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France's colonial territories were of very high importance after the embarrassment of occupation during World War II. Algeria, in particular, was a complicated case because it involved large numbers of French settlers, the pieds-noirs. Despite international support for Algerian independence, right-wing factions in the military and among the colonizers remained committed to staying the course. After Charles de Gaulle presided over French withdrawal, the cause of the pieds-noirs has remained divisive in French political life, particularly on the right.
This course covers the emergence of modern France. Topics include the social, economic, and political transformation of France; the impact of France's revolutionary heritage, of industrialization, and of the dislocation wrought by two world wars; and the political response of the Left and the Right to changing French society.