Gustave Hervé (1871–1944) at the Extremes of the French Third Republic
Chapter 7 The Midi Crisis, the Socialist Congresses at Nancy and Stuttgart and the First Campaigns
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In early 1907 the nationalist L’Echo de Paris ran a series of articles documenting the spread of antimilitarism in the army. The paper’s correspondent Georges Doutremont complained that it was necessary for newspapers to insert a new, lamentable rubric on antimilitarism due to increasing evidence of antimilitaristic attitudes and activities in recent years. The author attributed the problem to various anarchist and socialist writers as well as humanitarian politicians who incited verbal and physical attacks against officers, NCOs, and even the flag. “Now it has become a gangrene which threatens the entire army. It is now mandatory to quickly apply a red-hot iron if we wish have a France in the future.” The author even reported on a supposedly Hervéist officer who insulted the flag without any serious consequences to him.1 Other newspapers including the nationalist L’Éclair, the moderate Le Journal, and the mass daily Le Petit Parisien appeared to cover any incident of military indiscipline that they could find. Instead of casting any blame on the army, Doutremont called for more arrests, insisting that Jaurès and Hervé “held the government under their yoke.”2 Given such press coverage and growing police obsession, one could argue that by 1907 Gustave Hervé’s provocative ideas seemed to be reverberating throughout France and even affected the rest of Europe. Antimilitarism and Hervéism were familiar subjects in the Clemenceau ministry’s circulars and instructions. Hervé and his followers were major contributors to important national and international socialist...
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