The unexpectedness intensified the shock and disorientation that gripped the parliamentary elite as well as the general public in the wake of the débâcle. Certainly, other aspects of their experience - such as the mass exodus of refugees and the virtual disintegration of the French State contributed to the disorientation. But the contrast between expectation and experience was critical. The precious metals in French vaults seemed to offer a critical reserve that France could draw upon in the long war of economic attrition that so many expected. The instability of French governments was perceived to limit the nation's capacity to respond to the challenges of economic crisis and international tension. In 1937 French production levels were still 25% below those of 1929, whereas most of France's neighbours had regained or surpassed 1929 levels. Adding to the sense of deterioration was the increasing polarisation of French society.