Gustave Hervé (1871–1944) at the Extremes of the French Third Republic
Chapter 20 La Victoire and Its Director During the Interwar:Plus Ça Change Plus Ça La Même Chose
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Jean-Claude Peyronnet believed that after his presumed revirement in 1911 Hervé had lost the art of seizing minor incidents for the creation of important pre-war journalistic campaigns around them.1 In her study of Hervé’s interwar national socialism, Catherine Grünblatt believed that this stale and repetitive trend continued during and after the war. The former Sans Patrie characterized his wartime method as a constant repetition to his readers of his own faith in eventual French victory. One can legitimately argue, as Grünblatt does, that “Hervé only justified pre-established options” in his articles in La Victoire during the interwar. Though he never quite lost the art of reacting spontaneously and emotionally to events, after the war his journalistic style was increasingly tied to a more and more narrow view of French problems and their solutions. In contrast to the era before 1912 and the war years, La Victoire was becoming increasingly predictable and repetitious in the interwar.2 Such a contrast is a helpful insight, but Hervé’s journalistic techniques and political ideas were always connected to events. His editorials were reactive and emotional responses to changing situations. Hervé lost established readers throughout his career precisely because he was willing to alter previous policies. If his political philosophy underwent a memorable reversal, his personality and journalistic style remained consistent. He was unable to settle into an established position or mold for long because situations changed. Even after his authoritarian views hardened into a monotonous orthodoxy during the...