France 1914-1918
Domestic Policy
France 1929-1939
Domestic Policy
France 1918-1929
the Economy

France 1918-1929 : Domestic Policy

Because of the victorious end of the war, France had seen less of a threat of a revolution than the countries further east. Alsace Lorraine was peacefully reintegrated.

Unlike in many countries of continental Europe, France's political constitution before and after the war did not differ very much. Universal manhood suffrage had been introduced in 1848; despite the massive involvement of women in the war economy, women would not be given the right to vote until 1944. In 1919 the 8 HOUR WORKDAY was introduced.

In 1919 the Socialist Party (SFIO) had declared herself against the Bolzhevik Revolution and in favour of multiparty democracy.The Communist Party (PCF) was founded in 1920. The RADICAL PARTY was the third party of the left; it was traditionally anticlerical. The REPUBLICAN PARTY was rather conservative.

Governments and majorities changed very frequently in the early 1920es; only when RAYMOND POINCARE became prime minister in 1926, did stability set in, a stability to which the foreign policy of ARISTIDE BRIAND (French withdrawal from the Rhineland, 1925-1930) and Poincare's DEVALUATION OF THE FRANC (1928) contributed.
If the French economy was doing relatively well, there still was significant dissatisfaction - general dissatisfaction in France with the German REPARATIONS, by far not matching French expectations, dissatisfaction on the political left with reform legislation not going far enough, dissatis- faction on the side of those who had invested in war bonds, and, by the devaluation of the Franc, found themselves being 'robbed' of 80 % of their investments (it was of little comfort to them that those who had invested in German, Austro-Hungarian, Russian war bonds had lost everything)..

Biography of Raymond Poincare, from The World at War
Biography of Edouard Herriot, from The World at War
Biography of Aristide Briand, from Nobel e-Museum, The World at War
REFERENCE Roger Price, A Concise History of France, Cambridge Concise Histories, 1993, pp.218-231
W. Scott Haine, The History of France, Greenwood Histories of Modern Nations, 2000, pp.142-159
Philippe Bernard and Henri Dubief, The Decline of the Third Republic 1914-1938, (Fr. Or. 1975, Eng. Trsl. 1985) Cambridge UP 1993, KMLA Lib. Call Sign 944.0814 B518d
Article : France, in : Statesman's Yearbook 1919 pp.811-846, 1924 pp.854-885, 1925 pp.866-897, 1926 pp.839-870, 1928 pp.853-884, 1929 pp.841-872 [G]
Article : France, in : Americana Annual 1927 pp.356-363, 1928 pp.316-322 [G]
Article : France, in : New International Year Book 1919 pp.253-271, 1920 pp.241-259, 1921 pp.242-259, 1923 pp.254-265, 1925 pp.252-259, 1928 pp.270-276 [G]
Stephen Graham, Europe - Whither Bound ? Being Letters of Travel from the Capitals of Europe in the Year 1921 (Toronto 1922), chapter XVII : Paris, posted online by Gutenberg Library Online

This page is part of World History at KMLA
First posted in 2001, last revised on October 17th 2007

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