The Cross : What is the place of the call of 18-June in the mythe gaullien ?
Sudhir Hazareesingh : All the great myths are based on an event that symbolizes the year zero, as the 14 July 1789 for the French Revolution for example. On June 18, is a moment of rupture, where traditional politics is giving way to a political desire new. This is the date founded, and very quickly, moreover, the general De Gaulle commemorates. As soon as the war, he transformed the event into mythology.
On 18 June, in fact, it has been said : those who heard did not understand, and those who have understood it have not heard. In 1940, the general did not invite the whole world to enter the resistance, it simply calls those who wish to join. He maintains the ambiguity on the possibility of staying in the French army, while coming to him, which very quickly becomes impossible.
In 1942, he gives the call a more republican that it did not, it is in fact a call for resistance, deepening the sense and the scope. It is in fact a collective call, as a movement of the French people against the occupation by the Germans. And in 1944, he argues that if the call was successful, is that “the French nation has seen fit to respond “. Thereafter, each year between 1946 and 1968, whether in power or in the middle of crossing the desert, he makes sure to commemorate the appeal of 18 June at the Mont-Valérien.
What is it that remains attached to that date, that is precious for today ?
S. H. : He transformed a military defeat and political collapse of the institutions of the IIIe Republic, so a double failure, in new horizon, and it opens up a new perspective, that of the Fifth Republic. He thus puts forward the willingness, the determination, the courage, the refusal of fatalism. Above all, what is new in the political culture of the French, he calls for the sovereignty of the people and provides at the same time to be the incarnation. There is a tension, almost a break with the republican tradition classic.
Of these virtues, it is the refusal of fatalism, which has emerged through time. In the letters, as in the crowds who go to the Mont Valérien every year, there is the idea that there is no inevitability in politics as at the military level. That there is always a place for the will, the political elites, but especially the general will. For the citizen, it is a call to remain vigilant. This is not a coincidence that the adventures of Asterix are released for the first time at the end of the 1950s, at a time when it returns to power. The scenario takes up the idea of the myth gaullien : the French are Gauls who refuse injustice and oppression.
What is this myth ?
S. H. : This is not exactly a myth, a republican, nor a myth monarchist. All of the republican tradition since the end of the XIXe century opposes to this idea of the incarnation by a single man, attached to the monarchy. In its Memories of warhe writes : “It was necessary that I assume the France. “ But at the same time, each of the ceremonies it organizes is of great sobriety, almost republican. De Gaulle paid tribute to the dead, and does not speak. No speech, triumphalist, nationalist. To his son-in-law, moreover, he would have said that it was a birthday we had to celebrate “but not too much “.
→ DOCUMENTARY. A Republic is made for de Gaulle
Like the other great national myths – the Revolution, the myth napoleonic the IIIe Republic, or communism, plasticity plays a crucial role. The mythe gaullien successfully to reconcile contradictory elements : the order and the movement, power, military and civil, of the Republic and the monarchy, the tradition and the political modernization, is the greatness and the humility. Because in 1958, the general creates a republican monarchy. And the right, essentially backward-looking, and for a large part, attached to the past pre-revolutionary, becomes a movement mobilizing, turned towards the future. The Gaullism does not totally disappear right vichyste, which survives in the OAS and the national Front, but succeeds in the limit.
What changes has he made for the last 80 years ?
S. H. : There are successive layers that mark the enlargement of the seat of the myth. In the 1940s and 1950s, it is celebrated with lot of enthusiasm but mainly by the Gaullists. The communists are going to the Mont Valérien any grudge holding, rightly offended by the appropriation of the resistance by De Gaulle. In his speech as in his memoirs, he denies the role of the internal resistance.
Starting in the 1960s, especially of the 1970s, after his death, Colombey-les-deux-Churches becomes a place of memory, with the construction of the monument of the pharaohs, where go those that is referred to as pilgrims. De Gaulle enters the collective memory as a great national figure, hero of the Resistance, a unifying of the nation. The crucial moment following, it is 1990, with the centenary of the birth. The left as a whole, Mitterrand in the lead, rallied then to the myth gaullien, even if shades remain. When the right to honor the man of order, founder of the Ve Republic, the left prefers the resistant.
At the end of the XXe century, new mutation. This is the man virtuous, incorruptible, we shall convene in order to denounce the frivolity and corruption of the political class today. The myth once again meets expectations very current. It should also be noted the entry into force of the general in the public space : a common one-in-ten in metropolitan France has its street, avenue, or place to his name.
What is the report of the chairman Macron with this myth ?
S. H. : The mythe gaullien, Emmanuel Macron has taken over the verticality and the incarnation of the authority, who had both missed the president Hollande. And the symbolism of silence, trying to stay out of current affairs at the beginning of his five-year term. De Gaulle, himself, could stay weeks, or even months, it’s silent.
And even if the dimension order of mythe gaullien was weakened from the end of the Twentieth century, Emmanuel Macron is also inspired to make the concentration of power at the Elysée palace and the return manifest to the practices of the beginning of the Ve Republic. Soon confronted with the fundamental contradiction of verticality : from the time when everything is brought back to the President, it is the first presentation when things go wrong.
From this point of view, the yellow vests remain a trauma for the president of the Republic who, after having played all the powers after his election, sees his authority challenged by a movement that he has not seen coming and was not able to contain. He concludes that he has an interest in changing the configuration of the political system, especially as his party is not able to support it, as had been the gaullist party in the 1960s, to De Gaulle. This year, Emmanuel Macron has not been completely successful and he is now trying to find other relays.