Volksfront (Alsace)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

Volksfront ('People's Front') was a political coalition in Alsace, France. Volksfront was formed in 1928 by the Popular Republican Union (UPR), a group of communists led by Charles Hueber, Progressives led by Camille Dahlet and the Autonomist Landespartei. The goal of the Volksfront was to seek greater autonomy for Alsace; safeguards for the German language, promotion of the Alsatian economy and administrative autonomy for the region. Largely Volksfront represented a continuation of the defunct Heimatbund.[1] The Volksfront showed some similarities of the 1911 National Union, which also had been a loose coalition.[2] Cooperation between Alsatian communists and clerical autonomists had begun with the Bloody Sunday events of 1926.[3]

Regarding the sensitive issue of state-church relations, Volksfront avoided to publicly take a clear stand.[1]

The Volksfront launched two candidates in a parliamentary by-election in 1928 (the election had been called as two elected autonomist assemblymen, Eugène Ricklin and Joseph Rossé, had been refused to be able to take their seats), Marcel Stuermel and René Hauss.[1]

Volksfront won the 1929 municipal election in Strasbourg, defeating the incumbent socialist mayor Jacques Peirotes (who was backed by an anti-clericalist and assimilations coalition). Volksfront won twenty-two seats in the municipal council.[4] They formed a municipal government with Hueber as mayor and Michel Walter as deputy mayor. The coalition also gained a strong presence in the municipal election in Colmar.[1] After the election, the group around Hueber was expelled from the French Communist Party. They formed the Opposition Communist Party of Alsace-Lorraine, which became a new constituent of the Volksfront.[4]

As the Landespartei moved closer to National Socialism, with an increasingly anti-semitic and anti-democratic discourse, divisions began to appear in the Volksfront. The UPR, alienated by the anti-democratic, anti-catholic and anti-religious postures of the National Socialists, deserted the coalition, followed by Dahlet's Progressives in 1933.[1] Volksfront was dissolved in 1935.[5]


  1. ^ a b c d e Fischer, Christopher J. Alsace to the Alsatians?: Visions and Divisions of Alsatian Regionalism, 1870-1939. New York: Berghahn Books, 2010. pp. 198-199
  2. ^ Fischer, Christopher J. Alsace to the Alsatians?: Visions and Divisions of Alsatian Regionalism, 1870-1939. New York: Berghahn Books, 2010. pp. 179
  3. ^ Callahan, Kevin J., and Sarah Ann Curtis. Views from the Margins: Creating Identities in Modern France. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2008. p. 146
  4. ^ a b Hülsen, Bernhard von. Szenenwechsel im Elsass: Theater und Gesellschaft in Straßburg zwischen Deutschland und Frankreich : 1890 - 1944. Leipzig: Leipziger Universitäts-Verlag, 2003. pp. 169, 264
  5. ^ Goodfellow, Samuel. From Communism to Nazism: The Transformation of Alsatian Communists, in Journal of Contemporary History, Vol. 27, No. 2 (Apr., 1992), pp. 231-258