Gustave Hervé (1871–1944) at the Extremes of the French Third Republic
Chapter 31 Hervé, World War II, and Vichy
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With war imminent Hervé’s thoughts about a new Bonapartist wave and a revision of the French Constitution under Pétain gradually faded. He certainly continued to deplore the French Right’s division, lack of courage, and ineptitude. If fears for French decadence and hopes for a République Autoritaire were never forgotten, they were increasingly dormant, because it was obviously time for a new Union Sacrée and another program for the désarmement des haines. The situation was so grave that the focus had to be, once again: la patrie en danger. There was no room for defeatism at La Victoire. Before the Nazi-Soviet Pact, Hervé had placed much hope in Communist forces at home and in Russia to stop the unhinged Nazi leader. Once Hitler and Stalin had reached an accord, Hervé was mortified (rather than relieved like Colonel de La Rocque),1 but he cautioned those who wanted to declare war on the U.S.S.R. at a time when Nazi Germany might welcome a full military alliance with the Russians. His immediate reaction to the Pact was an expression of confidence in the patriotism of the French Communists. When the P.C.F. soon showed signs of antipatriotism, he was quick to castigate them. But he quickly dismissed talk of Communist defeatism as mere rumors which could only hurt French morale. The eventual P.C.F. alignment behind Moscow led Hervé to claim that “this is the first time since the birth of modern France that a workers’ and...
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