (Paris), original French version.. 6

Review by Nicolas Delalande, Sciences Po (Paris); translated for H-Diplo by Michael C. Behrent. 10

Review by Donald M. Reid, University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill 14

Review by Christiane Reinecke, University of Leipzig.. 19

Author’s Response by Herrick Chapman, New York University. 22



© 2018 The Authors.

Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 United States License.


The period following the Second World War in Europe and the United States has, in recent years, become newly invested with utopian aspirations. Breaking with the Reagan-era mantra that government is the problem rather than the solution, US Senator and presidential candidate Bernie Sanders has reminded voters that, until quite recently, the welfare state seemed fully consistent with American political traditions. In France, Stéphane Hessel a civil servant and former résistant who was born in 1917, struck a chord with young people afflicted by prolonged economic crisis when, in a bestselling pamphlet, he celebrated the forgotten virtues of the 1944 program of the Conseil National de la Résistance (National Resistance Council), with its robust commitment to “genuine social and economic democracy” and hostility to “economic and financial fiefdoms.”[1] The postwar generation’s social and political vision, long criticized by free-market liberals and antiauthoritarian radicals alike, suddenly seems strangely contemporary.


Herrick Chapman’s new book, which offers a fascinating and meticulous account of state-led efforts to promote modernization and social equity during what he calls the “long reconstruction” following France’s liberation from German rule in 1944, is thus eminently timely. The main lesson Chapman draws from his exhaustive examination of experts’ reports, ministerial archives, and professional journals is that the postwar French state was shaped less by a single doctrine or a deliberate program than by a political dynamic: the shifting balance of forces—sometimes tense, sometimes harmonious—between state-based modernizers and their civil society interlocutors, at a moment when restoring the state’s democratic legitimacy had become imperative. The extension of the state’s reach, during this period, into ever widening domains—the labor force, immigration, social insurance, population growth, and economically strategic corporations, to name a few—had the additional effect of expanding opportunities for citizens both to participate in and contest government policy, a process that gave the French state its distinctive contours: dirigisme and social transfers, on the one hand, the constant to-and-fro of government initiatives and citizens’ pushback, on the other.


Chapman’s book builds on a body of literature that has sought not only to understand France’s stunning postwar recovery, but to characterize the political and ideological forces that made it happen. The first scholarly effort to assess the French economic miracle was In Search of France (1963), a collaborative effort by scholars on both sides of the Atlantic. Though its contributors dealt with different issues and offered competing perspectives, a recurring concern was whether France’s political system could keep pace with its rapidly modernizing economy.[2] In his important monograph, Capitalism and the State in Modern France (1981), Richard F. Kuisel turned away from the recovery’s economic achievements to its architects: high-level civil servants working in the state administration.[3] Visionaries like Jean Monnet persuaded politicians that post-war France could achieve economic stability, growth, and a just society if it abandoned free-market liberalism and French industry’s corporatist and protectionist proclivities and embraced state intervention. More recently, Philip Nord has explored the origins of the French social model that flourished after the Liberation, tracing its origins to the critique of economic liberalism and the promotion of a state-centered conception of society first undertaken in the 1930s by a medley of Catholics, nonconformists, and experts. Nord particularly emphasizes the role played by Catholics and Christian Democrats in building the postwar state.[4] What these studies emphasize is the centrality of modernizing technocrats in the state administration to the development of a distinctive French social model and a vigorous and prosperous economy.


Chapman does not reject these earlier accounts, but he organizes his study around a more capacious conception of the politics of reconstruction, extending beyond the ministerial offices in which policies were hatched.  Modernizing bureaucrats, he argues, were only one ingredient, however essential, in the postwar political mix; equally important were the interlocutors whom government officials sought out and often depended upon in civil society. The nature of these state-society interactions was highly variable, and the different policies that Chapman considers in successive chapters are intended to reflect their wide-ranging character. His broader thesis is that modernizing elites were the necessary but not sufficient cause of postwar reconstruction, since many policies—as well as the political infrastructure they created—assumed their characteristic form only when after being endorsed, challenged, or opposed by organized forces in French society.


Chapman’s examination of shopkeepers’ politics during this period is, in this respect, particularly illuminating. The tax revolt launched in 1953 by provincial shopkeeper Pierre Poujade and his Union de defense des commerçants et artisans (UDCA) in the name of protecting small businesses and provincial French values is often described as a reactionary movement, one that foreshadowed the later ascent of the National Front (not least because its leader, Jean-Marie Le Pen, was first elected to parliament as a Poujadist candidate). Without denying this characterization, Chapman prefers to view Poujadism as a critical moment in defining a game plan whereby state-led reform could be challenged and modulated by civic activism. Chapman argues that the revolt was triggered less by “small-time proprietors’ fear of the imagined supermarkets of the future” than by “their palpable struggles in the 1940s and early 1950s over how the government should regulate prices, administer rationing, and restructure taxes in the interest of the country’s postwar reconstruction” (77). The Poujade uprising was inseparable, Chapman demonstrates, from the attempt by high-level civil servants to devise a more rational tax system, spurred by American pressure and the imminent termination of Marshall funds. By protesting the burden these policies would place on shopkeepers, Poujade did not score a point for reactionary politics so much as he forced government experts to be “more responsive to the pressures of a democratic polity” (102). In May ’68, Jean-Paul Sartre referred to the ideal that the student movement opposed to the Gaullist regime as “savage democracy”; reading Chapman’s book, one is tempted to conclude that this term describes the character of postwar politics tout court.


The participants in our forum concur in acknowledging the originality and fruitfulness of approaching France’s long reconstruction from the standpoint of the conflict between modernization and democracy. They differ, however, in their assessment of this perspective’s implications. Nicolas Delalande welcomes the way in which Chapman, by focusing on multiple policy realms and the intersection between policy formation, political parties, and social actors, make good on historian Pierre Rosanvallon’s injunction to “disaggregate” the state, avoiding essentialisms (such as an allegedly invariant Jacobin tradition) and a view of the state as “a monolithic and ahistorical force.” By the same token, however, he thinks Chapman misses an opportunity to compare the French state’s development to parallel processes underway in other countries during the same period. Donald Reid also praises Chapman’s analysis of the postwar state, but the lesson he draws is not that the state must be conceptually disaggregated, but that France’s postwar political culture consisted of an almost schizophrenic tension between top-down technocracy and a quasi-anarchist appeal for society’s self-management, one that has marked the history far beyond the period Chapman covers. The insights that, for Delalande, place France on a continuum with other postwar societies highlight, for Reid, the nation’s historical particularities. While recognizing the complexity of the relationship between modernization and democracy in Chapman’s account, Christiane Reinecke observes that the latter’s fate seems “rocky and hardly linear” over this period, particularly after some of the more participatory arrangements pioneered immediately after the Liberation were discontinued.


The Algerian crisis is particularly important to Chapman’s account, Reinecke argues, because, “when it comes to the colonial situation,” the “at times strenuous relationship between democratization and state expansion, seems particularly strenuous.” Her argument that, for this reason, decolonization might have been made more central to Chapman’s book suggests some scepticism as to how reconcilable modernization and democracy in fact were during this period, at least in certain contexts.


In his through response, Chapman acknowledges the pertinence of many of the reviewers’ points, while ultimately defending an approach to history that, eschewing claims about long historical continuities or broad, transnational trends, remains committed to understanding the distinctness of a specific time and place. Invoking Frederick Cooper’s warning about the danger of misguided arguments about enduring historical relevance, Chapman suggests that the real significance of France’s long reconstruction lies not in the recipes it offers the present, but in what teaches us about the constraints—and opportunities—that building a more just and democratic society faced at an instructive if increasingly distant moment in the past.




Herrick Chapman is a professor of history at New York University. He is the author of State Capitalism and Working-Class Radicalism in the French Aircraft Industry (University of California Press, 1990) and the co-editor (with Laura L. Frader) of Race in France: Interdisciplinary Perspectives on the Politics of Difference (Berghahn Books, 2004). He is also the editor of the journal French Politics, Culture & Society.


Michael C. Behrent is an associate professor of history at Appalachian State University (Boone, North Carolina).


Nicolas Delalande is an Associate Professor at the Centre for History at Sciences Po (Paris). His research focuses on the history of the state, political economy, and social conflict in France and Western Europe since the nineteenth century. His next book, forthcoming in 2019, explores the building of transnational solidarity relations between European workers at the time of the “first globalization” (1860s-1914).


Donald Reid is professor of history at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He is the author of Germaine Tillion, Lucie Aubrac, and the Politics of Memories of the French Resistance (Cambridge Scholars Publishing: 2008) and Opening the Gates: The Lip Affair, 1968-1981 (Verso: 2018).


Christiane Reinecke is Assistant Professor of Modern European History at the University of Leipzig in Germany. Specializing in migration history, urban history, and the history of the social sciences, she is currently working on a book, “Urban Problem Zones in (Post)Colonial France and West Germany”, that is concerned with a shift from “class” to “race” and “ethnicity” in the construction of social problems in late 20th century-Western Europe. In her book Grenzen der Freizügigkeit: Migrationskontrolle in Großbritannien und Deutschland, 1880-1930 (München: Oldenbourg, 2010) she explores the tension between global migration and state control in early 20th-century Britain and Germany.


Herrick Chapman is a professor of history at New York University. He is the author of State Capitalism and Working-Class Radicalism in the French Aircraft Industry (University of California Press, 1990) and the co-editor (with Laura L. Frader) of Race in France: Interdisciplinary Perspectives on the Politics of Difference (Berghahn Books, 2004). He is also the editor of the journal French Politics, Culture & Society.



Le livre d’Herrick Chapman aborde d’un point de vue historique l’un des grands problèmes politiques et philosophiques des temps modernes : comment concilier la modernisation de l’État et l’approfondissement démocratique ? Est-il possible de renforcer les institutions tout en améliorant leur légitimité sociale ? En somme, technocratie et démocratie sont-elles vraiment compatibles ? Le grand intérêt de son ouvrage est de placer cette tension au cœur de l’analyse des transformations de l’État et de la société française, de la fin de la Seconde Guerre mondiale au début des années 1960. La question est classique, certes, mais la démarche utilisée pour y répondre ne manque pas d’originalité. Il n’est pas si fréquent qu’un livre d’histoire parvienne à tenir ensemble la logique des institutions et leurs réformes, d’une part, et la mobilisation de la société civile, à travers les partis, les syndicats ou les associations, de l’autre. Tout au long de son analyse, H. Chapman s’efforce d’accorder autant d’importance aux hauts fonctionnaires qu’aux groupes de pression (même si la balance penche, forcément, en faveur des premiers), pour tenter de comprendre comment se creuse et s’institutionnalise, au fil du temps, la tension entre modernisation administrative et légitimité démocratique.


Même s’il s’agit là d’un problème de longue durée,[5] son acuité devient plus grande encore dans la période qu’il étudie, après une défaite cinglante pour la France, suivie de l’occupation de son territoire par les troupes allemandes, de l’effondrement de la IIIe République et de la mise en place du régime de Vichy. Durant toute la phase de libération du territoire, du printemps 1944 jusqu’aux lendemains de l’armistice, l’État et la République sont à reconstruire, ce qui génère des conflits de légitimité, des luttes de pouvoir et d’âpres débats institutionnels. La France libre et le Conseil national de la Résistance ont certes préparé un programme ambitieux de réformes, que la coalition transpartisane rassemblée autour du général de Gaulle s’efforce d’appliquer dès 1944. Mais les tensions sont vives entre ceux qui mettent l’accent sur la réforme par en-haut des structures politiques et économiques, et ceux qui ont à cœur de réaliser les promesses de démocratisation et de justice sociale portées par la Résistance. Tandis que les partis politiques reprennent peu à peu leurs droits, la démission du général de Gaulle, en janvier 1946, manifeste l’impossibilité de concilier tous les points de vue. Ce rapport dialectique et conflictuel entre modernisation et démocratie s’exprime à nouveau en 1958, mais bascule cette fois-ci en faveur de la vision gaullienne des institutions, dans le contexte particulièrement lourd et troublé de la guerre d’Algérie, et face à la disqualification des forces politiques de la IVe République. Ces deux phases de transition politique et institutionnelle font écho à celle des années 1870, qui avait vu la IIIe République naître dans la douleur, après la guerre franco-prussienne et la Commune. À cette époque, déjà, la volonté de reconstruction nationale, à travers les réformes de l’armée et de l’école, était indissociable de la quête d’une nouvelle légitimité populaire.[6]


H. Chapman propose de placer toute la période 1944-1962 sous l’angle de ce qu’il nomme la « Longue Reconstruction ». Plutôt que suivre un découpage de l’histoire fondé sur la succession des régimes politiques, il invite à penser les problèmes qui se posent à la démocratie française sur la moyenne durée, en n’hésitant pas, lorsque cela est nécessaire, à remonter jusqu’aux années 1930. Ce grand arc chronologique n’est d’ailleurs pas sans rappeler une autre « Reconstruction », celle de la République américaine après la fin de la Guerre civile en 1865. Comme d’autres avant lui, H. Chapman souligne les continuités qui relient les années 1930 aux années 1950, sans pour autant minimiser les profondes ruptures introduites par la guerre et par l’Occupation. Le propos s’inscrit, en cela, dans le sillage de précédents livres qui avaient déjà souligné la nécessité de penser les transformations de l’État, de l’économie et de la société de part et d’autre de la Seconde Guerre mondiale et du régime de Vichy. On songe bien sûr aux études célèbres de Stanley Hoffmann et Richard Kuisel, ou plus récemment à celle que Philip Nord a consacrée au « New Deal français », dans une veine assez proche de celle ici défendue.[7]


Plus originale est la manière dont H. Chapman prolonge l’analyse de la Reconstruction et de ses dilemmes jusqu’au début des années 1960. Ce choix chronologique fait apparaître à quel point, pour de nombreux acteurs, la crise de 1958 fut une façon de reprendre le projet gaullien là où il avait échoué en janvier 1946, et d’assumer plus ouvertement la dimension verticale du pouvoir et des réformes menées dans le domaine institutionnel, politique et économique. Sont aussi en germe, dès cette époque, les tensions entre le modernisme centralisateur et les revendications d’autonomie de la société, qui éclateront au grand jour après 1968. En dilatant la période de la « Reconstruction », dont il montre qu’elle courut sur plusieurs décennies (comme l’illustre, sur le plan de l’urbanisme, la reconstruction de la ville du Havre, évoquée dans la conclusion), H. Chapman réduit les « Trente Glorieuses », célébrées par Jean Fourastié à la fin des années 1970, à la portion congrue. Il ne reste plus grand-chose de ce mythe rétrospectif, dès lors que l’historien intègre à son raisonnement le poids des guerres coloniales, des affrontements politiques et des violences sociales qui jalonnent ce lent et conflictuel processus de reconstruction de l’État et de la République.[8]


Plutôt que d’offrir un propos général et sans nuance sur l’État français, sur le jacobinisme ou sur le pouvoir des hauts fonctionnaires, H. Chapman s’intéresse aux « configurations multiples de l’État » (« a regime of multiple configurations of the state, » 311). Il applique en cela l’un des quatre impératifs de méthode, celui de la « déglobalisation », qu’avait proposés Pierre Rosanvallon à la fin des années 1980 pour sortir des discours convenus sur l’étatisme français et l’atrophie de la société civile.[9] Plus récemment, de nombreux politistes, à l’image de Peter Baldwin, ont mis en évidence les limites intellectuelles d’une opposition binaire entre « État fort » et « État faible », qui ne permet plus de décrire, ni de comprendre, les processus de transformation de la puissance publique.[10] C’est pourquoi l’analyse d’H. Chapman repose sur la prise en compte de plusieurs secteurs de politiques publiques, au sein desquels l’équilibre des pouvoirs entre l’État, les experts et la société civile varie grandement. L’éclatement thématique du livre, qui aborde en ses divers chapitres les politiques de la main d’œuvre, les réformes fiscales, la politique familiale, les nationalisations ou bien encore l’impact de la guerre d’Algérie sur l’organisation des pouvoirs publics, n’est pas la source d’une quelconque dispersion ; il est plutôt ce qui lui confère sa richesse, en lui évitant d’essentialiser les réalités historiques ou de concevoir l’État comme une force monolithique et atemporelle. Il s’agit donc d’une histoire politique au sens plein du terme, où sont abordés ensemble la fabrique des politiques publiques, le rôle des partis et des acteurs sociaux, et les débats suscités par la reconstruction de la communauté nationale.


La capacité des hauts fonctionnaires et des experts à appliquer leurs projets de modernisation dépend de trois critères énoncés dans la conclusion de l’ouvrage (305 et suiv.) : le degré de convergence entre les plans de modernisation et la manière dont les groupes sociaux perçoivent leurs intérêts, la distribution de l’expertise dans et en dehors de l’État, et la cohérence des structures de l’État dans la promotion des réformes. Cette grille de lecture permet à l’auteur de distinguer les secteurs où les réformateurs parviennent à leurs fins sans trop de résistance (dans le cas de certaines nationalisations), ceux où ils sont obligés de coopérer avec les acteurs de la société civile (en matière de politique familiale), enfin ceux où les visées modernisatrices génèrent des tensions sociales extrêmement fortes (comme l’illustre la révolte poujadiste contre le renforcement des contrôles fiscaux et la création de la TVA en 1954-1956), voire échouent largement (comme dans le domaine des migrations et des politiques de main d’œuvre, où l’Office national de l’immigration peine à orienter les flux selon les critères initialement retenus).


Cette approche par les politiques publiques permet aussi de penser les liens entre la « main gauche » et la « main droite » de l’État, par exemple lorsque l’auteur souligne la porosité entre les formes d’action sociale menées vis-à-vis des travailleurs algériens, d’une part, et la volonté des autorités de contrôler et surveiller ces mêmes populations, de l’autre. Pour chacun des sujets abordés, H. Chapman restitue les divergences de vue, parfois profondes, entre les ministères impliqués (Travail, Santé publique et Population, Intérieur, Finances, etc.) et les sensibilités différentes qui s’expriment au sein des associations et des syndicats (à l’image des relations parfois tendues entre le courant « familialiste » et le courant « populationniste » en matière d’attribution et de gestion des allocations familiales). La biographie croisée qu’il propose de Pierre Mendès France et de Michel Debré, dans son chapitre 6, montre de manière fort instructive comment ces deux figures centrales de la Reconstruction ont connu, malgré l’ampleur de leurs divergences politiques (surtout après 1958), des trajectoires proches l’une de l’autre dans le service de l’État. Leur face-à-face radiophonique à l’occasion de l’élection présidentielle de 1965 illustre la vigueur des conflits qui traversent l’appareil d’État, entre la recherche de l’efficacité institutionnelle et le souci de la justice et de la démocratie.


Même s’il n’en fait pas le cœur de son argumentation, H. Chapman s’efforce toujours de rappeler à quel point la Reconstruction fut fortement dépendante du contexte impérial et international dans lequel elle s’inscrivait. À l’évidence, la guerre froide, le plan Marshall puis la construction européenne ont eu un impact direct sur l’élaboration des politiques publiques, ne serait-ce qu’après l’exclusion des ministres communistes du gouvernement en 1947. Certes, beaucoup de pays ont eu à renaître de leurs cendres après la Seconde Guerre mondiale, mais peu l’ont fait en étant confronté à deux guerres coloniales extrêmement longues et violentes, en Indochine puis en Algérie. Si l’on raisonne à l’échelle impériale, et non plus simplement métropolitaine, la guerre est loin d’être terminée en 1945. C’est d’ailleurs pourquoi le livre se prolonge jusqu’en 1962, avec la signature des accords d’Évian. Alors seulement se dénoue la crise de « l’État-nation empire » commencée dans les années 1930, qui marque durablement les premières années de la Ve République. La situation insurrectionnelle facilite le retour au pouvoir du général de Gaulle et confère au pouvoir exécutif, en particulier au président de la République (bientôt élu au suffrage universel direct), des prérogatives d’une ampleur inédite sous un régime républicain.[11] H. Chapman insiste à raison sur la place centrale de la violence, fût-elle terroriste (l’OAS), policière (lors des massacres commis par les forces de l’ordre le 17 octobre 1961 et le 8 février 1962), ou, dans une moindre mesure, sociale (à travers les manifestations paysannes du début des années 1960, par exemple), au cours de cette période de consolidation du pouvoir gaullien.


Malgré cette prise en compte bienvenue des facteurs impériaux et internationaux, le livre offre assez peu de points de vue comparatifs sur le processus de Reconstruction lui-même. Les exemples étatsuniens et britanniques sont ponctuellement mentionnés, sans pour autant que soit précisé ce qu’il y aurait de spécifique dans la relation entre État et société civile dans le cas français. Le renforcement des experts et des technocrates, et les tensions qu’il suscite, sont-ils des phénomènes propres à la France, ou valent-ils pour la plupart des pays qui ont dû se reconstruire et se moderniser dans les années 1950-1960 ? La Seconde Guerre mondiale a durablement transformé la capacité des États à encadrer leur population et à gouverner leur économie, comme l’indique une bibliographie très riche sur le sujet (sur les États-Unis, la Suède ou le Japon, parmi de très nombreux exemples). Mais, un peu partout aussi, cette expansion des pouvoirs de l’État a rapidement suscité des contestations, de plus en plus audibles et massives au cours des années 1960. Une approche transnationale et globale de la Reconstruction, à l’image de ce que Kiran Klaus Patel a récemment accompli sur le New Deal,[12] pourrait seule permettre de faire la part entre ce qui tient à la culture politique française et à sa longue durée (en matière de formation des serviteurs de l’État, de rapport à l’intérêt général et d’expression de la contestation sociale), et ce qui dépend d’une configuration plus large, liée aux mutations structurelles de l’action publique et du gouvernement des sociétés, après les chocs conjugués de la Grande Dépression et de la Seconde Guerre mondiale.


France’s Long Reconstruction est en définitive un très bon livre de synthèse, dont l’argumentation forte et cohérente se nourrit d’études de cas riches et précises. Il repose sur une connaissance approfondie de la bibliographie en langue anglaise et française sur la période, ce qui n’est finalement pas si fréquent. La qualité du propos souffre, par endroits, de coquilles ou d’erreurs dommageables dans la retranscription des termes français, qu’une prochaine édition devrait aider à corriger. Mais l’essentiel est ailleurs : en faisant de la tension entre modernisation de l’État et participation démocratique une grille de lecture centrale pour analyser les dynamiques de l’histoire de France, H. Chapman éclaire aussi d’un nouveau jour l’actualité récente, marquée par une recomposition profonde du champ politique, par la délégitimation des corps intermédiaires, et par la réaffirmation d’une conception on ne peut plus verticale du pouvoir présidentiel. Les conflits entre les prétentions technocratiques et la légitimité démocratique ne sont, à l’évidence, pas prêts de se refermer.



Herrick Chapman’s book takes an historical approach to one of the major political and philosophical problems of modern times: how does one reconcile the modernization of the state and the expansion of democracy? Is it possible to strengthen institutions while enhancing their social legitimacy? In short, are technocracy and democracy really compatible? The great interest of his book lies in the way it places this tension at the heart of its analysis of the transformation of state and society in France from the end of the Second World War until the early 1960s. This is a classic question, of course, but the approach Chapman takes is not without originality. It is not that common for a work of history to connect institutional dynamics and reform, on the one hand, and, on the other, the mobilization of civil society through parties, unions, and associations. Throughout his analysis, Chapman endeavors to pay as much attention to top civil servants as to pressure groups (even if the scale necessarily tilts towards the former), in order to understand how the tension between administrative modernization and democratic legitimacy has, over time, deepened and institutionalized itself.


While this may be a longue durée problem,[13] it is particularly instructive when applied to the period the book covers: the aftermath of France’s stinging defeat in May-June 1940, followed by the occupation of French territory by German troops, the collapse of the Third Republic, and the creation of the Vichy regime. Throughout the phase when France was being liberated, from the spring of 1944 until after the armistice, the state and the republic had to be rebuilt, a situation that led to conflicts over legitimacy, power struggles, and bitter institutional debates. Free France and the National Council of the Resistance did, of course, plan an ambitious reform program, which the multi-party coalition gathered around General Charles de Gaulle attempted to implement beginning in 1944. Yet tensions were great between those who emphasized reforming political and economic structures from above and those who were intent on realizing the promise of democracy and social justice embraced by the Resistance. As political parties gradually reclaimed their authority, de Gaulle’s resignation as head of the provisional government in January 1946 demonstrated the impossibility of reconciling all perspectives. The dialectical and conflictual relationship between modernization and democracy expressed itself anew in 1958, yet this time it shifted in favor of the Gaullist vision of institutions, in the particularly grave and troubled context of the Algerian War and at a time when the Fourth Republic’s political forces had been discredited. The two phases of political and institutional transition recall the 1870s, when the Third Republic was born in agony following the French defeat in the Franco-Prussian War and the emergence of the Paris Commune. Already in this period, the will to rebuild the nation by reforming the military and the education system was inseparable from the quest for new popular legitimacy.[14]


Chapman suggests that we view the entire period between 1944 and 1962 from the standpoint of what he calls the “long reconstruction.” Rather than follow a breakdown of periods based on the succession of political regimes, he asks us to consider the problems that French democracy faced over the medium term, without hesitating, when necessary, to go back as far as the 1930s. This grand chronological arc evokes, incidentally, another ‘reconstruction’: that of the American republic, after the Civil War ended in 1865. Like others before him, Chapman emphasizes the continuities between the 1930s and 1950s, without minimizing the deep ruptures brought about by war and the Occupation. His argument thus builds on previous books that have underscored the need to consider the transformation of state, economy, and society by examining the years before and after the Second World War and the Vichy regime. One thinks, naturally, of the well-known studies by Stanley Hoffmann and Richard Kuisel, and, more recently, of Philip Nord’s work on the “French New Deal,” all of which are written in a vein quite similar to the book under review.[15]


More original is the way Chapman extends his analysis of reconstruction and its dilemmas to the early 1960s. This chronological choice brings to light the extent to which the 1958 crisis was, for many actors, a way of revisiting the Gaullist project where it had failed in January 1946, and to embrace more openly a vertical conception of power and the reforms to be undertaken in the institutional, political, and economic realm. Already in this period, one finds the seeds of the tension between centralizing modernizers and society’s demand for autonomy, which burst into the open in 1968. By dilating the period of “reconstruction,” which, he shows, lasted several decades (a fact illustrated, from an urban development standpoint, by the reconstruction of Le Havre, which is mentioned in the conclusion), Chapman scales the ‘Trente Glorieuses’ (the ‘the thirty glorious’ years of postwar growth) down to size.  Little remains of this retrospective myth, once historians have integrated into their thinking the burden of colonial wars, political confrontation, and social violence that punctuated the long and conflictual process of rebuilding the state and the republic.[16]


Rather than subscribe to broad and unnuanced claims about the French state, Jacobinism, and the power of top civil servants, Chapman is interested in “a regime of multiple configurations of the state” (311). In this way, he follows one of the four methodological imperatives proposed in the late 1980s by Pierre Rosanvallon, that of “disaggregation” (déglobalisation), as a way of avoiding the conventional wisdom about French statism and the atrophy of civil society.[17] More recently, many political scientists, notably Peter Baldwin, have highlighted the intellectual shortcomings of binary oppositions between “strong states” and “weak states,” which make it difficult to describe and understand processes whereby public institutions are transformed.[18] This is why Chapman’s analysis is based on a consideration of several sectors of the public realm, within which the balance of power between the state, experts, and civil society varied greatly. The book’s thematic dispersion, which, in its various chapters, addresses manpower policies, tax reform, family policy, nationalization, and even the impact of the Algerian War on state organization, does not mean that the book’s focus is scattered; to the contrary, this structure is the source of its richness, as it avoids essentializing historical realities or conceiving of the state as a monolithic and ahistorical force. It is, in this way, a political history in the fullest sense of the term, in that it examines concurrently the making of public policy, the role of political parties and social actors, and debates that reconstruction triggered within the national community.


The ability of top civil servants and experts to pursue their modernizing projects depended on three criteria laid out in the book’s conclusion (304 and following): the degree of convergence between modernization plans and social groups’ perceptions of their interests, the distribution of expertise inside and outside the state, and the coherence with which state structures promoted reform. This analytical framework allows Chapman to distinguish sectors in which reformers achieved their goals with relatively little resistance (as in the case of some nationalizations), those in which they were forced to cooperate with civil society actors (as with family policy), and, finally, those in which modernizing ideas generated very great social tensions (as illustrated by the Poujadist revolt against heightened tax controls and the creation of a value-added tax in 1954-1956) and mostly failed (as with migration and manpower policies, in which the National Immigration Office struggled to direct migratory flows according to the initial criteria).


This policy-based approach also makes it possible to examine the connections between the state’s ‘right’ and ‘left hand,’ to use Pierre Bourdieu’s terms, as for example when Chapman emphasizes the porousness between the forms of social action undertaken towards Algerian workers, and authorities’ desire to control and surveil this very population. For each of the question he addresses, Chapman restores the often deep differences in perspective between the concerned ministries (Labor, Public Health and Population, Interior, Finance, and so on) and the different tendencies present in associations and unions (such as the often tense relationship between the ‘family-oriented’ and ‘population-oriented’ currents in the domain of family allowance distribution and management). The intersecting biographies he presents in chapter 6 of Pierre Mendès France and Michel Debré, two high-level civil servants who entered politics and became prime ministers (in 1954 and 1958, respectively) demonstrate very instructively how, despite major differences in their political outlooks (particularly after 1958), the trajectories of these two central figures in the reconstruction efforts occurred in close proximity to one another through their service to the state. Their radio showdown during the 1965 presidential election illustrates the vigor of the conflicts running through the state apparatus, which was split between a quest for institutional efficiency, on the one hand, and a concern for justice and democracy, on the other.


Though it is not his primary argument, Chapman always seek to recall the extent to which reconstruction was heavily dependent on the imperial and international context in which it occurred. Clearly, the Cold War, the Marshall Plan, and European construction all had a direct impact on the elaboration of policy, in particular after the exclusion from the government of the Communist ministers in 1947, when the Cold War really began and started to impact national politics. Of course, many countries had to be reborn from their ashes after the Second World War. Yet few did so while grappling with two extremely long and violent colonial wars, in this case in Indochina and Algeria. From an imperial rather than simply a metropolitan perspective, the war was far from over in 1945. This is, moreover, the reason why the book goes up to 1962, with the signing of Evian Accords, which brought the war to an end and paved the way for Algeria’s independence. Only then was the crisis of the ‘imperial nation-state,’ which began in the 1930s and left a lasting imprint on the early Fifth Republic, resolved. The insurrectionary climate facilitated de Gaulle’s return to power and endowed executive power, particularly the power of the president (who would soon be elected by universal suffrage), prerogatives that were previously unheard of under a republican system.[19] Chapman rightly insists on the central role of violence, whether by terrorists (the Organisation armée secrète, OAS), the police (as with the massacres committed by security forces on 17 October 1961 and 8 February 1962), or, to a lesser extent, social actors (such as the farmers’ demonstrations in the early 1960s), over the course of this period in which Gaullist power consolidated itself.


Despite this welcome consideration of imperial and international factors, the book offers relatively few comparative perspectives on the reconstruction process itself. The American and British examples are occasionally mentioned, with no attempt to pinpoint what is specific about state-civil society relations in France. Is the enhanced role of experts and technocrats and the tensions it generates a uniquely French phenomenon, or is it characteristic of most countries that had to rebuild and modernize themselves in the 1950s and 1960s? The Second World War permanently changed the ability of states to manage their populations and govern their economies, as the rich literature on the topic attests (relating to the United States, Sweden, and Japan, among many examples)[20]. Yet pretty much everywhere, this expansion of the state’s power quickly provoked contestation, which became increasingly loud and massive in the course of the 1960s. Only a transnational and global approach to reconstruction, along the lines of what Kiran Klaus Patel has recently done for the New Deal,[21] would make it possible to determine which factors can be attributed to French political culture and its longue durée (as it relates to the training of civil servants, the conception of the public interest, and the expression of social discord) and which depend on broader configurations, tied to the structural changes in public action and the governing of society in the wake of the twin crises of the Great Depression and the Second World War. 


Ultimately, France’s Long Reconstruction is a very good synthesis, one that is forcefully and coherently argued, drawing on rich and precise case studies. It rests on a deep knowledge of the English-language and French literature on this period, which is not particularly common. The quality of its thesis is, at times, weakened by detrimental typos and errors in the transcription of French terms, which a subsequent edition should be able to correct. But this is not the key point: by making the tension between state modernization and democratic participation the central interpretive framework for analyzing the dynamics of French history, Chapman sheds new light on recent events, which have been marked by a profound reconfiguration of the political landscape, the delegitimation of intermediary bodies, and a reassertion of a highly vertical conception of presidential power. An end to the conflict between technocratic aspirations and democratic legitimacy is not, apparently, in sight.



Herrick Chapman’s France’s Long Reconstruction. In Search of the Modern Republic captures the initiatives and uncertainties of the postwar decades which no one realized were ‘glorious’ until they had passed. It provides a new and revealing analysis of the political economy which developed after the war and reached fruition in the Fifth Republic. Chapman shows that the long period of reconstruction involved the state in relationships, both conflictual and cooperative, with movements and institutions in civil society and that these shaped the nature and application of policies in ways that interpretation of them as solely state plans and projects has obscured. France’s Long Reconstruction follows from Chapman’s State Capitalism and Working-Class Radicalism in the French Aircraft Industry, in which he studied the relationship of the Ministry of Air to organized labor, which shared goals with the Ministry, but contested and shaped their application. The unions saw the workers’ well-being as tied to aircraft production, which they conceived of as an industry of the future, rather than solely in the protection of workers’ position in the existing system of production; they demanded in turn that their understandings of this future be recognized.[22]


France’s Long Reconstruction examines the enactment of a form of enlightened despotism in a democracy. All agreed that the state should serve as the “pilot and engine” of reconstruction (2). The nascent postwar state created a ministry devoted to reconstruction in 1944 and this ministry kept reconstruction in its name until 1966. France experienced significant material destruction during World War II, but the devastation of the polity was equally important. Chapman’s interpretation of reconstruction brings these two elements together. Although the term reconstruction can suggest the building of what existed before, it entails the creation of a new regime rather than revival of the old; this was the case in the United States after the Civil War and in Iraq after the fall of President Saddam Hussein. The Fourth Republic is often interpreted in terms of its similarity to the Third Republic; Chapman underscores its new, more interventionist, qualities. The subtitle of Chapman’s book is a nod to In Search of France, a canonical text of 1963 on early Fifth Republic France by Stanley Hoffmann and a team of American and French scholars which set the agenda for research for a decade. The France of Hoffmann and his colleagues was a product of the modern republic Chapman explores.[23]


Important elements of the “long reconstruction,” which Chapman sees ending in 1962, were conceived during the war in Vichy and in London. Some planners, now criticized for their work during the Occupation, were recognized in the immediate postwar period for their expertise with its scientistic, apolitical aura. And, in turn, Chapman sees the shared background in the Resistance of workers and directors at the heart of the successes of the nationalized Électricité de France (EDF). The Resistance also fed the utopian dream of experts’ rule as well as providing the basis for a permanent critique of the postwar state. This critique draws on the myth of the Resistance as constituting what Jean-Paul Sartre referred to as “the republic of silence” which, when it emerged and spoke, could only disappoint.[24] The Conseil national de la Résistance charter of 1944 helped keep Resistance groups together after the war (169-71) and has continued to inspire many French, as the embrace of Stéphane Hessel’s Indignez-vous! (2010) revealed.[25] However, the technocrats Chapman studies, whether resisters or not, were more inclined to treat the war as a break which gave France the chance to implement ideas and programs conceived earlier, when they had had little chance of being put into practice.


Chapman goes beyond the simple affirmation that Charles de Gaulle, leader of the Free French, and his deputy, Michel Debré, got in the Fifth Republic the constitution with a strong executive that they had sought after the war. He shows that what could be done and what they would do with this power developed in the intervening period. Chapman’s analyses of labor migration, family policy, and nationalization of enterprises and industries show that the expert-driven policies of the Fifth Republic were far from a full break with the Fourth Republic and that this legacy in turn led the Fifth Republic to remain more responsive to interest groups in civil society than has been recognized. Chapman innovates in periodization as well in his emphasis on the importance of the “fateful dismissal of Communist ministers” (127) in June 1947 as an important turning point, the beginning a “Thermidorian passage” (199) in 1947-48, evoking the iconic periodization of the French Revolution marked by the fall of Robespierre.  

Most historical studies of the modern state are by their nature or their politics either top down—state programs, their aims, and success or failure at putting them into practice—or bottom up studies of individuals, groups, and movements that oppose or embrace state initiatives. Chapman, however, examines both the state and civil society and the nature and results of their interactions and intermeshing. He shows in a diversity of situations that both the pressure from outright resistance and the structures through which political parties, interest groups, unions, and associations of citizens and consumers exercise forms of control, initiative, and expertise, were important constituent elements of the expert-led direction and management of postwar French economy and society. The result was far from the stasis of an autocratic state with corporate bodies. France established parliamentary democracy after the war and an elected presidency in the Fifth Republic, but Chapman reveals the importance of other forms of popular expression as well in the creation of the distinctly French republican state.  


Shopkeepers saw themselves as victims, not vectors, of experts’ plans to modernize France. Chapman begins his study of populist Pierre Poujade’s movement with an examination of the largely unexplored protests of rural small businessmen against state regulation of the retail trade in 1947 and follows this group through the anti-tax protests of the next decade. The left frequently seeks to conjure up the spirit of the Paris Commune, but the Poujadists did not have to evoke the past for their harassment of inspectors doing tax audits to recall attacks on Old Regime tax collectors. The fifty-two Poujadist deputies elected in 1956 showed no interest in presenting an alternative expertise in the form of other tax policies, but the protests did force the state to limit tax audits. Postwar France was an international pioneer in the development and implementation of the value-added tax, but Poujadist protests limited experts’ assertion of state power in the collection of taxes.


The antithesis to the Poujadist check on experts’ tax plans was the state’s development and implementation of family policy after the war. In this case, there were numerous sources of expertise in civil society which often differed with state specialists and among themselves. Chapman rightly emphasizes the importance of the caisses, fund offices which the state established to administer the social security and family allowance systems. These geographically based self-governing offices drew from unions, employers, and family associations, and became integral to any state policy concerning their activities. Women played an important role in their operation. Subject to democratic control, the caisses, and the various bodies on which they drew, developed expertise and initiative: “ideas for reform came as much from below as above” (162).


Postwar nationalization of selected industries provided the basis of economic growth in the private sector and fit well into the technocratic worldview. Direction and incentives that nationalized enterprises could provide were the basis of French state economic planning. As Chapman shows, these nationalizations were not of a piece. Banks were much less changed by nationalization than a public utility like the EDF, where workers, like those in the aircraft industry, saw themselves as agents of modernization, whose modalities they could promote or contest.


Chapman is well aware of the limits of technocratic ideologies. They have a place for group material interests, but are less able to recognize and deal with assertions of difference and identity. This is a quality technocracy shares with French universalism. To the extent that the state technocrats addressed the war in Algeria, they did so in terms of programs like regroupment centers or economic development in the Constantine Plan. In the latter, Chapman writes, the Algerian War “became a crucible through which state planners in France gained confidence in what planning might do.” (286) However, neither of these large demographic and economic projects dealt clearly with the fundamental political reasons why the Algerians were at war with France. The “long reconstruction” also saw the deconstruction of the French overseas empire. Experts in Paris, operating in dialogue and confrontation with the newly independent nations, secured a diplomatic, political, military, and economic structure rooted in what had preceded it. Chapman’s model could be applied to the study of this history as well.


With the concentration of power and initiative in the presidency and the ministries at the expense of parliament in the early Fifth Republic, a situation abetted by experts’ pride in their success achieving the “long reconstruction,” conditions were created for what Chapman terms “a specter of regime crisis” in May 1968 (312). Such crises have recurred periodically in protests directed against state action over the funding of parochial schools in 1984, pension reform in 1995, and labor law and policies in 2006. This leads Chapman to reflect on how participation in the operation of a dirigiste state on the one hand and the periodic imperative of nationwide protests on the other has affected the nature of parties, associations, and interest groups in modern France. One place to look is the Church in the decades of the “long reconstruction,” where new forces developed at the same time as Chapman’s “modern republic.”


The challenges presented in the mid-1950s by Abbé Pierre and Father Joseph Wrezinski to the exclusion of groups from the prosperity of the ‘thirty glorious’ years were framed in terms of a Catholic humanism which, better than Old Left ideologies, marked by parliamentarianism and state socialism, offered a response to “technocracy…. with its connotations of elitism, cold abstraction, and detachment from ‘human’ experience.” (247) The very imbrication of the Socialists and the Communists and of the dominant trade union, the Confédération générale du travail (CGT), in the French mode of reconstruction made forms of left Catholicism a central means of challenging the goals of this reconstruction or offering alternative ways of achieving them.[26] One sees this in both the Parti Socialiste Unifié (PSU) and the Confédération française démocratique du travail (CFDT) in the years leading up to May 1968 and the period immediately following.


Chapman’s work makes clear why the ideology of self-management took root in France during the long reconstruction more than in any other capitalist democracy.[27] He is particularly innovative in his study of groups which contested the rule of state experts with their own alternative expertise. The years Chapman examines are also those which saw the recognition of a new working class exercising new forms of expertise and seeking new forms of control in the enterprise. Self-management was fundamentally concerned with the distribution of expertise and the democratic participation in decision-making and in this it was the clearest response to the dynamics of the long reconstruction.


Michel Rocard, a graduate of the École nationale d'administration (ENA) and an inspecteur des finances, was a technocrat in his training and expertise who voiced this democratic critique of technocracy. As leader of the PSU, he worked to make expertise subject to democratic control. His damning report in 1959 on regroupment centers into which the French army herded rural Algerians can be read as a critique of technocrats’ way of waging war.[28] Important elements of the emergent New Left came from the ranks of antiwar activists, many of whom saw in both the war, and the Fifth Republic to which it led, evidence of the need for a form of democratization far from state mandates or ratification by referendums.[29]

Chapman’s analysis also provides an opportunity to rethink a leading French export of the Fourth Republic and first decades of the Fifth Republic: ideas. That technocracy is the antithesis of existentialism offers an explanation of why this philosophy took root in the first decade of the Fourth Republic and why in turn Michel Foucault and other thinkers of the 1968 years were so aware of the mechanisms of power at work in the state and in sites that seemingly checked or opposed these mechanisms. From another perspective, historian and public intellectual Pierre Rosanvallon has roots in the participatory democracy and associations that confronted Gaullism in the first decades of the Fifth Republic. He is today one of the most creative exponents of the need for and benefits of a restriction of executive power, not in the name of the freedom of market actors, but to draw on the ideas and commitment of a democratic citizenry.[30]             


Although Chapman’s study ends in 1962, the modern republic whose origins he studies remains. As his research would lead us to expect, it is changing and changed by confrontations and interaction with elements of civil society. The strength of insurgent forces on the right and left, led by Marine Le Pen and Jean-Luc Mélenchon, in the first round of the 2017 presidential election revealed discontent with the existing political elites, but Emmanuel Macron’s victory in the second round was that of a representative of an elite which champions an ideology of expertise and expresses confidence in the market. It provides the core of an activist state of market technocrats which, rather than directly taking on social problems, sees selected state social programs and policies as the problems themselves which need to be addressed. After the success of Macron’s La République en marche! in the June 2017 parliamentary elections, Patrick Weil saw this elite assuming control without politicians serving as intermediaries as they had done before: “Like the animals of George Orwell’s Animal Farm, they have decided to overthrow their political masters on the right, left, and center, all judged to be old and out of touch, and to rule directly.”[31] But these new animal masters are not free of the challenge of other visions of a humane society. Elements of resistance, participation, and expertise with antecedents in the projects and conflicts Chapman studies in postwar France may still offer alternatives in civil society and the state to new forms of populism and technocracy today.

Review by Christiane Reinecke, University of Leipzig

Modernity’s dark side has become a central theme in twentieth-century European history. Or rather: the authoritarian side of a technocratic reordering of society in the name of modernity has. The ambiguities of state-based modernization in what James C. Scott has called a period of “high modernity” have caught the attention of a number of historians. Exploring various forms of social engineering, from population policies to modernist mass housing, in fascist Germany as well as in socio-democratic Sweden or Imperial Britain, their analyses suggest that a state-based modernization rooted in expertise and driven by a strong belief in planning started to gain importance in the First World War and lost momentum over the course of the 1960s. Herrick Chapman’s inspiring study on post-war reconstruction in metropolitan France can be read as a contribution to this debate.

It is, however, less modernization’s dark side that the historian explores in this analysis; it is the often complicated relationship between the democratic and modernizing endeavours of French political elites in the aftermath of World War II. Late twentieth-century France with its five-year plans, with its technocratic elite trained in the country’s prestigious grandes écoles and its presidential system installed under Charles de Gaulle has often been seen as the epitome of a strong centralized state. Focussing on what he calls a period of “long reconstruction” from 1944 to 1962, Chapman analyses the (re)building of state institutions in post-war France and the shaping of a dirigiste regime aiming to modernise the French economy and society from above. At the same time, he systematically asks how the establishment of a rule of experts in post-war France was counter-balanced by democratic structures and public participation from below. In his study, the period stretching between the end of Vichy rule and Algerian independence thus appears to be marked by both a concentration of power in the hands of top-level experts and a democratic-republican fervor hardened by the experience of German occupation.


In order to integrate both top-down and bottom-up developments, Chapman focusses on four political domains and dedicates a chapter to each of them: 1) labour market policies and the regulation of immigration, 2) tax policies and the regulation of the retail market, 3) family policies and the administration of family-centred social security payments, 4) the nationalization of enterprises and their management. In addition, three more chapters frame the analysis: The first chapter is concerned with the transition period after the end of the Vichy regime. It discusses how state institutions as well as the trust in the state came to be rebuilt in 1944-1945. The second chapter centres on the political visions and careers of two influential political figures of the reconstruction period, Pierre Mendès France and Michel Debré. While both acted as prime ministers in the Fourth and Fifth Republic—Mendès France in 1954-1955, Debré from 1959 to 1962—they had contrasting views on the role of technocratic expertise and the structure of democratic rule. Together with de Gaulle, Debré helped to install the strong executive powers that came to characterise the political regime of the Fifth Republic. Pierre Mendès France turned into an outspoken critique of this very regime, and the chapter compares their ideas and political strategies. Finally, a concluding chapter discusses the impact of the Algerian War on the expansion of state authority in metropolitan France.


Touching on these different political domains and their specific trajectories, Chapman traces the growing influence of a cast of high-level civil servants in different parts of French society. He argues that state authority and the rule of experts in the late 1940s and 1950s tended to be stronger in some domains and more contested in others: The French state was not equally interventionist in all political fields. Tax reform was a much more expert-driven, dirigiste field than the regulation of labour migration since it developed after the end of the war. Mostly responding to financial necessities and to the pressures from Marshall Fund administrators, French political elites started an encompassing tax reform in the late 1940s. They introduced new taxes and made changes to the system of local tax inspection. While indeed helping to restore public finances, this tax reform met with fierce resistance. It became the basis for the “biggest tax rebellion in the history of modern France,” (p. 93) i.e. the protests led by businessman Pierre Poujade that had turned into a broad national movement by 1955. While politically conservative, the Poujadists succeeded in dimming further attempts to reform taxes. In response to the Poujadist protests, the experts in charge also reduced the tax burden on small commerce. Chapman thus shows that in taxation and shop-keeper politics, leading civil servants, mostly from within the Ministry of Finance, initiated all major policy changes, whilst still responding to political pressure ‘from below.’


Compared to the domain of tax reform, the regulation of labour migration appears to have been much less dirigiste and expert-driven. Like in other Western European countries, France’s labour market and its immigration policies initially responded to a severe shortage of labour in the aftermath of the war. At the same time, populationist concerns regarding the ethnic make-up of the migrant population impacted on the political initiatives of state authorities. Yet despite the conflicting agendas of the Ministry of Labour and the Ministry of Population, a mildly dirigiste migration regime emerged. It allowed European migrants (and their employers) ample room for manoeuver. At the same time, administrative elites intervened more in the life and labour of Algerians and their families. Faced with a growing anti-colonial nationalism in Algeria and other parts of the French empire, state experts strove to monitor and control the movement of Algerian Muslim migrants in particular, while also investing in social services in order to spur the migrants’ loyalty to metropolitan France.


Democratic renewal appears in Chapman’s book as a rather rocky and hardly linear path. The analysis illustrates how participatory structures that had been established after the Liberation as part of a “leftward shift in public sentiment” did not endure (177). In (most) nationalized public enterprises, workers and unions came to lose at least some of the influence they had acquired between 1944 and 1947. While the nationalization of enterprises itself became widely accepted, officials were not all prepared to allow for employees (and their Communist unions in particular) to participate in the management of public enterprises. At their expense, top officials shifted some of the decision-making back to the company heads or to the ministries. The administration of family allowances, on the other hand, continued to allow for the participation and self-expertisation of a rather broad branch of societal groups. According to Chapman, family politics turned into a highly contested domain, torn between conflicting gender-ideals, after the pronatalist consensus that had been at the heart of French family politics in the mid-1940s began to erode. Accordingly, family politics was much less top-down dirigiste than, say, taxation.


In this narrative of state expansion, Chapman’s last chapter on the impact of the Algerian war of independence (1954-1962) is something like a keystone. Chapman describes the war as a catalyst to the consolidation of executive powers in France. De Gaulle used the war to enlarge and solidify the influential position of the presidency in the Fifth Republic. And as French political elites started to fear the effects of anti-colonial nationalism, the growing number of Algerian migrants moving to the metropole became the object of both intensified policing and social security measures. Moreover, according to Chapman, the war revived the belief in planning as a political tool that could be used to induce ‘development.’ During the war, the ‘Constantine Plan’ initiated several ambitious and costly infrastructural, economic, and urbanist projects in Algeria. Having been installed in 1958, the plan was to spur the modernization of Algeria’s economy in order to diminish the locals’ will to rebel. Of course, despite these hopes in the Plan’s political effects, Algeria still became independent. Nevertheless, Chapman argues that the Constantine Plan did lead to a growing confidence in “what planning might do” in mainland France. In his view, technocratic planning gained attraction for French political elites as a consequence of the Algerian war (286). At the same time, it also drew more critiques, as political protests against an all-too-strong state slowly gained momentum.


Yet, while Chapman convincingly describes the expansion of executive powers in a time of crisis, his very last chapter on the Algerian war makes the reader long for more, not so much for more discussion of crises, but for an analytical perspective that crosses the French borders more often. Apart from a brief reference to Algerian migrants in his chapter on labour-market policies, the effects of decolonization on both democratic renewal and the rebuilding of the state enter Chapman’s analysis at a late stage. Up until then, his narrative for the most part does not stray from metropolitan France. This does raise questions. For example, was there no impact of the Indochina War on the restructuring of French economy or of the emergent French welfare state? Were public enterprises not affected by the overall process of decolonization? What about tax reform and the rebellion against it? And what role did political changes in other (European or non-European) countries play; did they have an impact on the emerging rule of experts in France? Considering that expert knowledge in the twentieth-century tended to travel internationally and that most of France’s high-level experts were university-trained, and considering that the process of decolonization stretched far beyond the French empire, how much was the consolidation of a technocratic rule in France a transnational affair? And how important was the (occasional or very regular) glance towards other countries and their ways of ‘reconstructing’ in the aftermath of the war?


It is, in all likelihood, neither possible nor fruitful to address all of these questions in one book, even more so since Chapman already addresses an impressively broad range of subjects. Yet the major topic of his analysis, the at times strenuous relationship between democratization and state expansion, seems particularly strenuous when it comes to the colonial situation and (former) colonial subjects who came to be the object of more inclusive social policies in metropolitan France, while at the same time being barred from participation in a number of domains. Surely, this conflict has been addressed by others,[32] and Chapman also refers to it. Nevertheless, his analysis of France’s reconstruction period could have profited by making decolonization and its effects more central to his narrative. His tale of the ascent of technocracy in times of democratic renewal does in any case raise questions that could inspire further, more transnational and postcolonial research on the post-war period. But making the reader long for more is of course a great quality in a book.



I first want to express my gratitude to the editors of H-Diplo for hosting this roundtable and especially to Michael Behrent for his introduction and for enlisting such esteemed and expert reviewers. Nicolas Delalande, Donald Reid, and Christiane Reinecke have offered generous and provocative commentary on France’s Long Reconstruction. I am grateful for how judiciously they have rendered the book’s main arguments. Taken together, their essays give readers as carefully etched and rich a picture of the book as I could have hoped for in a forum. I am pleased, too, that the book has inspired them to raise such important and challenging issues to explore.


As the reviewers make clear, I focused my study on how, in rebuilding their country after World War II, the French wrestled with the challenge of combining a top-down modernization drive with a rejuvenation of democracy. Over the course of the reconstruction era, I argue, the tension between technocratic and democratic modes of governance deepened, to the point of becoming a fundamental, enduring feature of the Fifth Republic. The latter’s paradoxical blend of durability and volatility was not just a product of the “de Gaulle revolution of 1958” or of habits of contestation with centralized authority reaching back to 1789.[33] It stemmed above all from political and social dynamics institutionalized through France’s long reconstruction from the Liberation to the end of the Algerian War.


My approach to the subject of France’s reconstruction involved weaving together the study of public policy and its implementation, on the one hand, and social movements and pressure-group politics, on the other. Donald Reid’s essay pays especially close attention to this dimension of the book. He brings to his reading his own long experience writing about workers, unions, Resistance intellectuals, and other political and cultural radicals. Hence, he emphasizes in his essay the bottom-up dynamic at play in the reconstruction—the role shopkeepers and coal miners played in resisting the modernizing plans of the tax and industrial experts, the importance of family associations in shaping the implementation of family policy at the local level, and the relative success labor radicals had in some public enterprises in winning a voice for employees in the management of their companies. He underlines something I, too, came to see as important in comparing the political dynamics at work in different policy domains. In some domains, groups such as family associations or trade unions could cultivate their own forms of expertise that empowered them to negotiate with the state. In other domains, ministries held a near monopoly on expertise, as the Finance Ministry did in the realm of taxation, propelling shopkeepers to take their battle to the streets.


Reid implies that more might be made of the role Left Catholics played in shaping the politics of the postwar era, and with that I hardily agree. They figure prominently at key moments in my story, but I do not explore the full scope of their importance. Had I done so, it would be clear that Left Catholics punched above their weight. Of course, self-identifying Catholics of all political stripes mattered immensely in the postwar period. As Philip Nord stressed in France’s New Deal: From the Thirties to the Postwar Era, Christian Democrats (and their new party, the Mouvement républicain populaire or MRP) exerted tremendous influence—and mostly a moderating one—over a number of areas of public policy from the Liberation into the 1950s.[34] I highlight this, too, in my discussions of the rivalry between Communists and Catholics in the domains of family policy and immigration. Catholics of a decidedly more leftwing conviction, though a minority in their larger confessional community, began to emerge as a creative and consequential political force in the late 1940s as they became impatient with a rightward-drifting MRP. They began to search in earnest for an important role in a progressive, marxisant Left, despite the cleavages of the Cold War. In France’s Long Reconstruction I follow Left Catholics most closely in their trade union work in nationalized enterprises and in the domain of family policy, where Catholic feminists came to question the familialist orthodoxy of the Catholic mainstream by the 1950s. Reid mentions, too, that Catholic labor radicals became some of the most outspoken critics of “Gaullist technocracy” in the early 1960s. Their role in the French labor movement would grow considerably with the founding of the Confédération française démocratique du travail (CFDT). As Reid shows in his new book on workers’ self-management at the Lip watch company in the 1970s, Catholic labor radicals went on to become some of the most committed advocates of autogestion in the post-1968 decade.[35]


I agree, too, with Reid’s suggestion that my book could prove useful to intellectual historians exploring the context in which French thinkers and writers pursued questions about the state, civil society, and the transformation of their country. Historians, of course, disagree about how much to contextualize the history of thought in wider political terrain. But as I emphasize, it was not surprising that some of the most important early postwar writings about technocracy came out of France in the second half of the “long reconstruction”—most notably the work of Jacques Ellul and Jean Meynaud. Brigitte Gaïti has shown how quickly this kind of anti-technocratic discourse proliferated, especially once Charles de Gaulle came back to power in 1958.[36] And the Fifth Republic was not the only target. Anti-Stalinist French intellectuals on the left, such as Edgar Morin and Serge Mallet, aimed their anti-technocratic fire as much at Moscow and the French Communist Party as the Gaullist state.


Because my book cleaves closely to matters of public policy, the usual philosophers and writers who made Paris such a focal point of Europe’s intellectual revival after 1945—the Saint-Germain-des-Près crowd—make only sporadic appearances in my story. After all, they rarely wandered into the weeds of mainstream policy debate. As Sunil Khilnani has written, “the French intellectual [of the early postwar era] aspired to the realm of the universal, from where, as Sartre put it…, the ‘truth of humanity as a whole’ stood revealed.”[37] To be sure, Simone de Beauvoir paid close attention to the gender politics of family policy, and Pierre Uri, an economist who worked closely with Jean Monnet to create the European Coal and Steel Community and the Common Market, wrote a number of policy-oriented essays in Sartre’s Les Temps Modernes.[38] Albert Camus dug into policy detail when promoting his complicated, misbegotten design for a new federalism in war-torn Algeria.[39] But for the most part, the philosophical and literary intellectuals of the 1950s and early 1960s thought more about Cold War politics, the future of socialism, and whether to resuscitate the French revolutionary tradition with or without the Communist Party than they did about taxes, immigration, and contests for power in nationalized enterprises—the stuff of the reconstruction.


For that reason, to engage with the study of ideas I took the rather unorthodox step of devoting a chapter comparing Pierre Mendès France and Michel Debré as policy thinkers and state reformers—the eminences grises of the center-left and center-right respectively. Though not intellectuals or political theorists in the strict sense, they wrote voluminously on matters of politics and government, revealing a lot to us now about how thinking about state and society evolved over the course of the long reconstruction. Still, I do think more could be done to investigate how the underlying dynamics of reconstruction politics—the expansion of the state’s authority into new realms of social life, the tension between technocratic and democratic modes of governance, the preoccupation with “modernization”—helped shape the landscape in which people carried on the life of the mind and the arts. There would be a variegated, creative body of work to build on, from Kristin Ross’s book many years ago of the cultural upheavals and adaptations that accompanied the postwar modernization drive to Stefanos Geroulanos’s recent study of the deep suspicion postwar intellectuals developed toward the concept of transparency, especially in a state seeking to “shape its subjects.”[40] As Reid points out, it was not an accident that thinkers of “the 1968 years” as different as Michel Foucault and Pierre Rosanvallon were alert to “the mechanics of power at work in the state.”


New efforts to engage with the reconstruction era as a context for intellectual innovation ought to take into account the international, and not just the French, dynamics at play in the period. Which brings me to Nicolas Delalande’s invitation to think more comparatively and transnationally about France’s long reconstruction. I do situate the French experience with reconstruction in a wider of web of national variation in Europe. As I emphasize, France alone among European countries carried out its reconstruction while fighting two large-scale colonial wars and undergoing two changes in constitutional regimes. I point out, too, that each country in Europe had its own unique journey of reconstruction, distinct in its periodization, material and political challenges, and economic achievements. Variation, moreover, was as striking among countries in Eastern Europe as it was in the West, despite the common experience of Soviet domination and Communist party rule.[41] At the same time, all these stories of postwar reconstruction, East and West, shared common features—an inescapable Cold War context, a heavier reliance on the state than before the war (as Mark Mazower has noted, “after all, the war’s generation saw that the state worked”), a continuing use of some form of economic planning that built on war-time controls, and an enhanced appreciation of science and other forms of technical expertise as sources of authority.[42] French reconstruction may have featured these characteristics in spades, but they were hardly unique to France.


Yet Delalande correctly observes that I do not mount a full-scale comparative analysis of how the reconstruction process differed across countries so as to “pinpoint what is specific about state-civil society relations in France.” An ambitious project indeed would be required to take the full measure of how France, or any other country, forged its own path of national renewal after 1945. And, I would argue, such a project ought to take the full sweep of the 1914-1960s era into account to do the job justice, since a study of the combined effect of the two world wars would bring out these national trajectories more fully. (This conviction is why in the book I begin my case studies of policy domains in the 1920s.) Such a study of international comparisons, of course, is quite different from what I sought to do in France’s Long Reconstruction, which focused on comparisons of policy domains within France so as to capture the many different ways state-society relations changed after the war. Most of the international comparisons I make are within these studies of policy domains—contrasting, for example, French approaches to nationalizing enterprises with those in Britain. This effort to disaggregate state-society relations within France, as Delalande says, “avoids essentializing historical realities or conceiving of the state as a monolithic and ahistorical force.” It also complicates the task of making broad, systematic international comparisons. I refrained from drawing sweeping comparative conclusions at the end of the book because I realized that the logic of my approach would have required me (or other scholars) to carry out a similar kind of disaggregating study for other countries lest I fall back on the usual generalizations about them. To disaggregate within and to compare across borders—that indeed should be a key goal as the study of postwar reconstructions moves forward, and this effort will need to be a collective scholarly endeavor.


Delalande’s call for more work on the transnational dimensions of France’s own postwar reconstruction is, in my view, as urgent as the call for comparative work, but this imperative is less daunting for the individual researcher. It need not require a mastery of other countries’ reconstructions. In doing the research for my book, I was alert to the transnational influences at work in France and to French participation in the international circuitry of policy ideas and expertise. I relished the moments in my narrative where I could highlight them—when American officials pushed the French government into tax reform, for example, or financed much of the Monnet Plan, or when trade union officials and government agents managing the new postwar immigration regime navigated a demographic and physical landscape that stretched across much of southern and central Europe and North Africa. Family policy experts inside and outside the state likewise were in continuous contact with their international counterparts, be they in London, Washington, or Moscow. Much the same could be said of the experts involved with taxation and the nationalization of enterprises. Germany, Britain, the United States, and North Africa figured prominently in the itineraries of Pierre Mendès France and Michel Debré as they built their careers and shaped their ideas. Still, I did not make the transnational dynamics of the reconstruction process my central subject, focused as I was on how the French themselves, albeit under international influences, came to navigate the tensions between technocracy and democracy in the ways they did. Studies that take the transnational dynamics of Europe’s reconstruction as their primary subject therefore require a different research strategy, one concentrating on the archives of international organizations, ministries, companies, trade unions, religious bodies, and individuals—both in France and beyond--that illuminate transnational connections. Here, too, there is a historiography to build upon, not least the work of Michel Margairaz, Richard Kuisel, Frances Lynch, Gérard Bossuat, Irwin Wall, and Michael Sutton.[43]


Christiane Reinecke echoes the call for crossing “French borders more often” by bringing the empire and decolonization more frequently into the picture. She appreciates my final chapter on the impact of the Algerian War on state-society relations in mainland France and on the political dynamics of the long reconstruction “as something like a keystone” to the book. I see it that way, too. The Algeria War, I argue, became the context in which government officials made lasting changes in the way immigrants would be treated it France, and it provided opportunities for state officials to strengthen centralized executive authority. It sparked anti-war protest that reconfirmed people’s faith in the use of the street as an instrument of politics. Ironically, the war also had the effect of reinforcing the state’s (and to some extent the public’s) romance with economic and social planning—via the ambition and scope of de Gaulle’s Constantine Plan in Algeria, despite its failure to turn the tide of the war--just at the moment when the emergence of the European Common Market began to weaken the logic of French-style, top-down planning. The Algerian War, then, mattered immensely in shaping the post-1945 reconstruction of France--not just by absorbing resources and attention and thereby making the long reconstruction longer still, but also by intensifying the friction between technocratic and democratic modes of governance, the friction that made the reconstruction such a formative era in the recent French past.


All the same, Reinecke is right to suggest that more can be done to situate the reconstruction in a wider colonial context than is present in my focus on the Algerian War. In the book I call attention to debates about how to apply family policy to French overseas departments and colonies. As Reinecke mentions, I also show how North African migration figured prominently in immigration policy debate right from the beginning of the reconstruction period. The colonial enters, too, into my study of Mendès France and Debré. In exploring the world of nationalized enterprises, I was intrigued to see how much firms differed in their willingness to accommodate government pressures to hire Algerian workers during the Algerian War. But much more remains to be done to better understand the linkages between reconstruction and decolonization. There is still much to learn about how leaders and policy thinkers within government and beyond (in unions, employer groups, and religious organizations) evolved in their understandings of empire, anticolonial nationalism, and decolonization in this reconstruction era. We need more research about how ideas, people, and resources circulated within policy domains across various colonies in the empire.[44] That agenda should also include bringing colonial elites, interest groups, and social movements into the center of the analysis, and highlighting how much the regions of the empire differed from one another. French officials, for example, designed family policy to spur natality in West Africa but to discourage it in the French Antilles and among non-Europeans in North Africa.[45] A burgeoning body of new scholarship is opening up this historiographical territory, as Reinecke notes. But much remains to be discovered. If Reinecke finished my book wanting more on the colonial dimension, so did I, which I why I am taking my new research in that direction, starting with a fresh look at the impact of the Indochina War on mainland France.[46]


Finally, a brief word about our present moment on both sides of the Atlantic. All three contributors to this roundtable point to the relevance of my book to current critiques of “modernity’s dark side” (Reinecke), to the continuing “conflict between technocratic aspirations and democratic legitimacy” (Delalande), and to the search for alternatives “to new forms of populism and technocracy today” (Reid). As I say in the book, it is easy to see in France’s periodic episodes of massive street demonstrations, public sector strikes, and ritualized political violence the dynamics that I argue became so institutionalized during the long reconstruction. Indeed the fate of Emmanuel Macron’s presidency will depend on how effectively he and his government engage with societal groups in making policy and resist the built-in technocratic reflex to decree from above and take their chances in the street. With the radical right on the rise across Europe, much is riding on Macron’s success. Moreover, the EU’s own difficulties in overcoming its “democratic deficit” owes something, too, to the legacy of France’s long reconstruction, since French leaders in the 1950s and 1960s played such a crucial role creating the institutional architecture of the European Economic Community, much of it modeled on French-style administrative governance.


For all this obvious relevance of the reconstruction period for the present, we need to heed historian Frederick Cooper’s warning about “leap-frogging”—the temptation, in making the case for relevance, to under-estimate how much the intervening passage of time mattered too.[47] I hope my book will inspire scholars not only to explore France’s long reconstruction in ways I have not, but also to embark on new studies of state-society relations and democratic governance from the early 1960s, where my book leaves off, to the current era. More and more archives are now becoming available to make that undertaking possible.


As I finished this book I hoped it might stimulate debate about the reconstruction era in Europe after World War II. I want to thank my three colleagues once again for their generosity in responding to my book and then getting that conversation going.



[1] Stéphane Hessel, Indignez-vous! (Montpellier: Indigène Éditions, 2013), 4.

[2] Stanley Hoffman, et al., In Search of France (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1963).

[3] Richard F. Kuisel, Capitalism and the State in Modern France (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1981).

[4] Philip Nord, France’s New Deal: From the Thirties to the Postwar Era (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2010).

[5] Stephen W. Sawyer, Demos Assembled. Democracy and the International Origins of the Modern State, 1840-1880 (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 2018).

[6] Bertrand Taithe, Citizenship and Wars. France in the Turmoil, 1870-1871, (Londres: Routledge, 2001) ; Jean-François Chanet, Vers l’armée nouvelle. République conservatrice et réforme militaire (Rennes: Presses universitaires de Rennes, 2006). 

[7] Stanley Hoffmann et al., In Search of France (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1963); Richard Kuisel, Capitalism and the State in Modern France. Renovation and Economic Management in the Twentieth Century (New York, Cambridge University Press, 1981); Philip G. Nord, France’s New Deal. From the Thirties to the Postwar Era (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2010).

[8] Christophe Bonneuil, Céline Pessis, Sezin Topçu (dir), Une autre histoire des Trente Glorieuses. Modernisation, contestations et pollutions dans la France de l’après-guerre (Paris: La Découverte, 2013).

[9] Pierre Rosanvallon, L’État en France de 1789 à nos jours (Paris: Seuil, 1990).

[10] Peter Baldwin, “Beyond Weak and Strong: Rethinking the State in Comparative Policy History,” Journal of Policy History 17:1 (2005): 12-33.

[11] Pour une analyse de plus long terme sur le renforcement du pouvoir exécutif en France depuis la fin du XIXe siècle, cf. Nicolas Roussellier, La Force de gouverner. Le pouvoir exécutif en France, XIXe-XXIe siècles (Paris: Gallimard, 2015).

[12] Kiran Klaus Patel, The New Deal. A Global History (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2016).

[13] Stephen W. Sawyer, Demos Assembled. Democracy and the International Origins of the Modern State, 1840-1880 (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 2018).

[14] Bertrand Taithe, Citizenship and Wars. France in the Turmoil, 1870-1871 (London: Routledge, 2001); Jean-François Chanet, Vers l’armée nouvelle. République conservatrice et réforme militaire (Rennes: Presses universitaires de Rennes, 2006).

[15] Stanley Hoffmann et al., In Search of France (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1963); Richard Kuisel, Capitalism and the State in Modern France. Renovation and Economic Management in the Twentieth Century (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1981); Philip G. Nord, France’s New Deal. From the Thirties to the Postwar Era (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2010).

[16] Christophe Bonneuil, Céline Pessis, and Sezin Topçu, eds., Une autre histoire des Trente Glorieuses. Modernisation, contestations et pollutions dans la France de l’après-guerre (Paris: La Découverte, 2013).

[17] Pierre Rosanvallon, L’État en France de 1789 à nos jours (Paris: Seuil, 1990).

[18] Peter Baldwin, “Beyond Weak and Strong: Rethinking the State in Comparative Policy History,” Journal of Policy History 17:1 (2005): 12-33.

[19] For a more long-term analysis of executive power in France since the late nineteenth century, see Nicolas Roussellier, La Force de gouverner. Le pouvoir exécutif en France, XIXe-XXIe siècles (Paris: Gallimard, 2015).

[20] See for instance Sven Steinmo, The Evolution of Modern States.  Sweden, Japan, and the United States (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2010); James T. Sparrow, Warfare State. World War II Americans and the Age of Big Government (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011); Bernard Thomann, La Naissance de l’État social japonais. Biopolitique, travail et citoyenneté dans le Japon impérial (1868-1945) (Paris: Presses de Sciences Po, 2015).

[21] Kiran Klaus Patel, The New Deal. A Global History (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2016).

[22] Herrick Chapman, State Capitalism and Working-Class Radicalism in the French Aircraft Industry (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1990).

[23] Stanley Hoffmann, et al., In Search of France (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1963).

[24] Jean-Paul Sartre, “The Republic of Silence” in A. J. Liebling, The Republic of Silence (New York: Harcourt, Brace and Co., 1947), 498-500.

[25] Stéphane Hessel, Indignez-vous! (Montpellier: Indigène éditions, 2010).

[26] Denis Pelletier and Jean-Louis Schlegel, eds., À la gauche du Christ. Les Chrétiens de gauche en France de 1945 à nos jours (Paris, Seuil, 2012).

[27] Frank Georgi, ed., Autogestion. La dernière utopie (Paris: Publications de la Sorbonne, 2003).

Some who were not on the left thought in these terms as well. Haut fonctionnaire François Bloch-Lainé, an important figure in Chapman’s examination of the technocratic elite, offered one answer to what this could look like. He favored workers having a voice in their enterprise and residents’ participation in the management of housing developments like Sarcelles, a fundamental expression of postwar state development policies.

[28] Michel Rocard, Rapport sur les camps de regroupement (Paris: Fayard, 2003).

[29] Hélène Hatzfeld, Faire de la politique autrement. Les expériences inachevées des années 1970 (Rennes : Presses Universitaires de Rennes, 2005). Kristin Ross, May ’68 and Its Afterlives (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2002).

[30] Pierre Rosanvallon, Good Government. Democracy beyond Elections trans. Malcolm DeBevoise (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2018).

[31] Interview with Patrick Weil in Revue des Droits de l’homme in July 2017 updated by Weil and translated by Philip Hamburger,

[32] See Amelia H. Lyons, The Civilizing Mission in the Metropole. Algerian Families and the French Welfare State during Decolonization (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2013); Minayo A. Nasiali, Native to the Republic: Empire, Social Citizenship and Everyday Life in Marseille since 1945 (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2016). On North African immigrants and social welfare see also, with a particular view to housing, Marie-Claude Blanc-Chaléard, En finir avec les bidonvilles. Immigration et politique du logement dans la France des Trente Glorieuses (Paris : Publications de la Sorbonne, 2016). On the role played by French African elites in negotiations about citizenship, equality and the overall process of transforming the French Empire in the aftermath of the Second World War see also Frederick Cooper, Citizenship between Empire and Nation: Remaking France and French Africa, 1945-1960 (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2014).

[33] See Alexander Werth, The De Gaulle Revolution (London: Robert Hale Limited, 1960) for an early use of the phrase to capture the General’s success in founding the Fifth Republic.

[34] Philip Nord, France’s New Deal: From the Thirties to the Postwar Era (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2010).

[35] Donald Reid, Opening the Gates: The Lip Affair, 1968-1981 (London: Verso, 2018).

[36] Brigitte Gaïti, “Décembre 1958 ou le temps de la révélation technocratique,” in La Question technocratique: De l’invention d’une figure aux transformations de l’action publique, ed. Vincent Dubois and Delphine Dulong (Strasbourg: Presses Universitaires de Strasbourg, 1999), 137-153.

[37] Sunil Khilnani, Arguing Revolution: The Intellectual Left in Postwar France (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1993), 33.

[38] See, for example, Pierre Uri, “Discussion sur le plan Marshall: une stratégie économique,” Les Temps Modernes 34 (July 1948), and “La querelle des nationalisations,” Les Temps Modernes 45 (July 1949).

[39] See his writing on Algeria in Albert Camus, Resistance, Rebellion, and Death: Essays (New York: Modern Library, 1963), 81-115.

[40] Stefanos Geroulanos, “An Army of Shadows: Black Markets, Adaptation, and Social Transparency in Postwar France,” Journal of Modern History 88:1 (March 2016), 63. See also Transparency in Postwar France: A Critical History of the Present (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2017), and Kristin Ross, Fast Cars, Clean Bodies: Decolonization and the Reordering of French Culture (Cambridge: MIT Press, 1995).

[41] Holly Case, “Reconstruction in East-Central Europe: Clearing the Rubble of Cold War Politics,” in Postwar Reconstruction in Europe, supplement 6, Past and Present (2011): 71-102.

[42] Mark Mazower, “Reconstruction: The Historiographical Issues,” in Postwar Reconstruction in Europe, supplement 6, Past and Present (2011), 24.

[43] Michel Margairaz, L’État, les finances et l’économie: Histoire d’une conversion, 1932-1952 2 vols. (Paris: Comité pour l’histoire économique et financière de la France, 1991); Frances M. B. Lynch, France and the International Economy: From Vichy to the Treaty of Rome (London: Routledge, 1997); Richard F. Kuisel, Seducing the French: The Dilemma of Americanization (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1993); Gérard Bossuat, Les Aides américaines économiques et militaires à la France, 1938-1960: Une nouvelle image des rapports de puissance (Paris: Comité pour l’histoire économique et financière de la France, 2001); Irwin M. Wall, The United States and the Making of Postwar France, 1944-1954 (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1991); and Michael Sutton, France and the Construction of Europe, 1944-2007: The Geopolitical Imperative (New York: Berghahn, 2007).

[44] For new work on this kind of circulation, see Jessica Lynne Pearson, The Colonial Politics of Global Health: France and the United Nations in Postwar Africa (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2018); and Aro Velmet, Pasteur’s Empire: The Global Politics of Bacteriology in the French Empire, 1890-1940 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, forthcoming 2019).

[45] On social policy in the empire, see Margaret Cook Andersen, Regeneration through Empire: French Pronatalists and Colonial Settlement in the Third Republic (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2015); Amelia H. Lyons, The Civilizing Mission in the Metropole: Algerian Families and the French Welfare State during Decolonization (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2013); Frederick Cooper, Decolonization and African Society: The Labor Question in French and British Africa (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996); Jacqueline Ancelin, Histoire de l’action sociale familiale dans les départements d’outre-mer (Paris: Association pour l’Étude de l’Histoire de la Sécurité Sociale, 2000); Josée Bergeron, “La politique familiale française et l’identité nationale: les familles des DOM sout-elles françaises?” French Politics, Culture & Society 16:3-4 (Summer-Fall 1999): 101-116; and Héloise Finch-Boyer, “The Idea of the Nation Was Superior to Race: Transforming Racial Contours and Social Attitudes and Decolonizing the French Empire from La Réunion, 1946-1973,” French Historical Studies 36:1 (Winter 2013): 109-140.

[46] On the politics of memory and commemoration of the Indochina War, see M. Kathryn Edwards, Contesting Indochina: French Remembrance between Decolonization and Cold War (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2016).

[47] Frederick Cooper, Colonialism in Question: Theory, Knowledge, History (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2005), 17-18.