Scholars of Third Republic France have long assumed that the political spectrum was divided into a readily identifiable Right and Left, adhering to mutually exclusive positions. But this comfortable political taxonomy could, at times, to violence to political reality. The Right could at some periods in the history of the Third Republic be aggressively nationalistic; at other times it could be positively irenic. The Left was often pacifist, but not always and there were moments when it, or some fraction of it, could be quite bellicose. Neither anti-Semitism nor racism in general were the exclusive province of the Right. On critical issues, the Left could be more refractory to women's rights than was the Right. French fascism claimed to be neither right nor left and at least some French fascist movements could list as many former members of the Left among its leaders as former members of the Right.
William D. Irvine
Robert O. Paxton
Gérard Noiriel, Les Origines républicaines de Vichy (Paris: Hachette Littératures, 1999).
Beginning in the 1980s, several historians began to challenge the view that fascism was a marginal phenomenon in interwar France, a view dubbed "the immunity thesis" by one of its critics. Surveying a range of works on far-Right intellectuals and movements during the 1920s and 1930s, this article suggests that "the immunity thesis" has been increasingly challenged by a variety of historians since the mid-1990s. However, a consensus on the issue has not emerged, as a number of historians stress the need to differentiate between fascism and other forms of right-wing nationalism in the French context. At the same time, there are signs that scholars are beginning to move beyond questions of categorization and address other themes relating to the inter-war Right. These new agendas have the potential to broaden our understanding of the late Third Republic in general.
Conservative French nationalists had successfully labeled antimilitarism as antinationalist in the two decades preceding World War I. Because some of the more vocal antimilitarists were also involved in anarchist and radical Marxist organizations, historians largely have accepted this antinationalist label while also arguing that French nationalism had lost its connections to the French Revolution and become a more extremist, protofascist movement. A closer look at mainstream antimilitarist arguments, however, reveals the continued existence of the republican nationalism that had dominated the nineteenth century and shows that antimilitarists did not reject their nation. Instead, antimilitarists sought to protect the Republic, which they saw as synonymous with the nation, against an increasingly conservative, anti-Republic military and conservative nationalists, whom antimilitarists saw as a danger to a republican France.
blend of femininity, accomplishment, and independence. Along with other recent works cited below, it offers another example of the varied ways that women in Third Republic France engaged with public debates about women and gender. Barine's contradictory
Public Education and Settler Identity in the Early Third Republic
On 10 May 1881, Ferdinand-Philippe Belin, France’s superintendent of public education in Algeria, wrote to the minister of public instruction and future prime minister of the Third Republic, Jules Ferry, to express his anxiety over an issue that
Southern Wine Producers Respond to Competition from the Algerian Wine Industry in the Early Third Republic
directed their attention to foreign competitors—namely Spanish and Italian growers—who now constituted a direct threat to the recovery of the southern wine industry. 26 In the early 1890s, French winemakers pushed the Third Republic to aid the recuperating
Elizabeth C. Macknight
separation of church and state. 2 Although politically turbulent, the Third Republic seemed destined to last. Within this context, French Catholics did not espouse the premise that nothing could be done. Pope Leo XIII’s directive for ralliement to the
Exile and Injustice in the French Empire, 1866–1876
gain an understanding of the workings of the French colonial bureaucracy as it was struggling to professionalize at the end of the Second Empire and the dawn of the Third Republic, 4 and we are reminded of the limitations in intercontinental
West African University Students between Metropolitan France and Dakar
For the political and administrative elite of the Third Republic it remained virtually axiomatic that higher education was not meant for Black Africans. According to one official tabulation, nineteen students from French West Africa (AOF) were