By J.g. Shields, James Shields

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It was within this Europeanist perspective that Pétain justified his meeting with Hitler to agree the principle of collaboration in October 1940; within this perspective, too, that Laval notoriously declared, in June 1942, ‘I desire victory for Germany because, without it, Bolshevism would become established everywhere. ’94 The securing of an armistice in June 1940 had seemed to confirm the Marshal’s protective impulses, while the cult that grew up around him was the The Vichy regime 29 closest occupied France came to forging a form of national unity.

71 And aired it was. 72 This late nineteenth-century anti-Semitism found its most mordant expression in Edouard Drumont’s La France juive, an anti-Semitic best-seller published in 1886 which by 1914 had run to its 200th edition. Drumont also used his newspaper, La Libre Parole, to insist on Dreyfus’s guilt and to propagate the theme of an international Jewish conspiracy against France. With his assertion that ‘Everything starts with the Jew, and everything comes back round to the Jew’, Drumont offered an all-encompassing explanation for the evils of the modern world.

At least this is the end of the Popular Front, the CGT [a communist-led trade union], the processions with raised clenched fists, the manifestos signed by communists and Catholics alike, the foul tyranny of the bars, freemasons, foreigners, and little schoolmasters. 90 In particular, it attracted the support of those conservative forces for whom ‘the Republic was no longer conservative enough’. 91 One can add to these the greater part of the Church and military hierarchies, who viewed with consternation the rise of the left-wing parties, especially the PCF.

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