The theme of this volume is the historical development of France from the middle of the last century until her defeat by Germany in the summer of 1940. It spans, in political terms, two of the ten régimes France has known since the beginning of the nineteenth century: the Second Empire of Napoleon III and the Third Republic. But its theme is not limited to the constitutional or political aspects of French development in these years, nor even to the military, diplomatic, economic, or social aspects. It comprises whatever significant events in any and all of these aspects of national life and activity most help to explain the over-all fortunes of France between 1850 and 1940. Since its scope is so multilateral, and the interplay of the various aspects of national change so intricate, choice of material for a volume such as this must be made on certain firm principles if it is to be kept within tolerable limits of size, expense, and utility. For the sheer quantity of available “documents” relating to this theme is dauntingly vast, as even hasty reflection will suggest.


Foreign Policy National Life Parliamentary System Burning Issue National Crisis 
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Copyright information

© David Thomson 1968

Authors and Affiliations

  • David Thomson
    • 1
  1. 1.Sidney Sussex CollegeCambridgeUK

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