Gustave Hervé (1871–1944) at the Extremes of the French Third Republic
Chapter 28 C’est Pétain qu’il nous faut!
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Despite the apparent sincerity of Hervé’s impending religious conversion, the eventual renewal of his Catholic faith seems impossible to completely separate from his ardent focus on France as the worldly embodiment of all that was made good by the Creator. At first glance his evolution in foreign affairs seems to have been in contradiction with his domestic policy, but because the fate of France was Hervé’s primary concern, the adjustment was easily made in his own mind if in few others. The transition toward a sympathetic view of the Soviet Union was largely pragmatic. It may have been easier for Hervé after 1934 because he assumed that the emergence of the “neo-socialism” of Marcel Déat and “national communism” of Jacques Doriot entailed missions which would lead workers to national socialism. Déat was considered sympathetic to national socialism despite his lack of Christianity, his faith in democracy, and his failure to see the need for a single leader. Still, Hervé’s long-standing suspicion of the S.F.I.O. initially made it more difficult for him to accept an evolution arising from it.1 The transformations of Jacques Doriot and Déat were parallel to that of Hervé in some respects. Doriot’s persistent sense of failure and rejection in the P.C.F. coupled with his activist mentality enable one to say that he and Hervé shared certain common characteristics. Déat’s idealistic attack on Marxist routine and dogmatism also paralleled a similar strain found in the former Sans Patrie....