Reflections on the Foreign Policy of France

"Reflections on the Foreign Policy of France," International Affairs (Royal Institute of International Affairs ) v21 n4 (Oct., 1945): 437-447.


At the same time of the “phony” war, publicists on both sides of the Channel heatedly discussed the best means of winning the peace, before the conquest of the enemy had even begun. Today the enemy is prostrate and, as though we were fated to deal only in “thoughts out of season,” there is relatively little discussion on the future piece.

This apparent paradox can be explained quite simply: it is enough to note the extent to which the world status of France and Great Britain has changed during the war. The change has undoubtedly been deeper and more shattering  in the case of France but the general trend is the same for both countries. In 1939 France and Great Britain, who alone among all the powers took the initiative in declaring war, felt themselves entrusted with the historic mission of defeating Nazi imperialism. The enthusiasm with which they drew up blueprints for the future was in proportion to their self-confidence and to the importance of the role they intended to play. In 1945 France has returned to life after having plumbed the depths of darkness. Great Britain, unconquered, recalls her “finest hour” with legitimate pride; she knows the value of her contribution to the common victory. But both countries are forced to recognize that Russia pose asses the largest army, and the United States the largest Navy and Air Force. Neither France nor Great Britain has the hundred million souls generally quoted as the minimum population necessary to a great power in the twentieth century.