The Far Right French Revolution | BETWEEN 2 WARS I 1934 Part 4 of 4

The Far Right French Revolution | BETWEEN 2 WARS I 1934 Part 4 of 4

fascism corruption economic hardship
ideological rivalry anti-semitism these words can describe pretty much every
European country in the interwar years France is no exception and in 1934 on
the night of February 6th this all comes together to trigger the worst political
violence the country has seen for generations
once the dust settles the battle lines within France will be more stark than
ever bullshit justly indy neidell and this is
unclear dude guerre a chronological summary of the interwar years covering
all facets of life the uncertainty hedonism and euphoria and ultimately
humanity’s descent into the darkness of the Second World War
if in the aftermath of the Great War Germany is facing a national humiliation
and if Italy is facing a frustration and victory then we may say that France is
facing a lost peace France emerged victorious from the war sure but at a
cost of close to 5% of its population nearly nine million men were mobilized
to fight for France and around 73 percent of them were either killed or
wounded those who survived are still often a visible scar on the streets of
France and the staggering loss of young men heightens fears over declining birth
rates the country is also in financial ruin it has gone from a creditor nation
to a debtor nation vital industries in the northeast were were utterly
obliterated during the war and the franc has plummeted in value and such trauma
inevitably leads to political division the brutalizing experience of the
trenches and the military patriotism of the war years have created a whole
generation of radicalized veterans ultra-nationalism such as this has
always been hostile to the political left but the Bolshevik Revolution in
Russia has intensified hatred of the Red Menace and any groups associated with it
have become targets this really comes to a head in 1924 after the election of the
so called cartel de Guiche and electoral alliance between the center-left radical
party and other more left-wing groups in response several new leagues are formed
or grow in strength groups such as the Jeunesse pay Clio and the fish hill
begin to develop a far-right agenda the latter group is more overtly fascist
than the former indeed the fascio are the first real fascist party to emerge
outside of Italy but both groups like many others formed in this time see
veterans as the men who will rejuvenate France
save her from Republican leftism and preserve her conservative traditions
both groups also have paramilitary units with their own uniforms and with big
parades alongside these newer groups is the axial fan state founded during the
Dreyfus Affair in 1899 the group promotes the principle of integral
nationalism a counter revolutionary and royalist doctrine incorporating anti
parliamentarianism authoritarianism Catholicism anti-semitism and
ultra-nationalism though already a significant movement the rise of the
cartel has given it a golden opportunity for publicity other less radical but
still right when groups are also emerging the largest being de fédération
nationale Catholic led by general de castle now it has mobilized math
Catholics support against the government in 1926 its membership will rise to 1.8
million however that same year the cartel government collapses and is
replaced by a more right-wing one under veteran conservative Lyman Poincare a
general election in 1928 further secures the political position of conservative
parties so the cries against the degenerate leftists have kind of lost
their potency however the ground is still fertile for
the far right to sow their seeds the memories of war remain vivid especially
as France finds itself increasingly isolated from Britain and the United
States the national sacrifice at Verdun is compared bitterly by many to the
corrupt liberalism declining birth rates and the new woman of the 1920s despite
the new Conservative government passing effective legislation the political
class is becoming discredited you see they’re borrowing a fair amount from the
radical program this might win over the typical voter sure might create a sense
of consensus but it angers the nationalist right they are joined by an
increasing number of young intellectuals frustrated at the lack of prospects in
the Republic though varied they share a suspicion of
mechanism and materialism with an accompanying veneration of French
traditionalism okay it is worth mentioning that not every veteran or
young person has become a fluent nationalist in fact pacifism has
actually been on the rise in France this is expressed by both dominant socialist
parties and many veterans organizations pledging themselves to peace
nevertheless as France enters the 1930s shadowy forces on the horizon grow
clearer she has actually escaped the worst parts of the worldwide depression
so far in fact French financial markets are looking strong and the government
budget is in surplus but economic technicalities do little to calm the
pessimism among the populace conservative governments remain in power
until April 1932 when they are defeated by another cartel de gauche
however the cartel fails to transform its electoral alliance into a
governmental one and now like Germany some years earlier French politics is
going through I guess what you’d call a cascade of cabinets these socialists who
worked with the Radical Party are pretty suspicious of bourgeois governments and
offer only conditional parliamentary support this means that governments are
continually facing instability and insecurity political deadlocks happen
again and again and successive cabinets collapse fueling this political
turbulence is a growing public unrest over a host of different grievances see
now a couple years later the depression is hitting France harder and harder
there are mass protests against war debts against pension cuts against
rising taxes against tumbling agricultural prices and against slashed
wages it really does look like France has lost the peace indeed marshal
Philippe Pathan himself known as the Lion of Verdun amplifies this narrative
in a 1932 speech commemorating that famous battle he expresses dismay that
the patriotism of the war has now given way to bitter division and to top it all
off the ascendance of Hitler in Germany in 1933 creates
hiding across much of France in terms of both population and industrial capacity
Germany has basically double the size of France and Hitler’s withdrawal from a
rearmament conference heightens fears that France is now in danger from both
internal and external enemies so like most of inter warrior France is sitting
on a bonfire of political social and economic problems that seems to be just
waiting for a match to set it all ablaze for the Third Republic this will be the
political scandal known as the stavisky affair
Serge Alexandre stavisky was born in 1886 to a Jewish family in what was then
the Russian Empire the family soon moved to France and as he grew up Serge became
increasingly involved with fraudulent enterprises from his teenage years he
has behind him a string of fake companies bad checks stolen securities
now he’s arrested in 1926 but 317 months later on medical grounds and he
continues his shady career now status key is nothing more than a petty crook
but he is also a real charmer and a true socialite of his day he somehow bagged
himself a Chanel model for a wife and has a knack for making friends in high
places but by the end of 1933 the law is catching up with him on Christmas Day he
flees Paris after a lucrative scheme of his begins to unravel it basically
involves local politicians and their assistance in securing bad bonds faker
stolen jewelry and pawn shops once the right-wing press gets wind of this
tangled web they declared a new republic and scandal thing is only getting more
scandalous On January 8th when police finds the Biscay dying from a gunshot
wound in a remote Alpine chalet it is officially a suicide but speculation is
rife that the police murdered him as part of a government cover-up now
scandals like this are not exactly new in French politics and they have been
the ammunition of choice for anyone looking to discredit
organisms as far back as the French Revolution monarchist philosopher Joseph
de Maistre said listening to these so-called
Republicans talk of liberty and virtue is like watching some faded courtesan
feigning the modest blushes of a virgin other more recent scandals though have
also fueled public mistrust of the French Republic so there’s nothing
particularly unique about the stavisky affair only six politicians are directly
implicated and none of them are exceptionally high ranking but the fact
that stavisky is Jewish and that several of the ruling center-left politicians
are implicated and that France is in the grip of depression make it a tailor-made
opportunity for the radical right calls for action grow louder the minister of
qualities is forced to resign once it becomes clear that he provided
assistance to stavisky but the right-wing press does not stop
there and street demonstrations are on the rise newspaper headlines screamed
down with the robbers down with the assassins they now also call for Prime
Minister Camille Shelton to resign he is already a hated figure for his
Masonic connections and right-wing groups hold daily demonstrations against
him and the entire Republican establishment protesters barricade the
streets with cars they even tear down trees show Tom eventually is forced to
resign and is replaced by Edouard Daladier on January 30th da-da-da is
conscious of the rising threat I mean it’d be hard to miss it he knows he
needs to build a stronger alliance with other left-wing groups to show that his
radical party is serious about this he dismisses Paris police prefect and
far-right sympathizer Jean XI up from his post but this only aggravates the
enemies of the Republic further who accused da lady am attempting to
establish a left-wing dictatorship they come together loosely that is to hold a
massive demonstration against the Third Republic now I say loosely because there
isn’t really any central aim or coordination instead a variety of
leagues decide that on the night of February 6 they will stage action
against the Republic and that’s pretty much all they agree on some want an
outright coup others are less clear about what they want at all one of the
main groups is the good-old axial and France A’s
there are some suggestions they want to overthrow the government but their
actions seem to prove otherwise tonight they are primarily represented
by their youth wing with few of the major leaders present in fact the
league’s leader Sean Morris has chosen to spend the night writing poems rather
than go out in the cold winter night and overthrow the system now as you might be
thinking that’s not really the tactics of a group staging a full-blown
revolution the Jonas pop will have a slightly more precise position they do
not wish to overthrow the Republic itself but do very much want to replace
the current government with a more authoritarian one also president of the
quad ever formed in 1927 and led by Colonel Locke it is another League made
up of veterans around a hundred thousand of them to be exact now about 61 percent
of this membership live in Paris and many of them show up tonight but it’s
tough to work out what they hope to achieve indeed there are suggestions
that larocque had to be pressured from the other leagues to join in the first
place there are also smaller fascist or far-right oriented groups present such
as yes solidarity Frances and movement Franck east even between their members
there is no consensus many want to complete coop others just want to
demonstrate their anger right so to make this heady mix just a little bit more
confusing communist groups have also got themselves involved despite being
opposed to these far-right groups and often coming to blows with them they
also have a desire to overthrow the liberal democratic system it is
important to note that the Communist Party has also called on its members to
fight fascists tonight as well as government forces but
despite the complex disunity these groups are a severe threat to French
damar krisi the ever sensationalist paris
press has published detailed descriptions of the league plans and the
league manifestos and such publicity leads to large crowds gathering at
points throughout the city in the evening they start to march on the + de
la Concorde as night comes things start to get violent police block the Concorde
bridge and the mob begins hurling debris and rocks in response cavalry are sent
in as reinforcements and charge at the demonstrators but the mob have brought
with them sticks with razor blades attached if they succeed in cutting down
a horse they leap upon the Fallen rider and beat him savagely the first shots
are soon fired now no one knows from where or from whom but they heighten the
panic the fighting intensifies communist demonstrators now also break away and
pillage the Rue Royale and buildings government or otherwise in the area are
set ablaze rocks are thrown at firefighters battling the flames
meanwhile an equal amount of chaos has taken place in the Chamber of Deputies
itself since 3 p.m. de la da has consistently been prevented from reading
his ministerial declaration conservatives keep breaking into
choruses of the Marseillaise and communists keep belting out the
International knowledge this fights occur between rival deputies the
speaker’s been forced to suspend the session several times and just when
things settled down the deputies hear the first shots ring out and many flees
hurrying past the injured police treated by doctors in the corridors by the time
things are finally adjourned at around 8:30 p.m. there were only about 5 non
cabinet member Deputies left in the chamber back outside much of the mob has
turned towards the presidential palace and the Ministry of the Interior
after some bloody fighting they are beaten back and retreat to the Concorde
once again then at about 10:30 rioters unaware that the deputies have
left begin a full assault on the bridge in front of the Assembly Building
11:30 they seemed to be breaking through the last police barricade the guards
panic and shoot indiscriminately without warning at the charging mob halting it
in its tracks as midnight comes around demonstrators are finally beaten back
fires are now being taken care of and police take control of the situation by
2:30 in the morning the riots seem to be over for now but the following week sees
further chaos and further violence admit day the next day anyhow de la dia is
forced to resign after the cartel falls once again and the police and judiciary
challenged his authority in his place now is former president Gaston doumergue
and a new right-wing cabinet street fights demonstrations and strikes will
take place throughout the next few days adding to the worst civil bloodshed
France has seen since the days of the Paris Commune it is widely believed by
the left that this has all been a fascist coup again that the press do
little to calm these fears later in the week socialist and communist groups come
together to protest against the fascist threat now obviously I just detailed how
Communist rioters fought alongside fascist ones but this seems to be the
result more of organizational confusion and mob mentality rather than any
ideological cause in fact Moscow has been pressuring the communist parties to
adopt a more conciliatory stance towards left-wing and moderate groups they are
advised now to form popular fronts against the ultimate enemy Nazi Germany
anti-fascism is the priority of international communism now and in the
coming years it will join forces with even the radicals to form a bulwark
against the radical right speaking of the radical right February 6 has in many
ways been a success for them they have successfully forced a center-left
cabinet out of government a first in the Third Republic tens of thousands of new
members are now also swelling the ranks of the league’s like the quad therefore
many of the parliamentary right-wing have now also been radicalized adding to
the political stratification we could of course look at this and see
France as a nation full of people just waiting for either a new war or a
dictatorship but it’s important to remember that leaving aside the
extremist forces of the time much of public opinion leans towards pacifist
democracy and pacifist groups most literally millions of members at the
same time however the battle lines have been well and truly drawn the political
turbulence of the 1920s and 1930s has shown that many of the men in charge of
running and defending the Third Republic despise it the formation of a Popular
Front may be desirable for the ordinary citizen who has no wish to see a fascist
third but two conservative generals of the army it reeks of entry-level
communism this is also mirrored in the massive growth of the far-right leagues
after February 6 and their work to undermine the Third Republic continues
and who knows if a united Popular Front will be able to survive and fight off
the fascist threats any help by this point pretty much every communist party
in Europe defers to Moscow and if Stalin’s position of Nazi Germany
changes so will everyone else’s the unity of Verdun is now but a distant
memory things have fallen apart will the centre be able to hold if you’d like to
learn more about the global rise of fascism and understand what it actually
is a little bit better and have a look at our video on the rise of evil you can
click on it right here should be any minute now
our patron of the week is Yorick Crone or crow net thanks to people like Yorick
good name York we can now enjoy the financial stability that 1930s Europe
never did so do the right thing and subscribe to us at patreon calm or
Tango’s TV and now viva la revolución sleepy you

41 thoughts on “The Far Right French Revolution | BETWEEN 2 WARS I 1934 Part 4 of 4

  1. We now get to some fascinating stuff that is less known outside of France. The events in 1934 will not create a new Fascist state, but they will have deep impact on how France deals with WW2. The February crisis influences military policy, the civilian response, and the way both right wing and left wing political parties deal with the German invasion and occupation. In the next couple fo weeks we will come out with a War Against Humanity episode on the WW2 channel about the beginning of French collaboration and resistance – this episode provides essential background to how that plays out in 1940.

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  2. This is great!

    Y’all should really make a Cold War series styled like this series once you have the time and funds to do it.

    Just a suggestion so no pressure

  3. 12:05 This episode takes place set in 1934 , in this scene, it is stated that Action Française Leader, Charles Maurras, stays home and writes poetry….yet according to the image depicting Maurras it states that he died in 1909. Lé Zombié?

  4. Damn….is there any look Indy can't pull off!? Would love to see him in a traditional Indian costume if the series swings by the subcontinent again.

  5. Why were Interwar democracies so weak? I get it for all the new democracies, but it even applies to France, which had been a republic since 1871, right? What stabilized them after World War II?

  6. The Politics of France of always struck me as rich and complex. They have a democratic tradition that is distinctly theirs, and worth studying by all those who wish to understand their own democracy. Thank you for covering this.

  7. It's left–wing people fighting other people who are slightly less left-wing. Conservatism doesn't really exist outside of the U.S. Nationalism is an ideology that was created by the left… But whatever… It's France. France doesn't matter.

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