A History of France, 1945-Present (With some Wikiboxes)

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: After 1900' started by nubbie44, Mar 12, 2018.

  1. nubbie44 Member

    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2016
    Hello, and welcome to my very first timeline. Here I will ponder a history of France since World War II without the influence of Charles de Gaulle. Basically here we will be butterflying away a whole ideology in French politics and examining what kind of nation France might have been with Charles de Gaulle. Our PoD will be 21 April 1943 when, historically, de Gaulle's plane was sabotaged. Due to the quick thinking of the pilot, everyone aboard was saved. But what if that pilot wasn't around? What if someone less experienced was at the controls? I hope to answer that question in this timeline, so with that I hope you enjoy!
     
  2. nubbie44 Member

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    Nov 15, 2016
    Prelude

    21 April 1943
    At the last moment, Squadron Leader William Sanderson was told he'd not be flying the mission up to Scotland today. "Sorry Sandy, certain concessions had to be made to placate the passengers on today's flight," said the Group Captain. "The General wants a Frenchman to fly his plane, it's nothing personal." Sanderson was one of the most experienced Vickers Wellington pilots in the RAF, but for today his mission to take General de Gaulle to Scotland to inspect the Free French Navy was scrubbed. Twenty minutes later, Sandy and his mates were interrupted from their game of poker as a loud explosion rocked the airfield. The Wellington had crashed into the airfield's embankment. All aboard were dead, including the leader of the Free French, Charles de Gaulle, and his less experienced pilot, Thierry Chaudoir.

    [​IMG]
    Date of Death should be 21 April 1943 but hey, it's Wikipedia
    Henri Giraud was to succeed de Gaulle as the Leader of the Free French. With the full backing of both President Roosevelt and General Eisenhower. Giraud was heavily pro-American and deeply resentful of the British for leaving France in 1940. Giraud would prove difficult to work with amongst the British, even wanting to cut them out of Operation Overlord altogether. General Eisenhower would convince him that to defeat the German war machine and bring about the Liberation of France, the British Allies would be needed.

    25 August 1944
    General Giraud arrived in Paris as a hero. A day before, he was able to convince General Eisenhower to allow General Leclerc and his Free French 2nd Armored Division to advance forward and begin the Liberation of Paris. Within one day of the division's arrival German General Dietrich von Choltitz, the German Governor of Paris, surrendered and much of the city was spared from destruction. General Giraud personally accepted the surrender of General von Choltitz.

    General Giraud made a liberation speech to the citizens of Paris and was broadcast to the rest of the nation:

    "Today, Paris has been liberated by Frenchmen! For three years, this nation has had to endure the reign of tyranny brought about by Germany. Today we have returned, and I say to my fellow countrymen, France as a nation, shall never, ever, perish from this Earth. From this day forward, our nation will never again suffer a defeat such as the one we suffered in 1940! Today begins a new era for our country, an era in which France will never weaken. An era in which France will only become stronger, more prosperous, and a nation in which all of her citizens can sleep safely at night without the fear of tyranny behind every corner. Never again shall this happen to our country, from this day forward, France shall never be defeated!"

    [​IMG]
    Eisenhower and Giraud after the Liberation of Paris
    __________________________________________________________________________________​

    For the rest of the war, Henri Giraud was made leader of the Provisional Government of the French Republic, also known as the GPRF. The GPRF set about raising new troops to participate in the advance to the Rhine and the invasion of Germany, using the French Forces of the Interior as military cadres and manpower pools of experienced fighters to allow a very large and rapid expansion of the French Liberation Army. It was well equipped and well supplied despite the economic disruption brought by the occupation thanks to Lend-Lease, and grew from 500,000 men in the summer of 1944 to over 1,300,000 by V-E day, making it the fourth largest Allied army in Europe. Due to his close friendship with the Americans, he was allowed a seat at the Yalta and Potsdam Conferences late in the war which would largely shape post-war Europe and was able to get a deal that would recognize France as one of the victorious powers.

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    Giraud and Roosevelt at Yalta
    On the political front, the GPRF was dominated by three political parties, which was known as the Tripartisme. The Tripartisme consisted of the French Communist Party (PCF), the French Section of the Workers' International (SFIO) and the Popular Republican Movement (MRP). Henri Giraud retired from the Armed Forces in July of 1945 to take on his duties as Chairman of the Provisional Government full time, and transform France into a peacetime nation. Offically he was independant, but he was anti-communist and sought to mitigate their influence. The first big test would be the elections due to be held in October. That, and a man in Southeast Asia.
     
  3. galileo-034 Extreme Centrist Conspirator

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    From what I know of Giraud, he was far less political than de Gaulle, borderline apolitical. He certainly hadn't the political skill de Gaulle had to display to hold the provisional government together, even less to lead it (he didn't show much of it as de Gaulle pushed him out IOTL). I would see him more likely to cede his seat back to politicians, or being forced/compelled to do so, as soon as French mainland is liberated, especially as it's very probable that none of the parties of the government, communists, socialists and christian-democrats, are going to drop him at the first occasion as he has not the standing, legitimacy or unifying and consensual persona of de Gaulle (he was too close to conservatives to be palatable to the left).
    Otherwise an Allies sanctionned dictatorship would give way to civil war in the wake of the Epuration.
     
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  4. nubbie44 Member

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    Nov 15, 2016
    Chapter I

    15 August 1945
    Paris
    The disgraced Marshal of France Philippe Pétain stood before judge Paul Mongibeaux in full military uniform. Today he'd find out his fate. A twenty four person jury consisting of twelve parliamentarians and twelve non-parliamentarians from the Resistance had decided his fate. In the Marshal's head he knew his fate, and it felt like this verdict was just a formality. He stood as Judge Mongibeaux comes in and reads the verdict. "Philippe Pétain, on the count of collaborating with the enemy, the jury finds you guilty. On the count of high treason, the jury finds you guilty. This court hereby sentences you to death by firing squad. Furthermore, all personal property is to be confiscated by the state and you are hereby condemned to the national degradation." After the trial, Philippe Pétain was stripped of his military uniform and taken into custody. He was transferred to the Fresnes prison outside Paris where other Vichy leaders were awaiting trial, in which they would all come by the same fate.

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    Disgraced Marshal Petain at his trial

    28 August 1945
    Washington, D.C.
    Henri Giraud arrived at the White House and was greeted by President Truman. The day before Giraud had received a heroes welcome in New York City and awarded Mayor LaGuardia the Légion d'honneur. President Truman and Henri Giraud had a light lunch in the Diplomatic Reception Room before going to the Oval Office to discuss more serious matters. Once they were alone, they were able to talk about more serious matters.

    President Truman opened, "Henri, as you know, France is the oldest ally of the United States, and we wish to see that continue into the foreseeable future. As of now the Soviets occupy half of Europe. Back in April I had to have a frank discussion with Molotov about Stalin keeping his word. They don't do a lot of that. I've got some generals under me that'd want nothing more than open up on the communists and go all the way to Moscow. The world doesn't need that. Now you know, all of us in this government support you one hundred percent! I know for sure Ike likes you a heckuva lot! So, lets get to the point here, we know that the communists hold a lot of support in your country. With these elections coming up, it'd be a real shame to see a communist takeover of France so soon after liberation. So I ask you, what are the odds of, oh say, seeing a communist president within the next few years?"

    Giraud looked at Truman, rubbed his chin, and collected his thoughts. "Mr. President, I cannot tell you what the French people will decide, but whatever they decide, I will support their will one hundred percent. This is how democracy works after all. While I oppose communism, I have many, many other things to worry about in my country right now. I can tell you one thing, I hope only to serve as a caretaker and nothing more, I have no desire to continue a career in politics. My only desire is to ensure that my country has a strong foundation to stand on for the second half of this century."

    President Truman nodded and smiled, "Of course, well Henri, I hope you'll be around for a little bit longer, you've been a great friend and ally to the United States. My wish is to see you help shape this post-war world. Lord knows we could use more men like you."

    Giraud and his entourage left the White House and confided in his adviser, Régis Guilloux, "I feel like this was a waste of time, I feel like Truman just wanted a favor in keeping the communists out of France." Régis responded, "Yes sir, but there are far more important things to worry about at this time. Like Indochina, the situation is getting worse." "I don't know how much longer I can do this Régis, I'm ready for these elections," replied Giraud.

    2 September 1945
    Hanoi
    On the day of the Japanese surrender, Hồ Chí Minh declared the independance of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam in the presense of American OSS officers. Hồ Chí Minh knew that the French wouldn't recognize his new republic, but enough safeguards had been taken to ensure their forces were kept out for the time being. Jean Sainteny was stuck in the Governor General's palce. Pierre Messmer and Jean Cédile, sent as commissioners of the Republic, respectively for Tonkin and Annam and for Cochin-China, were both captured by the Viet Minh. Leclerc is stuck in Ceylon as Lord Mountbatten refuses to let him into Indochina as it'd be in violation of the Potsdam Agreement. For now, the newly christened Democratic Republic of Vietnam was safe.

    [​IMG]
    Ho Chi Minh, 1945

    4 September 1945
    Paris
    Henri Giraud was almost in a rage on the telephone, "Do what you need to do Leclerc! If this keeps happening, France will have nothing left to stand on. For Godssake, we just defeated Germany, and I'm not gonna lose Indochina because of political considerations!" He slammed down the phone. Régis Guilloux walked in, "Sir, we need to talk about the transition after the elections." "Very well," replied Giraud. Régis got out the papers and started, "Sir, once we have a result, it'll be decided whoever has a majority in the National Assembly will select a leader that will succeed you. With that being said, I've taken the liberty to draw up a transition plan to fill the new leader in on whats going on with world affairs and other pertinent information to get him up to speed as soon as possible." "Yes, yes alright, everything looks good to me, retirement cannot come any faster!"

    15 October 1945
    Paris
    Philippe Pétain, Joseph Darnand, and Pierre Laval were awoken from their cells at Fresnes prison. In the night, Laval had tried to kill himself, but was revived by doctors that morning so justice could be executed. They were marched to the yard of the prison. It was a warm, partly cloudy morning. The three prisoners were blindfolded and tied up. After this the firing squad was brought out. There were nine riflemen, three for each man. In each group one rifle was loaded with a real bullet and the other two were loaded with blanks. The order was given, "Ready!" The men put their rifles in the position of port arms. "Aim!" At this command, the soldiers aimed their rifles at their repsective targets. "Fire!" At this point the sound of MAS Modèle 36 rifles pierced the morning silence for just a split second and after that, the major leaders of Vichy France lay dead in a prison yard.
    ________________________________________________________________________________
    Henri Giraud hung up the phone and sat in silence at his desk. Lamenting the fact that he didn't have the clout to give Marshal Pétain a pardon. He felt it was a dishonor to the once revered Marshal. If he had pardoned Pétain, he wasn't sure of the political ramifications. The last thing Giraud wanted was political instability. He knew he wasn't cut out for politics and would be glad when all this would be over. The elections were in six days, and it wasn't soon enough.

    21 October 1945

    It was election day. With Henri Giraud announcing he'd resign once a new government was formed, it was decided by the Tripartisme that the Chairman that'd succeed Giraud would come from whichever party had the most seats. No one would know who would be leader until the votes were counted but, the Tripartisme had agreed that whoever was in charge they'd support and do their best to create a constitution. The next day, the results were in and counted. On the first ballot, voters were asked whether they approved of the Assembly elected on the same day serving as a Constituent Assembly.​

    The results of that were:
    [​IMG]

    And as far as the legislative elections, things were a little closer:
    [​IMG]

    Henri Giraud knew he'd be handing the reigns of power over to a commnist. He'd hoped the French people had made the right decision, but was reassured that so long as the Tripartisme existed, the balance of power would be there. Giraud was ready nonetheless for the transfer of power to an actual politican, after all, retirement was just around the corner.
     
  5. thatsbunkers Active Member

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    With Thorez in power I guess we are gonna be a more Soviet aligned France unless the CIA tries something
     
  6. jolou Pluto #9 Planet of the Solar System

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    I don't think the SFIO would support the PCF . Mollet and the PCF hated each other and OTL he supported center and center-right party . So Schumann should be the PM . Otherwise good work here, hopefully it won't turn with France becoming a Communist republic :p
     
  7. thatsbunkers Active Member

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    "it was decided by the Tripartisme that the Chairman that'd succeed Giraud would come from whichever party had the most seats." So it'll be a coalition of all three parties but with Thorez as the leader.
     
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  8. nubbie44 Member

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    Nov 15, 2016
    There will definitely be some CIA action in this timeline so stayed tuned.

    Yep, it's a coalition. As far as how effective the Communists will be, if you know anything about French politics in the postwar period, you know that anything can happen! Expect some surprises.
     
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  9. nubbie44 Member

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    [​IMG]
    Bonus Wikibox for Giraud​
     
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  10. galileo-034 Extreme Centrist Conspirator

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    Indeed, it's very implausible not to say impossible to see the communists ever coming to power in France without the Red Army on French soil. The political dynamics in post Liberation France would have them automatically faced by a united front of all moderate parties, which came to be known as the Third Force and whose formation is pretty much unavoidable by this point. So, no Thorez to succeed Giraud.

    EDIT: The Third Force was built on its opposition to perceived radicalism and populism on both extreme, with the Communists on the left and the Gaullists on the right, but since the Gaullists would never come to be a political party, the name would surely change but the Third Force would still exist.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Third_Force_(France)
     
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2018
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  11. nubbie44 Member

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    Yes, however this was before the Third Force. OTL, after de Gaulle resigned, Felix Gouin became leader and Thorez was his deputy. ITTL with Giraud retiring and giving notice, the parties consisting of the Tripartisme agreed that whoever won the most seats in the National Assembly would lead the government. As I've had Giraud reflect, he's okay for the time being with the PCF leading so long as the Tripartisme exists. Thorez also knows that he must placate the moderates and conservatives if he is to continue his mandate. Trust me on this the foundations of the Third Force are there. There's a lot of people not happy with having a Communist in charge, and this timeline will reflect it.
     
  12. galileo-034 Extreme Centrist Conspirator

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    Still unlikely. The moderate non communist parties would the most probably form a coalition to prevent that from happening. Anti communism is still deeply rooted in French political sphere of 1944/1945.
    The Communists were barely tolerated with ministries but never entrusted with the supreme power, and they were eventually forcefully expelled from the government barely a few months after the 4th Republic was established even though they were the largest party in the National Assembly.
     
    Last edited: Mar 14, 2018
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  13. jolou Pluto #9 Planet of the Solar System

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    And Thorez was the worst of all of them . A stalinist like no one has ever seen before . Not the most likely communist capable to bring the others leftist together
     
  14. Avid Politiker Active Member

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    Feb 13, 2018
    Looking good so far. Subscribed.
     
  15. lotrian Well-Known Member

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    Nov 17, 2014
    Considering how much de Gaulle's political thought has influenced french institutions and political scene up to nowadays, it would be very interesting to see how it would develop without him. Subscribing :)
     
  16. lordroel Well-Known Member

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    Aug 25, 2006
    I wonder @nubbie44 if Petain is really going to be shot in this timeline, also keep it up, nice work so far.
     
  17. lotrian Well-Known Member

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    Nov 17, 2014
    He already was shot.
     
  18. Blebea Cezar-Iulian Well-Known Member

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    Hey, @nubbie44, when would you release a new update?