Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Arts


Political Science

First Advisor

Dr. Ernest E. Rossi

Second Advisor

Dr. Kenneth Dahlberg

Third Advisor

Dr. Jack Plano

Access Setting

Masters Thesis-Open Access




Since, June, 1972, the French Socialist Party and the French Communist Party have been formally united in their attempt to gain power. Thus far, the strategy of unified opposition has proved successful; elections since 1972 have shown a steadily increasing voter response to the Left's proposed program. The ability to agree on a joint foreign policy, which constitutes an important part of the Common Program of 1972, was a fundamental factor in the formulation of a united Left electoral platform. Before the signature of the Common Program, foreign policy had been a subject of severe controversy between the Socialists and the Communists.

Throughout the Fifth Republic, various factors promoted unity among the Socialists and the Communists: the end of the Cold War, a common socialist heritage, the new electoral system, and General Charles de Gaulle's supreme personal influence on the national political system. Foreign policy, however, proved to be persistent obstacle to a common front. Disagreement over foreign policy has been so persistent, in fact, that despite written agreements contained in the Common Program, it still exists to this day. Th factors that served to bring the Left parties closer together have not sufficed to remove this fundamental point of difference.