De Gaulle's Partial Withdrawal from NATO in Retrospect

betgo

Ad Honorem
Jul 2011
6,675
He complained that NATO was dominated by the US. In retrospect, now that the US in the dominant world power, does his policy make sense? Was NATO used by the US and possibly also the UK to dominate western Europe?
 
Dec 2013
382
Arkansas
From what I've read De Gaulle's "withdrawal" of France from NATO was wholly for domestic consumption. France was still reeling from the events of the 1950s and early 1960s and he needed something to reaffirm the French sense of nationalism and pride.

It speaks volumes that France never really withdrew from NATO operationally. They kept their troops in West Germany, continued to exercise with NATO forces, and both they and the rest of NATO included the French in all war planning. About the only obvious change was NATO headquarters being moved from Paris to Brussels.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Futurist

Futurist

Ad Honoris
May 2014
23,447
SoCal
From what I've read De Gaulle's "withdrawal" of France from NATO was wholly for domestic consumption. France was still reeling from the events of the 1950s and early 1960s and he needed something to reaffirm the French sense of nationalism and pride.

It speaks volumes that France never really withdrew from NATO operationally. They kept their troops in West Germany, continued to exercise with NATO forces, and both they and the rest of NATO included the French in all war planning. About the only obvious change was NATO headquarters being moved from Paris to Brussels.
NATO did have to withdraw its troops from France, no?

Also, it's worth noting that De Gaulle was a product of a different time--specifically a time when France was a Great Power and, for a couple of decades, even the top dog in Europe. So, De Gaulle never actually liked the idea of France playing second fiddle to anyone. This was also evident in 1944 when he wanted to give the impression that Paris was liberated by French troops and ignored the Allies' contributions in regards to this. Chutzpah at its finest, as one of my university professors said a couple of years ago! :lol:
 
  • Like
Reactions: Iraq Bruin

johnincornwall

Ad Honorem
Nov 2010
7,982
Cornwall
NATO did have to withdraw its troops from France, no?

Also, it's worth noting that De Gaulle was a product of a different time--specifically a time when France was a Great Power and, for a couple of decades, even the top dog in Europe. So, De Gaulle never actually liked the idea of France playing second fiddle to anyone. This was also evident in 1944 when he wanted to give the impression that Paris was liberated by French troops and ignored the Allies' contributions in regards to this. Chutzpah at its finest, as one of my university professors said a couple of years ago! :lol:
Exactly. An awkward and very ungrateful fellow, to put it politely
 
  • Like
Reactions: delta1 and Futurist

Larrey

Ad Honorem
Sep 2011
6,094
From what I've read De Gaulle's "withdrawal" of France from NATO was wholly for domestic consumption.
Certainly wouldn't agree. Going by comments by Kissinger on it all, it was a move specifically designed to push all manners of US buttons all over the place, which it accomplished magnificently.

While not really changing anything of any real substance. The Americans went bananas, while not really able to du much about it – since it was redolent with symbolism, but changed little in practical terms – and to some extent it continues to this day. (This OP and the tendency so far in the attendant discussion might in effect be considered examples of that success.)
 

sparky

Ad Honorem
Jan 2017
5,634
Sydney
De Gaulle didn't withdraw one inch from NATO ,
he withdrew from the united military command
he didn't want the French nuclear weapons targeting to be controlled by the US
 

Larrey

Ad Honorem
Sep 2011
6,094
Well, yeah, that's what I meant. :)
Yes, I understood you meant it like that, but that's kind of the rub of the situation. :)

Nothing fundamentally important happened, and yet we still have threads on it, ostensibly about the 'orrible French.

Plenty of NATO troops in France regardless – just not Americans (in particular), and that matters terribly because...? they're American, and that should mean they should be everywhere, or something...?