Mitterrand, François Maurice
François Maurice Mitterrand (fräNswä´ mōrēs´ mētəräN´), 1916–96, French political leader, president of France, 1981–95. Initially a supporter of Pétain's Vichy government during World War II, he joined the Resistance in 1943. Mitterrand served in the National Assembly (1946–58) and senate (1959–62). As head of a small left-of-center party, he held ministerial posts in many cabinets from 1947 until 1958, when Charles de Gaulle became president. Mitterrand later merged his party with several other leftist groups, leading them into a unified Socialist party, of which he became (1971) head.
An outspoken opponent of de Gaulle, Mitterrand ran against him for president in 1965, winning 45% of the vote in a runoff election. In 1974 he again ran for president as the Socialist party candidate, but he lost by a small margin to Valéry Giscard d'Estaing. By 1978 the Socialists were the most popular party in France, and in 1981, Mitterrand became president with the support of the Communist party, which he then marginalized.
Mitterrand's program of bank and insurance company nationalization, wage raises, and decentralization did not stem unemployment and inflation. Mitterrand tried to develop a more conservative program, known as "economic realism," replacing Prime Minister Pierre Mauroy, a long-time Socialist, with Laurent Fabius, a pragmatic economist. Internationally, Mitterrand sought to strengthen the European Community (now the European Union) and pursue an independent foreign policy in the Middle East and Africa. When the Socialists lost the National Assembly in 1986, Mitterrand retained the presidency but had to work with the right-wing government of Premier Jacques Chirac. This so-called cohabitation ended in triumph for Mitterrand, who won reelection in 1988.
After the Socialists regained control of the assembly (1988), Mitterrand appointed Michel Rocard as premier. Rocard followed Mitterrand's centrist politics, but in 1991 Mitterrand replaced Rocard with Edith Cresson, who became France's first woman premier. After a poor showing by the Socialists in local elections, Cresson resigned (1992) and was replaced by Pierre Bérégovoy. Following a conservative victory in the 1993 legislative elections, Mitterrand appointed Édouard Balladur, a Gaullist, as premier, and he was again forced into cohabitation.
Gravely ill with cancer, Mitterrand retired in 1995, having served longer than any other French president. His personal popularity, pragmatism, and resourcefulness were key to his long and successful tenure in office. Mitterrand's accomplishments as president included a greater internationalism, particularly improved relations with other European nations, and a steady domestic decentralization. His most lasting legacy, however, may lie not in politics but in the multifaceted revitalization of Paris, especially the "Grands Travaux" [great works], a spate of important new urban projects undertaken during his presidency with his active encouragement.
See his posthumously published Memoires interrompues [interrupted memoirs] (1996) and De l'Allemagne, de la France [of Germany, of France] (1996); P. Péan's biography of his early years, A French Youth (1994); D. McShane, François Mitterrand: A Political Odyssey (1982); C. Nay, The Black and the Red: François Mitterrand and the Story of an Ambition (1987); J. W. Friend, Seven Years in France (1989); W. Northcutt, Mitterrand: A Political Biography (1991); A. Cole, François Mitterrand: A Study in Political Leadership (1994); S. Baumann-Reynolds, François Mitterrand: The Making of a Socialist Prince in Republican France (1995); P. Short, A Taste for Intrigue: The Multiple Lives of François Mitterrand (2014).
"Mitterrand, François Maurice." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Encyclopedia.com. (December 9, 2018). https://www.encyclopedia.com/reference/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/mitterrand-francois-maurice
"Mitterrand, François Maurice." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Retrieved December 09, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: https://www.encyclopedia.com/reference/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/mitterrand-francois-maurice
Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).
Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.
Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:
Modern Language Association
The Chicago Manual of Style
American Psychological Association
- Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
- In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.