Édouard Daladier

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Édouard Daladier
Daladier 1924.jpg
Prime Minister of France
In office
31 January 1933 – 26 October 1933
President Albert Lebrun
Preceded by Joseph Paul-Boncour
Succeeded by Albert Sarraut
In office
30 January 1934 – 9 February 1934
President Albert Lebrun
Preceded by Camille Chautemps
Succeeded by Gaston Doumergue
In office
10 April 1938 – 21 March 1940
President Albert Lebrun
Preceded by Léon Blum
Succeeded by Paul Reynaud
Personal details
Born 18 June 1884
Carpentras, Vaucluse, France
Died 10 October 1970(1970-10-10) (aged 86)
Paris, France
Political party Radical
Military service
Allegiance  France
Service/branch French Third Republic French Army
Rank Captain
Battles/wars World War I

Édouard Daladier (French: [edwaʁ daladje]; 18 June 1884 – 10 October 1970) was a French Radical politician and the Prime Minister of France at the start of the Second World War.

Career[edit]

Daladier was born in Carpentras, Vaucluse. Later, he would become known to many as "the bull of Vaucluse" because of his thick neck and large shoulders and determined look, although cynics also quipped that his horns were like those of a snail. During World War I, he rose from private to captain and company commander.

A government minister in various posts during the coalition governments between 1924 and 1928, he was instrumental in the Radical Party's break with the socialist SFIO in 1926, the first Cartel des gauches – "Left-wing Coalition"), and with the conservative Raymond Poincaré in November 1928.

Daladier became a leading member of the Radicals. He first became Prime Minister in 1933, and then again in 1934 for a few days when the Stavisky Affair led to the riots of 6 February 1934 instigated by the far right and the fall of the second Cartel des gauches.

Daladier became Minister of War for the Popular Front coalition in 1936; after the fall of the Popular Front, he became Prime Minister again on 10 April 1938.

While the forty-hour workweek was abolished under Daladier's government, a more generous system of family allowances was established, set as a percentage of wages: for the first child, 5%; for the second, 10%; and for each additional child, 15%. Also created was a home-mother allowance, which had been advocated by pronatalist and Catholic women’s groups since 1929. All mothers who were not professionally employed and whose husbands collected family allowances were eligible for this new benefit. In March 1939, the government added 10% for workers whose wives stayed home to take care of the children. Family allowances were enshrined in the Family Code of July 1939 and, with the exception of the stay-at-home allowance, have remained in force to this day.

Munich[edit]

Neville Chamberlain, Daladier, Adolf Hitler, Benito Mussolini, and Italian Foreign Minister Galeazzo Ciano, as they prepared to sign the Munich Agreement.
Édouard Daladier (centre) leaving Joachim von Ribbentrop after the Munich Summit 1938

Daladier's last government was in power at the time of the negotiations preceding the Munich Agreement, when France backed out of its obligations to defend Czechoslovakia against Nazi Germany. He was pushed into negotiating by Britain's Neville Chamberlain, without which war would have been inevitable at that time. Unlike Chamberlain, Daladier had no illusions about Hitler's ultimate goals. In fact, he told the British in a late April 1938 meeting that Hitler's real aim was to eventually secure "a domination of the Continent in comparison with which the ambitions of Napoleon were feeble." He went on to say "Today, it is the turn of Czechoslovakia. Tomorrow, it will be the turn of Poland and Romania. When Germany has obtained the oil and wheat it needs, she will turn on the West. Certainly we must multiply our efforts to avoid war. But that will not be obtained unless Great Britain and France stick together, intervening in Prague for new concessions but declaring at the same time that they will safeguard the independence of Czechoslovakia. If, on the contrary, the Western Powers capitulate again, they will only precipitate the war they wish to avoid."[1]

Nevertheless, perhaps discouraged by the pessimistic and defeatist attitudes of both military and civilian members of the French government, as well as traumatized by France's blood-bath in World War I that he personally witnessed, Daladier ultimately let Chamberlain have his way. On his return to Paris, Daladier, who was expecting a hostile crowd, was acclaimed. He then commented to his aide, Alexis Léger: "Ah, les cons (the fools)!".[2]

Rearmament[edit]

In October 1938, Daladier opened secret talks with the Americans on how to bypass American neutrality laws and allow the French to buy American aircraft to make up for productivity deficiencies in the French aircraft industry.[3] Daladier commented in October 1938, "If I had three or four thousand aircraft, Munich would never have happened", and he was most anxious to buy American war planes as the only way to strengthen the French Air Force.[4] A major problem in the Franco-American talks was how the French were to pay for the American planes, as well as how to bypass the American neutrality acts[5] In addition, France had defaulted on its World War I debts in 1932 and hence fell foul of the American Johnson Act of 1934, which forbade loans to nations that had defaulted on their World War I debts.[6] In February 1939, the French offered to cede their possessions in the Caribbean and the Pacific together with a lump sum payment of 10 billion francs, in exchange for the unlimited right to buy, on credit, American aircraft.[7] After torturous negotiations, an arrangement was worked out in the spring of 1939 to allow the French to place huge orders with the American aircraft industry; though most of the aircraft ordered had not arrived in France by 1940, the Americans arranged for French orders to be diverted to the British.[8]

World War II[edit]

When the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact was signed, Daladier responded to the public outcry by outlawing the French Communist Party on the basis that it had refused to condemn Joseph Stalin's actions. In 1939, after the German invasion of Poland, he was reluctant to go to war, but he did so on 3 September 1939, inaugurating the Phony War. On 6 October of that year, Hitler offered France and Great Britain a peace proposal. There were more than a few in the French government prepared to take Hitler up on his offer; but, in a nationwide broadcast the next day, Daladier declared, "We took up arms against aggression. We shall not put them down until we have guarantees for a real peace and security, a security which is not threatened every six months.".[9] On 29 January 1940, in a radio address delivered to the people of France entitled The Nazi's Aim is Slavery, Daladier left little doubt about his opinion of the Germans. In his radio address, he said: "For us, there is more to do than merely win the war. We shall win it, but we must also win a victory far greater than that of arms. In this world of masters and slaves, which those madmen who rule at Berlin are seeking to forge, we must also save liberty and human dignity."

In March 1940, Daladier resigned as Prime Minister in France because of his failure to aid Finland's defence during the Winter War, and he was replaced with Paul Reynaud. Daladier remained, however, Minister of Defence, and his antipathy to Paul Reynaud prevented Reynaud from dismissing Maurice Gamelin as Supreme Commander of all French armed forces. As a result of the massive German breakthrough at Sedan, Daladier swapped ministerial offices with Reynaud, taking over the Foreign Ministry while Reynaud took over Defence. Gamelin was finally replaced by Maxime Weygand on 19 May 1940, nine days after the Germans began their invasion campaign. Under the impression the government would continue in North Africa, Daladier fled with other members of the government to Morocco; but he was arrested and tried for treason by the Vichy government during the "Riom Trial". Daladier was interned in Fort du Portalet in the Pyrenees.[10] He was kept in prison from 1940 to April 1943, when he was handed over to the Germans and deported to Buchenwald concentration camp in Germany. In May 1943, he was transported to the Itter Castle in North Tyrol with other French dignitaries, where he remained until the end of the war. He was freed after the Battle for Castle Itter.

Later life[edit]

After the War ended, Daladier was a member of the Chamber of Deputies, where he was an opponent of Charles de Gaulle. He was also mayor of Avignon from 1953 until 1958. He died in Paris in 1970 and is buried in the famous cemetery of Père-Lachaise.

Daladier's First Government, 31 January – 26 October 1933[edit]

Changes

  • 6 September 1933 – Albert Sarraut succeeds Leygues (d. 2 September) as Minister of Marine. Albert Dalimier succeeds Sarraut as Minister of Colonies.

Daladier's Second Ministry, 30 January – 9 February 1934[edit]

Changes

Daladier's Third Ministry, 10 April 1938 – 21 March 1940[edit]

Édouard Daladier (right) with ambassador André François-Poncet at the Munich Agreement 1938

Changes

  • 23 August 1938 – Charles Pomaret succeeds Ramadier as Minister of Labour. Anatole de Monzie succeeds Frossard as Minister of Public Works.
  • 1 November 1938 – Paul Reynaud succeeds Paul Marchandeau as Minister of Finance. Marchandeau succeeds Reynaud as Minister of Justice.
  • 13 September 1939 – Georges Bonnet succeeds Marchandeau as Minister of Justice. Daladier succeeds Bonnet as Minister of Foreign Affairs, remaining also Minister of National Defence and War. Raymond Patenôtre leaves the Cabinet and the Position of Minister of National Economy is abolished. Alphonse Rio succeeds Chappedelaine as Minister of Merchant Marine. Yvon Delbos succeeds Zay as Minister of National Education. René Besse succeeds Champetier as Minister of Veterans and Pensioners. Raoul Dautry enters the Cabinet as Minister of Armaments. Georges Pernot enters the Cabinet as Minister of Blockade.

See also[edit]

Endnotes[edit]

  1. ^ Shirer, William The Collapse of the Third Republic: An Inquiry into the Fall of France in 1940, 1969, Da Capo Press, pp. 339–340.
  2. ^ Jean-Paul Sartre, Le Sursis
  3. ^ Keylor, William "France and the Illusion of American Support, 1919-1940" pages 204–244 from The French Defeat of 1940 Reassessments edited by Joel Blatt Berghahn Books: Providence 1998 pages 234–235
  4. ^ Keylor, William "France and the Illusion of American Support, 1919-1940" pages 204–244 from The French Defeat of 1940 Reassessments edited by Joel Blatt Berghahn Books: Providence 1998 page 234
  5. ^ Keylor, William "France and the Illusion of American Support, 1919-1940" pages 204–244 from The French Defeat of 1940 Reassessments edited by Joel Blatt Berghahn Books: Providence 1998 pages 235–236
  6. ^ Keylor, William "France and the Illusion of American Support, 1919-1940" pages 204–244 from The French Defeat of 1940 Reassessments edited by Joel Blatt Berghahn Books: Providence 1998 page 237
  7. ^ Keylor, William "France and the Illusion of American Support, 1919-1940" pages 204–244 from The French Defeat of 1940 Reassessments edited by Joel Blatt Berghahn Books: Providence 1998 page 238
  8. ^ Keylor, William "France and the Illusion of American Support, 1919-1940" pages 204–244 from The French Defeat of 1940 Reassessments edited by Joel Blatt Berghahn Books: Providence 1998 pages 233–244
  9. ^ Shirer, William The Collapse of the Third Republic: An Inquiry into the Fall of France in 1940, 1969, Da Capo Press, p. 529.
  10. ^ http://www.tourisme-aspe.com/fort-du-portalet.html

References[edit]

  • Adamthwaite, Anthony France and the Coming of the Second World War 1936-1939, Frank Cass, London, United Kingdom, 1977.
  • Cairns, John C. "Reflections on France, Britain and the Winter War Problem" pages 269–295 from The French Defeat of 1940 Reassessments edited by Joel Blatt Berghahn Books, Providence, Rhode Island, United States of America, 1998, ISBN 1-57181-109-5.
  • Imlay, Talbot "France and the Phoney War, 1939-1940" pages 261–282 from French Foreign and Defence Policy, 1918-1940 The Decline and Fall of A Great Power edited by Robert Boyce, London, United Kingdom: Routledge, 1998, ISBN 0-415-15039-6.
  • Irvine, William "Domestic Politics and the Fall of France in 1940" pages 85–99 from The French Defeat of 1940 Reassessments edited by Joel Blatt Berghahn Books, Providence, Rhode Island, United States of America, 1998, ISBN 1-57181-109-5.
  • Jackson, Peter "Intelligence and the End of Appeasement" pages 234–260 from French Foreign and Defence Policy, 1918-1940 The Decline and Fall of A Great Power edited by Robert Boyce, London, United Kingdom: Routledge, 1998, ISBN 0-415-15039-6.
  • Lacaze, Yvon “Daladier, Bonnet and the Decision-Making Process During the Munich Crisis, 1938” pages 215–233 from French Foreign and Defence Policy, 1918-1940 The Decline and Fall of A Great Power edited by Robert Boyce, London, United Kingdom: Routledge, 1998, ISBN 0-415-15039-6.
  • Réau, Elisabeth du "Edouard Daladier: The Conduct of the War and the Beginnings of Defeat" pages 100–126 from The French Defeat of 1940 Reassessments edited by Joel Blatt Berghahn Books, Providence, Rhode Island, United States of America, 1998, ISBN 1-57181-109-5.
  • Shirer, William L. The Collapse of the Third Republic An Inquiry into the Fall of France in 1940, Simon & Schuster, New York, New York, United States of America, 1969.
  • Thomas, Martin "France and the Czechoslovak Crisis" pages 122–159 from The Munich Crisis 1938 Prelude to World War II edited by Igor Lukes and Erik Goldstein, Frank Cass, London, United Kingdom, 1999.
  • France since 1870: Culture, Politics and Society by Charles Sowerine.
  • Origins of the French Welfare State: The Struggle for Social

Reform in France, 1914–1947 by Paul V. Dutton

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Jean Fabry
Minister of Colonies
1924–1925
Succeeded by
Orly André-Hesse
Preceded by
Paul Painlevé
Minister of War
1925
Succeeded by
Paul Painlevé
Preceded by
Yvon Delbos
Minister of Public Instruction and Fine Arts
1925–1926
Succeeded by
Lucien Lamoureux
Preceded by
Bertrand Nogaro
Minister of Public Instruction and Fine Arts
1926
Succeeded by
Édouard Herriot
Preceded by
Georges Pernot
Minister of Public Works
1930
Succeeded by
Georges Pernot
Preceded by
Georges Pernot
Minister of Public Works
1930–1931
Succeeded by
Maurice Deligne
Preceded by
Charles Guernier
Minister of Public Works
1932
Succeeded by
Georges Bonnet
Preceded by
Joseph Paul-Boncour
Minister of War
1932–1934
Succeeded by
Jean Fabry
Preceded by
Joseph Paul-Boncour
President of the Council
1933
Succeeded by
Albert Sarraut
Preceded by
Camille Chautemps
President of the Council
1934
Succeeded by
Gaston Doumergue
Preceded by
Joseph Paul-Boncour
Minister of Foreign Affairs
1934
Succeeded by
Louis Barthou
Preceded by
Vice President of the Council
1936–1937
Succeeded by
Léon Blum
Preceded by
Louis Maurin
Minister of National Defence and War
1936–1940
Succeeded by
Paul Reynaud
Preceded by
Léon Blum
Vice President of the Council
1938
Succeeded by
Camille Chautemps
Preceded by
Léon Blum
President of the Council
1938–1940
Succeeded by
Paul Reynaud
Preceded by
Georges Bonnet
Minister of Foreign Affairs
1939–1940
Succeeded by
Paul Reynaud
Preceded by
Paul Reynaud
Minister of Foreign Affairs
1940
Succeeded by
Paul Reynaud