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Charles de Gaulle, in his general's uniform

Gaullism (French: Gaullisme) is a French political ideology based on the thought and action of Resistance leader then President Charles de Gaulle.


There is no real doctrine in gaullism, as Charles de Gaulle was a pragmatic politician who adapted his actions to the cricumstances of the moment, but they are a few principles considered as unquestionable and some goals to achieve.[1]


The Cross of Lorraine is a Gaullist symbol

Political group[edit]

The "Gaullists" as a political group used to refer to the Union of Democrats for the Republic.

Since de Gaulle's death, and the break-up of the UDR, the exact meaning of Gaullism has become somewhat unclear. In 1980s–1990s usage, "Gaullism", or "Neo-Gaullism", referred to the Rally for the Republic (RPR, now integrated into the Union for a Popular Movement, UMP), the centre-right party founded by Jacques Chirac. Chirac has, in the past, adopted both dirigiste and laissez-faire approaches to economics; he later took on a pro-European stance after having famously denounced Europeanism in the Call of Cochin. For these reasons, some on the right, such as Charles Pasqua, denounced Chirac and his party as not being true Gaullists.

Former President Nicolas Sarkozy's Union for a Popular Movement is the current heir of Gaullism.

Before the shift of Gaullism in the 1980s, especially with the rallying of the RPR and the UMP to economic liberalism and the European federalist project,[citation needed] many objections have been formed, committed to the independence of France, calling for a more social Gaullism and close to the project of General de Gaulle. This is particularly the case with Philippe Séguin, who opposed the Maastricht Treaty in 1992 and more recently with MP Nicolas Dupont-Aignan, who founded his own party, Arise the Republic (DLR) which seems to be the closest to the original Gaullism.

There are people on the political left who also call themselves Gaullists. Even Socialist president François Mitterrand, who denounced de Gaulle's way of ruling as a permanent coup d'état,[3] was very intent on keeping the nuclear deterrent and asserting France's independence. Souverainist politician Jean-Pierre Chevènement and his Citizen and Republican Movement is also often treated as a left-wing heir of Gaullism.


The expression Gaullist has also been used in the politics of the Federal Republic of Germany in the 1950s and 1960s. In the governing Christian Democratic party some wanted to strengthen the ties with the United States, the Atlantiker (Atlanticians), others wanted to build up a European counterweight, with the help of France, the Gaullists.

The most notable Gaullist was chancellor Konrad Adenauer, an outstanding Atlantiker, and his minister of foreign affairs, Gerhard Schröder. A typical Atlantiker was Protestant and believed in free market economy, a typical Gaullist was Catholic and tended toward Rhine capitalism with its more regulated markets and state intervention.

A problem to the Gaullists has been that their concept of foreign relationships was based on a strong European integration, which needed support from France. French president Charles de Gaulle actually was reluctant to give more power to European institutions and advocated instead a less tight Europe of the nations.

After de Gaulle's retreat in 1969 and the end of Christian Democratic government in Germany the same year, the distinction lost its prominence. However, Gaullists tended to believe that relations with the United States were more important than Franco-German cooperation.[citation needed]

Gaullist political parties[edit]


  1. ^
  2. ^
  3. ^ François Mitterrand, Le coup d'état permanent, Plon, 1964

See also[edit]