French Republic

Provisional Government of the French Republic

The Provisional Government of the French Republic (gouvernement provisoire de la République française or GPRF) was an interim government which governed France from 1944 to 1946. Following the Battle of France in 1940 the state of Vichy France had been established under the rule of Philippe Pétain. However, after Operation Overlord, the liberation of Paris and the fall of the Chambois pocket, the Vichy regime dissolved. Jurisdiction was then seized by the Provisional Government under the leadership of Charles de Gaulle in the wake of the Allied front lines moving through France. It was eventually succeeded by the Fourth French Republic in 1946 and the Fifth French Republic in 1958.

The GPRF was dominated by the tripartisme alliance between the French Communist Party (PCF), claiming itself by exaggeration to be the parti des 85,000 fusillés ("party of the 85,000 shot") because of its leading role in the Resistance, the SFIO socialist party and the Christian Democratic MRP, led by Georges Bidault. This alliance between the three most important political parties after the war — the Radical-Socialists and the conservative, right-wing parties, such as the ARD, had lost their legitimacy due to their collaboration during Vichy and to their attitude before the war — lasted until the May 1947 crisis during which Maurice Thorez, vice-premier, and four others Communist ministers were expelled from the government, both in France and in Italy. Along with the acceptance of the Marshall Plan, reserved to countries who had not fallen under the influence of the USSR, this marked the official beginning of the Cold War in these countries.

Although the GPRF was active only from 1944 to 1946, it had a lasting influence, in particular regarding the enacting of labour laws, which were envisioned by the National Council of the Resistance, the umbrella organisation which united all Resistant movements, in particular the Communist Front National. The Front National was the political front of the Franc-tireurs et partisans (FTP) Resistance movement. Beside de Gaulle's ordinances granting, for the first time in France, right of vote to women, the GPRF passed various labour laws, including the October 11, 1946 act establishing occupational medicine.

List of Chairmen of the Provisional Government of the French Republic

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