Georges Bidault

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Georges Bidault
President of the Provisional Government of the French Republic
In office
24 June 1946 – 28 November 1946
Preceded by Felix Gouin
Succeeded by Léon Blum
Prime Minister of France
In office
28 October 1949 – 2 July 1950
Preceded by Henri Queuille
Succeeded by Henri Queuille
Personal details
Born 5 October 1899
Moulins, France
Died 27 January 1983(1983-01-27) (aged 83)
Cambo-les-Bains, France
Nationality French
Political party MRP
Religion Roman Catholic

Georges-Augustin Bidault (French pronunciation: ​[ʒɔʁʒ bido]; 5 October 1899 – 27 January 1983) was a French politician. During World War II, he was active in the French Resistance. After the war, he served as foreign minister and prime minister on several occasions before he joined the Organisation armée secrète.

Biography[edit]

Early life[edit]

Bidault was born in Moulins, Allier.[1] He studied in the Sorbonne and became a college history teacher. In 1932 he helped to found the Catholic Association of French Youth and the left-wing anti-fascist newspaper l'Aube. He had a column in the paper and, among other things, protested against the Munich Agreement in 1938.

World War II[edit]

After the outbreak of the Second World War he joined the French army. He was captured during the Fall of France and was briefly imprisoned. After his release in July 1941, he became a teacher at the Lycée du Parc in Lyon and joined the Liberté group of French Resistance that eventually merged with Combat. Jean Moulin recruited him to organize an underground press and the Combat underground newspaper.

In his work in the resistance, he was helped by his private administrative assistant Laure Diebold.

Bidault participated in the forming of the Conseil National de la Résistance and, after the Gestapo captured Moulin, he became its new chairman. In 1944 he formed a Resistance Charter that recommended an extensive post-war reform program. After the liberation of Paris he represented the Resistance in the victory parade. Charles de Gaulle appointed him as a foreign minister of his provisional government in 25 August. He was the founder of the Mouvement Républicain Populaire (MRP).

He was head of the French delegation to the San Francisco Conference,[1] which established the UN, from April to June 1945. At the conference, France succeeded in gaining a permanent seat on the Security Council.[2]

Fourth Republic[edit]

After World War II, Bidault served as foreign minister in Félix Gouin's provisional government in 1946. On 19 June 1946 the National Constituent Assembly elected him as president of the provisional government. His government, formed on 15 June, was composed of socialists, communists and Bidault's own MRP. In social policy, Bidault's government was notable for passing important pension and workman’s compensation laws.[3] An act of the 22nd of August 1946 extended coverage of family allowances to practically the entire population,[4] while a law of October 1946 provided that insurance of occupation risks “would henceforth be mandatory and that such insurance would be granted by the Social Security that had been created in 1945.”[5]

Bidault later became foreign minister once again. The government held elections to the National Assembly on 29 November after which Bidault resigned. His successor was Léon Blum.

Bidault served in various French governments, first as foreign minister under Paul Ramadier and Robert Schuman. In April 1947 he supported Ramadier's decision to expel the Communists from his government. Bidault had recently been to Moscow and was disturbed by the Soviet regime; he believed an agreement with Stalin was impossible.[6]

In 1949 he became the President of the Council of Ministers (prime minister) but his government lasted only 8 months. During his last term as prime minister, a law of February 1950 that regulated collective bargaining, and contained a guarantee of the right of workers to strike. The same law required the government to fix minimum wages for agriculture and for industry.[7] In Henri Queuille's governments in 1950–1951 he held the office of Vice-president of the Council and under Rene Pleven and Edgar Faure also the post of defense minister.

In 1952 Bidault became an honorary president of MRP. On 1 June 1953 President Vincent Auriol assigned him to form his own government but the National Assembly refused to give him the official mandate at 10 June. In 1953 Bidault became a presidential candidate but withdrew after the second round.

Bidault was foreign minister during the siege of the French garrison at Dien Bien Phu from March to May 1954. He protested to the Red Cross that the Viet Minh were shooting at clearly marked French medical evacuation flights, killing some of the evacuees.[8] The ongoing fighting in Indochina had exhausted him; he was described by American secretary of state John Foster Dulles as "a deeply harassed man" and later by a historian as "on the verge of a nervous breakdown".[9] Caught between his desires to end the war and to maintain the integrity of France's colonies, he vacillated between pressing the war, perhaps by asking the Americans for air support, or seeking a negotiated solution.[10] Bidault stated that John Foster Dulles (then Secretary of State of United States) offered France two atomic bombs in 1954.[11]

Fifth Republic[edit]

In April 1958 Bidault again became prime minister but did not form a cabinet and had a hand in forming the conservative Christian Democratic Movement. He also supported De Gaulle's presidency after the outbreak of the Algerian War of Independence.

In 1961 Bidault became President of the Executive Council of the Rally for French Algeria and opposed De Gaulle's policy of Algerian independence. He established his own National Resistance Council within the far-right paramilitary organization Organisation de L'Armée Secrète (OAS). In June 1962 he was accused of conspiring against the state and stripped of his parliamentary immunity. He left for exile in Brazil. In 1967 he moved to Belgium and in 1968 returned to France after benefiting from an amnesty.

In his political memoirs, Bidault states that he was never involved in the OAS, and is not qualified to give any precise information about its deeds.[12]

Bidault died of a stroke in Cambo-les-Bains in January 1983.[1]

Governments[edit]

First ministry (24 June – 16 December 1946)[edit]

Second ministry (28 October 1949 – 7 February 1950)[edit]

Changes:

  • 2 December 1949 – Gabriel Valay succeeds Pflimlin as Minister of Agriculture

Third Ministry (7 February – 2 July 1950)[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c "Georges Bidault, Resistance Hero Who Later Led a Revolt, Is Dead". The New York Times. AP. 28 January 1983. Retrieved 26 April 2011. 
  2. ^ Morgan, T. (2010). Valley of Death: The Tragedy at Dien Bien Phu That Led America Into the Vietnam War. New York: Random House. pp. 50–51. ISBN 9781400066643. 
  3. ^ Hicks, Alexander (1999). Social Democracy and Welfare Capitalism: A Century of Income Security Politics. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press. ISBN 0801485568. 
  4. ^ http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=2A0ry66D_KAC&pg=PA327&dq=france+family+allowances+22+august+1946+family+allowances&hl=en&sa=X&ei=1FDKU-uuOO-S7AaKuoGIDQ&ved=0CCQQ6AEwAA#v=onepage&q=france%20family%20allowances%2022%20august%201946%20family%20allowances&f=false
  5. ^ http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=vaGJ-N7pyEUC&pg=PA204&lpg=PA204&dq=france+workers+compensation+october+1946&source=bl&ots=-CcvQ9BKpA&sig=lWoJUq_wpOVlbmcLEbNyaUQZhmQ&hl=en&sa=X&ei=PTzKU_zFEczH7AbwvIDACg&ved=0CDsQ6AEwBA#v=onepage&q=france%20workers%20compensation%20october%201946&f=false
  6. ^ Morgan 2010, p. 97.
  7. ^ Chambers Encyclopaedia new edition, Volume V: Edward-Franks, George Newnes Ltd. 1959, supplementary information 1961, printed and bound in England by Hazel Watson and Viney Ltd., Aylesbury and Slough
  8. ^ Morgan 2010, p. 301.
  9. ^ Morgan 2010, p. 418,332.
  10. ^ Morgan 2010, p. 332.
  11. ^ Davis, Peter (1974). Hearts and Minds. Vietnam War: Bert Schneider and Henry Jaglom. 
  12. ^ Georges Bidault: Resistance: The Political Autobiography of Georges Bidault, p. 245.
Political offices
Preceded by
Pierre Laval
Minister of Foreign Affairs
1944–1946
Succeeded by
Léon Blum
Preceded by
Félix Gouin
Chairman of the Provisional Government
1946
Succeeded by
Léon Blum
Preceded by
Léon Blum
Minister of Foreign Affairs
1947–1948
Succeeded by
Robert Schuman
Preceded by
Henri Queuille
President of the Council of Ministers
1949–1950
Succeeded by
Henri Queuille
Preceded by
Henri Queuille
Vice President of the Council of Ministers
1950
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Vice President of the Council of Ministers
1951–1952
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Jules Moch
Minister of National Defense
1951–1952
Succeeded by
René Pleven
Preceded by
Robert Schuman
Minister of Foreign Affairs
1953–1954
Succeeded by
Pierre Mendès-France