Talk:French Third Republic

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"Prospects of a Parliamentary Monarchy" strains credulity[edit]

First paragraph, first sentence: the "clear majority of the French people" want a parliamentary monarchy.

Second paragraph, first sentence: Chambord refuses a parliamentary monarchy, demands an absolute monarchy. Third sentence: also refuses to reign under the revolutionary flag.

Fourth sentence: but the flag was real popular -- and that's why Chamborg was refused the throne.

What kind of analysis is this? The "clear majority" want a parliamentary monarchy. But they're also just fine with a return to absolute monarchy? The French people in 1870 are really thinking, you know, a parliamentary monarchy would be nice, I guess, but sure, I'll submit to the rule of an absolute monarch, like we had before the revolution, what's the diff?

No -- it's that flag issue that's the total deal-breaker! The French cannot abide unless their symbol of state is the precious standard of liberty, fraternity, and equality -- but about returning to the old regime of "the state, it is me," they're relatively indifferent?

Does this strike anyone else as a crackpot analysis? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 10:18, 13 July 2008 (UTC)

The Radicals' Republic section[edit]

I'd like to see the first sentence of the section "The Radicals' Republic" clarified. The sentence reads

"The Radical-Socialist Party, founded in 1901 (four years before the socialist SFIO which unified the various socialist currents), remained the most important party of the Third Republic starting at the end of the 19th century."

I don't know French history well enough to offer a corrected edit, but it just seems illogical to me that the Rad-Socs could be the most important party from the end of the 19th century if they weren't founded until the first year of the 20th century.

I'll agree the wording is foggy and should be clarified, but it's my understanding that most modern historians consider the start of the French Revolution and the start of the First World War to be the "bookends" of the 19th century, due to how influential those two events were (the French Revolution greatly influenced the majority of the 19th century proper, while the events of the 19th century greatly influenced WW1). Granted, this is only a semantical difference made between historians (considering 1789-1914 to be "the 19th Century" does seem odd), and it is more than likely the original author made a goofup. I'd reccomend either changing it to something like "the long 19th century" (which is the term agreed upon by many a historian), or to make it easier on everyone by saying "the start of the 20th century". Silly. (talk) 04:17, 22 November 2007 (UTC)

Another Review[edit]

The author of the French Third Republic article at seems to be quite amazed that this government lasted more than a few weeks. The author refers to the government as “surviving” rather than lasting for the seventy years that it did. They continue by saying that “One of its most surprising aspects is that the first long-term stable republic in France, and the first to win the majority of the French to 'republicanism', was never intended to be a long-term republic at all.” He explains that the majority of French citizens in the 1870’s wanted a monarchy following Napoleon III’s regime. However, because of the dueling sides of the monarchists and the inability for an effective compromise to go through, France ended up with a republic of which the French were not fans. Evidence for this comes in the form of the constant collapsing of different goverments within the system. The author sees the changing of governments as being more a reshuffling of ministers with no real effects on improving the weak republic that it is assumed existed.When discussing the progression of years that the regime went through, the author talks of the republic stumbling and struggling. They believe that the presidency was weak from the beginning and no power really existed in that position until Charles DeGaul. The author ends by putting forth the final mention of the argument, that the Republic wasn’t loved nor was it strong. Without good reason given by the writer, he concludse “But its longevity showed that it was capable of weathering many a storm.”

A few assumptions by the author lead to the conclusion that it was a shock that the republic lasted. The author assumes that the majority of people supported monarchies in 1870, but ended up somehow in a republic that wasn’t wanted. The influence of Germany on France’s government is also assumed by the author. The author says that the reason the Second Empire fell was because of the powerful German Empire, resulting in the creation of the Third Republic. The author remarks that France during the Republic, after it had been firmly established, was clearly republican but not in love with the government. This idea forms the main basis for the author’s shock in the surival of the Republic. The author’s explaination of the rise of the Republic initially is convincing. The author explains that the tensions between the Legitimists and Orléanists led to attempts to compromise. The refusal to compromise on the flag, as a main reason for the failure to restore the monarcy, is persuasive. Without the ability to restore the monarchy on terms amiable to the parties involved in forming a new government, no other real choice was left but to form a monarchy. The author however makes no compelling support for the oft repeated claim that the French did not love the Republic. The author has contridicting statements, claiming that in 1870 a majority of the people supported restoration of the monarchy, but in 1877, with no reason provided, the people seem to be in support of a republican government.

Another major flaw in this article is the lack of sources. In fact, no sources are provided. Apparently the author was born with the knowledge to write an article about the Third Republic of France. This really takes away any real credibility. Without any sources, there is no way to check that anything written in the article is true. The author does write eloquently, and attempts to make the description of events more interesting by using words like “struggled” and “survived.” In addition there is a large number of links within the article, giving the reader a chance to explore many aspects of the article in detail. However, the author doesn’t give real support for many of the broad claims. No reason is offered for the people not supporting the Republic, and it is at odds with the author’s insistance that the French were, for the most part, republican. Without these explanations, the article, while intriguing, has no real merit.

This article is a duplicate of Third French Republic. olivier 14:49 27 May 2003 (UTC)

I've merged, but the join from "the Paris Commune held out for six months. \n In the aftermath of the collapse of the regime of Napoleon III, ..." might need smoothing -- Tarquin 15:22 27 May 2003 (UTC)

Bismarck and the Second Empire[edit]

Chancellor Bismarck of Prussia, who sought to bring his state to ascendancy in Germany, realized that if a German Empire was to be created, the French Empire, which would never tolerate a powerful neighbor at its borders, must fall. Through clever manipulation of the Ems Dispatch, Bismarck goaded France into the Franco-Prussian War, which led to the French emperor's defeat and overthrow. After Napoleon's capture by the Prussians at Sedan, France became a de facto conservative republic. Its creation was overshadowed by the settlement of peace terms with Prussia and the subsequent revolution in Paris known as the Paris Commune, which maintained a radical regime for two months until its bloody suppression in May 1871.

Re-wrote this paragraph. Bismarck actually wanted to keep (a defeated) Second Empire in place if he could, he distrusted republics and preferred monarchies to suppress revolutionary dissent. Several times during peace negotiations he threatened Gambetta with unleashing Napoleon III and the French captive army against the Government of National Defense. --kudz75 03:17, 3 Dec 2004 (UTC)

Fall of France[edit]

Vichy_regime#The_fall_of_France_and_the_establishment_of_the_Vichy_regime has thise quotes "The Third Republic was voted out of existence by a majority of the French National Assembly on July 10." Nobs 22:08, 17 May 2005 (UTC)

Should be divided into sections?[edit]

This is a quite long article - would be easier if divided into sections? PiCo

Yes, but what would it be divided into? 15:09, 7 March 2006 (UTC)

Just a review[edit]

In this article about the French Third Republic, the author seems to have a bias with the ideas of the French populace at the time. There is a large amount of information given, but there are a few more areas that could be added. The biased area is the issue of the Monarchy and the failure of the Republic as an example of inept leadership. There should be more fiery language to drive these points home. If you are not going to show both sides, then you should go for broke and do what you can to get your point across.

The author believes that the third Republic was a failure on many levels and states that when the Germans invaded in World War 2, none wished for its return. It was unpopular when it came to be and was just as unpopular when it was dissolved. However the author does seem to appreciate how it was able to last so long despite such hatred by the people it ruled. The rulers had to be doing something right, for it is doubtful that in an age of revolution and political upswing, people would sit by with such hated governance.

The language of the article tries to convince just how hated the Third republic was, however it leaves out the opinions of many republicans of the time. When an article only takes one side of an argument, then it is hardly objective. For the side the author takes they make a compelling argument, but the other side must always be seen.

One key part missing from the article is any reference of the Dreyfus affair during this period of time. It divided the country and led to difficulties in governance and yet the author doesn’t feel it deserves a link. The conflict symbolized the struggle occurring in the country and would add credence to the author’s view of monarchal sympathizers. By the 1880s the Monarchy was considered a revolutionary ideal. Some tried to use the Dreyfus affair to regain a public support of the monarchy; it was coupled with extreme anti-Semitism. One must take into account these beliefs and political machinations to understand the way the people felt and were taught to feel.

Also there is Boulanger, the last attempt of a man to become a new Napoleon. His absence from the article leaves much to be desired. Had he not lost his will and killed himself, he most likely would have wrested power from the Third Republic. It could have been over before it even gained support. His supporters were influential for sometime after his death, and his legacy should be included in the discussion.

Something that would make this article more credible would be to have more sources. In the whole of the article there is not one quoted source. Guizot’s history or even a few websites would add to the credibility. The information is out there, and even if the article was inspired by a textbook, then quoting that textbook would add credibility.

Overall the article is acceptable. There should be more writing about the republicans of the time rather than the pro monarchal council. The amount of information given describing the founding of the republic was phenomenal, but more has to be said.


Would this artilce benefit from the addition of the Fromer Country Infobox? See:

Perhaps? Kevlar67 03:14, 4 January 2007 (UTC)

Okay, I'm going ahead, and I see if anyone says anything. Kevlar67 07:43, 10 January 2007 (UTC)


Should this article not be titled the Third French Republic rather than French Third Republic? A "Third Republic" is not a particular kind of republic; third acts as a number here. However, a "French Republic" is a specifc kind of republic, and there have been three of them as of this article's time period. So, should the article title not instead be Third French Republic? Erin Go Braghtalk 06:03, 6 February 2007 (UTC)

I totally agree. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 06:47, 31 August 2007 (UTC)

The file name for the images, the category, etc., do not however magically continue to work when switched from lower to uppercase. Thus, the image of the map simply stopped displaying, the category ceased linking anywheres, etc. Thanks. El_C 06:56, 31 August 2007 (UTC)

I agree with the OP. Even the name in French clearly means "Third French Republic". --IronMaidenRocks (talk) 01:09, 30 August 2010 (UTC)

Adolphe Thiers & Jean Jaurès[edit]

Recent work has been done here, which is good. Be sure, however, to move deleted text here for archive & to let others discuss it. The removal of the paragraph on Jean Jaurès assassination was not at all justified, as it is a main event explaining why the Socialist movement participated to the war effort instead of continuing in its internationalist, pacificist bases, which were thoses of the Second International. Same goes for the famous quote of Adolphe Thiers concerning Republic as the "regime that divises the least the French." Finally, I've noted that recente edits tend to speak about France as if it was a person, instead of contrasting different positions among the French population & political class. Tazmaniacs 23:45, 24 February 2007 (UTC)


Be sure to make wikilinks relevant to context, and once is enough except if very important. Alliance is not needed to be wikilinked, and Paris can be wikilinked once, it's enough. Tazmaniacs 23:47, 24 February 2007 (UTC)


I'm not sure it's a good idea to have a subsection titled "Weakness", as this usually carries value judgments which are the subject of considerate debates (same goes for the Fourth Republic, which has been often criticized without taking into account the particular historical & political context explaining the parliamentary unstabilility - this critics is a reminiscence of the Gaullist discourse which tries to discredit parliamentarism, favoring the presidential regime of the Fifth Republic).

"Weaknesses of the Third Republic"
Parliaments dissolved regularly with each successive regime not lasting 
more than a few months at a time. 
One grave weakness entailed the lingering vestiges of Napoleon's 1801 
Concordat, which ultimately unified the Catholic     church with the 
French government. As a result, the revenue gained from French taxes often
went to supporting the Catholic clergy. The French public school system in
the Third Republic was thus fraught with Catholic influences (e.g.-priests as teachers).
The differences between the religious and the secular in the Third Republic 
were large. A rift was developing between urban and rural France (War of the Two Frances).
French people around Paris attended church far less often than French people in the 
countryside. In particular, the Massif Central (Central Mountains) region in France
remained devoutly Catholic during this time period, and thus serves as an example to corroborate
the nature of the French people in rural France.

Not all here is false, but it should be organized otherwise. I think a chronological approach is easier to manage for Wikipedia than a thematic one. The claims concerning the Concordat should be adress where the article speaks about the Jules Ferry laws. The difference between religious & secular is most important & should be underlined in the article, but this difference recovers the difference between supporters of Monarchy and Republicans. It was actually, until the rallying of moderate monarchists to the Republic, such as Adolphe Thiers and others Orleanists, a main trait of Republicans to be anti-clericals. This reality remains so today, and the left-wing in France is traditionally anti-clerical, while the right-wing is traditionnally Catholic. Furthermore, most Catholic people, who practice their religion, vote on the right-wing. Political geography (references to the Massif Central, but others could be used, and this one is perhaps not the best, as the Massif Central was also a bastion of Radical-Socialism - so was the Corrèze department, which Jacques Chirac manages to turn to the right-wing, a historical feat of which there is much to be said). Tazmaniacs 23:58, 24 February 2007 (UTC) PS:Britanny is perhaps a better example for Catholic population in France, or also Vendée, where Philippe de Villiers is today elected. In Britanny, however, although it is traditionnaly Catholic, people near the sea voted radical-socialist or socialist, and people in the interior right-wing (or was it the reverse?). So Vendée is perhaps the best example of a Catholic region voting to the right-wing, and monarchist, from the French Revolution to 2007. Tazmaniacs 00:02, 25 February 2007 (UTC)


Several significant portions of this article appear to be copied word-for-word from Popkin's A History of Modern France. Unfortunately, I don't have the text in an accessible place at this time to verify; I just wanted to put an alert up until such time as I or someone else can make verification. 20:14, 2 April 2007 (UTC)

On that note, some parts look remarkably similar to this. 21:58, 16 June 2007 (UTC)
Note to self, read headers on pages before accusations. 22:01, 16 June 2007 (UTC)

Fall of France[edit]

I removed this part. Although sourced, it is very badly formulated and it is quite a strange way of thinking to reduce the fall of the Third Republic to a poor birth-rate:

In general, there are two competing notions as to why the Third Republic collapsed in June 1940. The first idea entails the so-called decadence of French society under the Third Republic. French historian Kevin Passmore supports this claim by stating "the low birth rate" of France during the late 19th century and early 20th century "signified national decadence." (REF: James McMillan, Modern France: 1880-2002 (New York: Oxford University Press, 2003), 65-66.) And thus, the Fall of France was a punishment for the lavish lifestyles the French people were living in the Third Republic.

If someone wants to reintroduce something around these lines, please do it properly. Tazmaniacs 21:53, 19 August 2007 (UTC)

Proposed name change[edit]

To Third French Republic. (I propose the same format for all French Republic articles.)

That is a more precise translation of Troisième République Française, and besides, it just makes more sense in my opinion. The official name of the regime was the French Republic; it happened to be the third one. Funnyhat 06:52, 31 August 2007 (UTC)

Let's keep the discussion unfragmented, since we will either make all these name changes or none of them. Could everyone please respond on Talk:French Fourth Republic? Phaunt 22:36, 31 August 2007 (UTC)

La décadence & Defeatism in 1940[edit]

The following statement is really incorrect, so I have removed it:

"After the invasion of France by Nazi Germany occurred in May 1940, the Republic was so disliked by enemies on the right, which sought a powerful bulwark against Communism, and on the left, where Communists followed their party's international offensive on bourgeois regimes, that few had the stomach to fight for its survival".

This is absolutely false and untrue. To start with, in 1940 Germany was allied to the Soviet Union under the terms of the German-Soviet Non-Aggression Pact of 1939, so the claim that the French right actually wanted their country to lose to Germany to provide a “bulwark against Communism” is problematic in several respects. Firs of all, the French right were above all nationalists, and the idea that French nationalists wanted their nation to lose to la Boche is really mistaken. How precisely does having France lose to ally of the Soviet Union provide a “bulwark against Communism”? I would strongly suggest that one consult the essay "Domestic Politics and the Fall of France in 1940" by William D. Irvine pages 85-99 from The French Defeat of 1940 Reassessments. As Irvine points out, during the great crisis of May-June 1940, even fascists rallied to the Republic in face of the foreign foe. To give one example, the anti-Semitic and fascist newspaper Je suis partout ran an editorial on its front page on May 24, 1940 praising the appointment of Georges Mandel as Interior Minister under the grounds that Mandel was the man to crack down on defeatism (Irvine page 98). Nor of this true that “few in France” wanted to fight for the Republic. In July 1939, a public opinion poll showed that five out of every six surveyed felt that Frenchman should die for Danzig (Irvine page 95), which is hardly the sign of a nation willing to give up the struggle to Germany. The French defeat of 1940 was a military defeat, not a moral defeat as suggested by the proponents of the La décadence thesis. It is true that French fascists (and other elements in French society) did collaborate with the Germans after June 1940, but to presuppose that the same tendency existed before June 1940 is to engage in a very dubious post hoc ergo propter hoc argument. Because the French were defeated in 1940, everybody assumes that the French must have been defeatist before the great defeat, which all of the available evidence suggests the contrary. In September 1939, the French went to war with heavy hearts, but with the every expectation of victory; if defeatism did occur, it began after the French defeats on the Meuse in May 1940, not before. The above statement is this is really an example of the La décadence thesis at its worse. --A.S. Brown (talk) 02:39, 8 February 2008 (UTC)

Flags in the infobox[edit]

I happened upon this article & could not believe my eyes when I saw the display of flags in the infobox. If this is an article on the French Third Republic (1870-1940), then only one flag should be shown and that is the tricolor.

(1) why de Gaulle's Free France flag with the "Croix de Lorraine"? When de Gaulle went to England in June 1940 and became the chief of the Free French, the French Third Republic was over, having been replaced by the État Français with Maréchal Pétain at its head. So de Gaulle had no part in the French Third Republic & neither had his emblem.

(2) why Vichy's flag with the "francisque"? When Pétain became Chef de l'État français & added the "francisque" on the tricolor, the 3rd Republic was over, so that flag has nothing to do in an article about the French Third Republic.

(3) why the infamous Hitler's nazi "swastika"? The swastika never flew over anything in France during the French Third Republic. It did during the occupation of France, in occupied France, right after the invasion in 1940 until the Liberation in 1944. And it was never a French flag, it was the flag of the occupier. So the nazi swastika has no part in any infobox concerning the history of France, and certainly none in an article about the French Third Republic which was over within a few days after the German invasion in June 1940.

Frania W. (talk) 22:12, 24 March 2008 (UTC)

Those flags illustrate the predecessor and successor flags. David.Monniaux (talk) 13:40, 25 March 2008 (UTC)
Frania misunderstands the meaning of the infobox flags, but she still raises a couple of good points. Croix: de Gaulle claimed to represent the legitimate pre-occupation Government; he considered the Vichy administration illegitimate. You can debate whether that made any legal sense, but it was accepted by enough people for Free France to count as a successor "state" to the third republic. Swastika: I think you have a good point here. As I understand it, the Vichy government still asserted civil control over the occupied territory, even though they ceded military control to Germany. So treating Nazi Germany (which is the link for the first swastika flag and Military Administration in Belgium and North France (the second link) as two of the successor states to the Third Republic has no basis in fact.--Isaac R (talk) 23:38, 15 October 2008 (UTC)
I have taken down the Nazi flag. Strictly speaking, Vichy is the successor to the Third Republic. Only after the tide of war turned did any significant number of Frenchmen looked to de Gaulle for leadership. Kauffner (talk) 03:50, 31 May 2009 (UTC)
Not having put the article on my watch list (I could not stand the sight of the swastika), I just discovered the discussion that took place over a few months ago in answer to my post of March 2008 and the last entry by Kauffner. Thank you Kauffner for removing the nazi thing. Frania W. (talk) 21:33, 17 June 2009 (UTC)
P.S. to Isaac Rabinovitch: I corrected your *he* to *she* because a *she* is what I am. Cordialement à tous! FW

Someone has restored the Nazi flag to this page, though nobody here in discussion has offered any rationale for Nazi Germany being shown as one of two successor states to the Third Republic (which in turn leads to modern Germany also being a successor). The argument against this seems clear enough to me, so I'll remove it again. Please make the case here if there is one. Spark240 (talk) 14:40, 17 February 2010 (UTC)

Map - North Africa[edit]

Morocco was a French protectorate, but was certainly never part of France proper. Same with Tunisia. I'm less certain about the precise status of Algeria under the Third Republic - it may be appropriate to say it was part of France. But, basically, French protectorates should not be shown as part of France on the map. john k (talk) 14:30, 3 April 2008 (UTC)

Disagree. North Africa was part and parcel of France, then. But it could be much worse. We could show a map of the World with the all of the French colonies. That would give you a heart attack. Yes, my friend. France was for over 1,000 years a major world power (disputing #1 with the UK only, the rest of the planet was either dominated, under influence, or simply obsolete). —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 11:33, 6 March 2009 (UTC)

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This article functions entirely as a history of the republic. No consideration is paid to governmental institutions, which would be useful. What did president, government, chamber, and senate each do? And so forth. That would be useful, especially if compared with the Fourth and Fifth Republics. (talk) 19:13, 26 March 2012 (UTC)

Precisely why I was going to say; this article lacks a pretty basic idea, namely describing the structure of the republic. It's kinda important. oknazevad (talk) 17:53, 21 July 2012 (UTC)

Move discussion in progress[edit]

There is a move discussion in progress on Talk:French First Republic which affects this page. Please participate on that page and not in this talk page section. Thank you. —RMCD bot 03:45, 4 October 2013 (UTC)

editing re 1914[edit]

I twice erased an edit that states: Preoccupied with internal problems, France payed little attention to foreign policy in the first half of the 1910s, although it did extend military service to three years from two over strong Socialist objections in 1913. The rapidly escalating Balkan crisis of 1914 surprised France, not much attention was given to the possible looming of a larger conflict, and an attempted invasion of the nation in early August 1914 was halted the following month with the aid of the British at the First Battle of the Marne. 1) the first half of the 1910s is false--France paid enormous attention of foreign affairs in 1915. 2) "an attempted invasion of the nation" is false-- the German invasion was very real and successfully conquered a large portion of northeastern France and held it for four years. 3) Finally the discussion of the actual invasion is out of place here--It jumps the gun because because it is much more fully covered in the next section in proper chronological sequence. Rjensen (talk) 23:36, 23 April 2015 (UTC)

Successors in infobox[edit]

I have restored all three successor states to the infobox, dual to the three predecessor states in the infobox for the post-war provisional government. An earlier discussion in 2010 led to the removal of Nazi Germany as a successor state, but here the successor listed is the German occupation, not Germany itself, so hopefully that makes more sense. (Of course, the swastika flag is still ugly, but the end of the Third Republic was, after all, ugly.) Perhaps that can be debated, but we should certainly have Free France listed as a successor, as it was the direct de-facto successor in some of the colonies and was also the recognized de-jure successor in the eyes of the Allies. —Toby Bartels (talk) 06:12, 4 October 2015 (UTC)