The French politician Leon Blum was distinguished by a combination of French patriotism with sympathy for the theory of Zionism. Occasional antisemitic moods in modern society make us recall this former French prime minister.
Andre Leon Blum, brief biography
The birthplace of this future major leader of the labor movement is Paris. Date of birth - 9.04.1872. Date of death - 30.03.1950.
His father was a wealthy Alsatian merchant, a manufacturer of silk ribbons.
Blum studied Leon first at the lyceums of Henry the Fourth and Charlemagne, then graduated from the High Normal School and the University of Paris, where he studied law. He studied perfectly.
The Dreyfus affair prompted him to engage in political activities.
Since 1902, he became a member of the Socialist Party.
In 1919, the Parisians elected him to the National Assembly.
During the same period, he tried to exert a certain influence on French diplomacy with the aim of organizing a Jewish national structure in the territory of Palestine.
In early 1920, Blum Leon condemned the October Revolution and the dictatorship of the proletariat. Soon, from the proponents of the revolution in Russia, the French Communist Party was formed, to which "L'Humanite" joined.
Blum's supporters, who were in the minority, organized themselves into the modern French Socialist Party.
As a Marxist, Blum Leon did not want to be part of the "bourgeois" governments.
He sympathized with Zionism, and when Chaim Weizmann invited him to the Jewish Agency, he joined it in 1929.
Since 1936 Blum Leon entered the left coalition, from which a little later emerged the anti-fascist Popular Front, which received the majority of votes in the next elections.
As prime minister
04.06.1936 Leon Blum, whose biography developed quite successfully over this period, assumed the post of Prime Minister of France.
The government cabinet headed by him adopted several laws of a social nature. A 40-hour workweek was finally approved, a mechanism of paid leave for the worker was introduced. The Arabs in Algeria received equal rights with the French. The nationalization of the Bank of France and the military industry was carried out.
The prospective program on social reforms adopted by the Blum government provoked a protest in the industrial circles, which refused to cooperate with the Cabinet.
Along with this, the intra-coalition contradictions were aggravated over the promotion of the Spanish Republicans in their confrontation with the fascist regime. The Prime Minister proposed a policy of non-intervention, which was regarded by critics as a concession to fascism.
On 21.06.1937 the prime minister submitted a petition for resignation. This happened after the parliamentarians rejected the proposal to introduce a law that would give the Cabinet of Ministers extraordinary powers that would allow carrying out tough measures in the sphere of finance.
The pre-war period and the occupation of France
After the transformation of the Popular Front Government, Leon Blum, a politician with great practical experience, was appointed deputy prime minister and held it from 29.06.1937 until 18.01.1938.
Since 13.03. On 10.04.1938 he was the Minister of Finance.
After the occupation of France in 1940, Blum did not leave the country. During the convocation of the National Assembly in Vichy, he among the 80 voters opposed the granting of power to Peten dictator.
The government of Vichy Blum was found guilty at the beginning of the war, in connection with which he was brought to trial.
In September 1940 he was arrested, and in 1942 he, together with other politicians from the Third Republic, was brought to trial. This demonstration process, called the "Riomsky", was aimed at "establishing and condemning those responsible for the defeat of France."
In 1943, Pierre Laval gave the order to deport Blum to Germany, where he was placed in the concentration camp of Buchenwald. Only thanks to the occasion he remained there alive.
His brother Rene Blum was much less fortunate, he went to Auschwitz and died there.
In the spring of 1945 Leon Blum was released from the concentration camp by the Americans.
After returning to France, Blum became a member of the provisional government of de Gaulle. He participated in negotiations with the Americans on the issue of large loans to France.
In the period from 16.12.1946 to 22.01.1947 Blum served as chairman of the Provisional Government.
In 1947, the UN General Assembly considered the future of Eretz Yisrael. Blum spent a lot of effort to the French government decided to vote for a resolution, which provided for the partition of Palestine to create on its territory a Jewish state formation.
In 1948, Leon Blum, whose photo could be found in many newspapers, headed the French delegation to the UN. From 28.07 to 05.09.1948 he was vice-premier.
03/30/1950 Blum died in the town of Jui-en-Jos (Department of Yvelines).
Study of the biography of Blum
The biography of Blum was studied in detail by Pierre Birnbaum, Professor of the Sorbonne, who is a specialist in the history of Jews in France.
Two goals were pursued. The author tried to find out what is the significance of the personality of Leon Blum for the history of France. Along with this Birnbaum showed that the most important factor in the formation of the political worldview of Blum was Jewishness.
Dreyfus had a tremendous influence on Blum's views. He had a conviction for life that a politician must eliminate injustice in relation to a particular person, and only then think about how to eliminate social injustice as a whole.
According to Birnbaum, Blum's rapid political career was the result of his outstanding intellectual abilities, which were successfully combined with the left-wing views gaining strength in society.
Actively speaking in support of Dreyfus in the press, Blum managed to make a name for himself. After that, he joined the socialist movement, standing next to the leader of the socialists, Jean Zhores. He managed to become a leading theoretician of Marxist ideology.
Blum and Zhores believed that the individual right of the individual can be maximally protected only under socialism. In their opinion, the poorest strata of the population, who have emerged from the gravest need in the conditions of the socialist system, will be able to participate actively in the processes of governing the state.
Once in the ranks of parliamentarians, Blum managed to prove himself not at all like an orthodox Marxist. He did not welcome the emerging Soviet regime. In early 1920, he in his articles noted the disastrous consequences of the Bolsheviks' conquest of power.
He sharply criticized the use of mass terror not as a measure to protect public security, but as the main instrument of public administration.
By the thirties, the French Social Democrats had lost their popularity, and the Communist Party, on the contrary, had considerably strengthened its positions. At the same time, there was a significant increase in extreme right-wing sentiment.
To avoid the threat from the right forces, Blum had to overcome the existing antipathy towards the Communists.
The chair of the prime minister managed to occupy him only after the socialists and communists managed to unite in a structure called the "Popular Front".