Jon T. Hall

Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Freedeman, Charles Eldon, 1926-||Evans, Emory G.

Degree Name

M.A. (Master of Arts)

Legacy Department

Department of History


Blum; Leon; 1872-1950; Parti socialiste; France--Politics and government--1870-1940


This paper has two purposes. The first is to show Leon Blum’s influence oaths Socialist Party's evolution and policies from 1929 to 1936, with special emphasis on the last three years during which he helped to form the Popular Front coalition. Still another focal point is Blum's underlying motivation and his philisophy of life as they relate to the principal national and international crises from 1929 to 1936. Both purposes are interrelated and can be separated only at the expense of historical understanding. I have included some material on the principal moral and intellectual influences on Blum during his early years with special emphasis on Jean Jaures and Lucien Herr. Herr introduced Blum to academic socialism while Him was in college and also introduced his to Juares, the leading French Socialist before World War 1. After Jaure's assassination in 1914, which left a power vacuum in the Socialist Party, and the split in the party at the Tours Congress in 1920, Blum took one faction of the party and rebuilt it into a workable political force, while holding dissident Communists at bay during the 1920's. During the early 1930's the important problems France faced were basically economic in nature, though each had significant political overtones. the role of the Banque of France and the depression, with its resulting unemployment, were foremost among them. Blum was usually at odds with the existing governments on the correct procedures to use in dealing with these problems. Other important problems also appeared during the aid-1930's in addition to the economic ones: the problem of national defense against the Nazis the increasing power of right-wing groups as exemplified by the Stavisky scandal, and the impact of trade unionism on national affairs were among them. Blum's attitude toward these problems and also the impact of the hardships of the early 1930's helped pave the way for his Popular Front coalition in 1936. The strengths and weaknesses of the Popular Front in power, and, in general, the political and military weaknesses of France prior to World War II are mirrored in the years 1933 to 1936.


Includes bibliographical references.


48 pages




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