Towards a new humanity

The Uriage manifesto, 1945.

by Derek Robbins (Author)
Monographs XVIII, 326 Pages

Table Of Content

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Vers le style was a text produced at the end of World War II by a team of thinkers who had worked and lived together during the war in a ‘leadership school’ (l’école des cadres à Uriage). The école was established at the end of July, 1940, as part of a programme initiated by the Vichy regime to develop the kinds of leaders that it thought would be needed to implement the ‘Révolution nationale’ which it sought to introduce in ‘Unoccupied France’ in order to revive the country after its ignominious surrender to German forces. The prime movers of the école were demobilized soldiers and radical Catholic priests. The founder and ‘chief ’ was Pierre Dunoyer de Segonzac. The institution ran short courses of varying lengths and large numbers of young men followed these ‘stages’ and were influenced by them. It attracted young ‘intellectuals’ as tutors and its ethos was that it generated a communal context within which diverse attitudes and opinions could be represented and discussed. Although the école was at first sponsored by the Vichy government, it quickly found government oversight too intrusive. At the end of October, 1940, the école moved from a château in Gannat, near to Vichy, to a château in Uriage, near to Grenoble. At the end of 1942, the école was formally abolished by the Vichy government. Preparations had been made in advance of this expected abolition. The école became clandestine and, in the Spring of 1943, a proportion of the members moved to ‘la Thébaïde’ at Murinais, near to Saint-Marcellin on the edge of the Vercors, from where they ran courses for the Resistance. On 13 December 1943, la Thébaïde was invaded and destroyed by the German army, the Gestapo, and the French milice. From the beginning of 1944, dispersed members met occasionally to salvage the text which had emerged from their discussions in the previous years. This ‘summa’, edited by Gilbert Gadoffre who was the leader of the école at Murinais, was published in 1945 by Éditions du Seuil as Vers le style.

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I first became interested in the école des cadres à Uriage in the early 1970s. My PhD, received in 1972, had been supervised within the Cambridge English School by Raymond Williams.1 His influence led me towards the ‘sociology of literature’ which was emerging at that time and towards the work of the Centre for Contemporary Cultural Studies at the University of Birmingham under the direction of Richard Hoggart.2 I read Jacques Charpentreau and René Kaës, 1962, La culture populaire en France, Paris, Les éditions ouvrières, which drew my attention to the work of Joffre Dumazedier and caused me to embark on a cross-cultural comparison between the work of Hoggart and Dumazedier. I had become involved from 1973 in a pedagogical innovation3 at my place of work – the University of East London (then North-East London Polytechnic) [NELP/UEL] – and it became clear to me that I needed to explore the institutional conditions of possibility for the introduction of radical educational change. This realization caused me to want to analyse the context within which Dumazedier developed the orientation which was pursued in Peuple et Culture, which he co-founded in 1945. That context was the école des cadres à Uriage.

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In 1977, I received a West European Research Grant, jointly sponsored by the British Academy and the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, to work in the Bureau des Archives Départementales de l’Isère at Grenoble which held documentation about Uriage. I received funding from the same sources for a follow-up research visit in 1982. Between these two visits, I had one year of secondment from NELP as Morris Ginsberg Fellow in Sociology at the London School of Economics in which I explored theoretically the character of higher education institutions, considering the relationship between the sociology of knowledge and the sociology of organizations as conceptual instruments for understanding variations in curriculum content. The outcome of the two research visits was, firstly, an article on the école in Higher Education Review in the Autumn of 1982,4 and, secondly, a paper on ‘French Sociology, 1940-1944’ given at a conference on ‘Vichy France and the Resistance: Ideology and Culture’ held at the University of Sussex in 1984. When the proceedings were published, this became: ‘Uriage: the influence of Context on Content’.5

My early interest in Uriage, therefore, arose from the extent to which the work of the école, and the thought of authors within the école, supplied an objective correlative for my reflections on my involvement in the introduction of an educational innovation within an institution which was relatively marginalized within the UK higher education system. In the mid-1980s, I discovered the work of Pierre Bourdieu. I found that the educational research which he undertook with Jean-Claude Passeron in the 1960s (Bourdieu and Passeron, 1964, 1979; 1970, 1977) provided me with a conceptual framework to analyse ‘independent study’ and then that Bourdieu’s La Noblesse d’État (Bourdieu, 1989, 1996) also gave me a way into thinking about the nature of educational institutions. I was able to draw on the sociological analyses of Bourdieu and Passeron to understand my own experiences with the result that this usurped my interest in elements of precedent in the circumstances of the Uriage team.

For over thirty years I have concentrated on attempting to understand and adequately communicate the full range of Bourdieu’s work, in its sociological, anthropological, and philosophical dimensions. The emphasis of my most recent book on Bourdieu6 was that the balance which he achieved between intellectual endeavour and socio-political activism is paradigmatic. The essence of his conviction was that we need to encourage in everybody a reflexive analysis of the conditions affecting the development of beliefs, values, and actions in such a way that our responses to others are not distorted by a mistaken belief in the autonomous validity of intellectual discourse about them.

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During this period, I had always regarded my research on Uriage as unfinished business. In the past, my research had been shaped by an interest in the similarities and differences between the educational innovations of the Uriage team in 1940–1945 and those of the staff involved in developing and implementing procedures for ‘independent study’ at NELP/UEL from 1973 until 1990. Originally, I had investigated the regime of the école and had focussed on some of the ‘cahiers’ produced by members of the Uriage team.7 After completing The Bourdieu paradigm, I decided that I would like to revisit my work on Uriage by focussing on the text produced by the Uriage team in the closing months of the war. I was driven by a sense that the thinking of the Uriage team before the establishment of de Gaulle and the construction of a new constitution has relevance in relation to our current anxieties about the capacity of political systems in nation states to respond adequately to the challenges confronting the whole world. I secured a contract and started work towards the end of 2019.

Then the Covid-19 pandemic struck. I have completed the translation and the commentary during lockdown. Suddenly, the relevance of Vers le style becomes pronounced as people everywhere consider whether the crisis is an opportunity to set humanity on a new course or whether the ‘new normal’ will just be a restored ‘old normal’.

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This book does not seek simply to re-present in translation the text published in 1945 as if in the belief that its arguments have intrinsic value which make it transhistorically pertinent after a period of seventy five years. Instead, the book offers an abridged text which is enclosed within contextual information. The intention is that the text should be understood ‘socio-genetically’, following Pierre Bourdieu’s injunction as expressed in his ‘Concluding Remarks: For a Sociogenetic Understanding of Intellectual Works’ in Calhoun, Lipuma, and Postone, eds, 1993, Bourdieu: Critical Perspectives. Generalizing from his perception of the ways in which his own works were being received, Bourdieu argued that adequate responses to all intellectual works depend on making the effort to understand the social and epistemological conditions of their production or, as he puts it, ‘the epistemological and social conditions under which (that is, at the same time, with which and against which) the intellectual project whose product is the work in question was elaborated’ (Calhoun et al., 1993, 264). For Bourdieu, social and intellectual trajectories are inextricably linked and they have to be seen to be mutually reinforcing. To borrow words from the title of an article by Laurent Thévénot and Luc Boltanski, both of whom had been influenced by Bourdieu, we are all involved in finding our ways in social space (Thévénot and Boltanski, 1983). We are all born into situations which give us unique dispositions to act and think, and these immediately inter-act with the objective conditions in which we develop and the discourses of explanation of them which are at our disposal.

The purpose of this edition of Vers le style, therefore, is to situate it in its socio-historical context and in the trajectory of its authors, and, in doing so, to raise questions about the relevance today of the thinking which it contains by encouraging readers to reflect both on the objective conditions of their societies and on their individual trajectories within those societies. It is important that this book is not read simply as a ‘re-presentation’ of an old text but as a package in which the context of the text and its authorial intentions are integrally related so as to generate, by reference to one historical case-study, socio-analytical thinking about the process leading to the production of a ‘summa’ or ‘manifesto’ for our consumption, and reflection on its content.

This socio-historical orientation has two practical consequences. It dictates the form of the presentation, and it also demands some familiarity with the thought and politics of mid-twentieth-century France.

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The abridged text is deliberately situated between commentaries which are offered in two Parts. Part I might be called the ‘pretexts’ of Vers le style. It is divided into four chapters. The first discusses the circumstances which led to the establishment of l’école des cadres and examines the motivations of the two primary originators: Pierre Dunoyer de Segonzac (1906–1968) and the abbé René de Naurois (1906–2006). The second is devoted to the practice of l’école des cadres. Following the comprehensive account provided by Bernard Comte (Comte, 1991), this part attempts to describe the communal life of the école, the nature of its ‘stages’, and its publications during the four years of its existence. According to Pierre Bitoun (Bitoun, 1988, 134), the first impression of Vers le style specified the names of eight authors under the direction of Gilbert Gadoffre. The third chapter focuses on the backgrounds of these nine authors. The fourth chapter provides a brief synopsis of Vers le style. This is intended as a brief guide for the reader, an elaborated version of the actual Table of Contents of the book (see pp. 59–63). The section also offers some comments on the practices I have adopted in making the translation.

Part I precedes the translated and abridged text. Part II follows Vers le style, and it is offered in three chapters. It might be called ‘postscripts’. These are the postscript careers of the authors (Chapter 1), the postscript reception of the text (Chapter 2), and my postscript reflections on the total presentation of the book (Chapter 3).

Fully to appreciate Vers le style and this presentation of the text, some further or background reading is advisable. I can make some introductory recommendations of books in English:

Halls, W. D., 1981, The Youth of Vichy France, Oxford, Oxford University Press.

Jackson, J., 2019, A Certain Idea of France. The Life of Charles de Gaulle, Harmondsworth, Penguin.

Kedward, H. R., 2005, La Vie en bleu. France and the French since 1900, London, Allen Lane.

Kedward, H. R., 1985, Occupied France. Collaboration and Resistance 1940-1944, Oxford, Basil Blackwell.

Vinen, R., 2006, The Unfree French. Life under the Occupation, London, Allen Lane.

These are scholarly books. For a different way in to the confused emotions, events, and ideological allegiances in the period, I recommend the quartet of novels, set in Bordeaux, by Allan Massie:

Massie, A., 2010, Death in Bordeaux, London, Quartet.

Massie, A., 2012, Dark Summer in Bordeaux, London, Quartet.

Massie, A., 2014, Cold Winter in Bordeaux, London, Quartet.

Massie, A., 2015, End Games in Bordeaux, London, Quartet.

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Finally, the footnotes in Parts I and II run independently. The footnotes in the translated Vers le style are separately numbered. Within the translation, I translate the footnotes of the original but I also add my footnotes. All my additions are in bold and enclosed within square brackets. Where I omit passages from the original, I indicate this in the following way: [……]. All the references in Vers le style are given as in the original. References in this Preface and in Parts I and II are given according to the Yale system of reference. Full publication details of texts cited in the Preface and Parts I and II are given in the References section at the end of the book.

1 Raymond Williams (1921–1988), author of Culture and Society, 1958, and The Long Revolution, 1961.

2 Richard Hoggart (1918–2014), author of The Uses of Literacy: Aspects of Working Class Life, 1957.

3 See Robbins, 1988, and my contribution to Poynter and Rustin, eds, 2020.

4 Robbins, 1982.

5 Robbins, 1985, in Kedward and Austin, eds, 1985, 159–170.

6 Robbins, 2019.

7 Particularly P.-H. Chombart de Lauwe : ‘Pour retrouver la France. Le Chef et ses jeunes’, Cahiers d’Uriage, No. 6, Uriage, 1942, Bureau des archives de l’Isère, 22J28. Chombart de Lauwe (1913–1998) was one of the first members of the Uriage team (see p. 4 and p. 18). He left Uriage in November, 1942 to go to North Africa where he joined the Allied airforce. He resumed contact with the Uriage team in Paris in 1945. Subsequently, he became a significant urban sociologist, establishing, in 1950, the ‘Groupe d’ethnologie sociale’ [group for social ethnology] to study the social history of Paris. His influence at Uriage and his post-war application of his ideas in an academic context both deserve attention, but he appears to have had no direct input to Vers le style and, as a result, I do not pursue these leads here.

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Part I

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L’École des cadres à Uriage: its origins and its originators

In the Foreword to Vers le style (see pp. 57–8), the authors make no mention of the école de cadres at Uriage. In describing the circumstances in which the book was produced, they refer to themselves as ‘members of the Uriage team’, but they emphasize that the writing project was begun early in 1943 when that team had left Uriage and had established itself at La Thébaïde. They acknowledge that the process which they adopted in preparing the text followed the working practices they had developed previously at Uriage, but their memories subsequently were of the laborious weeks spent in a ‘château hidden in the countryside’ at La Thébaïde, interspersed with two trips to the maquis in the Vercors.

Publishing the book in 1945 after the end of World War II, it is clear that the authors were anxious to represent their text as the product of the Resistance, but its ideas originated at the école de cadres at Uriage and they were shaped by the orientation of that school as it developed between July, 1940 and December, 1942, sponsored initially by the Vichy regime. Some introduction to ‘Uriage’ is, therefore, necessary as background to the book.

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The undisputed founder of the school was Pierre Dunoyer de Segonzac, who became known as ‘le vieux chef ’ [the old chief ]. He was captain of a motorized squadron of the 4th regiment of cuirassiers which was despatched to the Belgian front in February, 1940 to confront the German troops advancing from the Ardennes. On May 18th, his squadron was defeated at Jolimetz. With some survivors, he retreated towards Dunkerque that evening and subsequently further south to Saumur and then on to Vivonne, near to Poitiers, and finally rejoined the remainder of the 4th cuirassiers stationed at Mussidan. It was there, on July 8th, that he heard the conditions of the armistice which had been requested. ‘I did not think 4 Chapter 1

for one moment’, he wrote in his memoirs, ‘to contest Marshal Pétain’s initiative’ (Dunoyer de Segonzac, 1971, 77). After forty-eight hours of reflection, he decided to quit the army. His objectives were ‘simple but precise’ (Dunoyer de Segonzac, 1971, 81). These were to try to assemble a group of those who could not accept the defeat, to try to stimulate the motivation for an energetic reaction, and, finally, to try to involve them in a process of revenge. He went to Vichy and made contact with the new ministry for Youth. He announced his intention of creating an école de cadres, a proposal which met with no objection. Indeed, he was encouraged in particular by commandant Frédéric de la Chapelle1 who was responsible for youth affairs in the ministry from June, 1940. John Hellman has suggested that the initiative came more from the commandant than Dunoyer de Segonzac was inclined to admit in retrospect (Hellman, 1993, 20), but he was certainly responsible for gathering together a group of like-minded people and for requisitioning a property where the école could be launched.

From an office provided by the ministry, Dunoyer de Segonzac recruited a team of about fifteen people. Pierre Bitoun has listed most of these and categorized them (Bitoun, 1988, 35). There were four military officers, two from the army and two from the navy. There were four ‘civilian’ recruits, one of whom, P.-H. Chombart de Lauwe,2 was an ethnologist by training and a recently serving airman in the Grand Quartier Général.3 There was one doctor and a gymnastics teacher who was an adviser at a military school and former Red Star4 trainer. Finally, there was a chaplain, René de Naurois, who was a professor in the Catholic faculty at Toulouse and a former vicar in the French parish in Berlin. In describing the character of the staff at ‘Uriage’, Bitoun proceeds to define five ‘pillars’.

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These were ‘the military’, ‘the clerics’, ‘the intellectuals’, ‘the artists’, and ‘the people’. This classification is useful in representing in overview the ethos of ‘Uriage’, but, for our purposes, it is important to recognize that not one member of the original team was a member of the ‘Uriage team’ which, under the direction of Gilbert Gadoffre, produced Vers le style. Those who were to become co-authors of Vers le style joined the teaching staff of Uriage during 1941 and 1942, either by direct invitation of the founding team or by staying on after following one of the early courses (‘stages’). The published text partly represents the ethos which the newcomers imbibed, but it also communicates new emphases which they brought to the situation. The purpose of this section is to explore the originating ethos by examining the pre-history of two key members of the initial team –Dunoyer de Segonzac himself and de Naurois. Exploring the backgrounds of these two will disclose the importance of the two fundamental pillars of the innovation –the military and the clerical –which caused Hellman to entitle his book The Knight Monks of Uriage. Later sections will attempt to follow the trajectories of some of the authors of Vers le style. These were different because, in part, the authors were younger and the products of different socio-historical conditions.

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Pierre Dunoyer de Segonzac was born in March, 1906, in Toulon, one of eight children. I follow the account in his Mémoires which he ended in September, 1944, and which were edited and published posthumously in 1971 (Dunoyer de Segonzac, 1971). He describes his mother as the daughter, sister, wife, and mother of military officers. She had passed her baccalauréats, which was exceptional for a young woman of the period. She sang, played the piano, and loved the work of the Romantics, especially Victor Hugo. She also had a deep Christian faith, one which had a touch of Jansenist austerity which was mitigated by her poetic sensibility. His father was a naval officer. He spent months, sometimes years, away from his family. When he was at home, he had a passion for horse-riding and was a follower of Hébert5 in advocating strenuous physical activity. Dunoyer de Segonzac only got to know him better at the end of the war when he lost his naval job and pursued his enthusiastic love of horses and also of automobiles.

Dunoyer de Segonzac recalls that he spent most of the war years at two dwellings near Saint-Léonard-de-Noblat in Limousin associated with his maternal grandmother. The first was a small château presided over by the brother of the grandmother which had large grounds leading to a view over the river Taurion. The other, nearby, was a former priory which had been ceded to the family and was looked after by a sister of the grandmother. At school in Le Mourrillon he had imbibed ‘the cult of France’ from his teacher, but spending most of his time in the Limousin during the Great War, he witnessed the grief and the loss experienced in village after village throughout France. He saw the local school converted into a hospital, and he saw the suffering of his grandmother when she lost two of her sons, one at Verdun. Nevertheless, he recalls staying the night with his mother on the pavement in the Champs-Élysées on 14 July 1919, remembering the celebration of the end of the sacrifice which ‘had been accepted by an unanimous people’ as something which he would not see again.

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After the War, he passed his bachots at the collège de Lorient where he was taught by breton priests. Without great enthusiasm, in 1922 he chose a military career and was sent as a boarder to the Collège Sainte-Geneviève, a private institution which was dedicated to preparing pupils for entry to the grandes écoles. He spent Sundays in Paris with his father’s brother, Louis,6 whom he describes as ‘a man of the 17th Century’ who was also a passionate supporter of Charles Maurras.7 He admired this uncle and remembers his visits in terms which suggest the regime which he was to introduce at Uriage. He would arrive for lunch where his uncle would raise a serious subject and expect everyone to express a view. The afternoons were devoted to physical activity, perhaps walking or playing tennis. In the evenings, he would go with his aunt and uncle and cousins to have dinner with his aunt’s father, Émile Picard8 of the Académie française and secretary of the Académie des Sciences. At the age of 17, therefore, he became acquainted with a prestigious Parisian world of scientists and diverse celebrities and with political controversy which was ‘passionate but courteous’. At this time he shared his uncle’s monarchist opinions and learnt to question the denigration of pre-1789 French society which had been the prevalent republican emphasis in his previous schooling.

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At the age of 18, in October, 1924, Dunoyer de Segonzac entered the military academy of Saint-Cyr where he remained for two years. The prime emphasis of the training was on discipline. Automatic obedience to the State, irrespective of political ideology, was inculcated with discipline. The emphasis was also on the training of infantry, but cavalry training was a high-status option. Dunoyer de Segonzac was admitted to cavalry training which involved a third year of training, based at Saumur. He recounts the social conditions at Saumur, conserving traditions of an earlier age. Above all, Saumur was the ‘temple of the horse’, and Dunoyer de Segonzac relished the esteem brought by equestrian prowess. In July, 1927, he was posted to a garrison in Haute-Saône. Here he encountered poor social conditions in the region and low morale in the resident squadron. Shortly after, he was posted to Mayence on the Franco-German border where he observed both the resilience of the German population and also, at night, the clandestine mobilization of troops. The evacuation of the left bank of the Rhine took place in June, 1930, and Dunoyer de Segonzac returned to garrisons in Angers and Anjou. It was in 1930 that he decided to give up the horse in order to train for tank warfare. He spent a year as an apprentice mechanic and, throughout the 1930s, was involved in developing armoured vehicles, testing prototypes, and exploring procedures for their use. His regiment was designated an experimental unit for effecting the transition from cavalry to tank warfare. As a result, he became painfully aware of how inadequately equipped were French troops. The automobile industry was not adapted for the production of tanks and even those produced were still designed for trench warfare. Equally, the corps of officers was not significantly different from that of 1914, and he sensed that many of the troops were hostile to their officers. The patriotism of 1914 had disappeared. He had not found his own life as a young officer exalting, apart from a short spell of service in Morocco where he admired the achievements of Lyautey. In these circumstances, he turned for encouragement to the Action catholique indépendante and established a section of it when he was based in Reims.

Even in the period of the ‘phoney war’, between September, 1939 and May, 1940, there was no improvement in equipment for the French troops. The outcome of the encounter between his squadron and the Germans on 18 May 1940, described above, was, therefore, no surprise to Dunoyer de Segonzac, and his willingness to accept the inevitability of the armistice arose from his awareness of the lack of preparedness of the French army to continue military resistance.

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Several important points emerge from this account of Dunoyer de Segonzac’s career leading up to the establishment of the école de cadres. Firstly, he was pre-eminently a soldier. His military training encouraged him to emphasize discipline and obedience to the State, and this persisted even though, citing Lyautey9 as his model, he believed that authority entailed proper social relations between officers and staff rather than harsh disciplinarianism. Secondly, he was a patriot who believed in the sacred mission of France. This caused him to be attracted to conservative, not to say, pro-fascist thinking, influenced by his reading of Barrès10 and the Action française11 allegiance of his uncle. Thirdly, although this was not prominent, he was a catholic, derived from the faith of his mother and demonstrated in his turning to Action catholique indépendante in the late 1930s. Fourthly, he was a modernizer who renounced the easy social life of a debonair cavalry officer to develop expertise in the manufacture and deployment of tanks. Fifthly, he possessed an intellectual curiosity and tolerance which was stimulated by the evenings shared with Parisian intelligentsia as a result of his aunt’s family connection. He was convinced of the need for moral renewal to resurrect the French nation and its purpose for the world, but this renewal was to be achieved through mutual respect of classes and ideas, through social ecumenism rather than dogmatism.

René de Naurois was born in Paris in November, 1906, but he spent most of his first fifteen years in the family home at Saint Maurice, situated between Toulouse and Montauban. I follow the account of his life given in his Mémoires, published in 2004 (de Naurois, 2019 [2004]). These were based on the notes which he had taken during his life in 1933, 1939, 1940, 1942, 1944, and 1958. His father had studied law in Paris and was then employed by Crédit Lyonnais. He was sent to Russia to negotiate French financial support for large Russian projects such as the Trans-Siberian railway. He learnt Russian and stayed there until 1905 when he returned to France. In 1905, he resigned from his bank post, married, and bought his father’s country property. He had contracted polio in his youth and was exempted from military service in World War I. During the war he devoted himself to agriculture and acquired a reputation for his technical innovations. De Naurois recalls that his father was an informed observer of the Russian Revolution of 1917, having foreseen what would happen when a ruling class was detached from the population and when an attempt was made to effect a direct transition of the economy from medieval to industrial conditions. The Mémoires say little about his mother, other than to say that her family cultivated large estates in Guadeloupe.

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His father had bad memories of being a boarder at college, and he kept his children at home for as long as possible. Unlike other children of his age, therefore, de Naurois did not attend the local, lay school but was taught at home by a governess. Eventually, he boarded in his third year with a priest who took pupils, and, then, from his fourth year, at a small free seminary in nearby Saint-Sulpice-la-Pointe. He argues against the notion that he was over-protected and deprived of contact with children from other backgrounds. On the contrary, he insists that he knew well the families of workers on his father’s estate and that his parents made sure that he acquired an experience of a ‘social diversity’ (de Naurois, 2019, 27) and did not exploit his privileged position. His father was a Dreyfusard out of a sense of justice rather than as a result of an ideological position, either of the left or the right, but he was a republican and was hostile to those local families who sympathized with Action française. De Naurois argues that his family and those of the workers ‘lived in community’ and that his father’s attitude was ‘the beginning of a training in democracy’ (de Naurois, 2019, 28). His childhood was spent in contact with the natural world, both at Saint Maurice and, annually in the summer, in a chalet in the Pyrenees near the Spanish border.

De Naurois received his first communion when he was 5 or 6 years old. From the age of 14 he dreamt of becoming a priest, and he announced this to his parents when he was 17. His father insisted that he should first go to university and do military service. He gained a degree in sciences and then enrolled for a degree in philosophy and theology at the Catholic Institute in Toulouse. While a student he attended study circles of the Association catholique des étudiants and, following the encyclical, Rerum Ecclesiae, of Pope Pious XI of 1926, he joined the Association Universitaire de Coopération et d’Aide aux Missions which had been instituted to train indigenous priests in decolonized countries. He also joined the Équipes sociales which had been founded by Robert Garric in 1921 to attempt to perpetuate the fraternity between classes which he had experienced in the trenches during the World War I. De Naurois was involved with the Équipes sociales as a student and also launched a team when he was on military service in 1930 in Grenoble.

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At the Catholic Institute he was influenced by the Rector, Bruno de Solages, who was his cousin. He became a passionate student. He singles out the effect of reading Maurice Blondel12 ‘s L’Action. He visited Blondel in Aix and it was Blondel who, in 1933, helped to secure a study grant for de Naurois which enabled him to study in Germany. At Toulouse, de Naurois became acquainted with the librarian, André Déléage. In the summer of 1932, he went with Déléage to Font-Romeu for a meeting with about twenty other people, including Emmanuel Mounier and Georges Izard. It was from this meeting that the plan to establish a new journal, Esprit, emerged, and the first number appeared in October,1932. He found himself in accord with Mounier and his ‘personalism’ which ‘respected man as a person, as distinct from the individual of liberalism who is only a consumer and that of totalitarianism who is only a cog in a wheel’ (De Naurois, 2019, 45).13 Alongside the Esprit initiative, de Naurois was involved in founding the associated movement –the ‘Troisième Force’ –which was committed to steering a middle way between opposing political extremes. Early in 1933, at the end of his first year of philosophical study, he decided to spend time in Germany to pursue research on Feuerbach. In the autumn, he stayed in Baden with the family of a former minister of finance of the Weimar republic. He learnt German and immersed himself in German literature. Hitler had been elected chancellor on January 30th, and de Naurois witnessed the early stages of rearmament and heard his host’s commentary on developments. He returned to Germany several times, travelling and meeting people of ‘all classes and professions’ (De Naurois, 2019, 57), neglecting his dissertation on L’essence du christianisme. In 1936, de Naurois was ordained, but he contrived to maintain contact with opposing ideological factions even when his wearing of the cassock occasioned comment or hostility.

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In 1937, de Naurois became assistant chaplain to the French community in Berlin for two years. On the advice of his superior, a Dominican, and the director of the French Institute in Berlin, de Naurois attended meetings of the Deutsch-Französische Gesellschaft. These were to encourage Franco-German relations among youth. De Naurois states that there were no nazi sympathizers at these meetings. He was taken to Eupen to see a nazi showcase community. He asked to be shown an Ordensburg, but was denied access. He visited an Adolf Hitler school. His freedom of movement became increasingly restricted, but he considered it his duty to observe what was happening and to report back to France. He routinely informed his bishop and his cousin, Bruno de Solages, of the atrocities he was witnessing. Moving between France and Germany in the late 1930s, he frequently gave lectures of warning in France, including one at the École Normale Supérieure on the initiative of Raymond Aron, communicating information about the Gestapo and the concentration camps, but he found that ‘there reigned in France a strange prejudice, a refusal to believe in the possibility of war’ (De Naurois, 2019, 89).

He was travelling by train from Stuttgart to Berlin during ‘Crystal Night’ on 9/10 November 1938. He was appalled by what he heard of the attacks on Jews and of their internment in concentration camps. He was very aware of the hostility towards the nazi regime of many Germans and, especially after the encyclical of Pope Pius XI of March, 1937, condemning National Socialism, of the fears of Christians that they would be persecuted in the same way as the Jews.

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De Naurois left Berlin in July, 1939, and was back in Saint Maurice when war was declared on September 3rd and when his mobilization order arrived. He was called up as a reserve lieutenant, rejoining his battalion in Grenoble. The Mémoires reproduce the notes he took during the ‘phoney war’. He was exasperated by the inaction, by the unpreparedness of the troops, and by their disinclination to consider Hitler as a threat. In December, he was moved to join the 1st army at Bohain, from where, on May 13th, he heard of the French defeat in the Ardennes. In retreat, he took a boat from Dunkerque to Cherbourg and then a train to Paris, where he arrived on June 5th. Paris was declared an ‘open city’ on June 14th and de Naurois watched the entry of the German troops. On June 26th, he was given safe conduct to the demarcation line between zones, en route to Bordeaux. He had expected to be able to fight to defend Paris but, instead, endured an ignominious retreat. ‘I was humiliated,’ he writes. ‘My country, that of Clemenceau and Foch, was defeated’ (de Naurois, 2019, 118). Learning that Bordeaux was occupied by the Germans, he found refuge in Pau from where he wrote to his bishop asking permission to escape across the border to Spain in order to make his way to England to join de Gaulle and the Free French. On July 1st, his bishop rejected this request, arguing that ‘the soul of France more than ever needs to be saved from within’ (de Naurois, 2019, 122). By August, de Naurois reluctantly complied. Demobilized, he was advised that Dunoyer de Segonzac was proposing a venture which might interest him. The two men met in Vichy in mid-August. De Naurois made it clear that his real wish was to get to England, but, in spite of this and other differences, Dunoyer de Segonzac enrolled him in his team. ‘Our common hostility to nazism was stronger than these differences’ (de Naurois, 2019, 128) recalls de Naurois.

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There are several points to be made about the character of de Naurois and about the trajectory which led him towards the Uriage team. Firstly, his upbringing was formative in emphasizing both the value of a natural environment and also in inculcating, even if from a socially superior position, respect for all classes. Secondly, in the language of his friend, Henri Frenay, de Naurois was a ‘monk-soldier’ (de Naurois, 2019, 16). Although he did not, in 1939/1940, have the opportunity to be engaged in military action, he was ready for it and was not at all a non-combatant chaplain. Thirdly, he was a dedicated catholic priest. He says almost nothing in his Mémoires about his religious beliefs, but he was clearly close to his cousin, Bruno de Solages, who was involved with the emergence of the ‘new theology’ in the 1930s which was opposed to the prevalent Thomist neo-scholasticism exemplified in the publications of Jacques Maritain. De Naurois’s project on Feuerbach suggests, although it was unrealized, that he was a catholic ‘modernizer’ who was willing to engage in philosophical debate, and this may explain why he found particularly relevant the demarcation between theology and philosophy proposed by Blondel. Fourthly, he was an internationalist who learnt English from his governess and also learnt German on arriving in Germany in the early 1930s. As a student he was interested in catholic missionary work which encouraged the training of indigenous priests in colonial countries and, even in nazi Germany, he sought to encourage cross-cultural understanding between French and German youth. Finally, it is clear that he found the nazi regime abhorrent, recognizing its character early on, committing himself to alerting the French public to its dangers. This is not to say that he was not impressed by some of the social and pedagogical reforms of National Socialism, but, equally, in France he was never a devoted follower of Pétain.

1 De la Chapelle had served in Morocco under Lyautey from 1919 to 1932 and supported his emphasis on the social role of military officers.

2 See xiv. fn 7 and p. 21.

3 The Grand Quartier Général (GQG) was the general headquarters of the French Army during World War II. Originally established in 1911, GQG was re-established on the outbreak of war in 1939. The original GQG had functioned from 1914 to 1919 during World War I.

4 Red Star Football Club is the second oldest French football club. It was founded in 1897. It won the Coupe de France four times in the 1920s. It was among the first clubs to adopt professional status in the early 1930s.

5 Georges Hébert (1875–1957) was a naval officer who, based at Lorient from 1910, became a physical instructor for the French navy where he developed the principles of a ‘natural method’ which emphasized training for the development of the whole person rather than for competitive sport. See L’entraînement complet par la méthode naturelle [complete training by the natural method] (1911). See p. 147 for comment in Vers le style.

6 Louis Dunoyer de Segonzac (1880–1963) was a physicist. He was awarded the Valz Prize by the French Academy of Sciences in 1929.

7 Charles Maurras (1868–1952) was a French author, politician, poet, and critic. He was an organizer and principal philosopher of Action Française (see fn.11).

8 Émile Picard (1856–1941) was a mathematician.

9 Lyautey’s book on the social role of the officer was first published in 1891 (Lyautey, ed.Larcan, 2009, 1891), shortly after the introduction of compulsory military service in 1890. It remained an important influence up to World War II, emphasizing that compulsory military service provided an opportunity for all citizens to be initiated into a common code of behaviour.

10 Maurice Barrès (1862–1923) was a French novelist, journalist, and politician. He was close to Charles Maurras.

11 Action française Far-right monarchist political movement started in 1899 in opposition to Dreyfusards. Its main ideologist in the 1920s was Charles Maurras (see fn. 7).

12 Maurice Blondel (1861–1949) was a philosopher, whose most influential works, notably L’Action:essai d’une critique de la vie et d’une science de la pratique (1893) [Action. Essay on a critique of life and a science of practice], aimed at establishing the correct relationship between autonomous philosophical reasoning and Christian belief.

13 Emmanuel Mounier (1905–1950) was the founder of Esprit and its director until his death. For an account of the early years of the journal, see Winock, M., (1975). The journal was the organ of the personalist movement. For Mounier’s account of personalism, see his Qu’est-ce que le personnalisme ?[what is personalism] Paris, Éditions du Seuil, 1947, and Le personnalisme [personalism], Paris, PUF, 2020 [1949]. For an account of Mounier and personalism, see Domenach, 1972, (and see, also, the consideration of Domenach in II, 2).

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L’École des cadres à Uriage: its practice

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Bernard Comte (Comte, 1991) gives detailed information about the various initiatives which were proposed within the State secretariat (SGJ) for the Family and Youth which was set up at once by the new Vichy government on 12 July 1940, generally known as the ‘ministry for youth’. Dunoyer de Segonzac’s project was separate from other programmes such as the Chantiers de la Jeunesse, established on July 30th and formally institutionalized on 18 January 1941, which, under the control of General La Porte du Theil,1 was developed by the army in order to assemble demobilized young men. Dunoyer de Segonzac was known to La Chapelle2 who had been given by the ministry the task of tackling the problem of training ‘cadres’, and La Chapelle authorized Dunoyer de Segonzac’s independent plans. Dunoyer de Segonzac was given ‘carte blanche’ and the assurance that the State would take charge of his expenses.3 There was some uncertainty about the meaning and scope of ‘cadres’. Dunoyer de Segonzac seems initially to have accepted the brief of the ministry which was to train young adults to become the staff needed to implement its general programme for youth. However, Comte quotes from Dunoyer de Segonzac’s post-war notes which suggest that, from the beginning, his aspiration was much more ambitious. The divergence relates to the meaning of ‘cadre’. Dunoyer de Segonzac had no wish to be restricted to staff training for youth who would themselves become youth workers. His understanding was that there was a need for personnel in all walks of life to be transformed. He wrote that ‘the école would form or inform an elite. This elite would a priori be recruited without any exclusion from all the classes of the nation’ (in Comte, 1991, 59). Dunoyer de Segonzac’s intention, at least as stated retrospectively, was that his école, initially called an ‘École des chefs’, should prepare diverse students for diverse social functions and, in doing so, should emphasize both physical and intellectual education as the foundation for the development of a new ‘style’ of living which would initiate a general attitude of mutual aid and consolidate a common, humanistic, societal endeavour.

An establishment was set up in the middle of August. Dunoyer de Segonzac requisitioned La Faulconnière –a château in Gannat, about 20 km from Vichy. Tents for students and mobile kitchens derived from the army were erected in the grounds. The staff team pooled some of their personal resources to help to establish a community. Some direct funding from the ministry came through to enable Dunoyer de Segonzac to organize a first ‘stage’, lasting two weeks, which commenced on 16 September 1940. It recruited on the basis that it would prepare leaders for the Chantiers de Jeunesse activities which had not yet begun. There were 100 students, divided into five groups of twenty, each with their own instructor. The programme of physical exercise, manual labour, and intellectual discussion took place in these groups and in collective sessions. It was established by Dunoyer de Segonzac, mainly assisted by de Naurois. At the end of the ‘stage’, the students were assessed and assigned roles within the Chantiers de Jeunesse movement according to their performance. Some were recommended to continue by remaining in the école, but noone pursued this option.

The second ‘stage’ at La Faulconnière began on October 5th, but the nature of the process had already changed. The school was no longer described as providing staff for the Chantiers de Jeunesse. Instead, it was explicitly answerable to a separate Youth ministry under the direction of Georges Lamirand, appointed on September, 27th, who had been a director at Renault and had published the Rôle social de l’ingénieur4 in 1932.

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The Chantiers de Jeunesse had become an independent sub-military and scouting movement while the ministry turned its attention to youth employment problems and to professional training. The estimate was that several hundred thousand young people between the ages of 14 and 25 were unemployed as a result of the war and the closure of factories. The ministry drew up a plan for the Entraide nationale des jeunes (ENJ), creating centres for the unemployed, and also established ten regional directors for youth. These proposed actions would depend on several thousand young leaders able to staff the initiatives. The task of training the directors and the leaders fell to the école at La Faulconnière.

There were about 150 recruits to the second ‘stage’, about two-thirds drawn from existing movements, one-third from the army, and a small proportion of seminarists. A post was promised after successful completion of the ‘stage’. Students were not paid, but their costs were covered. The ‘stage’ called ‘Maréchal Pétain’ began on 6 October 1940. There were nine teams, five of which were designed to lead to SGJ posts, three to Chantiers de Jeunesse posts, and one for physical education instructors. Lamirand visited the école, as did Robert Garric of Équipes sociales, and it culminated in a visit, on October 20th, of Pétain himself. On completing the ‘stage’, a few students were retained to assist Dunoyer de Segonzac, but most proceeded to their intended posts. Dumazedier was among those who moved on to be in charge of a youth centre at Saint-Étienne. According to Comte, it was the practice established in the ‘Maréchal Pétain’ stage and the distribution of its graduates that enabled the école to ‘become a national institution without losing its originality’ (Comte, 1991, 76). Texts of the study circles and of lectures were circulated, the publication of a bulletin was planned, and a journal was created. The ideas and practices of the école spread with the graduating students throughout the unoccupied zone.

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At this time, Dunoyer de Segonzac decided that he wanted to find a new location, one which would be further away from the intrigues of the government in Vichy and in a setting more in accord with his ideals for a total education in a natural environment. The team moved to the château of Uriage, 10 km south-east of Grenoble, on 1 November 1940. The castle was constructed in the twelfth century and was associated with the chevalier Bayard.5 There were seventy rooms of varying sizes, and grounds, including a farm, amounting to 23 hectares. The move was approved by the SGJ which wanted the école to run more stages.

Two main stages were run at Uriage before the end of the year (‘Bayard’ and ‘Lyautey’) on the same lines as the previous ones at La Faulconnière, although the recruits were of more mixed ages and backgrounds. The pattern of daily life during the stages was fixed. The day began before 7.00, followed at once by physical exercises and the ceremony of colours. Time was then taken up with Hébertist physical education and manual labour in the grounds or on the fabric of the château. Study circles, conferences and discussions took place in the afternoons and the veillées were important evening sessions with song, drama, conversations, and readings culminating with a speech from the chief. At the end of each stage, students were asked, in dialogue with the chief, to swear an oath dedicating themselves to future service, as leaders of youth. Two lectures given during these stages were particularly significant. The first was by Chombart de Lauwe on French and foreign youth in which he drew on his pre-war travels in Italy and Germany to warn of the dangers of the subjection of youth education to totalitarian state policies, and, similarly, the second was by de Naurois on French and foreign styles of life in which he relayed his knowledge of German developments.

During ‘Lyautey’, Chombart de Lauwe also reported to stagiaires and instructors on a visit he had recently made into the occupied zone. He also wrote a report in which he described the effects of the omnipresence of the Gestapo on everyday life. These warnings came at the time of the meeting between Pétain, Laval, and Hitler at Montoire-sur-Loire of 24 October 1940, when Pétain seemed to embrace collaboration with the Nazis.

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There was a third stage in December, 1940, specifically for future leaders of the Maisons de jeunes, a movement initiated in the autumn by the SGJ. Dunoyer de Segonzac brought back Dumazedier to run this stage. Dumazedier altered the routines slightly, distinguishing between directed activities which were prescribed and those encouraging the exchange of ideas among the participants. He led a second stage for the same movement in February, 1941. Comte suggests that Dumazedier’s entry into the Uriage team signalled a shift away from the emphasis of the founding team which had been ‘a-political, moral, patriotic and traditionalist’ (Comte, 1991, 88). By contrast, Dumazedier, an ‘atheist intellectual, impregnated with Marxist culture, a convinced socialist’ (Comte, 1991, 88), established links with lay movements, trade unions, and working class cultures.

December, 1940, was a crucial month in the life of the école. In addition to the stages, the école also gave support to a troop of travelling comedians, establishing connections with the world of alternative theatre, and it also launched a bulletin, JeunesseFrance, which appeared bi-monthly for most of the life of the école, followed by the first of a series of publications. Dunoyer de Segonzac received a ministry grant for the bulletin which had a circulation of 25,000, demonstrating that the école was recognized as providing an essential service for government policy. This recognition was confirmed by a law on 7 December which consolidated the creation of two national écoles, one for men at Uriage and another for women at Écully (6km west of Lyon). With this formalization went a regularization of structure. Each école was allowed nineteen members of staff and assigned a budget accordingly.

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The ministry did not articulate the ways in which the two écoles should carry out their mission. Early in December, Dunoyer de Segonzac organized four study days for his staff to prepare the école for its enlarged function. Guests were invited to contribute to the conferences. Dunoyer de Segonzac wanted to bring together people of opposing views to hear what they had to say and to enable his staff to reach their judgements about future policy for the école. De Naurois was the mastermind of these sessions, as is clear from the character of the people invited, such as, for instance, Emmanuel Mounier,6 Jean Lacroix,7 Henri de Lubac,8 Jean-Jacques Chevallier,9 in addition to representatives of divergent political groups –trade unions and Action française10–and of the youth ministry. As far as Dunoyer de Segonzac’s aspiration that some accord might be reached was concerned, the days were what he was later to call a ‘setback’ (Dunoyer de Segonzac, 1971, 88), but they introduced a new phase in the development of the école by initiating systematic philosophical reflection on the long-term intentions and consequences of its practices.11

The SGJ had wanted to establish a bureau to consider these questions, and, following the study days, Dunoyer de Segonzac took the opportunity to secure permission to establish in the école a funded Bureau d’études. De Naurois introduced Hubert Beuve-Méry to Dunoyer de Segonzac in January. After Beuve-Méry had delivered several test lectures, Dunoyer de Segonzac invited him to become director of the new Bureau d’études, starting in June, 1941.

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In January, 1941, there was an internal session, taking stock of the direction of travel. At the end of the month, when the fifth course began, there were about thirty staff in post. Politically, this was also the beginning of the government of Admiral Darlan from February, 1941 until April, 1942, ‘L’année Darlan’, which was ambiguous in its attitude towards the National Revolution or collaboration. The école prospered, nevertheless, in this climate of uncertainty. It launched an alumnus organization, consolidating a network of adherents to its project. During 1941 there were six main courses of three weeks each (‘Jeanne d’Arc’, ‘Foucauld’, ‘Mermoz’, ‘Richelieu’, ‘Saint Louis’, and ‘Roland’) and, additionally, 10 specialist sessions of about a week each. There were about 1,200 stagiaires during the year. The recruitment was increasingly diverse, attracting students from professional and industrial contexts.

After the arrival of Beuve-Méry, the Bureau d’études acquired, in Comte’s view, a major place in the life of the école (Comte, 1991, 177). It controlled the journal and publications and took charge of the intellectual component of the stages, choosing guest lecturers. From June, 1941, nine ‘cahiers d’Uriage’ were published by the école. Some were written by staff, such as No. 6 by Chombart de Lauwe,12 while others reflected the input of guest speakers, such as those by Chevallier13 (Nos. 7 and 8), Lacroix14 (No. 9), and Jeanneney15 (No. 10).

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Uriage had become the power house for the government’s youth policy for the whole unoccupied zone. In October, 1940, the government had formally established fifteen école-centres in the regions, mainly staffed by graduates from Uriage and all modelled on Uriage. This was formalized by a governmental decree of 11 August 1941, creating ten regional écoles associated with the ‘youth regions’ established by the Vichy government. This success brought problems, especially as the government moved towards pro-nazi collaboration. At the beginning of April, Dunoyer de Segonzac was told to silence de Naurois and was forbidden to allow Mounier any association with the Bureau d’études. In his speeches to stagiaires, Dunoyer de Segonzac was becoming openly supportive of the English opposition to the Nazis, and some students were making complaints to the government. De Naurois left in April16 and, in May, writing to Beuve-Méry in advance of his scheduled arrival, Dunoyer de Segonzac wondered how long the stance of the école would be tolerated.17

This uncertainty was reinforced by Darlan’s visit to the Isère, including to the école, of June 2nd. Having met with Hitler on May 11th, Darlan had recently signed the Paris protocols which assumed an English defeat and envisioned Franco-German military collaboration. The suggestion is that Darlan came to inspect the école for himself and that, perhaps, his conclusion was that it was an institution which should be controlled rather than closed down. Comte highlights several attempts which were subsequently made by the government in the second half of 1941 and early in 1942 to regain control over the development of the écoles de cadres. Firstly, in September, the new director at SGJ, Louis Garrone, attempted to specify that the écoles should accept a limited educational mission, one which would not seek to effect any ‘internal transformation’ of students. They should only provide a ‘civic and social education’ and should not encroach on the functions properly performed by the educational system and by families (Comte, 1991, 382). This was clearly an extension of the hostility to the prevalence of personalism which had informed the attitude towards de Naurois and Mounier expressed, particularly by Henri Massis, during the study days at the end of the previous year. Secondly, early in 1942 the Conseil national, which had been established one year earlier as a substitute for parliamentary assembly, initiated commissions to monitor progress in policy areas. A commission to study youth questions met from 5 to 12 March 1942. There were three hearings devoted to ‘the problem of the écoles de cadres’, one of which Dunoyer de Segonzac addressed. The report of the commission accepted that Dunoyer de Segonzac was ‘more prepared for heroism than for thought’ and was inclined, therefore, to exonerate him. However, it argued that he had been corrupted by abstruse theories, notably ‘personalism’ and that mystical deviation had made Uriage into a ‘thébaïde’18 (a place of deep solitude) detached from real life issues.

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There were no immediate consequences of these comments, but it was clear that evidence was accumulating within the ministry which could be exploited against Uriage.

During this period, the Uriage team had embarked on a new venture which involved running a stage of six months. It lasted from February to August, 1942, divided into twenty week-long cycles in three parts, interspersed with a break for Easter, a week of factory placement, a rural stage and a ‘fresh air’ week. The topics of the three parts were: ‘Remaking men’, ‘Renewing the French community’, and ‘The means to be effective’. Alongside this major venture there were also short courses of a week or three days, and these continued during the second half of the year when a second six month course for 1943 was in preparation. The situation of the école was threatened by the rise of the government of Pierre Laval in April, 1942, the implications of which became apparent by November when a series of events, such as the invasion of the ‘free’ zone and the dissolution of the armistice army, marked the end of Vichy sovereignty. In this period of uncertainty, the facilities at Uriage continued to develop. A stadium with track and exercise facilities was constructed and two workshops for apprenticeship in wood and iron work. With extra-large tents in the grounds, the école could now accommodate more than 200 stagiaires. Dunoyer de Segonzac submitted plans for an infirmary and a swimming pool. By the end of the long stage, the library held more than 1500 volumes and it received more than 150 periodicals. The Documentation centre issued a summary bibliography of general culture to assist students in subsequently developing their own libraries. Although the publication of the JeunesseFrance bulletin ended in April, 1942, it was succeeded by a monthly review, entitled Jeunesse France –Cahiers d’Uriage, comprising nine new volumes of some substance (Nos. 29 to 37).

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The work of 1941 had led to the development of a ‘charter’ which made explicit the fundamental values of spirituality, patriotism, and honour. This was an essentially Pétainist formulation within the spirit of the National Revolution. The work of 1942 focussed more on the ‘revolution of the 20th Century’ which was thought to be necessary –the need for a new man within a restored national community. This revised orientation was the consequence to a large extent of the continuing involvement of Dumazedier, the impulse given by Beuve-Méry, and the influence of a new arrival –Gilbert Gadoffre who gave a lecture on ‘The crisis of man and humanism’ in the last cycle of the long stage in late July, 1942, and joined the team in the autumn. The new emphasis had clearly moved beyond the role originally assigned to the école by the SGJ and was projecting a future for France which was no longer circumscribed by allegiance to Pétain and was certainly out of sympathy with the desired Nazification of Europe anticipated by the new government.

Dunoyer de Segonzac and his team were, therefore, prepared for the governmental decree of 27 December 1942, announcing the closure of the école as from 1 January 1943. Several members of the team found employment in businesses in Grenoble and its surroundings –which, until September, 1943, were occupied relatively leniently by Italians. An organization was created in Grenoble to continue the initiative commenced at Uriage by Dumazedier in December, forming a Committee for social and professional coordination. It was the Bureau d’études, now directed by Gadoffre, which found a refuge in a château in Murinais, near to Saint-Marcellin, on the edge of the Vercors. Gadoffre set up an office on the first floor of the château, with the cover of offering training in woodcutting to assist local rural reconversion. He soon accommodated a team of about a dozen. There were three former members of the Uriage team (Cacérès, Dumazedier, François Le Guay), two former stagiaires (Jean-Marie Domenach and Gilles Chaîne), four new recruits (Michel Bonnemaison, Georges Laplace, Roger Le Guay, and Simon Nora), and two young women (Lucette Massaloux and Jeanine de Chaléon). Their main tasks were to provide information to clandestine groups and to produce a summa of the reflections of the Uriage team on the current crisis and on its proposals for future reconstruction.

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Dunoyer de Segonzac continued to direct the dispersed team. To sustain the vision developed at Uriage, he established a structure for the friends of Uriage –regional chiefs and former stagiaires. At a meeting at the time of the closure of the école, it was decided to institute an Order. A rule comprising eighteen commands19 was formulated and people were asked to ‘undertake on my honour to live in conformity with the rule of the Order and to submit to the decisions of the Council in relation to this rule’. There were two annual meetings of the Order, in 1944 and 1945, at which some members of Uriage committed themselves to following the rule, but it was immediately overtaken by new developments. Firstly, a National Council of Resistance was established in Paris, attempting to bring together diverse resistance movements. Dunoyer de Segonzac endeavoured to represent the ethos of Uriage there. He remained dedicated to attempting to maintain unity among ideologically antagonistic groups. For a while this became the main context within which Dunoyer de Segonzac tried to operate, so much so that at the end of the year he travelled to Algiers to evaluate the various political possibilities for the future of France which seemed to be emerging. He reported back that de Gaulle seemed to offer the most promising future leadership and, subsequently, he returned in 1944/1945 to military service to contribute to the final defeat of the Germans. Secondly, a former stagiaire became the military director of the maquis in the Vercors. At a meeting in June, 1943, it was agreed that the Uriage team would assist formally with the work of the maquis in the Vercors by providing ‘flying’ teams which were then organized from Murinais for the rest of the year.

The attack on the château at Murinais came on 13 December 1943. Nora remembers that he had left the château a day or so before for a flying visit to camp C3 in the Vercors. Domenach remembers that in the morning a group had gone to Grenoble to make preparations for other flying visits (Bitoun, 1988, 125–126). The troops captured some domestic staff. The men were arrested and deported. Otherwise, Gadoffre was alone in the château. He took refuge in a loft in a tower where he stayed hidden for four days. When the Germans gave up waiting for the return of others, they decided to burn down the château. Gadoffre escaped in dramatic fashion as he describes in Les Ordalies20and in the memoir of his life published posthumously (Gadoffre, ed. Gadoffre-Staath, 2002, 36–45).

The draft of Vers le style was destroyed. The second dispersal of the Uriage team began and, as described in the Foreword, the lost text was gradually reconstructed in the period leading up to, and shortly after, the Liberation.

1 La Porte du Theil (1884–1976).

2 See I.1. fn. 1.

3 This information is derived from an extract from Dunoyer de Segonzac’s unpublished notes supplied by Comte, 1991, 58.

4 G.Lamirand, 1932, Le rôle social de l’ingénieur : scènes de la vie d’usine [The Social Role of the Engineer. Scenes from Factory Life], Éditions de la Revue des jeunes –by analogy with, and in sympathy with, Lyautey’s book.

5 Chevalier de Bayard (c.1476–1524). He was known as the ‘knight without fear and beyond reproach’. He was the hero of many battles in the service successively of Kings Charles VII, Louis XII, and Francis I of France.

6 Emmanuel Mounier (1905–1550) was the guiding spirit of the personalist movement and the founder and director of its journal, Esprit. See I.1. fn. 13.

7 Jean Lacroix (1900–1986) was a Catholic philosopher and essayist. A student of Chevalier, he taught philosophy in lycées in Dijon and Lyon. He was a founder member and regular contributor to Esprit.

8 Henri de Lubac (1896–1991) was a Jesuit priest. Except during the war years, he was professor of fundamental theology at the Catholic University of Lyon from 1929 to 1961. He was influential in the Second Vatican Council (1962–1965) and was made cardinal in 1983.

9 Jean-Jacques Chevallier (1900–1983), jurist and historian, (not to be confused with Jacques Chevalier (1882–1962) who was a philosopher who taught Lacroix (see above) and was also minister of education in the Vichy government in 1941).

10 See I.1. fn. 11.

11 Comte, 1991, 104–124 gives a detailed account of the contributions to these study days and supplies the programme at Annexe II.

12 Chombart de Lauwe, Pour retrouver la France. Enquêtes sociales en équipes.

13 Jean-Jacques Chevallier, LOrdre viril et l’efficacite dans l’action (No. 7) and Un français efficace, Vauban (No. 8).

14 Jean Lacroix, Psychologie des jeunes. L’adolescence scolaire (No.9).

15 Jean-Marcel Jeanneney, Description statistique de la France et de son économie (1919–1939). (No. 10).

16 On leaving Uriage, de Naurois’s bishop would still not give him permission to join the Free French in London. He secreted himself in a convent near Toulouse. He joined ‘Combat’. Shortly before the arrival of the Nazis in the southern zone, he was finally allowed, in December, 1942, to leave France. Travelling through Spain and Gibraltar, he reached London in March, 1943. He met de Gaulle and was assigned to be a chaplain to the Free French commandos. He was part of the Free French force which participated in the Normandy landing in June, 1944.

17 Letter of Dunoyer de Segonzac to Beuve-Mery, dated 16 May 1941, quoted in Comte, 1991, 374.

18 It is interesting that this designation in the commission’s report, meant as a term of disapproval, was adopted shortly after by the members of the Uriage team who, at the beginning of 1943, established themselves at Murinais –see below.

19 The rule is reproduced in Bitoun, 1988, 145.

20 Gadoffre, Les Ordalies, 1955, Paris, Seuil.

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Vers le style du XXe siècle: its authors

The text of Vers le style du XXe siècle published by Éditions du Seuil in 1945 is attributed to ‘the Uriage team under the direction of Gilbert Gadoffre’. Bitoun supplies the information that the first ‘impression’ provided the names of the nine authors (Bitoun, 1988, 134). This presumably was the draft text which was destroyed in December, 1943, and was painstakingly reconstructed subsequently in 1944/1945, as described in the Foreword (see pp. 57–8). This first draft also had a subtitle –‘données concrètes pour une pédagogie civique et une révolution institutionnelle’ [concrete information for a civic pedagogy and an institutional revolution] –which was removed from the 1945 edition (see Comte, 1991, 538). In addition to Gilbert Gadoffre, Bitoun lists the following authors: Hubert Beuve-Méry, Michel Bonnemaison, Gilles Chaîne, Jean-Marie Domenach, Joffre Dumazedier, Gilles Ferry, François Le Guay, and Simon Nora. The purpose of this section is to provide information about the backgrounds of these authors. In some cases, there is little record, partly because quite a few were still young during the war years. I focus on four authors whose personal influence on the text is clear, but I say something about all nine to respect the extent to which the work is the product of a collaboration. I examine the authors in order in terms of the chronology of their involvement with Uriage.

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Joffre Dumazedier was born in December, 1915 in Taverny, north of Paris, the son of a mason from Creuse in Limousin, who became an accountant by taking evening classes, and a Parisian dressmaker and then embroideress of shawls at the Swedish embassy. His father was killed in the battle of Verdun (1916). Joffre only knew that his father had been sportive and also a supporter of Jaurēs and the socialist party. In spite of the fact that his mother’s employment was precarious, she encouraged him in his studies. He quickly became aware of the importance of knowledge as ‘the only source of hope for social progress for the child of a workman’ (Le Meur, 2005, 154). A scholarship from the municipality of Noisy-le-Sec gave him access to higher education. He pursued literary studies at the Sorbonne, writing a thesis in 1938 for a linguistics diplôme d’études supérieures, directed by Antoine Meillet and Joseph Vendryēs, analysing the relations between ordinary and specialized language1 with particular reference to the work of Anatole France. During his youth he always associated physical and mental activity, retaining contact through sport with his school friends and considering how they might be enabled to secure his opportunities. While still a student at the Sorbonne, in 1935 he organized evening courses in his home town for his former school friends at a workingman’s college, trying to introduce them to learned knowledge, and, from 1936, he worked as an educator in the lay Auberges de Jeunesse movement. These experiences caused him to reflect on learning processes for disadvantaged students. His solution was to attempt to adapt techniques for physical training to intellectual processes, developing what he was to call ‘mental training’. He was committed to fighting against the unequal distribution of science and culture and also to social scientific research, under the influence, in particular, of Ėmile Durkheim and Georges Friedmann.2 Summarizing his background, Bitoun writes: ‘Nourished by his mother’s memories who spoke to him about the educational value of the popular universities at the time of the Dreyfus affair, he was also influenced by the Marxism of Henri de Man3 and by the humanism of Jean Guéhenno.4 From the one he took ←28 | 29→ ethical inspiration and from the other the will to share culture. He lived fervently the epoch of the Front Populaire, the encounters between workers and intellectuals, the explosion of the auberges de jeunesse movement, and of open-air leisure and sport’ (Bitoun, 1988, 51).

In 1939 he was on the Maginot line. After demobilization, in October, 1940, he was a stagiaire on the second stage held at La Faulconniēre (‘Maréchal Pétain’). His recollection was that what interested him was ‘the social and cultural action that was offered’ (Bitoun, 1988, 39). After the stage, he took responsibility for a camp of young unemployed men at Saint-Ėtienne, but he was called by Dunoyer de Segonzac to Uriage in December, 1940, to assume direction of a stage for leaders of the Maisons de jeunesse. This continued with a second stage in February, 1941, by when Dumazedier began to assist with the work of the Bureau d’études while waiting for the arrival of Beuve-Méry in June. He was fully integrated with the Bureau d’études from the summer of 1941, and he was largely responsible for planning the six month stage of 1942. The preparation took place between November, 1941 and January, 1942, and the long stage took place between February and July, 1942. At the same time, the école had decided at the end of 1941 that it should give priority to making an impact in the world of work. Dumazedier took the initiative in arranging six ‘industrial stages’ between April and December, 1942. These were designed to generate discussion among workers and management and to provide some industrial experience. Dumazedier began to develop a project to launch an ‘école de cadres sociales’ for the beginning of 1943 but this was prevented by the closure of Uriage. Nevertheless some staff pursued this idea early in 1943 in the Grenoble region. Dumazedier did not go to Murinais but set up a community of workers and ‘réfractaires’5 to the west of the Vercors massif. He did not join Dunoyer de Segonzac in the Tarn. His contacts had always been strongest in the Grenoble vicinity and, at the end of the war, he drew on these to establish, in August, 1945, the Peuple et Culture movement.

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Hubert Beuve-Méry was born in the Ile de la Cité, Paris, in January, 1902. His parents were both from Breton families. His father deserted his mother at his birth, not even attending the registration. Hubert was raised by his mother, maternal grandmother, and an aunt. For the first eight years of his life, he was surrounded by devout women and by priests associated with Notre Dame. ‘Religion enveloped him’ (Greilsamer, 1990, 19). When the catholic school he was attending was closed down, his teacher moved to a school in the Massif central and secured his mother’s permission to take the boy with him. This period of study ended at the end of the World War I. In Paris he took odd jobs to help to support his impoverished family. At Easter, 1920, his life was changed on hearing Albert-Marie Janvier6 deliver a sermon at Notre Dame. With the support of the Dominicans, he returned to school and completed his baccalauréat by the end of 1922. He embarked on further study in law, supported financially by employment at Les Nouvelles religieuses, a right-wing catholic journal which Janvier had re-launched after the war. Greilsamer insists that Beuve-Méry was an observer of the journal’s association with Action Française more than a sympathizer, but, in March to April 1925, he was among the students supporting the protests of the Camelots du Roy7 against the government’s nomination of Georges Scelle8 as Professor of International Law in opposition to the catholic nominee of the Faculty. This protest forced Scelle’s resignation and contributed to the downfall of Herriot’s first ‘Cartel des Gauches’ ministry on 17 April 1925. The appointed professor –Louis Le Fur9 –was to supervise Beuve-Méry’s doctoral thesis. In 1926, Beuve-Méry did military service in two six-month periods, first at Saint-Cyr and then garrisoned at Mayence. On returning to Paris, he embarked, at the suggestion of Père Janvier, on a thesis on the work of Francisco de Vitoria (1486–1546), who had been a Dominican professor of theology at the University of Salamanca at the beginning of the sixteenth century. Vitoria’s main text –De Indis (1539) –considered the issue of ‘just wars’ in relation to Spanish and Portuguese colonialism, ←30 | 31→ arguing that warfare could only be just if the indigenous population opposed commerce and missionary activity. Vitoria drew on the work of St Thomas Aquinas, and Beuve-Méry spent 1927 reading scholastic texts. The thesis enabled him to bring together his theological convictions and his interest in international law. Associated with this reading, Beuve-Méry was partly instrumental in persuading Père Janvier finally, in November 1927, to obey the papal denunciation of Action Française which had been issued on 29 December 1926. Beuve-Méry’s thesis was published in 1928.10 The work begins with a general discussion of the relationship between theology and public law in which Beuve-Méry quotes approvingly a passage from Maritain11’s Primauté du Spirituel12 which ends with the contention that ‘the rule of conduct of individual and social life cannot be abstracted from the supernatural order’ (Maritain, 1927, 190, quoted in Beuve-Méry, 1928, 16), that is to say that the metaphysical supercedes the epistemological, or that individual and social life cannot be understood exclusively by positivist psychology or social science. Beuve-Méry uses a scholarly consideration of the work of Vitoria to discuss contemporary issues in relation to law, theology and internationalism, concluding with reflection on the potential of the League of Nations, a potential which is dependent on a recognition of a proper balance between the contributions of practical politics and humanist ideals, between science and faith.

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In 1928, Beuve-Méry was appointed professor of law at the Institut Denis13 in Prague, Czechoslovakia. He married in September and the couple moved to Prague in October. He lectured on international law, specializing in study of the League of Nations and the Petite-Entente14 encouraged by France between Roumania, Yugoslavia, and Czechoslovakia to resist Austro-Hungarian imperialism in the region. Within a year, Beuve-Méry was invited to write articles and comments on the Middle-European situation for Politique, a Paris-based monthly journal. Unlike Les Nouvelles Religieuses, Politique was a non-confessional journal. Beuve-Méry insisted on his independence, committing himself to observing and understanding. To this end, he organized a trip to the USSR in 1932. There he saw the country as ‘an immense factory for forging Marxist consciousnesses’15 (quoted in Greilsamer, 1990, 55). Its capacity to impose the primacy of matter over mind –the opposite of Maritain’s assertion –caused him to worry about the condition of western Europe.

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Beuve-Méry’s response to one particular incident in the mid-1930s contributed to shaping his orientation as a political correspondent. On 6 May 1932, Paul Doumer, the President of the French Republic, was assassinated in Paris by someone (Paul Gorguloff ) of Russian origin working in Prague. Beuve-Méry was asked by the newspaper, Matin, to write a piece on Gorguloff. Beuve-Méry carried out research in Prague and, finding out that Gorguloff had a history of mental instability, submitted a report to that effect. The paper printed, instead, a report stating that Gorguloff was a communist agent. Beuve-Méry resigned and could find no French newspaper willing to publish his findings. He had observed for himself the shortcomings of the communist system but, equally, he despised the febrile anti-communism of the French press. He acquired a reputation for non-partisan truthfulness. In 1935, he began to write for Le Temps as its special correspondent in Prague, reporting regularly to Paris on Czech affairs, consistently warning about French complacency in the face of developing German aggression. In Czechoslovakia he moved in embassy and political circles, admiring President Masaryk’s ability to steer a path between communism and liberalism.16 It was Beuve-Méry’s respect for Czechoslovakia’s strategy in Mittel Europa which caused him ferociously to condemn the Munich Agreement in September, 1938. In October, 1938, he wrote an article for Politique which he offered as ‘La trahison de la France’ [French betrayal] but which was published as ‘Victoire de la paix ou trahison?’ [victory for peace or betrayal?].17 In the same month, he resigned from Le Temps in protest at the newspaper’s pro-Munich stance. The Germans occupied Prague in March, 1939. The French legation left in April. There was no longer a post for Beuve-Méry in Prague. In France, his Vers la plus grande Allemagne [towards greater Germany] was published as a document of the information section of the Centre d’Études de politique étrangère,18 a centre with which he had been associated through the 1930s. The book analysed Czech policies during the 1930s in resistance to German expansion, repeating the warnings which he had expressed in his reports from Prague during this period. The concluding section –‘Force et faiblesse du nouvel empire’ [strength and weakness of the new empire] –assumes that a new German empire is ‘en voie de rapide cristallisation’ [on the way to being rapidly achieved] (Beuve-Méry, 1939, 100). He argues that National Socialism should not be blamed. ‘In parallel with communism’, he suggests, ‘it will have contributed to profoundly modifying the face of the world’ (Beuve-Méry, 1939, 100). ‘Against the depravities of intellectualism, of individualism, of liberalism, of capitalism’, he continues, ‘against the sickness or the deviations of Christianity, it will have been an excessive, but necessary, reaction’ (Beuve-Méry, 1939, 102). The nature of dictatorial regimes, he argues, is that they are narrowly linked to the person of the dictator. Like Lenin, Hitler will pass. ‘Under the inundations of disorder and violence, the elements of a new synthesis still exist’ and, finally he concludes, ‘it is not too late to prepare … for the coming of a fairer and more united Europe’ (Beuve-Méry, 1939, 103).

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By the end of 1939, he had mobilized, only to be demobilized in July, 1940 without taking part in any military action. During the second half of 1940 he became associated with those producing Esprit. Its re-launch had been authorized by Vichy in October, 1940. Suspicious of the consequences of this governmental authorization, Beuve-Méry nevertheless contributed a significant article entitled ‘Révolutions nationales, révolution humaine’ [National revolutions, human revolution] in March, 1941.19 It was in the context of the editorial meetings for Esprit that Beuve-Méry met de Naurois who persuaded him to give a lecture at Uriage. He gave his lecture in December, 1940, and, in spite of his reservations about Dunoyer de Segonzac’s adherence to Pétain, he agreed to join the staff at Uriage as soon as he could which, after a short period spent in Lisbon20 where the Institut Denis had been transplanted, was June, 1941. On arrival, he was made the director of the Bureau d’études from the second semester of 1941. In the summer of 1942, Dunoyer de Segonzac named him his deputy in succession to d’Alençon.

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Gilbert Gadoffre was born in Paris in June, 1911. On leaving Saint-Cyr, his father had served in Indo-China and spoke Chinese fluently. Gilbert treasured his father’s notes on the Chinese revolution. The father was severely injured in 1914 in the Belgian campaign and died in a military hospital in Nice in June, 1916. In 1917 the mother took the family back to Paris where Gilbert started school. He developed pleurisy with the result that his mother took the family to Switzerland to aid his convalescence. They were accompanied by a governess who played a large part in Gilbert’s early development. She was from Lorraine, ‘very anglophile, anti-German, and very musical’ (Gadoffre, ed. Gadoffre-Staath, 2002, 11). On returning to Paris, the family moved to Saint-Cloud, where Gilbert attended a local lycée before transferring to the lycée Hoche21 at Versailles. There he received his first communion in the chapel of the lycée which is ‘one of the most beautiful monuments in Versailles’ (Gadoffre, ed. Gadoffre-Staath, 2002, 12). The family moved to Versailles where they were neighbours of the Cartan family.22 Gilbert had started to play the violin at the age of 8 and he was friendly with Jean Cartan who was a composer. There was a ‘micro-society’ in Versailles of people who had made their careers in China, and Gilbert attended concerts in the Rameau room at Versailles organized by this circle.

Gilbert’s father had encouraged him to read from a very early age. He specifies the books that he most enjoyed in his youth –Fénelon’s Télémaque when he was 10, Chateaubriand’s Les Martyrs when he was 15, and Saint-Simon between 15 and 17. His mother offered no resistance when he decided to break with the family tradition of military careers so as to study for a literature degree. When he was 12 and, again, when he was 19, he spent time in England as a paying guest. He was ‘passionate about England’ (Gadoffre, ed. Gadoffre-Staath, 2002, 15). His father had known the rector of Lincoln College, Oxford, and Gilbert studied there for one term in which he made comparisons between the education there and at the Sorbonne which were all to the advantage of Oxford. Unlike at the Sorbonne, he thought that at Oxford ‘students and teachers inhabited the same universe’, taking ‘tea together in groups’ (Gadoffre, ed. Gadoffre-Staath, 2002, 15). On returning from Oxford, he began two years of preparation for his agrégation, but his studies and his military service were both interrupted by acute pleurisy. He was able to get back to study in 1936.

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Partly as a consequence of the death of his friend Jean Cartan from tuberculosis in 1932, Gadoffre spent a year in the early 1930s working at a preventorium at Mégève23 in the Haute-Savoie which had been established by a ‘sort of St. Vincent-de-Paul of modern times’ (Gadoffre, ed. Gadoffre-Staath, 2002, 17). Between 1936 and 1937, he volunteered there for three months, and also spent the whole of 1937–1938 there. He made friends with the result that he was invited to spend most months of January skiing in the years before and after the war. It was also the death of his friend which led Gadoffre to write music criticism for La Vie Intellectuelle24 and other journals between 1932 and 1937 under a nom de plume. In this context he became associated with several Dominicans, particularly Père Chenu25 and Père Maydieu,26 first of all at Juvisy27 which was the office of Éditions du Cerf28 and then at Étiolles when Le Saulchoir29 was allowed back into France in 1937.

Gadoffre had started research for a thesis on ‘the image of China in French literature from 1884 to 1914’. He discussed Chinese issues with Père Maydieu as well as musical ones. At this time he studied Chinese with Maspero,30 following his courses at the Collège de France as well as those of Marcel Granet31 at the École des Hautes Études. Gadoffre recalls that the Dominicans ‘represented for me a harmonious community which made visible and tangible that dream of community which I had always had’ (Gadoffre, ed. Gadoffre-Staath, 2002, 21).

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The rector of Lincoln College, Oxford, Monro,32 recommended Gadoffre to Eugène Vinaver,33 Head of Department of French at the University of Manchester, when he was seeking a French member of staff. Gadoffre was offered a post which he took up in September, 1938. He was given the task of taking courses on French thinkers of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries –Montaigne, Pascal, and Descartes. Vinaver was directing a collection of texts, and he asked Gadoffre to produce an edition of Descartes’s Discours de la méthode. Gadoffre had completed a preface for this, but not his critical notes, when he was called up for military service in 1940. Believing that Gadoffre had been killed in June, 1940, the university published the preface in memoriam.34

Gadoffre had, in fact, been injured in a way which paralysed his left arm for a year, rendering him militarily useless both to the Germans, who released him, and to the Free French. Instead of being able to return to England as he wanted, from January, 1941 until October, 1942 Gadoffre taught at the lycée Condorcet and then the lycée Hoche while living with his mother in Versailles. He led a double life, routinely smuggling explosives for the resistance in his briefcase when travelling to give his lectures. Along with Père Maydieu and one other, he was part of a troika system of resisters performing various tasks, including assisting English airmen to return to England. He was in receipt of information and knew that an allied landing was planned for October or November, 1942. In the expectation that this landing would take place in the south of France, Gadoffre was sent to Uriage to help to mobilize support for the allies in the region. He stayed at Uriage for ten days in August, 1942, enough to satisfy himself that the staff of the école ‘were all anti-German, anti-Nazi, and allergic to every kind of collaborationism’ (Gadoffre, ed. Gadoffre-Staath, 2002, 26) such that he felt able to accept the invitation to become a member of the Uriage team in October.

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Gilles Ferry was born in Paris in April, 1917. His father, Désiré Ferry, was Minister of Health in Tardieu’s government from March until December, 1930. Gilles was a khâgne. He studied philosophy, following the courses of Émile Bréhier and Abel Rey at the Sorbonne. During the late 1930s he was close to the group around Esprit. His father died in the Maginot Line in January, 1940, and his elder brother was killed at the beginning of the war. There is some uncertainty about his career during 1940. According to Wikipédia, he was ‘taken prisoner at the beginning of World War II and, having succeeded in escaping, became a trainer at Uriage in 1941’. He was certainly captured at a battle near Brest and then escaped less than a month later by pretending to be a Nazi soldier. According to Comte (Comte, 1990, 92), he served in the office of the minister of the interior, Peyrouton (who was minister from 6 September 1940 until February, 1941), before joining a troupe of travelling comedians, under the direction of Olivier Hussenot, which, on 5 December 1940, took up residence in farm buildings in the grounds of Uriage. Gilles quickly realized that he would not make a comedian and joined the staff team at Uriage. He was responsible for the production of Jeunesse-France, and then became an instructor in the école. He became a member of the Bureau d’études in August, 1942. He did not go to Murinais but offered his support (Bitoun, 1988, 103). He joined Dunoyer de Segonzac in the maquis in the Tarn in June, 1944.

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Gilles Chaîne was born in 1921. Nora describes him as a ‘young khâgneux’ (Bitoun, 1988, 107), that is to say someone at the second stage of preparation for entry to the École Normale Supérieure. This was at Lyon where he was a school friend of Domenach. He was ‘drawn to philosophy’ (Gadoffre, ed. Gadoffre-Staath, 2002, 235). He was a recruit to a stage at Uriage at the end of 1942, probably the one of December which was especially designed for university students (Comte, 1991, 449 and 576), and then became a member of the team at Murinais, taking part in the flying visits into the Vercors. Gadoffre comments that he was closer to Chaîne than to Domenach and remembers ‘interminable conversations’ with him about the Collegial Institute project (Gadoffre, ed. Gadoffre-Staath, 2002, 33). After the attack on Murinais, he was an instructor for a short while in the école de cadres of Air France at Maligny, and then was in hiding in Paris, working with Domenach to reconstitute the text of the destroyed book. One of the secretaries of Uriage recalls typing the text for ‘the nth’ time at his dictation in Paris in April, 1944 (Bitoun, 1988, 146). He was killed in July, 1944 by machine-gun fire from a low flying English aircraft when he was travelling by train to the Tarn to rejoin others of the Uriage team active there in combatting the German presence.

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Jean-Marie Domenach was born in Lyon in February, 1922. His family originated from Olette in French Catalonia. His father, an engineer, settled in Lyon where he was the technical director of cables. Jean-Marie studied first at the lycée Saint-Marc in Lyon which was under the control of the Jesuits (under contract of association with the State). He attended the lycée du Parc, also in Lyon, which had been founded in 1914 and offered preparatory classes for entry to the grandes écoles. Much of the detailed information about Domenach’s activities as a student derives from the mention of himself en passant in his recollections of his friend, Gilbert Dru, who was older than him by almost two years but became his university contemporary because Dru was mobilized in 1940 when Domenach was still too young. During the ‘phoney war’, Domenach was a khâgneux at Clermont (Domenach and D. Rendu in Comte et al., 1998, 62). Dru was held captive for a month from mid-June to mid-July, 1940. He was discharged and spent six months in a group attached to the incipient Chantiers de la Jeunesse. He wrote to Domenach in August that he ‘doubted the results of this scouting life imposed on everyone’ (Domenach and D. Rendu in Comte et al., 1998, 65). Dispirited by the character of the soldiers whom he had encountered and then by the calibre of his fellow students, back at Lyon he founded a student society to foster discussion and resistance to resigned acceptance of German victory. Domenach was involved with this initiative, and in July, 1941, he was active with Dru in attempting to reform the Jeunesse Étudiant Chrétien movement with which they were both associated. According to Comte, this movement had concentrated since 1933 on the primacy of the spiritual whereas Dru, with Domenach, endeavoured to shift the emphasis towards social and political action (See Comte, 1998, in Comte et al., 1998, 5). Although this was supported by, among others, Jean Lacroix and Henri de Lubac, who were teaching at Lyon, Dru and Domenach failed to carry the day. Instead, they both became involved in editing the Cahiers de notre Jeunesse35 which ran from June, 1941 until June 1943, constantly attacking Vichy and Nazism. Domenach remembers writing an article in No. 18 attacking one of the main ‘thinkers’ of Vichy –G. Thibon (see Domenach, 1998, in Comte, Domenach, Rendu, and Rendu, 1998, 74). The editorial of this number had announced that ‘We are among those who believe that France is essentially and by vocation Christian, that it can never be itself without Christ’ (Domenach and D. Rendu, 1998, in Comte et al., 1998, 74). Both Dru and Domenach were stagiaires at the last stage at Uriage in December, 1942. Domenach followed Gadoffre to Murinais at the beginning of 1943, but he remained active with the Christian groups in Lyon. He recalls that in March or April, 1943, there was an assembly of all the members of the J.E.C. who were affected by the S.T.O. (the Service du travail obligatoire requiring young men to work in Germany) which attempted to persuade them to join the Resistance. At the beginning of 1943 as well, Domenach organized an inter-faculty committee at the university in Lyon with a view to recruiting students to the maquis. At this time, Dru was becoming convinced that his Christian convictions entailed not only immediate resistance activity but also long-term future political engagement. Domenach recalls: ‘I had serious objections to his political orientation and we discussed this passionately’ (Domenach and Rendu, 1998, in Comte et al., 1998, 90). Dru moved to Paris at the end of October, 1943. He became involved with the Conseil National de la Résistance and planned, with Georges Bidault, the establishment of a political movement similar to what emerged post-war as the M.R.P.36 Dru returned to Lyon where he was the leader of this movement in the South-East of France. Clandestine documents were leaked to the Germans and, on 27 July 1944, Dru was assassinated in the Place Bellecour in the centre of Lyon. Domenach’s brother witnessed the killing, but Jean-Marie had already rejoined Dunoyer de Segonzac in the Tarn. He had seen Dru for the last time in Paris at the end of 1943 when they together saw a performance of Anouilh’s Antigone.

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Michel Bonnemaison. No sources say anything of substance about Michel. He was a young recruit at Murinais at the beginning of 1943. There is a Fonds Antoine Bonnemaison (1926–1981) which contains papers associated with Uriage. I speculate that this is the collection of a younger brother which includes material preserved by Michel.

François Le Guay joined the staff at Uriage at the end of 1942, having been a student on an earlier course. He went from Uriage to Murinais. Comte describes him as a ‘polytechnicien’ (Comte, 1991, 434). Nora’s recollection is that he was ‘the son of a stock-broker who then made a long detour as a fellow-traveller of the Communist party’ (Bitoun, 1988, 107). In 1944/1945, he was involved with organizations in Grenoble which were associated with Peuple et Culture, founded by Dumazedier.

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An Ashkenazy Jew, Simon Nora was born in Paris in February, 1921, the son of a doctor. He gave his own account of his background, what he calls his ‘décor’, in an interview with Pierre Bitoun. He describes his family as ‘Jewish, liberal, for whom Judaism scarcely existed until the war made it discover it’ (Bitoun, 1988, 103). Like many young bourgeois of the period before the war, his attitudes were left-leaning. His first political feelings were aroused by the Spanish civil war. As a result of poor health, he studied for his bachots in mountain colleges where he was taught by an Austrian Jew who initiated him into Marxism. His father had been horrified by the World War I with the result that Simon tended towards ‘left pacifist’ views. At the outbreak of war, the family settled in Grenoble. Having studied sociology and philosophy, Simon continued his studies at the university of Grenoble in political science and law. He had plans to prepare an agrégation in political economy. He became involved in underground resistance activities as a student. Some of his comrades joined the communist party. He was happy to work with them in resistance but not inclined to join the party. He met Dumazedier through a resistance contact in Grenoble, and joined ‘Gadoffre’s team’ early in 1943 (see Bitoun, 1988, 103–104). What united the group which formed at La Thébaïde was, in his view, a ‘disgust for the 3rd Republic’ (Bitoun, 1988, 107). Nora was on a task with the maquis in the Vercors when La Thébaïde was ransacked (Bitoun, 1988, 125). Until February, 1944, he was part of a resistance group with Cacérès, Le Guay, and Dumazedier which was based in a monastery at Esparon to the south of Grenoble, from where they carried out tours among the maquis in the manner of their previous support activities. At La Thébaïde, Nora had been preparing a thesis on planning in the Soviet Union and had accumulated documentation for his research. This was all burnt with the result that he abandoned this project and, in 1945, applied for, and was admitted to, the newly established École Nationale d’Administration (ENA).

1 The only manuscript of this thesis was burnt in the fire at Murinais (Le Meur, 2005, 155).

2 Georges Friedmann (1902–1977), sociologist and philosopher. During the 1930s he made several visits to the Soviet Union. His first book, which Dumazedier may have known, was: La Crise du Progrès: Esquisse d’histoire des Idées, 1895–1935 (Paris: Gallimard, 1936 (see also p. 284)).

3 Henri de Man (1885–1953) was a Belgian politician and social theorist, the author of Socialisme et marxisme, 1928.

4 Jean Guéhenno (1890–1978), writer and essayist. His Caliban parle (1928) was particularly influential. (See also p. 284.)

5 Resistants, specifically those resisting the Service du travail obligatoire, the Vichy legislation of June, 1942 which encouraged French workers to volunteer to work in Germany in return for the return of prisoners of war to France.

6 Albert-Marie Janvier (1860–1939) was the Lenten preacher at Notre Dame from 1903 to 1924.

7 A far-right youth movement of Action française.

8 Georges Scelle (1878–1961).

9 Louis Le Fur (1870–1943).

10 Beuve-Méry, H., 1928, La Théorie des Pouvoirs Publics d’après François de Vitoria et ses rapports avec le Droit contemporain, Paris, Spes.

11 Jacques Maritain (1882–1973) was a prominent catholic philosopher. He taught at the Institut Catholique de Paris from 1914 until 1939. Initially sympathetic to Action Française, he dissociated himself from the movement after the papal denunciation at the end of 1926. He was friendly (from 1924) with Berdiaev and (from 1928) with Mounier.

12 Maritain, J., 1927, Primauté du spirituel, Paris, Plon.

13 The French Institute.

14 1920–1938.

15 Beuve-Méry, H., 1933, “Paradoxes Soviétiques ”, Politique, reproduced in Beuve-Méry, H., 1951, 36.

16 In his obituary for Masaryk in Le Temps, 23 September 1937, Beuve-Méry cited Masaryk’s dedication to ‘the truth before all, always and everywhere the truth’, quoted in Greilsamer, 1990, 70.

17 See Greilsamer, 1990, 121.

18 One of its vice-presidents was the Durkheimian Célestin Bouglé who committed suicide on the arrival of the Germans in Paris.

19 Reproduced in Beuve-Méry, 1951, 128–132.

20 At this date, Portugal was a safe place for embarkation to England, and Beuve-Méry deliberated between going to London or going to Uriage.

21 The lycée Hoche at Versailles is one of the most prestigious schools in France for preparing students for entry to the grandes écoles.

22 Élie Cartan (1869–1951) was a mathematician, a professor in the Paris Faculty of Sciences and a member (1931) of the Académie des Sciences. His son, Jean (1906–1932), was a composer.

23 A ski resort near Mont Blanc which was sponsored by the Rothschilds in the 1920s as an alternative to St Moritz.

24 This was a catholic review created in 1928 by a Dominican priest at the request of Pope Pius XI and with the support of Jacques Maritain.

25 Marie-Dominique Chenu (1895–1990) was a progressive catholic theologian. He served as regent of studies at Le Saulchoir from 1932 to 1942, and was therefore very involved in the move of Le Saulchoir from Belgium to Étoilles, near Paris, in 1937. In 1937 he privately issued a book entitled Une école de théologie: le Saulchoir. In February 1938 he was called to Rome and reprimanded for this work. Then, in February 1942, Une école de théologie was placed on the Vatican’s “Index of Forbidden Books” because of its ideas about the role of historical studies in theology. He was removed as rector of Le Saulchoir.

26 Augustin Maydieu (1905–1955) studied at Le Saulchoir. He was ordained in 1930. He was heavily involved in the 1930s in the publications of La Vie intellectuelle, Sept (an anti-Maurras journal) and of the Éditions du Cerf. Mobilized in 1940, he was captured and escaped, becoming active in the resistance thereafter. He was introduced to the école at Uriage by Beuve-Méry early in 1941 as a ‘counterweight’ to de Naurois (Comte, 1991, 190). He became ‘a familiar of the house’ at Uriage without being employed there. According to Comte, he was a key figure in advocating the establishment of an ‘Order’ at the end of 1942 (Comte, 1991, 528) –see pp. 24–5.

27 Juvisy-sur-Orge, 18 km south-east of Paris.

28 Éditions du Cerf was founded in 1929 at the request of Pope Pius XI, partly in opposition to Action française which had been condemned by the Pope in 1926.

29 After their expulsion from France in 1903, the Dominicans were exiled to Belgium, residing at Kain (now a part of Tournai). Here, they established a studium generale in 1904, in a former Cistercian abbey called Le Saulchoir.

30 Henri Maspero (1883–1945) was chair of Chinese at the Collège de France from 1918. He published La Chine Antique, 1927, Paris, De Boccard.

31 Marcel Granet (1884–1940), a Durkheimian, had just published his La Pensée chinoise, 1934, Paris, Albin Michel.

32 John Munro (1864–1944) was Rector of Lincoln College, Oxford from 1919 until 1944.

33 Eugène Vinaver (1899–1979).

34 This text (Gadoffre, 1941) received the prix Barthou of the Académie française without Gadoffre’s knowledge. After the war he published a new edition (see p. 294).

35 The title of the journal indicates support for Péguy whose Notre Jeunesse was published in 1912.

36 The Mouvement républicain populaire existed as a political party from 1944 until 1967.

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Vers le style du XXe siècle: brief synopsis and introduction to editorial practice

A brief synopsis

The book has a short Foreword which describes the circumstances in which it was produced. It indicates that the team which produced the book had now, in 1945, dispersed. It highlights the fact that the team was united in opposing anti-communism, but divided in their attitudes towards some communist principles and towards the need for affiliation to the communist party. It contends that they were prepared to bury these differences because they were all essentially committed to the actualization of a vision for humanity which transcended political difference. They were committed to rebuilding France, understood primarily as an educational initiative generating a new man in a new world, relatively independently of factional politics.

This is followed by a short Preface. Here the authors briefly describe the origins of the école de cadres at Uriage, indicating that the difficulties experienced by the école in seeking to realize its ambitions in the face of monitoring and control by the Vichy government showed that these ambitions entailed institutional changes which also entailed changes in human behaviour. It was not enough, therefore, to be content to produce a book offering abstract recommendations. The authors emphasize that the book is intended to offer a testimony to a procedure of thinking through problems within a community of diverse individuals. Their aim is to prescribe this procedure rather than solutions which, in their view, will emerge slowly from its widespread adoption.

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The book is presented in four Parts. Each Part has chapters, and within every chapter there are sections which, in turn, have sub-sections. There is a logic to the argument, and there is a consistent style of argument, one which, by stating pros and cons of positions, seeks to reflect communal debate and to set out alternatives for consideration by readers. The purpose of this brief synopsis is to provide some preliminary guidelines which are more user-friendly than those offered formally in the table of contents (pp. 59–63).

Part I is devoted to ‘the crisis of the modern world’. Chapter 1 gives a description of this crisis, emphasizing four dimensions: the crisis of the explosion of the world population and the finite space available to accommodate it; the crisis of the economic and social systems whereby man is increasingly alienated; the crisis of competing national and international forces; and the crisis of man himself, torn between independence and dependence, freedom and determinism. Chapter 2 is devoted to attempts which have been made to resolve this crisis. Sections describe solutions offered by liberal democracy, the Nazi system, and the communist system. In each case, sub-sections give accounts of the origins and development of the systems, concluding with a balancesheet of the strengths and weaknesses of those systems. The Part concludes with the assertion that removing the deficiencies of any of these systems will not bring about the complete renewal for mankind which is necessary. There remains a void between the spiritual and the political.

Part II is entitled ‘New Man, New Elites’. An introduction argues that it is not enough to propose the transformation of individuals and their behaviour. The traditional French antithesis between the State and the individual has to be surpassed by re-emphasizing a third aspect: civic society and the social groups which constitute the nation. A pedagogy for producing a new man is a prerequisite for transforming the human condition, but it is not sufficient in itself.

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Chapter 1 begins to give details of the pedagogy which is needed. It offers a section on general principles which elaborates on particular aspects in five sub-sections. It argues for the need to achieve a rhythm in life, between physical and intellectual activity, and also for the need to adapt the traditional French ‘cult of style’ to present circumstances. Hence the title of the book. Another section explores the potential of physical training and sporting activity for forming character, emphasizing the acquisition of training habits and team spirit. It suggests that the transfer of training procedures from physical to mental or intellectual activity may be conducive to developing a new man, but the next section insists that the main deficiency of contemporary society is that it has neglected, or denied, the spiritual dimension of human life. This section asks what constitutes a spiritualist civilization and, importantly, claims that it is one which recognizes the independence, both from authority and utility, of autonomous values. This is in distinction from a materialist civilization which subordinates these values to the exigencies of authority and utility, which can be interpreted as those of politics and commerce. The following section denies that the resurgence of a spiritual dimension implies the resurrection of a social elite dedicated to this task. A section focussed on ‘intellectual mastery’ claims that this implies a spiritual mastery over material conditions which is accessible to anyone in any profession. Also, it is a mastery which is not innate but has to be acquired. Education has to be changed to allow everyone to achieve mastery over ‘things’, ‘men’ or ‘ideas’. This will mean that ‘popular’ education and ‘high culture’ education will both need to be rethought in the context of an understanding of a common humanist culture. This non-elitist humanist culture will need to be diffused through various new social mechanisms. This introduces the second section of the chapter which spells out possible projects for implementing the ideas contained in the first. This is the pattern of presentation adopted in the rest of the book. This second section outlines, firstly, the application of the discussed pedagogic ideas through the development of écoles de cadres. Secondly, it proposes a project for the reform of French secondary education. This has detailed sub-and sub-sub-sections some of which are omitted because the proposals relate very closely to structural and curricular concerns peculiar to the French education system.

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Chapter 2 of Part II turns attention to the need to establish new elites. An introduction importantly tries to clarify the terminology adopted in the book in respect of ‘elites’, ‘cadres’, and ‘chiefs’. It argues that, in their usage, ‘elites’ are not synonymous with ruling classes. There are different kinds of elites and the common factor is that they all exhibit ‘excellence’ in performance in their social function. Potential elites can be found within the whole population (the masses) and given training without constituting a segregated social class. The chapter proceeds to offer detailed discussion of four categories of elites: firstly, ‘popular elites’; secondly, ‘social elites’; thirdly ‘governing elites’; and fourthly, ‘civilizing elites’. In each case the mode of presentation is the same: a definition of the category with ‘general principles’ followed by practical implementation points. In relation to ‘popular elites’, the section tries to define what might be meant by a ‘worker elite’. It contends that the encouragement of such an elite is critical in eliminating the alienation of the masses, and it argues for the establishment of centres for worker education, itemizing the kinds of tasks to be undertaken by workers in a transformed society and specifying the necessary pedagogic methods to be adopted and the necessary organization. In relation to ‘social elites’, the definition implies the need for elites of man management in a range of professions and social contexts. There are three proposed areas of implementation. One sub-section proposes that there should be a reform of the system of ‘grandes écoles’. A second calls for the establishment of an école for engineers. This is presented as an interim measure while the reform of the grandes écoles is achieved. The cultivation of engineers is emphasized because they are thought to be intermediaries between humans and technology. A third sub-section demands the overhaul of the training of teachers. Without this, the teaching reforms outlined in Chapter 1 will not be realizable. The third section considers ‘governing elites’. It begins, again, with a definition and with general principles. This sub-section examines different ways in which governing elites have been selected in the past, distinguishing between ‘plutocratic’, ‘mandarinal’, ‘totalitarian’, and ‘patrician’ solutions to selection. These are all thought to be unsatisfactory and five points are suggested which should ensure equality of access, based on merit rather than privilege, to a public service with a redefined sense of its national function. Just one project is proposed for implementation –the establishment of an école for higher civil servants which will adhere to three specified pedagogical principles. The fourth section is devoted to ‘civilizing elites’. Whereas the defining sphere of ‘governing elites’ is that of command or management, the defining sphere of ‘civilizing elites’ relates to ‘values’. The function of the State must be to provide the material conditions for the autonomous cultivation of values. This cultivation requires the enactment of four specified principles, and these generate four proposed projects, detailed in sub-sections. The first proposal is for ←46 | 47→ new universities which should function as cultural ‘foyers’. This involves distinguishing between different types of universities with different social missions. The second proposal is for the foundation of institutes designed to cultivate interdisciplinary synthesis linked to the generation of a new humanism, particularly an international institute of French civilization. The third proposal, unlike those involving reform of existing institutions, is thought to be immediately realizable. The suggestion is that a ‘Collegial Institute’ should be established which will create a style of living internally by a kind of osmosis, one which will then communicate itself externally through other institutions. One of these other institutions is that suggested in the fourth proposal –a project for the creation of ‘maisons de la culture’, that is of cultural centres which are tailor-made for different kinds of social context ranging from those to be set up in ‘cities of art’ such as Avignon to those to be set up in ‘industrial cities’ and ‘devastated regions’. What is proposed is a social reconstruction through the promotion of local cultural initiatives, sponsored by local municipalities.

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Part III discusses the institutional conditions necessary for the proposed reforms. The first chapter admits that the emphasis of the book has been on pedagogical change, but it insists that there can be no ‘new man’ without ‘new institutions’. The pedagogy of the new man must, as the title of the chapter puts it, be inserted within a revolutionary dialectic. The pedagogical proposals are inseparable from social and political revolution. The second chapter argues, firstly, that there must be new social structures to generate a ‘new man’ and, secondly, that there can be no new social structures without new economic ones. This second contention is supported by a first sub-section which gives a broad outline of the necessary economic revolution and a second sub-section which discusses the consequences of such a revolution. The guiding intention of the economic revolution should be to substitute the satisfaction of human needs for the pursuit of profit. Economic revolution should not be an end in itself but the means towards a social revolution which is the creation of a community of free men. The third chapter goes further, stating that there can be no new structures, either economic or social, without revolution. In subsections it offers a broad outline of a social revolution, emphasizing the need for a worker culture, and then details necessary changes in the relations between workers and businesses, and workers and trade unions. The third chapter moves towards a more fundamental contention. Drawing on the notion of ‘mystique’ developed by Péguy at the beginning of the century to suggest that moral initiatives tend to be corrupted when they become political, the chapter argues that the basic corrupting force in human society is ‘the reign of money’. There can be no economic and social revolution without the mystique of work, that is to say, without the celebration of the value of work independent of the acquisition of money. The first sub-section sketches the way in which the dominance of the mystique of work may be realized, and the second sub-section makes the point that the reform of proletarian consciousness entails a renewal of values in respect of work which, in turn, requires ‘a profound change in the national mentality’. Having emphasized the need for profound attitudinal change in all individuals, the final chapter of the Part turns attention to politics. A new society requires a new politics. Existing political institutions reflect and sustain economic ones. The first section argues that political activity must regain proximity to human concerns. The first sub-section suggests new forms of representation for the governed while the second argues that this requires increased central power. Regional devolution, in other words, does not entail federalism. The second chapter focuses on these same issues in a global context. Referring to the deficiencies of the League of Nations, a first sub-section considers how regional autonomy can be harmoniously retained within the context of international government. A second subsection proposes that international links should be developed ‘horizontally’ and ‘vertically’. Cross-national links should be encouraged in all spheres while, at the same time, there should be new forms of representation in relation to new international organizations. A third sub-section accepts that these suggestions depend on the development of a capacity to think internationally. While the book has been concerned, in part, to revive France’s sense of its ‘sacred mission’, the case is made here that propaganda in favour of France’s imperial power should be replaced in favour of propaganda advancing the vision of international entente.

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Part IV is entitled ‘Necessity of an order’. The first chapter –‘The revolution on the move’ –focuses on the unpreparedness of French society for the necessary changes. There had been confidence and complacency about French imperial power. The shock of military surrender in 1940 provided the conditions for revolution and a National Revolution was declared, but it was a pipe dream. German victory pushed the situation to the Right just when elements were in place for a push to the Left. The horrors of World War II gave an impetus to rethinking the future of mankind. Marx and Nietzsche, a Jew and a German, had intellectually provided essential aspects for the transformation of the world, but it was a Frenchman –Péguy –who identified the essential spiritual dimension, and the world can still look to France to reconcile materialism with spiritualism in a way which can lead to true human progress. The second chapter, with the same title as the whole Part, undertakes, in a first sub-section, an inventory of the potential instruments for immediate change. It concludes that, ‘in their present state’, churches, the army, the universities, political, economic, or social forces are not equipped for the necessary tasks. Neither political parties, either to the left or to the right, nor trade unions are fit to initiate the necessary revolution. The second sub-section, therefore, asks whether the establishment of an ‘Order’ has the potential to introduce change in ways which are not feasible for political parties. It answers in the affirmative and the third sub-section outlines the conditions for setting up an ‘Order’. An ‘Order’ is distinguished from a political party because it is dedicated to an amelioration of the human condition. It does not function in religious or political fields, but wholly through education. ‘Are these fantasies or at the very least risky expectations?’ is the final question. The conclusion remains optimistic. However useless immediate efforts might seem, they may be necessary for good future outcomes.

There are two appendices. The first is a passage taken from Aldous Huxley’s La fin et les moyens [Ends and Means] presented as ‘Orders and Communities’. The second is a compilation of extracts from Georges Bernanos, under the title: ‘The coming of Orders’.

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The translation:editorial notes


L’école de/s cadres.

At inception, the school was called the ‘école des chefs’ [chiefs] because it was supposed that it would train leaders who would service the programmes of the Chantiers de la Jeunesse movement. Dunoyer de Segonzac disliked this restriction, and this coincided with the attempt of the Secrétariat Général de la Jeunesse (SGJ) of the Vichy government to take control of all training provisions. By decree of 7 December 1940, the school was formally recognized as the Ėcole nationale des cadres de la jeunesse. This is discussed in detail in Comte, 1990, 67–68 and 101–103. Comte quotes texts of the period in which the school is variously referred to as the ‘école des cadres’ and the ‘école de cadres’. Similarly, Vers le style uses both forms. I think the difference does conceal the intended shift in purpose and scope. ‘L’école des cadres’ still has the sense that it is a school with a specific target group –youth leaders –whereas ‘L’école de cadres’ implies that it is a school which trains youth to become leaders in all walks of life.

I do not try to translate these titles, always retaining the form as it appears in the text. In general, also, I retain both ‘école’ and ‘cadres’. To translate ‘école’ as ‘school’ in this context misleadingly diminishes the institution and implies that it was for children rather than adults. The translation of ‘cadre’ and, relatedly, of ‘encadrement’ is problematic. Vers le style itself acknowledges that there is some terminological confusion –see p. 163. The word has come to be identified with leaders or business patrons (as in L. Boltanski, 1971, Les cadres), but it often simply means staff or personnel. At the same time, ‘cadre’ and ‘encadrement’ are used to refer to a natural or environmental context or frame. Vers le style has a section using ‘encadrement social’ which must signify a form of social organization or control. I sometimes retain the French and sometimes try to interpret the particular meaning in context.

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Linguistically, Vers le style refers to men, not to people or persons, and certainly not to women. This is true always of Frenchmen (Français) and male-gendered workers (ouvriers or travailleurs). There is only one time (p. 273) when the text recognizes linguistically that its project might involve women. I do not try to alter this in the translation. I mention this briefly in my editorial reflections (see p. 321).


Vers le style has a commitment to a particular pedagogical philosophy. It believes that physical and mental education are analogous processes, or, even, fundamentally the same, and that all education is about the development of character and not simply the acquisition of knowledge. This means that words which normally differentiate processes are actually thought to be interchangeable. I translate entraînement, enseignement, formation, instruction, entraîneurs, enseignants, formateurs, instructeurs as seems appropriate in context, as training, teaching, development, instruction, etc. Equally, there is the classic question of the status of ‘professeurs’, whether this designates a grade or a function. I translate these as ‘teachers’ or ‘professors’ according to context.


Throughout Vers le style, there is an obvious uncertainty about the use of tenses. Perhaps because of the extended period in which the book was written, destroyed, and resurrected, between 1943 and 1945, and the manner in which the text was reassembled clandestinely, there is often uncertainty whether what is presented has happened, is happening, should/could happen, or will happen –between description, prescription, and projection and, hence, between past, present, conditional, and future tenses. I do not try to impose uniformity.

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Other words:

I retain ‘bureau d’études’ rather than, perhaps, course office or study office.

I translate’ élite/s’ as elite/s throughout.

I retain ‘grandes écoles ‘because these designate specific institutions within the French education system.

I retain ‘foyers’ de culture and also ‘maisons de la culture’ rather than rendering these clumsily as cultural hearths or houses of culture.

I always translate ‘syndicat’/’syndical’ as ‘trade-union’.

I retain ‘mystique’ rather than rendering it as ‘mystical’ because it has a specific denotation as introduced by Péguy.

I translate ‘entreprise’ sometimes as ‘enterprise’, sometimes as ‘business’, and sometimes as ‘firm’.

I normally translate both ‘travailleur’ and ‘ouvrier’ as ‘worker’. There is a sense in which ‘travailleur’ is class-neutral whereas ‘ouvrier’ implies a ‘working-class’ worker and I sometimes recognize this by translating ‘ouvrier’ as ‘labourer’

I sometimes translate ‘métier’ as ‘trade’ and sometimes as ‘profession’. Vers le style wants to recognize the sanctity of both without distinction and in some instances I retain ‘métier’.

I retain lycée/lycéen and collēge for specifically French educational institutions/students.

I retain ‘stage’/’stagiaires’ for the courses run at Uriage and for the students on these courses.

I retain ‘baccalauréat’ and its slang abbreviations: ‘bachot’ or ‘bac’ for the specifically French educational qualification.

I retain ‘agrégation’/agrégés for the specifically French higher education qualification/students.

I retain ‘concours’ for the French nationally competitive examination.

I retain ‘khâgne’/khâgneux’, which is the word used to describe a student in one of the preparatory classes for entry to the grandes écoles.

I translate ‘conférence’ as ‘lecture’.

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I normally retain ‘veillée’, which is a late-night, ‘camp fire’ kind of social event.

I normally retain ‘décrassage’ which is a particular form of cooling-down procedure after morning physical exercise.

I retain ‘bourgeois’.

I retain ‘normalien’ for a graduate from the École Normale Supérieure.

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The translated text of Vers le style du XXe siècle

With the same publishers.

Works of the Uriage team published in the Esprit collection series ‘La vie neuve’ [the new life]:

Une expérience de formation de chefs. Le stage de six mois ā Uriage, by Gilles Ferry.

Bibliothèque de Jeunes. Un guide pour les éducateurs et chefs de jeunesse, par Lucette Massaloux, Gilbert Gadoffre, François Ducruy, Joffre Dumazedier.

The ‘Esprit Collections’ intends to explore the total crisis of the contemporary world and to uphold in it the eternally human by revealing in their freshness the first glimmers which brighten the appearance of a new man.

In this general design, the ‘Esprit Collections’ wants to provide research with the very open field without which it would not be research. They accept different dispositions and enquiries which are incomplete or even biased. They offer a meeting place for groups outside their own constituency and for independent writers: a slow convergence will spring up from the secret force of a common spirit.

Vers le style du XXe siècle. Un style français de l’homme.

Par l’équipe d’Uriage sous la direction de Gilbert Gadoffre.

Editions du Seuil.



XVIII, 326
ISBN (Book)
Publication date
2021 (May)
Oxford, Bern, Berlin, Bruxelles, New York, Wien, 2021. XVIII, 326 pp., 2 tables.

Biographical notes

Derek Robbins (Author)

Derek Robbins is Emeritus Professor of International Social Theory at the University of East London. He is the author of The Work of Pierre Bourdieu (Open University Press, 1991), Bourdieu and Culture (Sage, 2000), On Bourdieu, Education and Society (Bardwell Press, 2006) and French Post-War Social Theory: International Knowledge Transfer (Sage, 2011). He has published many articles and book chapters on the work of Bourdieu. He edited and introduced Jean-Claude Passeron’s Sociological Reasoning, (Bardwell Press, 2013). Most recently, he published Cultural Relativism and International Politics (Sage, 2014) and edited and contributed to the volume on Bourdieu in the Anthem Companions to Sociology series (Anthem Press, 2016). His The Bourdieu paradigm. The origins and evolution of an intellectual social project was published by Manchester University Press in July, 2019.


Title: Towards a new humanity