The Events of May 1968 in Paris: Student Protests, Government Paralysis, and De Gaulle's Response

TLDR The events of May 1968 in Paris were marked by student protests, police violence, and a wave of strikes, leading to a state of chaos and unrest. President De Gaulle's initial dismissal of the protests and subsequent paralysis only further fueled the unrest, ultimately culminating in the dissolution of parliament and his resignation a year later.

Timestamped Summary

00:00 In this episode, the hosts discuss the events of 1968 in Paris, including the student protests, police violence, and the wave of strikes, while also providing background information on President De Gaulle and his role in French history.
04:21 President De Gaulle's initial reaction to the student protests in Paris in 1968 is to dismiss them as childish, but as the protests escalate, he becomes increasingly out of touch and paralyzed, leading to further unrest and violence.
08:23 The government is running out of options and there is a sense that nobody knows how the situation will be resolved, with some politicians, including Mitterrand and Mendez-France, ready to assume power.
12:27 The communists plan a big demonstration for May 29th, while De Gaulle, in a state of despair, considers fleeing to Versailles but ultimately decides to leave the capital and go to his country hideaway, while secretly sending a general to the French forces in Baden-Baden.
16:19 De Gaulle secretly flees to Germany, causing panic and chaos in Paris, but is reassured by General Massou that the troops will remain loyal.
20:06 De Gaulle decides to return to Paris from Colombia and plans to address the nation before a Gaullist demonstration.
24:12 De Gaulle gives a short radio speech, urging people to go back to work and universities, dissolving parliament and calling for elections, and warning of emergency powers if protests continue, which galvanizes his supporters and leads to a massive demonstration on the Champs Elysees.
28:16 The events of May 1968 in France, including the massive demonstrations and the dissolution of parliament, are ultimately seen as a failure and a cul-de-sac, with de Gaulle stepping down a year later and the left not gaining power.
32:03 The impact of May 1968 is felt more strongly in the English-speaking world, particularly in the United States, where intellectuals apply the ideas of repression and power structures to issues like racism, leading to the Black Lives Matter protests in 2020.
36:04 The events of May 1968 in Paris, while exciting and dramatic, are eclipsed by the devastating impact of what happened in Prague, Mexico City, and the aftermath of Martin Luther King's assassination, and are likely to fade in significance in future generations compared to other historical events.
Categories: History

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