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National image-conflicts and the pursuit of nuclear independence: Nuclear policies of China under Mao Zedong and France under Charles de Gaulle

Posted on:1995-12-28Degree:Ph.DType:Dissertation
University:Columbia UniversityCandidate:Ren, YueFull Text:PDF
GTID:1476390014490553Subject:Political science
This study examines the nuclear armament policies of two secondary nuclear powers--China under Mao Zedong (1955-1976) and France under Charles de Gaulle (1958-1969)--from a goal-directed perspective. It argues that among other factors, there were two major goals which Mao and de Gaulle hoped to achieve through their nations' nuclear endeavors: one was to strengthen national defense, which stemmed mainly from security concerns; the other was to increase national prestige and independence, which was generated by image-conflicts between Mao and de Gaulle's self-images and the perceived images from their reference groups (e.g., their major allies, adversaries, and their own people) on China and France's rankings in the world. While most of the previous studies focus on the military utility of nuclear weapons, this study emphasizes the prestige aspect of the atomic bombs. Based on the available Chinese and French sources, it argues that both Mao and de Gaulle held ideal self-images of their nations' greatness in the community of nations. However, they also believed that their major image reference groups held less positive views. The two leaders, therefore, were motivated to eliminate the discrepancies between their self-images and that of their reference groups through what they believed to be an effective means--national nuclear armament. Strong evidence suggests that the pursuit of national independence, both politically and strategically, corresponded with the timing, priority, scope, and speed of the Chinese and French nuclear programs.
Keywords/Search Tags:Nuclear, Mao, De gaulle, Independence, National
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