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The Postwar MomentProgressive Forces in Britain, France, and the United States after World War II$
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Isser Woloch

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780300124354

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: September 2019

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300124354.001.0001

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The Travails of the French Left

The Travails of the French Left

(p.41) 2 The Travails of the French Left
The Postwar Moment

Isser Woloch

Yale University Press

This chapter examines the French Left. After the fall of France in June 1940, the French parliament convoked in the town of Vichy granted “full powers” to Marshal Pétain, thereby interring the Third Republic and accepting French collaboration with Hitler. Over two-thirds of the Socialist parliamentarians ignored the pleas of their leader Léon Blum and voted yes. The French Left was again in disarray. In the wake of the Bolshevik Revolution, the Socialist Party split apart and the Confédération Générale du Travail (CGT) labor confederation experienced a comparable schism. Fifteen years later, a reunited Left forged a Popular Front alliance that won a remarkable electoral victory in 1936. Within two years, the Popular Front collapsed; Munich bitterly divided the Socialist camp; and the French Communist Party went its own way. Under these extreme circumstances, however, the French Resistance created new openings for the Left, in tandem with General Charles de Gaulle's Free France in London.

Keywords:   French Left, Léon Blum, Socialist Party, schism, Confédération Générale du Travail, Popular Front, French Communist Party, French Resistance, Charles de Gaulle, Free France

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