HISTORY OF MODERN FRANCE

The Third French Republic 1870-1940. Part 14


Wednesday, 12 October 2022

5:00-6:40 pm Paris time

 

  Zoom lecture

Militant poster from the Paris Ecole des Beaus-Arts, May 1968
Militant poster from the Paris Ecole des Beaus-Arts, May 1968

May 1968 – The Last French Revolution

with Chris Boïcos

 

To this day the fateful month of May 1968 is referred to in discussions of French society and in French politics, in both horror and praise, as the crucial moment in which France leapt into modernity.

 

Student demonstrations and labor strikes – notably at the emblematic Renault car factory in Boulogne – brought France to a standstill for a full month. President Charles de Gaulle was forced to secretly leave the country and fly to a French army base in Germany in order to be reassured as to the military’s backing of his regime. Beyond student and labor turmoil, May 1968 also signaled the beginning of the sexual revolution, women’s liberation, the ecological movement, the breakdown of traditional and Catholic morals and the beginning of the future struggles for all minority rights in France.

 

In our lecture we will outline the main events of the month of May, the key figures like the radical student leaders Daniel Cohn-Bendit, Jacques Sauvageot and Alain Geismar, as well as the key venues of revolution: the university of Nanterre, the Sorbonne, the Latin quarter of Paris, the Odéon theater or the Renault factory in Boulogne. We will see how many of the issues of May 1968 are still very much with us and still contribute to today’s culture wars in France as much as in the USA.


Student leader Daniel Cohn-Bendit confronts a policeman at the Sorbonne during the May 1968 events
Student leader Daniel Cohn-Bendit confronts a policeman at the Sorbonne during the May 1968 events


You will receive the Zoom meeting details as soon as you register & pay for the chosen lecture(s)