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This pamphlet is one of a scries made available by the War Depari- 
ment und<:r the scricfi title C. L Raundtahlf. As the genenil title 
indicates, G- I. Roundiablc piimphlcts provide material which ori- 
entation and educalion officers may use in conducting group dis- 
cussions or forums as part of an off-duty cduc:ition program. 

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Service Board of the American Hi^iioricai Association. 
Specific suggestions for the dxscuxsion or forum leader who plans ii- 
use thiK pamphlet will be found rm fifi^r -ft. 

Washington 2x D, C, 2ti JuTir I^HK 

EM 40, G. I. Rouudtable: IViU ihr French Republic Lin- Agaht^ 
is published for the information of all concemrd. 
[A,G. 300.7 (26 June 44)0 



Chief of Stag. 


J, A. ULIO, 

Major General. 

The Adjutant Grncral. 


(Additional copies .^b^juld be requisitionrd frnni USAFI, Madisnn, 
Wisronsin, or nearest Overseas Br.^^^h-J 







Tlic Republic of France came out of the first World War the 
strongest military power in Europe. It took a leading part in the 
League of Nations. It played that part so as to support strict 
enforcement of the peace terms. It built a framework of aJliances 
with the small newly created nations along Germany's eastern bor- 
der to guard against the old-time aggressor. It boasted the second 
largest colonial empire in the world and the world's fourth largest 

Above all, with Germany disarraed, the triumphant French army 
was without a rival in Europe. 

Twenty years later France was still counted among the great 
powers of the world- To be sure, the League of Nations had fallen 
apart and some of France's central European allies were showing 
signs of going over to the Axis. But the people of France — and of 
the other Western democracies — found comfort in the belief that the 
French army was equal or superior to Hitler^s new and untried 
Reickswehr, And they knew that the French navy was second only 
to that of Great Britain in European waters. Furthermore^ the 
Maginot Line of underground fortifications had been completed along 
the section of frontier bordering Germany. For protection aJong the 
frontier from Sedan to the sea, France depended mostly on a line of 
strong Belgian forts to delay a new German assault. 

Behind these defenses the French felt reasonably sure that they 
could mobilize their army without interference from a blitzkrieg 
attack such as German and Italian militarists were predicting. They 
were well aware that France was in a most exposed position, but 
they firmly believed that the French army, the fortifications, and 
the alliances assured them the power to stand off any attack upon 
their country. 


The uppe-irance of strength and security was deceiving^ however. 
By June 1940, Frnncc, shorn of allies, empire, :ind wealth, was at 
ihc mercy of the Naxi invader, its fortifications outflanked, and its 
proud military machine crushed. 

The disaster was so sudden and so complete ihai it seemed more 
like a nightmare than the real thing. Without the grim evidence 
of a victorious German army strainini; to cross the Channel and 
devour England too, the world would have found it hurd to believe 
that France — or any ^^rcat nation — could falJ so quickly from the 
top rank of j;reat powers into the depths of confusion, despair, and 
enslavement to a foreign master. Many Frenchmen, stunned by the 
swift collapse of thi^ir homeland, actually could not understand 
what had liappenc-d or how it came aboxil. 


But the world was not long in learning what it meant to have 
France broken. With Nazi armios holding the western coasts of 
Europe from the Bay of Biscay all the way to the northern tip of 
Norway, the last trace of a global balance of military power dis- 
appeared. World domination by the A.\is became a threatening 
possibility, and the war ceased to be a European struggle. It became 
a new world war. 

Spurred by ho|Je nf sharing in tlip spoils of a quick and ea^y 
victory, Mussolini sent his armies into the conflict, stabbing France 
in the back, overrunning British Somaliland, and threatening Egypt. 
The Middle and Near East barely avoided the struj^le that en- 
gulfed them in 1941 and 1^42. 

In the Far East as well^ Japan moved to take advantage of the 
changed situation. In assuming "protection" of the relatively weak 
and helpless French colony of Indo-China, the Japanese acquired 

the bases tliey later used tn launch attacks on Manila and Singa- 

The United States woke up to the fact that its kind of world 

was going to pieccTi, and its way of Jife wut* no longer secure behind 
the Atlantic. Great stores of guns and ammunition, left over from 
1918, were rushed across the ocean to reequip the Allied troops 
whose weapons had been abandoned on the beach al Dunkirk. 
Peacetime conscription of men for the Army was begun for the firsl 
time in the history of the United States, and construction of a great 
new Navy was started. 

With France shattered^ the European shield against German ex- 
pansion was gone. The world had to readjust itself to the fact that 
Europe had a new master, powerfully armed and ruthless in using 
force to carry out his aggressive ambitions. 


The collapse of France let loose a flcH)d of lurid stories about 
"maj^ter spies," ^'treacherous generals/* and 'Villainous politicians." 
Their fifth-column tactics were supposed to have aided the enemy 
fmm within, and it almost seemed from these tales that nothing 
else figured in the downfall but the foul play of such people and 
the incompetence of govfmment officials. Fifth coliunnists played 
a part, no doubt, in spreading confusion in France; and there was 
plenty of incompetence in high places. But later attempts to explain 
the defeat have brought out the importance" of a wider range of 

Tn all the discussion that has taken place about the French col- 
lapse, a principal cause has sometimes been overlooked because it 
is so obvious- The downfall of France was caused in very large 
measure by the superiority of the German slratcg\\ morale, and 
armament- There were internal weaknesses in France aplenty^ but 
they did not -show up in fatal form until the Germans launched 
their blitzkrieg through Hnlland rmd Belgium aftrr the 8-monih 
period of *'phony war.*' 


French military' thinking .ihcr tho war of 1914-^B naturally 
dcve]o[)ed '.iking om: linu while the Gcnnans a> naturally followed 
just the opposite coui^^e. The French genrra! stafT understood that 
the last war had been won with the Uhc of eerlain strategics and 
tactics; unfortunately, they assumed that tht' same or similar tactics 
and strategics wovild asi;u?'e success in any new to^^t of strength with 

For the Gt-nnans, on the contr.iry, the bij; fact wvi^ that the last 
war had Ist-en ](>si- Tliey piit ;ill the ineri-v arid aptitude of the 
profci^sional Prussian army organization to woik on th<' job of find- 
ing out, not what had 'vt-n dtniv right, but what had been done 
wrong, and of finding dilTerent and better ways of doing it next 

Both sides correctly saw that trench warfare had slopped the 
German armies in 19I4-1B. But while the French were perfecting 
it in tb*^ form of great underground forts the Germans were devel- 
oping ways and means of avoiding static warfare, IjiUuad of a 
frontal assault on the Maginot Line, they |ilanned and carried out 

ci flanking movtin<'nl- Mobility was thc'ir w^ichword in makuiG; ihi.' 
fullcii use of the tank, the self -propelled gun, and the airplane. 

With the possible exception of the Russians, all the other (general 
staffs were as out of date as the French in strategic thinking; and 
the French slafl"^ to lie fair, was not as backward as Itn critics have 
made out. But its ideas of war were defensive whereas those of 
the Gentian general i>ia(T were offensive. 



Not only were the plans of the German army designed to ptish 
offensives into other eounlrics, but all Germany was organized to 
aeeompli^ih the very same end. There again the Germans had an 
advantage, since the French amiy never had comparable power to 
marshal all the activities and all the resources of the nation in the 
support of military aims. When Gocring announced the Nazi 
preference for guns instead of butter, the French retorted that they 
still preferred butter, France did not refuse to support its army; 
it simply did not follow the Oennan example of making the needs 
of the military supreme over all ot!ier considerations. 

Nor did France ami itself in sufficient strength to make good on 
its diplomatic pledges to other nations. This was a more obvious 
failure to bring military policy into line with foreign policy — or 
rather, to keep the nation's international promises within the limits 

of it^ military capacity. France had promised to go to the aid of 
u number of odicr countries if tln^y were attacked: Poland, Czecho- 
slovakia, Yugoslavia, Romania, and Belgium, But it was not sirong 
enough to carry out those promises, especially after Hitler remili- 
tarized the Rhineland in 1936. And it lacked the industrial bone 
and economic muscle to keep abreast of German rearmament had 
*he Frcntii people wanted a test of strength — wliich they did not, 


The war of 1914-18 was a terrible blow for France. Over 
1,300,000 Frenchmen were killed and another 4,000.000 wounded, 
many of tlu'm so that they could never again lead normal lives. 
It was a per ca|jita loss much greater than any olhiT naiiun suf- 
fered. This enormous destruction of young manhood was doubly 
tragic for the future of Frajicc brcause it came on top of a birth 
rate already hardly sufiicit-nt to make up for deaths. 

France, likewise, sulTcrcd more di.'struction of property than any 
other country in the last war. A broad area in the cast and north 
was left in shambles. French industry was disorganized, its markets 
disrupted, and the nations to which Prance had made loans before 
1914, particularly Russia, were bankrupt. To top it off, the crushing 
national debt incurred to fight the war and reconstruct the country 
forced devaluation of the currency so that by 1938 the owners of 
insurance policies, bonds, bank accounts, and mortgages had seen 
much of their wealth wijjed out. 

All this meant that France was bled white in both human and 
material resources. Many Frenchmen Imt confidence in themselves 
and their inslilulions. Influential clemcnis in the population lacked 
the will to carry on the slnigglc for national existence, and even 
high officers of the army openly slated after 1920 that France could 
never survive another war like the last one. 

It was hardly surprising, therefore, that a kind of logical pacifism 
spread throughout the country. It received official encouragement 
from the public schools and tht- ministry of education, and found 

pn|iiil;ir support \u Al tomers of the nation. A feeling of revulsion 
from war and a siirging desire for lasting peace were common to 
all Europe and all the world after 1930^ but nowhere were they 
stroni^er than in France, Tiie fact thai nearly every French family 
counted one or even more of its members among the dead or 
wounded wjis, £>f course, a powerful argument against further w^ir- 
Eiit more llian diat, llie people recos^nri^ecJ that France simply could 
not alford the costly sacrifices of another such struggle. 

It was not urUil die !030's, however, lh:it Franee hit nnk bottom, 
ThrDughont the lon^; dtprc'^ion no leader appeared to inspire popu- 
lar hope and confidence. On the contrary, such events as the 
Stavi^ky scandal, which broke early in lfi34, threw suspfcion on 
several prominent politicians and raised fjuestiona aijout the intcg- 
nty of the Republic, Of its instability there was plenty of evidence. 
No Frcneh government w;is able to work out a political platform 
that the people, or iheir elected repn'M-ntatives in the CJhamher of 
Deputies, the lower house of the French parliament. wouJd a|iprove 
and sup]iort for very lon^. From Fi^hruary 1930 to June 19'10j one 
politician followed aiiother as premier. Aliogedier, 23 cabinets were 
formed and fell in those fateful 10 years when strong and stable 
leadership was so much needed. 

The depression jjrodiiced unemployment in France, just as it did 
in the rest of Europe and in the United States, In order to keep 
as many workers employed as possible, the French erJiployers split 
up the available jobs into frafj;nients so small that those who did 
have emplo)-metil received unbelievably low wages. As a natural 
consei^uence, the FiTuch workers became discontented and sought 
relief or die |jromise of a hetter systi'm in various proposals for 
social and industrial reorganization, lending to the Left. 

Likewise, at the upper end of the ladder, the owners of the hanks, 
the factories, and other enterprises wen? hard hit. While they did 
not go hungry, they saw their wealth and their position of leader- 
ship in society undermined. They, too, became discontented and 
sought relief in projiosals for new and different systems, tending ti> 
the Right. 

This atniospliere oi political t:onfusion and social unrest encour- 
aged the formation and rapid growth of organisations proposing 
active measures to remedy the situation. Their agitalioiij in turn, 
stirred up still greater dissatisfaction with conditions and with the 
government's failure to find a cure. Almost all shades of polilicat 
thinking could be found among these groups: some were closely 
linked to parties in the Chamber of Deputies- others ignored the 
Republic and threatened to set up revolutionary rcfpmes of one 
kind or another; some were mere propaganda moulhiiieces; others 
were oi^anixed as small private armies and equipped even with 
machine guns and gas grenades. 


The climax of discontent came on Fcbniary 6, 1934 in the form 
of a bloody riot in the streets of Paris. Frenchmen of the Left 
fought Frenclmiun of the Right; and both fciught the police and 
units of the army called in to guard the Chamber, Order was 
finally restored and the Republic managed to stiive off political 
bankruptcy. But from that moment until 1939, the specter of a 
civil war like that in Spain was never far from the minds of 



To make matters woi?iC, internal Frenc}i politics became tied to 
movements thai originated and weie directed from outside the 
country. The Rightist leagr^cs looked to Mussolini for inspiration 
and help, and tlirough him to Hitler. When the Paris police found 
hidden arsenals of amis made in Italy, it was clear that dirly work 
was afoot. 

The sorriest as^jeet of all was that traitors as well as sincere bui 
misled Frenclimen ser\'ed, \mdcr color of patriotism, as the eyes, 
cars, and tongues of the fj.^ regimes in corrupting and confusing 
the people of France. Before the war they spread defeatist and 
pro-Axis propaganda; after it started, ihry poisoned the minds of 
the troops with such qur.sirons as ''Why die for Danzig?" and toJd 
the honii." fo!ks that "Britain would fight to the last Frenchman.'' 

On the other szde, the Communi^ts^ acting through a variety of 
organizations in some of which they held the real authority while 
others provided the clothing of respectability, managed to exert a 
wide influence on bt-half of the Tliird International. When the 
Nazi-Soviet pact was signed in 1939, the Communist International, 
and therefore the French Communists too, abandoned suddenly 
their former role us m:iinspring of the united front against Nazism. 
Instead, they denounced the war as an ''imperialist" plot and just 
another "plu to-democratic" schema to exploit the workers and 

Thus, on the Left as well as on the Right, there were French 
eyes, ears, and tongues that di-ew tbi-ir inspiration from outside 


One can readily understand that the French national will to 
re.sislance was not strengtPienrd hy the propaganda and the activitieir 
of these minorities. But it would he a grave mistake to think that 
the noise they made and the ronfusion they spread were true meaa- 



urea of their numerical size. Circumstances guve them an influence 
aJJ out of proportion to their numbers. 

The vast majority of the French |H':Lsants, workers, and middle- 
class people did not support cither extreme. They simply stood 
aside and sili-nl, su overwhelmed by the effects of the depression 
and the threat of war that liiey seemed incapable of action. 
Through the last twenty years a great m;ijority of Frcnelimcn voted 
for men and partitas that were neither of the extreme Left nor of 
the extreme Right. Any analysis of llie future of France that 
assigned principal roles to either the communists or the fascists 
probably would not be realistic. 


Through the last century the hahit.s of French political thought 
and action have been shaped by two great n^olutions: first, the 
Revolution of 1789 that overtlirew the monarchy in favor of popu- 


lar rule in France; second, the Industrial Revolution that changed 
France from a pui-cly farm and handicraft system at the beginning 
of the last century into one of .limited industrial factory production 
at the end. 

The Revolution of 17(19 wus inspired by the political ideals of 
"Liberty, Equality, and Fraternity." In turn, it inspired the spread 
of (hose ideas ibrOTigh much of the re'^t of Ihe Western world. The 
b;isJc ideals of the Fi'cnch and the American revolutions are closely 
related: that all men are created equal and that j-ovcrnment should 
rest on the consent of tlie governed. The prmcfpk-s and the practice 
of freedom are as deeply ingrained in the people of France a!' in 
the people of the United States, and it is highly probable that they 
wil! reassert themselves when France is liberated. It is also probable 
that the natural consequences of the Indu.strial Revolution will lead 
to demands for greater social and economic etjuality, and for 
gTvater security from the hazards of uiieinployiiient, sickness, acci- 
dent, and old age. 


From 1789 onward- Frenchmen have tried to fulfill in prac- 
tice the ideals of the Revolution. In 1830, 1848, and 1870 die 
forces demanding more power for the mass of the pi-ople broke 
out in violence. At other times the struggle was less open, but 
it never stopped because the French people would accept no so- 
lution :^5 pennanent that denied or limited the right of self- 

But the people atid die groups accustomed to the exercise of 
authority in France did not want to give it up. The Revolution of 
!789 had stripped the nobility of wealth and privilege, and forced 
the king to recognize the right of tlic nation iv rule iuelf. Subse- 
quent victories, gained under the banner of "Liberty, Equality, and 
Fraternity/* restricted or eliminated the privileges of other groups. 
The course of events was quite m accord with the American con- 
cept of government of, by^ and for the people. 



Nevertheless^ there are still powerful groups in France which 
have never freely or fully accepted the idea thai the people should 
rule. According to one FrencJi writer, n large pan of the upper 
class — the people w^itli wealthy leisure, and education — is bitterly 
opposed to the practice of political equality and univevs;il manhood 
suffrage, (French ^vomen have never Ijeen given the right to vote.) 
This group mTght pri-fer an amlocratic govemmenl for a future 
France. Another small but noisy minority w-ints a iPtuni of the 
monarchy. And, of nnirsi;, the Vichyilcs have been working for 
the "new order/' 

The common^ garden variety of Frenchman, howrvrr, c ;ni be 
counted on to remember that his amestors fought and died for 
freedom and for the right to govern thcmi^tlvcs. He will ]jrohably 
never surrender those gains as long as there is the faintest chance 
of a successful fight to hold on to them. He and his fellow believers 
in the Revolution — undoubtedly a clear majority of the politically 
conscious people of the nation — looked upon the Third Republic 
as their government. Vet many thoughtful ones among them 
advised important revisions in ihc constitutional laws to make the 
regime fit the conditions of the modem world. 


Part of this pressure for change grew out of the second revolution 
that deeply affected the liff of France. This was the economic and 
industriiil rc\'olution. Growth during the nineteenth centuiy c>f the 
railroads, steamship lines, iieavy indu'^tries, and hank> greatly mul- 
tiplied the numbers and the importance of two classes of society; 

(1) the professional men and owners of business enter|iri5es, and 

(2) the propertyless wage earners. During the first half of the ccn- 
t\iry the two groups stood together agauist the Bourbon kings and 
the nobles. But in the middle of the century they parted company, 
becoming dirfctly opposed to each other in their desire?^ and 


The busine.siiuen, landlords, and the uppt-i- middle class in general 
felt that "liberty" should pro[jorly be extended to econoniie enter- 
prise, and that the stale should not interfere with business. To 
them ''equality'' meant simply the absence of lej^al privileges based 
upon blood or tradition, while "liberty" mennl that every man h:id 
freedom io pursue his own interests and acquire thereby wealth and 
ihe privileges that conir wiib weulth. The middle clii'is wanted the 
proteetion of state laws and courts against sueh things as forcipi 
competition, but its members did not want ibe state to restrict their 
fjx'edom of econotnie ac^licjn. 

TiiC workirig class and i%ome of the lower middle class, on the 
other hand, rejeeti-d the idea that the govensment should not take- 
any part, except that of an umpim-, in the et^ononiic life of the 
nation. They \v:mird slate j^iarantee.s of "security" against sickness, 
old aj^, and aceideni; ihi-y wanted minimum wage and hour regu- 
lations; and many of them wanted in ^-v the slate become the sole 
adminisiraior <ff \hr means of production and distribution of goods. 
Jt should be noticed, however, that thr most powerful j>oliiical pifriy 
to arise out ol the laboring; class demands was not the Communist 
but a social dejtiofTatlr ]Jarty- 

It was not until I9!l6 thai a |Hiliireian wtin ri'ally represented the 
social democratic tradition hecani'C premier of France, Leon Blum, 
the first and only Socialist prime minister, attempted his reforms 
under extremely difficult conditions. Ou the one side the shadow 
of ajjjjroachinp; war obscured part of his work. On the other, he 
was embarrassed by the |>olitical tactics of the Communists, who 
were in a position io overthrow ilie govrrnment. Nonetheless, the 
Bh^m reforms were popular enoujE-h with work ing-c kiss France to 
pve assurance that his party will be a factor in any future regime. 


The traditions of the democratic Revolution of 1789 :md the 
pressures of the economic and sfjcial revolution have created lht=' 
two chief lines of divi'^ii'»n in Freneh political life. Thf^i' nm 

through the entire electorate of France but are best described in 
icrms of party groupings in the Chamber of Deputies. 

Looking over the floor of the Chamber from the speaker's ros- 
trum — before 1940— one would have seen the deputies arranged 
according lo the politiciil position of ibeir parties. To the extreme 
Jefl of the .speaker were the men of most radical political views; 
to the extreme right those of most reactionary political outlook; and 
in between a whole range of intermediate positions. 

It has been traditional in French politics that parties of protest 
or reform arise at the extreme Left and gradually, as their programs 
arc put into effect, become conservative and move around toward 
the Right, But they have usually kept their original names. Thus 
the Republican groups, representing the banking, business, and pro- 
fessional ]jeoplc, were ver>' conservative and sat far to the right 
before the war. But a century and more ago_. when France was a 
constitutional monarchy, they were political radicals and occupied 
the extreme left^ where the Communists now sit. The Ra.dical 
Socialists, ^o gJvR a favorite example, were neither socLiltsl nor 
radit^al, but moderately liberal. Thus, too much significance cannot 
be attached to the names of French parties- 

Of real significance, however, is — or was — the attitude taken by 
the various parties toward the two revolutions. On the left the 
Communists and the Socialists advocated the social ^evo3utilJn and 
accepted the democratic revoluiioji — liiough the Communist ac- 
ceptance was probably more a matter of tactics than of conviction. 
In the center the Radical Socialist and Republican elements re- 
jected the social revolution but were, of course, dedicated to 
democracy. On the right was the third group, whose members 
accepted neither revolution but desired either a return to monarchy 
or a fascist "new order." \'ery few of the last were ever elected. 

Within these broad political divisions there were subdivisions and 
factions to a number surprising to anyone not familiar with Euro- 
pean domestic politics. There are many reasons for this luxuriant 
growth of parties. Since 1789 France has had three constitutions 
providing for a limited monarchy, three providing for a republic, 


I wo for iin L'liipirc, mid several transient ivginies such as the 
Directory Jtid its Napoleonic successor, the Consulate. One should 
not be surprised that these diiTfrent traditions left their marks on 
the party structure 


More important than these diverse political IraditionSj however, 
is ihe fael that F/enrh electoral practice thus far has not encour- 
aged part\' organizations. Elections to Ihe Chamber of Deputies 
have been more liku municipal than national elections in America. 
In a municipal election in the United States people frequently vole 
for their friends ;ind neighbtirs, for the men rather than the party. 
And that has been the case in France. 

In fact, one might say thai most French politicians have con- 
sidered an organization composed of the candidate and enough 
voters to elect him to be an ideal party. 

The result is that political alliances in the Chamber have not 
<jrdinarily been worked out until after the election was over^ imd 
deijulies have sometimes shifted from party to party without in any 
way hurting their th;inces foi reeli'iction. However, the three paitics 
on the Left have had considerable umt>' and discipline, TTie Com- 
muuisis, of course, have been held strictly to the party line; the 
Socialists have had a somewhat less closely knit organi/aiion^ though 
they have generally stuck together quite firmly as a party. And the 
Radical Socialists, the parly of the lower middle classes and the 
small fanciers, also have had a I'^'gular though loose organization 
that has not always kept its member deputies ti; line. 

This kind of system, in which every shade of political opinion 
was rcprescnied by a separate parly, had the advantage of assuring 
that any reasonable political proposal would receive a voice in the 
Chamber and a chance to be translated into law^ But on the other 
hand it also had licrious practical weaknesses. In a two-party system 
it is almost inevitable that one party will have a clear majority in 


the legislature, thai it can larrv' out its program and be held to 
account therefor. 

But in France, since no single paity ordinarily controlled a 
majority of votes in the Chamber, cabijicts had to be made up out 
of combmations of party lenders, each of whom demanded not 
only a cabinet ministry for himself but acceptance of his party's 
program in the cabinet's policy. None of the cabinet ministers 
would accept Tesponsibility for the acts of a coUfague, however, 
and any niember party could wreck the government by requiring 
its ministers to resign — and frequently did. The premier's authority 
over the cabinet he managed to assemble was limiteti to persuasion^ 
and tlie French president was a figurehead who stood above parties 
and whose powers were slight. 

During the decade of the l?30*s cabinets appeared and disap- 
peared with more than ordinar>' rapidity. One government lasted 
but a single day; another only ixvo days. At the other end of the 
scale, a record life of just over a year stood to the credit of the first 
Blum cabinet. Not until Daladier became premier in April 1938 
was this mark challenged, Dalad;er\s so-called ''national govern' 
ment'*- — supposed to be a government standing above party divi- 
sions and sjjeaking for the nation as a whole — came into being soon 
after the Nazi annexation of Austria, survived the Munich crisis, 
the final rape of Czechoslovakia, and the outbreak of war, and fell 
in March 1910, nearly two years after hs formation. 

In the last twenty years of the Tliird Republic this go\'emmenlal 
instability wa^i particularly distressing, for there were critical prob- 
lems to be solved. \'et. no general agreement on the best measures 
of solution could be peirnanenlly reached. The result was a political 
d^td]c?i k ihiit o|jeried the gates to revolutionary agitation from both 
the Right and the Left, 


Both the French administrative system and judicial structure 
^^'ere ci-calions of the Revolutionary and Napoleonic era of 1789 to 


1814. Jnd \iQih aru d^:rpJ^ rt-oti'd in Kictich lift'. They have out- 
lasted two t'mpifcs, two monarchjcs, anti two ri-^mblics — and they 
will probulily oullast llir prt^scnt Vichy-N^i^i mon.^trosity. They 
seem to be well suited to French civilization and to French ways of 
thinkini; and doinj. 

Tlie li'gal ^ysltm is based upon tlie great codes of law established 
under Napoleon's direction. They regulate; (1) criminal law, (2) 
commercial law, (3) civil law^ a.nd (4) court procedure. Unlike 
the Anglo-American legal system that has developed through an 
accumulation of common law and court decisions, the French code^, 
based fundamentally on Rom;m law, are fixed and prescribed. 

The court system, too, is unified and direct. The design is like 
a pyramid: above the lower courts are courtJi of appeal, and at the 
lop is the so-called *'courl of cassation." This is the supreme court 
of the French judicial system, but it does not have \he power 
possessed by the United States Supreme Court to rule on the con- 
stitutionality of laws. 


The administrative system of France is divided into ninety 
"departments" {excluding the three in Algeria), e;ich headed by a 
'■prefect*' who is appointed liy and responsible to the central govern- 
ment in Paris. There arc elected departmental councils, but the 
power of the central authority is overwhelming in most matters. 
The position of llie departmental governments, therefore, is not 
parallel with that of state governments in the United States, There 
is nothing in the French setup that iTsemblcs "state rights*' under 
Uie United Slates Constitution, The French system, like that of 
Great Britain, is one of highly centralized authority. 

TTie government bureaus in Paris are the heart of the whole 
system, for tliere, in die last analysis, most decisions are made. Each 
ministry (we call them departments- — for insla^nce, the Ministry of 
Foreign Affairs corre^^ponds to our Department of State) is headed 
by a cabinet minister who is responsible to the Chamber of Depu- 


ties. But the real Jhtrength of the ministn' hns always been in the 
permanent corps of civil s^^rvaiiii who stalF its vnoouy bureaus. 
They iirc the cxpcrtji on whom the minister must rely for informri- 
tion and guidance and for the cnrrying out of his politics- 

To be sure, ihe bureaucracy in Pari^ wa^ often an obslacli^ to the 
introduction of new ideas or new methods of governing. But at 
the same time it provided n.n element of permanency and stability 
much nci^di'd in the French Ky?^lenl. Ministers might come and go, 
but the permancnL .^italFs continued in oflice to give a continuity of 
policy that otherwise would have been siidly hickins;- 

Sometimes the pennancnt ofHciiils of the French bureaus pre- 
sumed to handle the affairs of government without regard either to 
the wishes of the respfinsible rabinil minister or to the exprissid 
will of the nation. Confident that they knew whjit was best foi' the 
puople, they ssomelimes went riglit aliead to *'Ppfy 'heir own ideas 
of the proper thing to do whether thf pcojjle wanted it or not. 

Again, the French bureaucrats tended to get wound up in red 
tape until red lapi' stemE^d an end in ilself. Comfortiibly installed 
in Paris, they tended to b<:come inefficient and slothful, and they 
did not always lislen to complaints and pleas aminp from local 
prfiblems. But in K|jite of severe tritieism of its f-iult^ and in ^pite 
of arguments that centralization of authority docs not square with 
true democracy, the Fn^nch adnninislrative syntem has lasted for 
more thiin a ceniuiy without much change. 


Americans may find k difficult to understand the problems that 
have arisen in France out of the relationship between church and 
state. In the United States the dividing line between government 
and religion has been sharp and strictly preserved, whereas in France 
the line has been blurred. The great majority of Frenchmen are 
Roman Catholics and the Cathohc church is an institution older 
than the French state itself. Under die "'Old Regime" — when 
France was a monarchy the church exerted a powerful influence 


in aiTairi of state inasmuch a^ ihf dergy conslituled one of the three 
^'estates*' (the others were nobJ<?s and commoners) that made up 
the king^s advisers. 

During the period of the French Revolution a great crisis faced 
the church. Tlie Revolution looked upon it as a pillar of the Old 
Regime and attempted to break the church's power by confiscating 
its proj>erty, disrupting its organi^tion, and oulJawing its ministers. 
The church, on the other hand, vigorously opposed the Revolution 
and condemned its principles. Restored by Napoleon to a place in 
the national life as tJie official or ''established" faith of France, the 
church lenJed Ihrou^out the nineteenth century to side with the 
forces of conservatism and reaction against those of liberalism and 

Among the French people there occurred a division into bitterly 
opposing camps: clericals and anticlericals. The former, or pro- 
church elements, were hostile to the Revolution of 1789. Many 
were royalists and favored extreme Rightist policies. The anti- 
clericals were generally liberal in religion, republican in pohtics, 


and strongly opposed to thurch influence in education and govern- 

The coiifIit:t increased in sharpness after 1880 and reached n 
climax in the celebrated Dreyfus^ ta*e that shook France to its 
political and social foundaiions at the turn of the century. Alfred 
Dreyfus, a captain in the French army and a Jew, was accused of 
selling military secrets to Germany. Although the real traitor was 
one of his fellow officers, Dreyfun wa^i rourt-marlialedj stripped of 
rank, and exiled to Devil's island. The officers' corps of the French 
army, strongly tinged with anti-Semitism, helped first to manufac- 
ture and iheii to defend this miscarriage of justice. And the clericals 
stood with the militarists and the forces of reaction in general 
against a reconsideration of Dreyfus* guih. 

When a new trial was held In resjjonse to outraged public o|jinion 
and the innocence of Dreyfus proved^ the Republic turned with 
fury on all its enemies: clericals, militiirists, and royalists. The 
royalists were so discredited diat they practically disappeared as a 
political party; the anti-Dreyfusards in the army were removed 
from positions of authority; and the church was strip^H'd of much 
of its power, notably in educadon, and completely separated from 
the state. 

When the first World War broke out the issues raised lo while 
heat in the Dreyfus case were forgotten, and a united France fared 
the German invader. The subsiding of anticlerical sentiment during 
the war opened the way to a pmgressive Catholic campaign for 
social justice along the advanced lines laid dovni by Pope Leo XIII 
in 1891. In the twenty years between wars a considerable section 
of the French clergy joined in carrying forwani tile ide;is of the 
great reforming pope- By the 1930's the church enjoyed a prestige 
in the workinp;-eIass districts of France greater than it had had for 
hundreds of years, and a number of Catholic leaders were pressing 
forward to take a place in French political life again. 



For almost a century France has had a population problem of 
increasing acutcncss. Since 1880 the French jMjpulatior has re- 
mained almost stationary near the fiRx^re of foriy million. And the 
birth rate has declined steadily until in recent year? it no longer 
has been sufficient to assure replacement of the population. 












1 1 1 WOMEN TO 




At the same time^ France's neighbors were showing voiy marked 
increases in population, Tlie French figure row about one-third in 
the century from 1830 to 1930 while tho^e for Italy and Germany 
doubled. Had there been a 1940 census, France would have made 
an even poorer showing since by that year territorial additions had 
given Germany a population twice as big a^ that of France. 

Moreover, very significant changes were taking place within the 
forty million total of French population. Once the most pojiukms 
country of Europe, France In 1930 was far less den.Hcly populated 
than its neighbors. As a result, immigration from Gennany, Itily, 
and Spain during the inlerwar years provided France with a popu- 
lation tliat by 1930 was already about 7 per cent of foreign origin. 

Furthermore^ the French population was the oldest in Europe 
and growing older. That is, the proportion of the population com- 


posed of people over 60 was large and growing larger; the propor- 
tion composed of people under 20 was small and growing smaller. 
That kind of situation obviously did not make for a high birth rate. 
Neither did another characteristic of the French population: the 
marked excess of women o\"er men. In I93D, not counting the 
foreign clement^ there were 111 females in France to every 100 
males. "Iliis was an unbalance between the sexes greater than in 
any other country of Europe ;tiid one still further exaggerated since 
1940 by the absonce of nearly two million Frenchmen held in 
German prison and work camps. 




Population statistics reveal another important fact about France. 
In comparison with the other industrial nations ol the world, 
France has not developed as many large factory cities with huge 
worker populations. This is partly because French industry i^ not 
geared to mass production so much as it is to small, specially, and 
luxury manufacturing. For generations, Paris gowns and hats set 
the style; French perfumes, gloves, silks, and chinaware were eagerly 
bought in the markets of the world. The tyjsical French factory 
employs less than tu'cnty-five workers, and out of the grand total 
of about a million and a quarter industrial establishments the sur- 
prising proportion of one-sixth are one-man shops in which die 
owner is aJso the entire labor force. 




Francf has built up several large centers of heavy industry, but 
it can never approach the indu^tnaliaation attained by Germaiiy, 
Great Britain, the United Slates, and Russi;i. Unless new advances 
in M'ience th.ingr the picture, France's lack of raw niatcrJals and 
the means of acquiring them in quantity will continue to ait a*i 
limitations on French industriali/ation. 

First and foremost amoni; thrse iimitalions is Francc^s tack of 
fuel. Insufficient resources of cnal, particularly coking coiil. have 
held France back in the industrial race. At no time in the past 
hur^dred years has France produced (■TH>ugb coal to supply her own 
needjr. This is significant in vifw of the fact that, nnless ajid until 
science is able to discover a substitute, large stocks of coal are vital 
to industrial production. 


Two very important raw materials France docs have in abun- 
dance. They an" iron ore and aluminum ore (bauxite). But the 




processing of the ores into refined meials jequires coal or eli^clricity 
' — and much of the latter has been produced from coal. Because 
its supphes of coal are limited, France has never been able to make 
full use of its iron-ore and bauxite deposits- 

In the record year 1929, for instance, France produced 49,929,450 
long tons of iron ore, about one-fourth of the world production in 
that year. But even with that amount of ore and even with the 
coal of the Saar Ba^Jn^ then available to France, only some 9,550,000 
long tons of finished steel could be made. 

The reason for this lies in the economic fact that it Is more 
profitable to move iron ore for smelting to areas where coal and 
limestone are found in quantity than the other way around. Thus, 
most of the iron ore from northern Minnesota fiows to the Gary- 
Youngs town-Pittsburgh regioOj where ample supplies of the other 
two ingredients necessary to stcelmaking are found. For the same 
reason much of the ore from French Lorraine normally flows to 
Germany's Ruhr Valley. 

Modem mechanized warfare requires enormous quantities of steel 
in all kinds of arms, munitions, and equipment, A nation's capacity 
for producing steel, therefore, is a relatively accurate measure of its 
ability to fight a twentieth -century war. In 1939 Germany stood 
second among the nations of the world in production of steel; 
France was fifth. 


ouiuin rtjiTm Hfi lo^a 

BiHiiA nriT.Ea hft idmi 

UHlIlD llltatDM 1M«.ca 


NAHCe 1,4mB 









44.600 158.500 

For years preceding the outbreak of the war, France had led the 
world in production of aluminum ore. Yet its position with respect 
to Cennaiiy was even worse for refined aluminum than for steel. 
In i9!^8 France mined abovjt thirty-five times as much bauxite as 


Germany, which has aEnust no reserves of that oit. In the very 
same year Germany, leading the w^^^ld by :i wide margin, manu- 
factured 158,500 long lon?^ t)f aluminum in if fined form, com- 
pared with only 44,6!^tfl long tons rduied in France. Again the 
explanation is to be foimd in France's lack of adequate power 
resources, either coal or hydroelectric^ to process the ore. 

With t!ie exception of rich potash beds in Alsace, enough to last 
for centuries at the present rate of use, France either lacks entirely 
the other so^'alled *\ir;il(^gic materials" or its supplies are not 
enough for home consumption. In consequence it depends to an 
unusual extent for these materials on sources beyond its own 

In 1925-29 — years of great prosperity— France produced export-^ 
able surpluses of iron ore, bauxite, chemicals, and potash. But iron 
and steel production only equaled home use and some machinery 
was imported. With its industrial plant rumiing at full capacity 
France produced only a fraction of the output of the industrial 
giants, and from that lime onward its production declfiied while 
that of both Germany and Russia was rapidly increasing. 


France produces a high proportion of its food requirements, dif- 
fering in this respect from the other European industrial nations^ 
which normally hnport much of the food they need. Nevertheless, 
there arc problems connected with French agriculture. The system 
of landownership in France, a holdover from the feudal days of a 
thousand years ago, encomages minute subdivision of the farm land 
rather than its combination into large fields iind fiimis. Of the 
total 3,966,000 farm units in France, approximately three-quarters 
are less than 25 acres in size. Nearly one-fourth are less than 2.5 
acres. At the other end of the scale only 114^000 farms are larger 
than 125 acres. 

Furthermore, fields belonging to a single owner are as likely to 
be scattered separa(ely about the locaiity as to be all next to each 


other in one place. The result is that tractors and other farm 
machinery cannot profitably be used, even if the small farmers could 
afford their purchase. Fri^nch farmers^ therefore^ practice a more 
intemive kind of farming, with greater use of human labor than do 
American farmpis. For in'^tancc, in 1929 there were only 20,000 
tractors in ail of rural Frajicf. 

The Fn-nch peasant is a good farmer and he loves the soii. He 
has tended in the bst century more and more toward truck farm- 
ing, dairying, fruit rjisiug, and the like as the moj^t profitable ways 
to use his land. Just as French industry Is noted for its luxury 
products^ French agriculture is fa,mous for its berries, its wines, its 
vegetables, and its cheeses. And at the same time, enough wheat, 
potatoes, sugar beets, and other cereals and root crops are produced 
to supply the national need of these staples, 


However, the production of farm commodities in sufficient quan- 
tities to supply the domestic market was not wholly the result of 
natural fertility. It wiis partly a r*'sult of the national policy of 
protecting home agriculture as well as home industry from foreign 
competition behind a high tariff wall. This has assured the French 
market to the French farmer iind die French manufacturer without 
having to meet direct conr|H'tition from lower-cost production else- 
where — of American or Canadian or Argentinean wheat, or Cuban 
cane sugar, for instance. 

The tariff has given French economy some of die more undesir- 
able aspects of a hothouse. Enterprises flourish that would die if 
exposed to dre pre^>iure of prices In the wodd market, and French- 
men, as consumers, have to pay that much more for the things they 
buy. The French accept the protectionist argument that the na- 
tion's economic life would be destroyed by foreign competition. By 
and large they spem content to pay the price of artificially stimulat- 
ing some enterprises and encouraging inefficiency in others behind 
the protective tariff. 



A factor of French efonomic life more difficult to weigh but of 
ijreat importance is the psychologic :il make-up of the Frenchman- 
He is very individualistic and for ihf most part very conserva^iive. 
Chansje on a broad scale comes very slowly in France because it is 
difficult to convince ihe French businessman and farmer that he 
sliould try new methods. 

The average Frenchman does not have ambitions to expand and 
enlarge bis economic jiclivities witliout limit. If he has a secure 
living he is satisfied. Hk dream is not to become a millionaire, but 
to retire on a "little" fortune so that he can have a "httle" home 
and a "IitOe'' garden and read France's largest newspajH-r. Lc petit 
Farisivn, whose name means ''Tlie Little Parisian.*' This way of 
thinking undoubtedly pays high dividends m personal satisfaction, 
but it docs not build a dynamic economy. 


Thu^ far we have been looking almost wholly backward to the 
collapse of Fnuice. We have examined some of the causes, both 
immediate and remote, of ils falJ. Here are some of the things that 
stand out from our analysis: 

The GcTinan anny in 1940 was superior in size, e*nuipmeiit, and 
strategy (o that of France^and of France's allies. 

The French people were at odds among lliemselvcs over the 
achievements of the democratic Revolution of 1789 and over 
the issues raised by the Industrial Revolution. 

The parliamentary machinery of the Third Republic was proving 
jnade*iuate to meet and solve modem problems. 

No leader appe;ircd in France who could unite the nation and 
forge a stable government out of the political factions in the 


The French population was standing stil! or even declining in 
numbers^ and it was out of balance in age and sex divisions. 

Finally, France did not have, and could not hau£ had, an indus- 
trial syKlem big enough and of the kind needed to support modem 


We have not yet given direct consideration to the question whether 
France can rise again in the future, but we have from time to lime 
seen hints of how the past is likely to mold ihr future. Nations, 
like people, do not change tlieir nature overnight. Just like people 
they do change-, but it is a process of development out of previous 

French civilization with its rich cultural heritage and its proud 
traditions will not wither and die just because France i*M the hat- 
tie nf 1 9-10, Gcncntl de Gaulle proclaimed at die time that the battle 
might be lost but not the war. As a matter of fact, nations with 
thousands of yea7T^ of history Ix^hind them and millions of citizens 
in their popul:itions usually survive even a lost war. 

But a regime cannot withstand the impact of such a disaster 
without sun'ering seriou-i consequences. It will he surprising, there- 
fore, if far-reaching constitutional changes do not appear in the 
government of a restored France. But underneath the sujKTstruc- 
ture of a govenimciit of one kind or another, the spirit of the peopk- 
will probably I'emain about the same. It may be worth while to 
illustrate this with two quotations from the editorial columns of the 
Ni^iv Torh Thiu-x at the moment France fell: 

''The end of the Third Republic is not the end of France. The 
reporters of the exodus of the French pay tribute to the courage, 
the patience, the dauntless spirit of the people on the roads. They 
all agree that the peasunt refugee preserves under a terrible ordeal 
his characteristic faith in himself and his country. The peasant is 
France, steady, tough, independent and hi-ive. . . . Nobody who 


knows the grass roots of France can doubt that even under Nazi 
occupation the Re[>\jblfc will survive, will be re inc;i muled, may in 
the long run be die force which wil! help to fashion the Fourth 

"Within the framework of the Tliird Republic . - . there lived 
and flourished a eiviliz;ition so brilliant, sc) human, so gracious and 
beautiful, that mankind will be in its debt forever, . . . When free 
men look back upon this Republic, they will rememl>cr , . . the 


artists and thinkers, the poets, musicians, and scientists who made 
France durinj; those years a trmple of the Western spirit.'* 

If this iiin-rpretation of tlie midying spirit of France is correct, 
the answer to our original question must be: *'YeSj France will live 
again.'' But France has undergcfne not only a demoralizing defeat. 
Since June I9'I0 it has been submerged in a degrading Nazi occu- 
pation in which certain prominent Frenchmen have collaborated. 
In the course of the occupiition has the spirit of France suffered 
damage beyond repair, or has it been redoubled in j.Lrenglh through 
Nazi suppression and torture? 


Absolute predicUons are, of course, impossible because men can- 
not foresee the future. But some of the factors that will undoubt- 
edly operate to shape the future can be foreseen^ perhaps enough 
of them to paint a ratlier definite picture of what is likely to come. 
Let's see what they are. 

It seems relatively safe to suppose that the downward trend of 
the French population will rontinue. The drop may very well be- 
come sharper because of the war. In any case — despite German 
losses that before the end of the war will number many times those 
of France — there will probably be no great change in the relative 
size of France with respect to Germany- If anything. Germany will 
probably gain in comparative numbers. 

Natural limitations on the development of French industry pro- 
vide a second fairly certain factor. The French prefer the small 
specialty and luxury type of production, and in it they show to best 
advantage. But quite aside from prefer'cnce or tradition, tlie sheer 
fact that France lacks essential resources for the support of much 
modern industry in iron and steel or light metals and aluminum 
alloys means that such industry will remain under a handicap- 

A third aspect of French life that seems unlikely to change very 
much is the system of owning and cultivating farm land. By Amer- 
ican standards, it may be a poor way of doin^; under the cir- 


Cumslanccs thai exist in France, it may bf the best way. Good or 
bad, it will not readily Ixv abandoned by the stubbondy conservative 
peasant farmers. 

However, if the younpj people of France continue as they did 
between the wars to stnam from the farms to the cities^ the conse- 
quences may be serious for a Hwid |jroduciion system that demands 
a hip;h quantity imd quality of human laljor. Already in 19!30 whole 
villages in sonic arras of France were deserted and the fields were 
returning to an uncultivated state- In oilier re^^ions tlie process was 
well along and efforts to check the population flow by favorable 
farm legislation probably had little real success- 
Fourth, the le^al and administrative systems are likely to remain 
pretty much as before. Tliey |>n>ved themselves adec|ijate and ac- 
ceptable to France under the Third Republic and under lUi monar- 
chical and imperial predecessors as well. They seem to answer 
French needs and temperamentj so only minor changes, if any^ may 
be expected here. 


In other matters the probable lines of development are much 
more hidden. There are long-term factors to be considered; there 
arc factors that will emeige during or out of the transition from 


occupied tci free nntion; and there arc factors that lie primarily 
within the decision not of France, but of the principal United 
Nations governments. 

Some Frenchmen advocate the restoration of the monarchy as 
the best form of government for France. But their numbers are 
not large; and the monarchist cause, too, has been discredited be- 
cause some of its foremost advocates allied themselves with Vichy. 

One of the most perplexing, most unpredictable, and at the same 
lime most important questions as to the future of France involves 
the potential strength of the Communist movement. Before the war 
Communist irifluence was growing in France; the elections of 1932 
gave the Communist party ten seats in the Chamber of Deputies, 
those of 1936, seventy-two seats. By 1940^ however, there were 
signs that the French electorate was finding the quick-change 
artistry of the Communists too much to stomach and was swinging 
back toward a more conservative outlook. 

These circumstances must now be put jn the class of items inter- 
esting if true, for the war and the occupation have considerably 
changed the situation. The pieatige of the Soviet Union has risen 
throughout tlie world because of its victories over the Nazi armies, 
and part of that admiration may have spilled over onto the Soviet 
theory of govcnimcnt. The people of France no less than iho^e of 
England and the United States have felt admiration for Russia's 
achievements in the war. Perhaps the French have also been influ- 
enced hy the fact that the Communists have taken a leading part 
in organising the underground resistance movement. There are 
several Communists among the various elements represented in 
Genera! de Gaulle's National Liberation regime^ and no analysis of 
the future of France would be complete that left them out of 

However^ tlie great body of Frenchmen can probably be counted 
on to remain faithful to llie principles and practices of popular 
government through republican forms. 

This makes it likely though not certain that the new France will 
adopt, with some modifications, the system of die Third Republic. 


And there is ioinclhing to be ^aid for ii as well as against il. In ihe 
first place iht constitutional framework of ihe Repixblif was very 
flexible. That may not sound like a desirable quality, but it means 
thai considerable changes can lake place in a revised government 
without doing violence to the fundamental charter. 

Furthermore, ii should be said in favor of theNXhird Republic 
chat its basic constitution corresponds to the pattern of government 
that France has been learning to operate over since 1835. If the 
system left something to be desired in ^uecesriful ojxjration, the more 
plausible reform would seem to be to build on the long experience 
of the past rather than to throw the whole scheme overboard. 

ft ha^ been widely felt by thoughtful Frenehmen that some 
fitrcngthenin^ of the executive branch of government is not only 
desirable but absolutely necessjiry, Proposiils to accomplish this 
range from an authoritarian solution that would reduce the legis- 
lative branch to a mere chorus of *'yes men"— like the Gemian 
Reichstag after 1933 — to slight reforms that would merely give the 
premier greater authority over his cabinet and somewhat more pre.s- 
(igc in the Chamber. 


Another factor, however, probably will be decisive in the final 
determination of tlic future form of government. This is the fact 
that, because of the German occupation and the help the Germans 
receive from Vichy, only those Frenchmen fortunate enough to 
escape from France have any chance to express opinions now^ 

But. when German power is broken and France is again free, it 
is likely that the now STlcnt voice of the repressed French at home 
will dominate the discussion and the decision over the nation's 
political future- No government which does not have the support 
of the French people can lon^ rule France— except by the UfiC of 
machine guns. The traditions of popular government are too strong 
to allow disregard of fhe people's will. 

Popular government means party government of one sort or an- 


other. And in any free eleclion in the future, it is probable that 
the political picture will restmblc that of 1939; with the same gen- 
eral line-up of parties and in much tlie same proportionate strength- 
Shifts may be visible, particularly toward tlie Left, but it h unlikely 
that any parties but the openly pro-Nazi will disappear entirely, 


However, it is clear thai the change from the status of an occu- 
pied belligerent to thai of a nation liberated and at peace will 
breed problems. Some of the most delicate and difficult of all proh- 
lenK in the reconstruction of France are bound iip in this matter 
of transition. 

One of the most trying is the question of recovering from th*" 
Germans Ir^al control over French economic insiiiutions. The Nazi 
method of taking oyer French industry, commerce, banking, and 
similar institutions was arbitrary, but it was accomplished with a 
careful n-gard for the outward legality of ilie transactions under 
French law. 

On the one hand the invaders required the payment in francs of 
enormou'i sums as ^'ca^^ts of t>ccupaiion/' imposed fines on indi- 
vidualsj groups, and particularly on cities, and summarily devalued 
the franc in lirrns of the mark. With the funds thus acquired, they 
paid out with the other hand the requisite purchase price of French 
businesses which they *'persuaded" the owners to sell. Outwardly^ 
it was ail done ^'according to Hoylc," and it will be very difficult 
to undo for that vfry reason. 

An added ctmiplication in the way of returning ownership to 
rightful hands is provided by the Gcnnan use of certain "tame'* 
French capitalists and of the facilities of neutral corporations to 
hide their control. In outward appearance, many enterprises remain 
French or belong to Swedish, Spanish, or Swiss interests through 
perfectly legal purchase of control on the open stock market; actu- 
ally the lines of control and of profit flow from and to members of 
the Nazi party. 


In all Europt' since 1919 (ho t^^ndciicy has bten for go\'cmment 
to assume more and more control over the national economy. In 
France after 1936 the tendency became marked, and it is not im- 
probable that the future will see further development of the same 
trench. In the end, exact and careful return to the previous private 
owners of much. French property, especially such tJiihgs as public 
utilities, common carriers, and basic productive industries, may turn 
out to be an ac:idcmic question. Rather than try to unscramble the 
ownership omelet c<>oked up by the Na^is, a future French govern- 
ment may conceivably talce jt over whole as the easiest way out of 
the mess and the way most in line with the tendency of the past 
quarter century. 


A second issue involved in the transition ]jeriod is that of tem- 
porary government. It should be remarked at once tliat the French 
do not contemplate cither the necessity or the possibility of an occu- 
pation by Allied forces with accompanying supervision of French 
rivii government. As far as the French are concerned, there is 
going to be no Allied Military Go\'cmmf:nt of Occupied Territory 
applied in France. 

There arc two rival regimes olTering thfir services or presumably 
available to assume the duties of midwife to the rebirth of France: 
the Vicliy government and the French Committee of National 
Liberation. The former can be counted out at the start. Led by 
Laval, the men around Pctain have compromised themselves in the 
eyes of the world and condemned themselves in the eyes of the 
French. They cannot survive the defeat of Germany. 

Tlie Committee of National Liberation, however^ has several 
advantages. Its head, General dc Gaulle, ha^ the prestige that 
accrues to a man who never stopped fighting the Germans or 
ceased to call upon his countr^Tncn for resolute resistance. It is the 
only group that has a claim to be representative of the people of 
France so fnr ;i^ they are vocal through the imdi.Tirrfi'Jnd. And it 


has betn recc^nized by the principal Allied powers, with certain 
reservations, as the only provisional French audiority with which 
they will deal. 

The Committee hiis gone liirough several reoi^janizadons since 
lis establishment on June 3, 1943. Originalty it was a compromise 
combination between the Free French movement led by Dc Gaulle 
and stationed in London and the military and civil authorities that 
had facilitated the Anglo-American landings in North Africa. The 
Committee has gradually become a sort of representative cabinet 
buttressed with a Cojisidlative Assembly in both of which the vari- 
ous elements of the French population are supposed to be repre- 
sented in proportion to tlieir strength. 

Tlic National Ccunmitree in its present fonii comes closer to 
popular representative government than did the originally self- 
constiluted Conmiittee, hut in the naluie of things the actual divi- 
sions of opinions in France cannot bt found out until liberation 
opens the way to democratic balloting. However^ the aim of giving 
the peciple of France an opportunity to rule tlieraselvcs when the 
time comes is rccogtiiwd in the Committee's ''charter,'* in which it 
"solemnly commits itself to re-establiirh all French liberties, the laws 
of the Republic and the Republican regime." 

The same obligation to observe the popular will in setting up a 
future permanent government in France is stated very clearly in the 
terms of recognition extended the Committee by the United States 
and Great Britain. The United States, for instance, recognized *'the 
French Committee of National Liberation as functioning within 
specific limitations during the war. Later cm the people of France, 
in a free and untrammeled manner, will proceed in due course to 
select their own government and their own officials to administer 

It will be tasily seen that the Committee has the inside track in 
the projected electoral race and is likewise in the best position to 
propose the form of government to be eventually created. Until the 
people of France have a free voice to say what they want, no 
better barometer of future political arrangements in France is avail- 


able to the world than the changing compofiition of t(ie French 
National Committee. 


Thus both the Committee of National Liberation and the United 
Nations have pledged to the peofile of France an opportunity freely 
to choose their own future jjovcmmcnt. This double pledge, coupled 
with the devotion of the great body of the French people to popular 
government through republican fonii^, h perhaps the best possible 
as.^uranee that the French Republic will live again. 

But the choice of a future government is only one of a number 
of problems that will confront France when the Germans have Iwen 
driven out and peace has been restored. There will be the ravages 
and dislocations of the war to repair. There will be questions occa- 
sioned by the impact of the war on the French colonial empire. 
There will be the problem of the position of France^ which lacks 
many of the sinews of power in the machine age. among the nations 
of the world. 

As one thinks about these problems of Franre*s future, it is well 
to remember that for many ^ncrations French ideas and French 
traditions have exerted an enormous influence on the cK'ilization 
of the world. If civilized men are to control the world of lomor- 
row. surely France, the source of so much in Western culture thai 
is of enduring beauty and value, will again find a place in the fore- 
front of the struggle for freedom and human welfare. 



How to Use This PampMef 

Types of iJiscussio7i. The material in this pamphlet on the social 
and political instiiulions of France may well be treated in any one 
of four types of discussion: 

(1) Informed discussion 

(2) Panel discussion 

(3) Single-speaker forum 

(4) Symposium 

Tecliniques for orp;anTziog and conducting these forms of discussion 
are oudmed in Guide for Di^fuision Lcadrrs, a numhered Educafion 
Manual published as one of ihc same scries of pamphlets as the 
present one. This ^idc should be in the hands of every leader of 
ofT-duty discussions in the Amiy. 

Since it is necubsary to liave a fairly detailed background sketched 
for the members of a group studyin)» the future of France, you will 
be well advised to use the forum or symposium selling if you expect 
an audience of fifty or more persons. If your group is smaller, you 
should do one of two things: { I ) Choose the pane! discussion tech- 
nique and arrange to have ihe panel members study the material 
carefully in advance so that they are familiar with essential facts. 
(2) Choose informal discuKsion and use one or more assistant 
leaders. If an expert on the subject of France is available, use him 
as an assistant — oihen-vise one or more intelligent and interested 
individuals who are willing to prepare themselves on the facts thai 
will be needed during the discussion. 

Charts. Be svire to secure a map of France and reproduce charts 
given in this pamphlet. Put chem up around the room or fasten 
them on a blackboard or other stand so that they may be seen by 
all members of the group. It docs not matter if the reproductions 
are crudely done on rough paper, but they should be of sufficiently 
large she \r> be legible to a person sitting at ihe back of the 


Reading by group membtrs^ The better ucquainied the group 
members are with the facts about France^ the more intelligent will 
be their questions or discussion. Have a copy or two of this 
pamphlet available for reading in the library or other reading room. 
Ask the librarian to prepare a reading shelf of books on the subject 
and to call it to the attention of visitors to the library. Announce 
publicly where preliminary reading may be done by those interested. 

Panel discussion. In your introductory statement summarize the 
reasons for the collapse of France. You will find six major reasons 
listed under the heading "Looking Backward," page 30. This list 
is a brief summary of the first 30 pages of the pamphlet, which will 
supply you with any other details you may wish to use. Your open- 
ing question might well be directed to an assistant leader who ha& 
some background in the ,'>ubject. Suggested opening questions are: 
From what we know about the French, their instilulions, and social 
and political ideals, is it likely that they will organize a democratic 
type of government after the war? la fascism or communism likely 
to come to the fore ? 

During the course of your discussion you should h;we in mind 
three main lines of inquiry: ( 1 J Reasons for the political confusion 
and final collapse of France in 1940. (2) Factors upon which the 
future of France will be built (S) Political and economic issues to 
be settled. Questions in these three main lines of inquiry are sug- 
gested here. 

(1) Collapse. Was military defeat the cause or the result of disin- 
tegration within France? To what extent did French pacifism bring 
about disintegration? Are the population trends in France good for 
the development of a strong nation ? Does the multiple party system 
necessarily lead to weak political institutions? To what extent were 
fascists and communists within France causes of the collapse P Was 
the French concept of '^liberty'' an aid to strong national govern- 
ment? Were French bureaucrats a source of strength or weakness? 
What were the effects of French industry on the stability of govern- 
ment? How has the relationship between church and state in 
France affected the strength of the nation? What part did the 


farmers and high tariff play in French economic life before the 
war? (See pages 1-!JI.) 

(2) Factors for the future. Will the population trend continue? 
What are the impKcaiions of this? Can France develop extensive 
heavy induiilry? Will the French system of landouTicrship change? 
Are the French legal and administrative systems likely to change 
radically? (Sec piiges 31—35.) 

(3) li^ucs. Will there be a Fourth Republic? Do many French- 
men believe in monarchy? Is it likely that the communists will sell 
their ideas to the French? What are the factors that wtll make 
economic recovery difficult? Will the De Gaulle Committee of 
National Liberation be a slabilizing influence during a transitional 
penod ? What may be the future of France as a world power? 
(Sec pa^s 117-43.) 

Panel diicussion. Divide the three main lines of inquiry among 
the panel, asking one or two members to make them«"Ivcs expert 
on each of ihem. For the discussion, follow the same general plan 
as above, 

Sing!p-speaker foTunt or symposium. Tlie sarrif general outline 
will be useful for cither forum or symposium. Do not use a single 
speaker unless you have an undoubted authority who speaks well. 
If you choose a symposium, select tfiree speakers and assif^n one of 
the three main lines of inquiry to each. Allow each 10 to 12 minutes 
for his speech, and provide for a question period afterward.