The development of the French defence industry in the 20th century


  • Lundmark Martin
  • Giovachini Laurent

Publish date: 2005-01-01

Report number: FOI-R--1573--SE

Pages: 16

Written in: English


The French defence industry is the world´s third largest national defence industry. It has an interesting history and reflects the development of the French military posture. This report presents an overview of the development of the French defence industry, an overview that starts in the 14th century but has its focus on the 20th century. The overview ends at the beginning of the 21st century. The development of the French defence industry shows an interplay between technology; the demands of war; the interests, powers and limitations of the state; and the power struggles between different actors within the French "military-industrialised complex". The French state has shown (and still shown)considerable interest in the defence industry. It has not hesitated to use its powers or to intervene in the industry by means of nationalisations, industrial mobilisations and state-orchestrated consolidations.