Gustave Hervé (1871–1944) at the Extremes of the French Third Republic
Chapter 14 La Rectification du Tir and Le Nouvel Hervéisme
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The sensational exposés and antics in the summer of 1911 by the Service de Sûreté Révolutionnaire were the journalistic and commercial peaks of Hervéist insurrectionalism. Yet leftist reactions to the most extreme activities of Hervéism actually accelerated the Editor in Chief of La Guerre Sociale in an opposite direction as he formally stated his new tactics of the “disarmament of hatreds” in October 1911.1 Peyronnet believed that Hervé’s rectification occurred because he felt that the danger of war was becoming greater. The Second Moroccan Crisis was supposedly crucial to Hervé’s evolution toward a Bloc of the entire Left to prevent war.2 Such an analysis has merit, but it contradicts Hervé’s immediate explanations. For sometime after the Second Moroccan Crisis, Hervé claimed that the danger of war had decreased markedly. A more complete explanation of his legendary shift connects it to internal conditions on the French Left. Repeated failures to create a revolutionary concentration coupled with the rejection of Hervé’s most extreme ideas and most sensational groups in 1911 pushed Hervé to seek a union of the entire Left to meet a “continuing” threat of war as well as an emerging nationalist and Caesarian challenge from the French Right, which itself had at least as many internal explanations as external ones. Unless Hervé’s arguments about militarism révolutionnaire and le désarmement des haines were cynical propaganda from the very beginning, designed to gradually move his militant friends...