DE GAULLE, THE GREAT BUILDER
Director(s): Camille JUZA – Writer(s): Camille JUZA Contact Print page
In the aftermath of WWII, France was devastated. Its housing situation critical, its communication system archaic, its industry destroyed… Food rationing was imposed.
France in those days was a rural country ruined by two wars and a financial crisis. It was strengthened only by its belief, inspired by General de Gaulle, to be on the side of the victors.
But already in the mid-1960s, when television beamed into French homes, the images of news coverage and commercials showed a completely different country: urban, industrial, motorways connecting the country’s regions… A nation fascinated by speed, progress and modernity. Pictures that praise new constructions popping up everywhere and celebrate the progress of which they are a visible proof. No sector seems to have been forgotten.
In these pictures, one man stood out, almost single-handedly inaugurating all these great works transforming the country. His speeches were all about the greatness of France and its place in the world.
This man of the century is General de Gaulle, who returned to power in 1958. He embodied better than anyone else this period that the French are the only ones to call “The Glorious Thirty”, the thirty post-war years.
They are not more glorious, though, than in the neighbouring countries in Europe. But in France, it’s De Gaulle who truly embodies this period. He is the providential man who has the genius to construct a national narrative at the same time as shaping its history.
Although France had been in the process of reconstruction since 1945, rebuilding and developing its regions, it was De Gaulle who, from 1958, invented a mythology, putting his sense of greatness and his vision at the service of a glorious history which, in reality, began before his coming to power. It was set in motion by an administration which gave birth to a generation of senior officials, who are to the post-war period what the hussars were to the early 20th century.
This is the story of this chapter of history. The story that turned France from an agricultural country to the fourth world power in just 30 years.