FRANCE: Political Courage

Through two empires, four republics, three major wars in 70 years and 14 postwar cabinets, the French have sat in suspicious judgment on their governments. Frequently they have shown their approval or disapproval not only by their ballots but by the way they behave when their government asks for money. They have become Europe's greatest gold hoarders. Since World War II, weak French governments have flooded the Fourth Republic with fancy-looking banknotes which the public no longer trusts, and which steadily lose value. Result: an estimated $4 billion worth of gold has disappeared from circulation, mostly into the stockings...

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