Gustave Hervé (1871–1944) at the Extremes of the French Third Republic
Chapter 17 The Postwar Crisis in France
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At the end of World War I, Hervé considered himself to be a patriotic Republican in favor of a coalition of all the parties which had upheld the Sacrée Union. Former anticlericals were told to accept a religious peace in order to preserve wartime fraternity.1 La Victoire wanted a Bloc National made up of all parties except those at the political extremes. For Hervé, victory in World War I proved the strength of the Republic. Yet he called both the monarchists at L’Action Française and the Bolsheviks “brothers” despite their mutual hatred. Even though he described the Royalists and Communists as sincere idealists, they were in error. France needed neither a king nor a revolution to improve it. Despite his bow to the Republic, he hoped for a modification of republican institutions so that it would take on aspects of the American Republic which he characterized as a “near dictatorship” under the American President. His hopes for a great national reconstitution of France included a continuation of the Union Sacrée and the Republic, but his expectations would soon evolve toward a revision of the French government in a consciously neo-Bonapartist direction.2 It was not so much a fear of the Left that led to this call for a revision; rather, it was his fear of disorder, disunity, and division which Hervé believed characterized the parliamentary system that led him to demand a system that could prevent chaos. His evolution “toward” fascism during the interwar...
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