The provisional government after the great war remained in power until the fourth republic was proclaimed in 1946. De Gaulle was not satisfied with what the new constitution might bring and retired from the political scene. The following years brought unstable coalition conditions. The efforts to rebuild the country was supported by the aid from the US under the Marshall Plan.
Some industries were nationalized. France initiated a new political and economic cooperation move in between the European countries. This movement created the roots of the European Community. Late 1940s were indicating a sharply rising inflation and a strangled economy. The colonial domination of France was coming to an end. Between 1945 and 1956, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Morocco and Tunisia broke the colonial ties with France and became independent. Algerian independence movement created a strong opposition in France. Soon, the initial conflict turned to a bloody war. De Gaulle was called to lead the country to a resolution. He prepared a new constitution which allowed for a bicameral legislature and also a strong presidency. This marked the creation of the fifth republic. He became the president in 1959. By then the conflict in Algeria became even much deeper. In 1962, De Gaulle proposed and secured Algerian independence by a referendum. This event triggered a new mood in France; a more independent and confident European state...
Initially a member of NATO, France under De Gaulle's leading withdrew from the alliance. De Gaulle's authoritarian government was shattered under the pressure of 1968 student and united workers' movement and demonstrations. He resigned in 1969. His successors Pompidou and Giscard d'Estaing continued his policies on economy and social life.
Francois Mitterand, a socialist, was elected to presidency in 1981. He challenged all major economic policies which were set by his right wing predecessors. The recession of 1983 forced him to compromise his socialist policies on major issues.
He won a second term in presidential row in 1988. 1993 became the year for socialists to suffer their worst defeat in parliamentary elections. They lost the government to Edouard Balladur led conservative party.
France has always been a driving force behind the idea and establishment of European Community. The recent move in the community is allow all the goods and workers to move freely between the member countries. The next step will be a common currency and a central bank for currency control. The expected future move is a political union between the member countries.