There are 5 permanent members of the UN security council - USA, UK, Russia, China and France.

I can understand why USA, UK, Russia and China have their places, being on the winning side at the end of WWII.

But why did France get it's place? - It had a pretty bad war, invaded and conquered within a few weeks, slipped quickly into collaboration and didn't develop a viable resistance organisation until the tide of war had already swung against the Germans. It's the only one of the conquered nations to get a place, why not Poland or Belgium? Or why not one of the other allies, Canada or Australia maybe?

On a similar vein, why was there a French zone in occupied Germany?

My best guess is that the UK and US wanted to 'stack' the council with another 'western' country to increase the odds of outvoting the communist countries Russia and China.

Or is there a less cynical reason?

  • 4
    What has your research revealed? Does Wikipedia or the UN website explain? Might it have to do with the population or economy of France?
    – MCW
    Jun 12, 2018 at 13:58
  • 4
    Uh, France was on the winning side of WW2 too, being one of the five major Allied powers - a reason spelt out on the UN website, in fact. Belgium and Poland were considered minor powers; Canada and Australia were of a similar rank and, at the time, still part of the British Empire. The stacking theory makes no sense at all considering China was not Communist at the time, Russia had a veto, and there's more than the five permanent members on the Security Council anyway.
    – Semaphore
    Jun 12, 2018 at 14:17
  • @DenisdeBernardy - ...and my same comment on that question applies here, which is I answered this question with this answer
    – T.E.D.
    Jun 12, 2018 at 14:47

1 Answer 1


There was a Free France a government-in-exile led by Charles de Gaulle and they had the Free French Forces that continued to battle Germany.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.