Gustave Hervé (1871–1944) at the Extremes of the French Third Republic
Chapter 26 Gustave Hervé and Anti-Semitism
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Political reality is seldom as simple, clear, or consistent as the labels employed to describe it. Generally, Hervé’s contemporaries considered him to be a philo-Semite rather than an anti-Semite. That is the position of his biographer, Gilles Heuré,1 a view which has been upheld in a recent study of Hervé’s national socialism by the Dutch scholar Daniel Knegt.2 Throughout most of his career Hervé vociferously assailed anti-Semitism wherever he found it.3 However, his pre-war and interwar editorials as well as articles by other writers on La Guerre Sociale occasionally included anti-Semitic allusions, and there is evidence of blatantly anti-Semitic contingents close to La Victoire in the 1930s. Hervé’s pre-war lapses into anti-Semitic tones sometimes have been considered premonitions of his later “fascism.” Ironically, his pre-war enemies often accused him of having sold out to Jewish money and interests, a charge that was repeated by L’Action Française during the interwar. It is even more ironic that some of Hervé’s other rivals on the extreme French Right during the interwar may have employed “dirty tricks” to try to taint the former Sans Patrie with anti-Semitism so that he might lose what little support he still had around 1935.4
A number of authors have associated Hervé, La Guerre Sociale, and La Victoire with anti-Semitism. Paul Mazgaj, Zeev Sternhell, Richard Millman, and Pierre Birnbaum have not been reticent in stressing such associations. Mazgaj ← 751 | 752 → emphasized how La Guerre Sociale assailed Jaurès...
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