France in the 1930’s Part X

France in the 1930’s Part X

But the PAESC’s confidence was shaken, and if the request was accepted by the chamber (June 16: 346 votes, against 247), it was then rejected by the Senate (June 19: 188 votes against 72); The Blum cabinet resigned (20-21 June), and the succession was taken over by the radical C. Chautemps (L. Blum as vice-presidency, Y. Delbos for foreign affairs). The left block remained al qotere, but with the fall of L. Blum, the socialist experience in parliamentary capacity. C. Chautemps and the new finance minister G. Bonnet obtained full powers, but with the commitment not to resort to the control of exchange rates. A new devaluation was carried out, adopting the so-called franc flottant which, through fluctuations and jolts, fell to a value of 10 cents compared to the pre-war franc. The financial situation improved, but by virtue of technical measures and contingent remedies, rather than radical and profound provisions.

In foreign policy, Y. Delbos did not change his directives too sensitively; if ever it accentuated ties with Great Britain. On April 24, a Franco-British declaration had established the extinction of the ties that linked Belgium to France and England, while confirming the promise of the two powers to assist Belgium should it be attacked. Relations with Germany also underwent a detente: on the political ground, through the exchange of assurances about the integrity of the Spanish territory (11 January 1937), on the commercial ground, as a result of H. Schacht’s visit to Paris (27 May).

Franco-British collaboration was able to manifest itself several times and in the face of various problems: the Montreux convention (May 8) for the abolition of the Egyptian capitulations; Franco-English agreement for the capitulations in Morocco and Zanzibar (29 July); Nyon conference.

Towards the end of the year, the visits of Chautemps and Delbos to London (November 29-30) confirmed the harmony that existed between the two countries, but they did not have – nor could they have – the importance that journalistic opinion in France, tried to attribute it.

According to, the renewal (October 13, 1937) of the Franco-Yugoslav treaty, stipulated on November 11, 1927, while demonstrating that in a decade the conditions from which the agreement between the two states had arisen had not been exhausted, nevertheless could not eliminate the impression of a significant change in the mutual position of the contracting parties, especially due to the new possibilities offered to Yugoslavia by friendly relations with Italy and Germany. Shortly after (4-17 December) Y. Delbos made a trip to Central-Eastern Europe (Warsaw, Bucharest, Belgrade, Prague): the first three visits were not very fruitful, despite the expressions of official cordiality; better diplomatic success in Prague.

In the colonial sector, the greatest difficulties came from North Africa, in the form of very serious, sometimes even bloody, manifestations of Tunisian (neo Dexturian), Algerian, Moroccan nationalism. The measures of the French government culminated in the creation (2 October) of a North African coordination body with the task of carrying out, in parallel, a policy of strength and prestige and a program of moral and economic improvement of those regions.

In the autumn the cantonal elections (10-17 October 1937) marked a success for the radicals and therefore a centrist retreat of the country (Popular Front: 864 seats; Center and Right: 661 seats), despite the clever Communist propaganda (80 thousand members to the party in 1935, 400,000 at the end of 1936) which also relied on patriotic sentiments and did not spare appeals to Catholic workers. Moreover, the awakening of the Catholic forces in France and their desire to compete au redressement social (speech by Cardinal Liénart at the Catholic congress in Lille, 1937) is noteworthy ; impressive events paid to the papal legate card. Pacelli during the religious ceremonies of Lisieux (July 1937).

A new ministry, also chaired by C. Chautemps, but with E. Daladier as vice-presidency and national defense, accentuated the radical direction of the government (January 19-March 11, 1938). By now the socialists remained in power not to do constructive work, but to control the radical ministers and force them not to liquidate the social laws of the Blum cabinet. However, just on the eve of the Austrian crisis, the social-communist parliamentary groups denied their trust in the Chautemps ministry. Thus, at the time when Germany proclaimed the annexation of Austria, France was without a government. The new ministry (chaired by L. Blum, with Paul-Boncour for Foreign Affairs), fourth of the popular front, one hundred and fourth of the Third Republic, lasted the Espace d’un matin (March 14-April 8, 1938). Having rejected the solution of a government d ‘ union sacrée, É. Daladier took on the task of directing the fate of the country (April 10). The new formation (with G. Bonnet at the Foreigners) turned out to be more compact and susceptible of longer life. After further slippage, the franc was stabilized at a lower level (about 8 cents pre-war). Inside, the social unrest experienced a halt. The intimacy of Franco-British relations obtained a new confirmation with the visit of the English sovereigns to Paris (July 19, 1938).

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