As we enter the second half of our F&M in Paris program, we begin our study of the second half of the twentieth century and early twenty-first century. This week we are discussing the Fourth Republic and its transition to the Fifth Republic with the return of Charles de Gaulle to power. For our examination of early postwar Franco-American relations, we read Richard Kuisel's account of the French resistance to Coca-Cola in the late 1940s and early 1950s. Although other Europeans alleged Coke was dangerous and some countries temporarily banned it, l'affaire de Coca-Cola was most prolonged in France, where governmental opposition to Coke, grounded in fears of American political, economic, and cultural dominance, led the American Ambassador to France to protest to Prime Minister Georges Bidault. Ultimately, the path was cleared for the sale of le Coca in France, where it was (and still is) advertised widely, even if French consumption lagged behind that of other Europeans well into the 1980s.
Coca-Cola Advertisements in 1950s France
As Kianna discovered during her Fall Break travels in Spain, Coke is still the target of European boycotts!