|the Ministry of National Economy (and would be followed by René Pleven, a strong Gaullist); Robert Lacoste, a Socialist, and two top Christian Democrats, Pierre-Henri Teitgen and François de Menthon, were given Industrial Production, Information, and Justice, respectively; Henri Frenay, the founder of the resistance group Combat and a|
of the first order, was assigned a portfolio to deal with returning prisoners and refugees; and some of de Gaulle's closest associates from London, such as Alexandre Parodi, André Diethelm, and René Capitant, were included in the cabinet as well. De Gaulle had openly refused to bring into his government more representatives from the metropolitan, often Communist-dominated resistance groups.
|The fault for the breakdown of wartime unity cannot be laid entirely on de Gaulle's doorstep, however. The political parties and factions, too, played their part. Each jockeyed furiously for position as the political settlement began to take shape. The Communists, bolstered by the results of the local elections in April and May 1945, sought to augment their control of the French left by proposing fusion with the Socialist Party to create a strong parliamentary power base from which to challenge de Gaulle. Yet Socialist leaders Léon Blum and Paul Ramadier, veteran Third Republicans, saw theirs as the key "hinge" party, keeping lines of communication open to both the left and center. The Socialists, they believed, could legitimately aspire to a degree of influence as great as that of their PCF confrères, if not greater, as they had done in the Popular Front. They were progressive but not doctrinaire; they were anticlerical but not intolerant; they had good resistance credentials but did not carry the revolutionary stigma attached to many Communist militants. In short, they felt that they could bridge gaps in the electorate that other parties could not. In the summer of 1945, the Socialist leadership managed to persuade a disgruntled rank and file of the need to maintain independence from the PCF and to establish a tripartite parliamentary entente with both Communists and Christian Democrats.|
|In the center of the political spectrum, the Mouvement Républicain Populaire (MRP), France's youngest and least defined party, was growing surprisingly fast, with a diverse constituency drawn from most sectors of the country: civil servants, lawyers, teachers, petite bourgeoisie, Catholic workers, farmers, and large numbers of newly enfranchised women. These constituents were uncomfortable with the forgiving attitudes of prewar centrist deputies toward Vichy, and saw in this revival of Christian Democracy a way of defending the faith against the secular parties while remaining loyal to the resistance movement. The leader-|