Blum, Leon, 1872-1950

An intellectual and writer. Blum became one of the leading figures of the French socialist party (SFIO), after World War I and of the Union of the Left in the 1930s. In 1936 he became Prime Minister in the Popular Front government but was forced to resign in June 1937 when the radicals deserted the coalition. An ardent patriot, he was anxious in 1939 to see the spirit of the ‘Sacred Union’ of parties of 1914 rekindled, but was ostracized by many on the right. He was deported to Germany after the defeat of 1940 but was Prime Minister briefly after the war. Many Frenchmen continued to hold Blum and his Popular Front responsible for France’s military unpreparedness in 1940.

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