France in the 1930’s Part III

France in the 1930’s Part III

According to, the extreme gravity of the internal financial and political situation, and the fears it aroused, once again provoked the “truce of the parties” and the “sacred union” of the whole nation. In the new cabinet, chaired by R. Poincaré, came (with the exception of the socialists) authoritative representatives of all parties. And in the elections of April 1928, which were made by district ballot (see france, XV, p. 909), according to the law of 21 July 1927, the nation showed its consent to the work of R. Poincaré. Which, however, appeared to some at the time complete; and the truce is now unjustified. Thus the socialist radicals, in their congress of Angers (November 1928) forced the ministers Herriot, Sarraut, Queuille and Perrier to withdraw. But Poincaré reassembled the ministry without the radicals. For three years France had a stable and solid government, which was able to implement, with unity of direction and methods, a constant policy at home and abroad. Budget and currency were provided; other laws implemented a conversion and voluntary consolidation of the floating debt, creating an autonomous amortization fund. In addition, the state administration, the army, the navy and the air force, with the creation of the Ministry of the Air. Other laws provided for the economic life of the nation.

Briand continued to direct foreign policy, who continued in his work aimed at guaranteeing France the constantly invoked security and economic advantages offered to it by the Treaty of Versailles, obtaining, as far as possible, the full implementation of this; and failing that, by endeavoring to at least provide security through treaties of covenant or friendship and the League of Nations. The result of this intense diplomatic activity was the friendship treaty with Yugoslavia of 11 November 1927, which ended the solidarity between France and the Little Entente, and the general pact of renunciation of war (Briand-Kellogg pact) solemnly signed in Paris on August 27, 1928. And there were also signs of a certain improvement in relations with Germany with the suppression of the inter-allied military control commission, starting from January 31, 1927 and with the collective declaration (Belgium, France, Germany, Japan, Great Britain, Italy) of the September 16, 1928 on the opening of official negotiations on the request formulated by Germany for the early eviction of the Rhineland. Relations with the ancient allies were also the subject of assiduous care: to report the visit of President Doumergue to the King of England (16-19 May 1927), the negotiations started with Italy in view of a lasting improvement of relations, as well as the treaties of friendship and arbitration with Persia (10 May 1929) and with Spain (10 July 1929), while with the Angora agreements (22 and 29 June 1929) the issues with Turkey relating to Syria were resolved. In international economic relations, the Young plan (June 7, 1929) for German reparations, if it ended up with Germany granting much less to France than hoped for, nevertheless had the advantage of solving in the French sense the big problem of inter-allied debts., now linked, in essence, to the German reparations. Only relations with Russia remained difficult because of the issues of French property in Russia and credits, and because of the increasingly widespread and heated Communist propaganda. Poincaré could therefore on the whole feel satisfied when he retired, for health reasons, on July 26, 1929.

When the room was reopened, the Briand ministry, after the Poincaré one, was immediately overthrown, not only by the left; the radical Daladier did not obtain the collaboration of the socialists and he returned to a coalition cabinet, with Tardieu, who kept Briand as the director of foreign policy, who, on September 5, had announced to the League of Nations his plan for union, federation and European collaboration. And there was the new Hague conference for reparations (January 3-21, 1930) with the definitive acceptance of the Young plan by Germany; the naval conference in London (January 21-April 22), where the French proposal for a security pact for the Mediterranean in the cases contemplated by art. 16 of the fundamental covenant of the League of Nations, was coldly received by the England, while the French demands relating to global tonnage and the refusal to admit parity with Italy meant that these questions remained pending; the friendship pact with Turkey (February 3). The Rhineland was cleared by June; but the nationalist demonstrations in Germany provoked new apprehensions in France and government declarations (13 November) on the need to protect security. Briand, however, persisted in his policy; and already on 17 May he communicated a project, to be used as a basis for discussion, for a “regime of European federal union”.

The major public works project for the outillage national was resumed; the law of 30 April 1930 completed the social insurance system, but its application met with resistance. Furthermore, a new dark period in domestic politics was about to open. The Keeper of Seals Raoul Péret, who had been consultant to the banker Oustric, author of scandalous speculations, had to resign; the government accepted the appointment of a commission of inquiry into the intrusions of politicians and speculations dangerous for the national economy, but fell to the senate.

France in the 1930's 3