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History & the Novel Democracy in Crisis? Key Timeline: Inter-war France.

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Presentation on theme: "History & the Novel Democracy in Crisis? Key Timeline: Inter-war France."— Presentation transcript:

1 History & the Novel Democracy in Crisis? Key Timeline: Inter-war France

2 Government plans for major economic rebuild, based on reparations money. Series of strikes break out, illustrating underlying tensions. Element of PR introduced to the electoral system. Right wing coalition Bloc National wins first elections on this basis – but no government able to survive long. Socialist Party splits, radical minority forming a new Communist Party. French unions attempt a general strike but fails and ends in union splits Military invasion of the Ruhr following Germany’s reparations default Franc collapses - government forced to prop it up with loans. Socialists ally with Radical-Socialist Party in the ‘Coalitions of the Left’ Centre right National Union alliance formed Catholic political party formed Ultra right wing nationalist, fascist, & even royalist movements develop (like Croix de Feu). Further economic crisis - New taxes and dramatic cuts in the government budget President Poincare resigns after prolonged ill-health Economic and social crisis & further political instability and unrest, with five governments between May 1932 and January 1934

3 1934 Stavisky Affair – corruption allegations undermine government & lead to fascist riots Popular Front wins the elections under leadership of Leon Blum - alliance of left-wing movements, including the French Communist Party, the Socialists and the Radical Party. Initiates a range of social and economic reforms including a 40 hour working week, and two paid weeks holiday for workers (1936 Matignon Accords). Quasi-fascist groups also ordered to disband. Front hit by constant divisions between the various parties, particularly since communists refused to give full support to Blum. Also hit by a series of strikes and factory occupations Blum’s government collapses over divisions on economic policy, and the Spanish Civil War, Blum having failed to stand by the Spanish Republicans. Replaced by Radical leader Camille Chautemps then Édouard Daladier. Political divisions in France widened even further in face of Hitler threat, with some claiming ‘Better Hitler than Blum’ France reluctantly backs Britain in the Munich Conference, despite major misgivings about continuity of Appeasement Following German invasion of Poland, France joins Britain in declaring War

4 1940 German Invasion of France - French forces outnumbered 2 to 1 & unable to resist, particularly after British withdrawal of troops at Dunkirk. Prime Minister Reynaud resigned in disgust and new premier, former world war one hero Marshall Petain appointed. Petain formally agreed armistice in June 1940 and set up new pro-Nazi Government in the South at Vichy. Northern France then ruled under German Occupation whilst Vichy left autonomous – at least at first. Resistance to Nazism and Vichy begins almost immediately in some areas. In others however, especially Vichy, widespread collusion with Nazis 1942 New ‘Free French’ government set up by de Gaulle in London. Helps give some direction to French Resistance 1944 As Normandy landings begin French resistance steps up internal opposition By August Paris finally liberated as the German commander ignored Hitler’s demand to ‘reduce Paris to a heap of rubble’ and instead opted for unconditional surrender De Gaulle returns to France a hero and takes temporary control of government Recriminations and revenge attacks begin – with government largely ignoring it.


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