HISTORY MEME - FRANCE VERSION ♛ [03/10] moments : May 1968 (2-30 may 1968)
The May 1968 events in France were a volatile period of civil unrest punctuated by massive general strikes and the occupation of factories and universities across France. It was the largest general strike ever attempted in France, and the first ever nation-wide wildcat general strike. At the height of its fervor, the unrest virtually brought the entire advanced capitalist economy of France to a dramatic halt. The events would have a resounding impact on French society that would be felt for decades to come.
After The events began with a series of student occupation protests, followed by strikes involving 11,000,000 workers, over 22% of the total population of France at the time, for two continuous weeks, and its impact was such that it almost caused the collapse of French President Charles de Gaulle’s government. The movement was characterized by its spontaneous and de-centralized wildcat disposition; this created contrast and sometimes even conflict between itself and the establishment trade unions and worker’s parties.
The student occupations and wildcat general strikes initiated across France were met with forceful confrontation by university administrators and police. The de Gaulle administration’s attempts to quell those strikes by police action only inflamed the situation further, leading to street battles with the police in the Latin Quarter, followed by the spread of general strikes and occupations throughout France. The protests reached such a point that government leaders feared civil war or revolution. De Gaulle fled to a French military base in Germany, and after returning dissolved the National Assembly, and called for new parliamentary elections for 23 June 1968. Violence evaporated almost as quickly as it arose. Workers went back to their jobs, and when the elections were finally held in June, the Gaullist party emerged even stronger than before.