Gustave Hervé (1871–1944) at the Extremes of the French Third Republic
Chapter 13 Les Jeunes Gardes Révolutionnaires (J.G.R.) and Le Service de Sûreté Révolutionnaire (S.S.R.)
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It is hard to dismiss Hervé’s own assessment that the railway strike of 1910 was a critical turning point in his retournement and gradual backing away from Insurrectionalism. In 1935 he told Breton journalist Charles Chassé that his political disenchantment could be associated with the “painful feeling” churning in him upon hearing the trains running again while he was in his cell at La Santé in mid-October 1910. In fact, there were other indications that Hervé was increasingly troubled even before the railway strike. Socialist rejection of his ideas was ongoing, and increasingly he experienced the limits of his influence even within the centers of his support. Increasing jealousy and hostility by anarchists and syndicalists also seemed to demonstrate that the Hervéist goal of revolutionary unity was unfeasible. Despite some occasional evidence to the contrary, the German Social Democrats showed no signs of being ready, much less eager, to oppose a mobilization order with a military strike and insurrection. There was little evidence for the existence of an international Hervéism. If all this were true, what could explain the plethora of insurrection formations and activities from 1910 to 1912 which made that era the very peak of Hervéist insurrectional display?
The weak response to Hervé’s ideas of militarisme révolutionnaire in early 1911 did not initially cause Hervé to curtail his expressions of hope in the possibility of revolution. If he had lost faith in the revolutionary leadership of established...
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