Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Gaullism is a French political ideology based on the thought and action of Charles de Gaulle. The main axis of de Gaulle's international policies was national independence, with, as some practical consequences, some reluctance for international organizations such as NATO or the European Economic Community. The basic tenets were that France should not have to rely on any foreign country for its survival (thus the creation of the French nuclear deterrent) and that France should refuse subservience to any foreign power, be it the United States or the Soviet Union.
One may also cite social conservatism, and economic dirigisme as parts of the Gaullist ideology, but these are not necessarily accepted by those who called themselves Gaullists. Gaullism has sometimes been characterized as a form of populism, since de Gaulle relied heavily on his personal charisma.
Since de Gaulle's death, and the break-up of the UDR, the exact meaning of Gaullism is somewhat unclear. In general, "Gaullism" refers to the Rassemblement pour la République (now integrated into the Union pour un Mouvement Populaire), Jacques Chirac's center-right party. Chirac has, in the past, adopted both dirigiste and laissez-faire approaches to economics; he has a pro-European (pro-European Union) stance.
There are people on the 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, was very intent on keeping the nuclear deterrent and asserting France's independence.
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