Gustave Hervé (1871–1944) at the Extremes of the French Third Republic
Chapter 3 “Un Commis Voyageur Du Socialisme”
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Hervé’s 1901 article “The Anniversary of Wagram” made him notorious as “le homme du drapeau dans le fumier”. This sudden fame created a national exposure and opened many new avenues, but it cost him a position at the Lycée of Sens. After losing his chance to become a professor, Hervé seems to have fleetingly pondered using his recent notoriety as a stepping stone to Paris. If he never relinquished his Parisian contacts, one of his immediate goals was “to create a popular socialist and antimilitarist movement in Yonne which would be controlled by activists within the department.”2 Obviously aware of the excitement he had generated, he may not yet have known exactly what to do with it.3 It soon became clear that actions in Yonne could be imitated throughout France. In his 1912 collection of his most provocative articles and testimony, Mes Crimes, Hervé glossed over whatever anger or disappointment he may have felt in late 1901. “Not embittered by the severe measure—at the least disproportionate to the crime—which, at thirty years of age, threw me out on the street without a penny and with my painfully acquired diplomas having become suddenly useless, I limited my vengeance by traveling one by one to the four hundred communes of the department in order to spread the pacifist and socialist views of Le Pioupiou de l’Yonne to all our republican peasants …”4 ← 99 | 100 →
He might have been relieved in losing his...
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