Paris Post War: Art and existentialism 1945-55

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Yes, I believe that it is in the best interests of mankind that the dispositions which will decide the fate of the defeated Germans tomorrow should not be discussed or decided without France. I believe this because no power is more directly interested than France in all that concerns a neighbour who has preoccupied her greatly for the last two thousand years.

It would be very risky to build any sort of structure without the party that it interests most. We believe that it would be a grave mistake to decide anything which concerns Europe without France. France is integrated into Europe in such a way that anything which affects any part of the old continent affects her directly. By the same token anything which affects France affects the rest of Europe.

Furthermore, France has the distinction of being able to bring an experience which has been bought fairly dearly to the discussion of any European problem. She is also trusted to a fairly exceptional degree by many. Finally we believe that to decide the political, economic and moral conditions in which the inhabitants of the world will have to live after this present drama without

France would be a foolhardy undertaking.

From War Memoirs, Salvation 1944-1946 by Charles de Gaulle (1960, Weidenfeld & Nicholson)

Paris Post War: Art and Existentialism 1945-55 at the Tate Gallery until 5 September. Sponsored by the Independent and supported by the French Embassy in London.

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(Photograph omitted)