Just Who Was Gaston Bergery?

in Historical Reflections/Réflexions Historiques
Author:
Yves Pourcher

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This article retraces the career of an important political figure from the interwar period in France who oscillated between Left and Right and ended up as a lackey to the Vichy regime. After reviewing the principal work pertaining to Bergery, this article emphasizes his ambiguity and complexity. A bourgeois, a left-wing elected official, the director of a newspaper, advocating a political current opposing communism and fascism even as he pursued an active life as a social butterfly, Bergery disrupts classical political categories. To try to get a grip on him, several archives are revisited: his officer's and ambassador's dossiers, the documents of his trial. A search for eyewitnesses is conducted. All the information gathered underlines the paradoxes and contradictions of an individual. Gaston Bergery's case proves to be a fascinating entry point by which to re-read an era and a milieu.

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