On 10 July 1959, the German daily newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung considers General de Gaulle’s military nuclear policy and outlines the stormy nature of Franco-American relations in the area of defence.
On 3 November 1959, General de Gaulle, President of the French Republic, gives an address to the cadets of the Saint-Cyr Military Academy in which he emphasises the need for France to retain absolute control over its national defence.
On 14 September 1966, General de Gaulle, wearing an anti-radiation suit, observes the explosion of the third French atomic bomb in the Pacific Ocean (Hao) from the bridge of the cruiser ‘De Grasse’. From left to right: Alain Peyrefitte, Minister for Scientific Research and for Nuclear and Space Matters, Pierre Billotte, Minister of State responsible for the Overseas Departments and Territories, and Pierre Messmer, Minister for the Armed Forces.
From 23 March to 3 April 1960, the French President, Charles de Gaulle, receives Nikita Khrushchev, First Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, on an official visit during which he demonstrates his determination to retain French independence and power vis-à-vis his American ally.
‘America is seeking rapprochement with the European Community. De Gaulle: No, I can’t bring myself to swallow that yet!’ No sooner had the United Kingdom applied for accession to the European Economic Community (EEC) in 1961 than the US President, John F. Kennedy, proposed the establishment of trade links with the EEC. This was all too much for General de Gaulle.
‘Rivals.’ In June 1963, General de Gaulle’s resolve to restore France’s place in the world by providing it with the means to achieve political independence and greatness is hampered by the leading role played by the United States on the international stage.
Before the explosion, the officer in charge of detonation ensures that everyone has evacuated the danger zone and then gives authorisation to proceed with the third French nuclear test on Mururoa, in the Pacific.