Politics of dissent: pacifism in France, 1919-1939
This thesis breaks new ground in examining for the first time the history of pacifism in interwar France. It attempts to define the contours of the French peace movement, to describe it organisationally and in terms of its intellectual content, and finally to place interwar pacifism in the broader context of French political culture. The study is based on several years of primary research in Paris, London, Washington, and Philadelphia, and makes extensive use of hitherto unused archival sources and printed primary material. Of especial interest is the wealth of information gleaned from the Fonds Gabrielle Duchene, the-Romain Rolland papers (which are still being catalogued), the Andre Trocm6 papers, and others. The first section of the thesis, on pacifisme ancien style, analyses the interwar development of traditional 'ideological' or 'collaborative' French pacifism with roots which go back into the nineteenth century. In the twenties this type of pacifism followed an ascending curve in terms of pacifist commitment, but was never able to embrace the absolute claims of the more radical pacifism which was developing within and around it. There then emerged from this first paradigm the paradigm of pacifisme nouveau style - which is the subject of the second section. This resulted from the slow convergence of three complementary strands of dissent from political society: historical dissent over the origins of the Great War and the thesis of unique German war guilt; political dissent over the nature of contemporary French political society; and finally, a dissenting belief that another war would spell the end of western civilisation. The third section deals with feminist pacifism. Its evolution was in opposition to the prevailing trend already elaborated, moving from a position of integral pacifism in the early twenties to an increasingly 'collaborative' stance in the thirties which had close links with Soviet inspired peace and antifascist movements in France. One of the principal themes of this thesis is the essentially political nature of French pacifism as opposed to the primarily ethical or religious (especially non-conformist Protestant) thinking infusing much of Anglo-American pacifism. It also considers, among much else, the extent to which violence was considered an acceptable tactic by some parts of French pacifism, especially in response to the threat of incipient fascism. The thesis concludes with two Appendices, the first examining the French government's response to the perceived problem of conscientious objection in 1933, and the second examining the political trajectory of Romain Rolland on the problem of peace in the interwar era.