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The Popular Front in France : Defending Democracy, 1934-38 - Julian Jackson

The Popular Front in France

Defending Democracy, 1934-38

Paperback Published: 20th August 1990
ISBN: 9780521312523
Number Of Pages: 388

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This is the first full-length study in English of the Popular Front, the left-wing coalition which emerged in France during the 1930s in response to the threat of fascism and which went on to win the elections of 1936, giving France her first socialist premier, Leon Blum.

After a brief narrative history of the Popular Front the book is organised thematically around the main historiographical debates to which the Popular Front has given rise. Among the issues considered are the origins of the strikes of 1936, the reasons for the failure of the Popular Front economic policy, the relationship between culture and politics in France in the 1930s and the causes of France's policy of non-intervention in the Spanish Civil War, The book views the Popular Front at three levels -- as a mass movement, political coalition and government -- and argues that it must not be seen just as a narrowly political phenomenon but as a political, social and cultural explosion which attempted to break down the barriers between all areas of human activity in the highly compartmentalised society of France in the 1930s. Even if the Popular Front ultimately failed in this aim it has acquired legendary status in France, and the epilogue to the book briefly examines the 'myth' of the Popular Front from 1936 to the present day.

' ... the book is by far the best-researched and most significant account of the Popular Front to appear on either side of the Channel for the last two decades. All it requires is for CUP to issue a paperback edition for it to become established as the main (or indeed the only) student text on the subject for the next decade.' Modern and Contemporary France 'This book provides the first history of the French Popular Front in English, and fills that surprising gap with scholarly distinction ... The author modestly disclaims any ambition to offer a work of sustained original research, but his mastery of the immense literature on the Popular Front is remarkable, and his analyses of rival interpretations are models of lucidity.' International Affairs ' ... a comprehensive and detached corrective to partisan diatribes and eulogies ... a well-balanced and readable assessment.' The Times Literary Supplement

List of illustrationsp. vii
Prefacep. ix
List of abbreviationsp. xv
Introduction: The Popular Front: a narrativep. 1
Prelude to Power
The origins of the Popular Frontp. 17
Democracy in crisis: France 1929 to February 1934p. 18
From 'Class against class' to 'United Front': 1928 to June 1934p. 22
From 'United Front' to 'Popular Front': June 1934 to July 1935p. 36
From unity to victory: July 1935 to May 1936p. 42
The leadersp. 52
Leon Blum: moralist in politicsp. 53
Maurice Thorez: Stalinist Jacobinp. 61
Edouard Daladier: Radical Robespierre?p. 70
Leon Jouhaux: from syndicalism to planismp. 73
The Explosion
The social explosionp. 85
June 1936: conspiracy or spontaneity?p. 87
June 1936: festival or revolution?p. 95
The guerilla war: June 1936 to November 1938p. 104
The cultural explosionp. 113
Intellectuals and masses: defining a cultural policyp. 114
Breaking down the barriers: art and the peoplep. 121
Breaking down the barriers: leisure and the peoplep. 131
'Give back the cinema to the people of France' (Renoir): cinema and the peoplep. 138
The Exercise of Power: Peace, Bread and Liberty
Liberty': defending democracyp. 149
Defending liberty 1: administrative reform and Souffle Republicainp. 150
Defending democracy 2: France overseas: a test casep. 154
'Bread': the Blum New Dealp. 159
Defining the doctrine: la politique du pouvoir d'achatp. 160
Applying the doctrine: the Blum experimentp. 167
Abandoning the doctrine: from Bonnet to Reynaudp. 183
'Peace': the contradictionp. 189
The pursuit of peace: June 1936 to June 1937p. 190
The Spanish imbroglio: the origins of non-interventionp. 201
The road to Munich: June 1937 to September 1938p. 209
Coalition and Opposition
The mystique of unityp. 215
Unity and the exercise of power: June 1936 to June 1937p. 216
The view from the left: unity at what price?p. 234
From anti-fascist unity to anti-Communist disunity: June 1937 to September 1938p. 241
The view from the rightp. 249
Politics: rather Hitler than Blum?p. 250
Religion: reactions to the main tenduep. 259
Industry: the revenge of the patronsp. 264
The End of the Popular Front
Post-mortemp. 271
The resignation of Blump. 272
The Popular Front: a summing upp. 277
Epilogue The Popular Front in historyp. 288
Appendixes
The Programme of the Popular Frontp. 299
The government of Leon Blump. 303
The Matignon Agreementp. 305
Popular Front Parisp. 307
Glossaryp. 312
Notesp. 314
Bibliographical notep. 344
Indexp. 348
Table of Contents provided by Syndetics. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9780521312523
ISBN-10: 0521312523
Audience: Professional
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 388
Published: 20th August 1990
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Country of Publication: GB
Dimensions (cm): 22.86 x 15.88  x 2.54
Weight (kg): 0.61