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Problems In France Essay

1659 words - 7 pages

There was no clear solution to the economic problems plaguing the country. Economic instability led extreme right-wing groups to focus on the financial incompetence and economic issues plaguing the country. A major political scandal occurred in 1934 following the death of embezzler Alexandre Stavisky. He was accused of issuing fraudulent bonds from a bank in Bayonne that had been controlled by Radicial politicians. The politicians were said to have made enormous profits at the expense of ordinary citizens. Stavisky was found dead under questionable circumstances and the Radical politicians believed he was killed by Jewish ‘friends’ in order to prevent their alleged ‘profiteering’. This fueled the misconception that Jews were ruling and running France (Conklin, p. 185). The fact that Stavisky was Jewish contributed to the animus the right-wing had toward this scandal. The right-wing launched a staunch campaign of demonstrations focused on anti-Semitism, xenophobia and anti-government, particularly against the parliament. Radical Prime Minister Chautemps was forced to resign after serving two months in office, which set a dangerous precedent by giving way to pressure from demonstrators. This triggered massive riots on the streets of Paris on February 6, 1934. Mass demonstrations converged on the Chamber of Deputies while Communists took to the streets to “protest against the regime of profit and scandal” in the name of workers everywhere. The riots were instigated by Action Française with the intent of overthrowing the government and forcibly removing the parliament. As violence became the centerpiece of the riots, groups on both sides of the factions brutally fought against one another. When the riots ended, over 1500 people were injured with fifteen dead including one police officer. The goal of getting inside the chamber had failed in part the long history of parliamentary procedure and to the people’s attachment to strong institutions. The riots also helped the Popular Front emerge stronger as they were able to forge the leadership into a coalition between Communists and Socialists and eventually the Radicals.
The government response to the war’s impact on France did not change the political and social order. It only exaggerated the tensions that did not appear during the Belle Époque. The politics of the 1920’s attempted to stabilize the bourgeois social order. The restoration did not bring about all the changes needed because France was still suffering from economic devastation and growing problems abroad affecting the nation’s security. The sense of security was at the heart of everyone within the country. No one wanted tension with the Germans, much less a war with the growing Fascist movements sweeping the European continent. French security was tested once again as it did not have the backing of the United States and Britain for protection against invasion as outlined in the terms of the Versailles Treaty. Since the U.S...

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