Gustave Hervé (1871–1944) at the Extremes of the French Third Republic
Chapter 16 La Grande Guerre: Gustave Hervé and the Origins of a French National Socialism
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After returning to Paris from the meeting of the International Socialist Bureau in Brussels on the evening of July 30, Jaurès led a delegation, which did not include Hervé, to the Quai d’Orsay to state the socialist point of view and to warn the government about provocative actions. He soon heard from Prime Minister René Viviani that France intended to avoid provocations by manning the frontier at a distance of ten kilometers. As he left the meeting, Jaurès murmured to A. Bedouce, the Deputy from the Haute-Garonne, that he would do exactly what the government was doing were he in its place.1 One wonders what Jean Jaurès and Gustave Hervé might have thought if they could have read Foreign Affairs official Abel Ferry’s diary at the start of the war, comparing former Foreign Minister Théophilé Delcassé to a spider whose vast web had finally drawn in the insatiable and fearsome German fly, as he always knew it would. Even though Jaurès had just guaranteed the purity of French intentions at Brussels, on the afternoon of July 31 he met with Minister of the Interior Jean-Louis Malvy and then came to Ferry’s office at the Quai d’Orsay with a socialist delegation (while Viviani was meeting with the German ambassador) several hours before his assassination, threatening to write a new J’accuse article for August 1 denouncing the government for letting itself be dragged into war by the Russians. Ferry believed that such an article...
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