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New Left Review I/52, November-December 1968

NLR Editorials

Introduction to Special Issue on France May 1968

The May Revolution in France was foreseen by nobody. It burst upon the world without warning. It did not fit any pre-conceived pattern. At first glance France seemed the capitalist country least likely to be shaken by social upheaval. Unlike Britain it was not in the throes of a chronic economic crisis. Unlike the United States it was not disturbed by a long, vicious and fruitless war. Unlike Italy it was not faced with the breakdown of a fragile parliamentary coalition. Unlike West Germany or Japan it did not even have a record of intense student militancy. Yet it was in France that the storm broke.

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