Date of Award


Degree Type

Master's Essay - Restricted

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

David E. Gardinier


The Election of a Socialist government in France in 1981 represented the first truly non-right-wing government France had experienced since the late 1930s Popular Front. President Francois Mitterand took office after having spent more than fifteen years as an opposition candidate to de Gaulle and his rightist successors. His strong expression of French Socialist ideology included nationalization of key industries and drastic social reform, suspicion of the Soviet Union, and a firm opposition to the arms race, including the irresponsible sale of / arms to third world countries. After Mitterand defeated Valery Giscard d'Estaing in the second election to capture the presidency, he was the object of much speculation concerning the policies his new Socialist government would follow, and what they would mean for France, Europe, and the world.