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Journal Article

How Civil War Was Avoided in France

Mattei Dogan
International Political Science Review / Revue internationale de science politique
Vol. 5, No. 3, Political Crises (1984), pp. 245-277
Published by: Sage Publications, Ltd.
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1600894
Page Count: 33
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How Civil War Was Avoided in France
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Abstract

France found itself on the brink of civil war at the end of May 1968. This analysis is based on two sources: the recently published memoirs of those who made history, and the results of a survey taken immediately after the crisis. The roles played by the leading historical actors resemble those in a Greek tragedy. The survey gives voice to the "silent majority," and indicates what the behavior of the masses would have been if a popular uprising or a military intervention had occurred. The recourse to elections--that is, the mobilization of electors and spectators--appears in retrospect to be the miraculous solution by which the agitating minorities were subdued and civil war avoided. /// A la fin de mai 1968 la France se trouva au bord d'une guerre civile. La confrontation des témoignages (publiés récemment) de certains de ceux qui ont fait l'histoire avec les résultats d'une enquête realisée au lendemain de la crise, permet d'esquisser une réponse à la question posée dans le titre. Le rôle des principaux personnages est observé comme dans une tragédie grecque. L'enquête donne la parole à la majorité silencieuse et montre quel aurait pu être le comportement des masses dans l'éventualité d'un soulèvement populaire ou d'une action militaire. Le recours aux élections, e'est-à-dire la mobilisation des électeurs-spectateurs apparait, retrospectivement, comme la solution miraculeuse pour neutraliser les minoritiés agissantes.

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