the Assembly wished to “maintain the Resistance Coalition”
and the politics that theyknew from the
. That political system was that of two lefts and tworights, with the Parti Socialiste and the Parti Communiste constantly arguing, whichlead to a total breakdown whenever they collaborated. This had been the case in 1936,and it was again the case in 1946.
Therefore, De Gaulle could not be said to be a political opportunist in this instance for there was no opportunity for him to takeadvantage despite his efforts to create one.Although out of power, De Gaulle continued to try to influence politics,seizing upon opportunities to denounce the proposed constitution. On 17 June 1946,De Gaulle first made his views known in a speech in Bayeux. He “called for a regimein which political power would not depend upon the vagaries of party politics.”
DeGaulle was laying out his belief that France needed a strong executive authority thatwas above the parties. By making the speech from Bayeux, the town where he landedas the heroic leader of the Free French in 1944, he was evoking the memory of the people that it was he, General de Gaulle, who had saved France and only he couldmake it great again.The ideas from the Bayeux speech were to become those of the RPF, whichwas created in April 1947, after a speech De Gaulle gave from Strasbourg. Again, thechoice of location was symbolic: it was the French Army, with De Gaulle at the head,who had liberated Strasbourg from German annexation, and it was the symbol of French unity. In the speech, De Gaulle called on the French to “rally around him for the salvation of France.”
The speech was given after the French people had‘accepted’ the second draft of the new constitution, so De Gaulle used it as an
Ibid, p. 227.
The Making of Modern France
( Basil Blackwell, 1991), p. 87.
De Gaulle and the RPF’,
Political Science Quarterly
, Vol. 65, No. 3 (September 1950), p. 338.
Ibid, p. 339.