Blum, Andre Leon

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Blum, Andre Leon, born in Paris, 09-04-1872, the son of Jewish parents, studied law at the Sorbonne where he was converted to socialism. After leaving university Blum worked for Jean Jaures  . Jaures had the leadership of the French Socialist Party and on 31-07-1914, age 54, was assassinated by a young French nationalist who wanted to go to war with Germany. Rejected for military service by the French Army in the First World War, Blum entered the Chamber of Deputies in 1919. Blum became leader of the Socialist Party and in 1924 supported the government of Edouard Herriot . Herriot advocated the formation of a European Union and after the war Herriot was once again elected as mayor of Lyons. Between 1947 and his retirement in 1954, Herriot was president of the National Assembly. Edouard Herriot died in Lyons on 26-03-1957, age 72. Concerned by the emergence of Adolf Hitler in Nazi Germany, a group of left-wing politicians, led by Blum, Edouard Daladier, formed the Popular Front in November 1935. Parties involved in the agreement included the Communist Party, the Socialist Party and the Radical Party. The parties involved in the Popular Front did well in the May 1936 parliamentary elections and won a total of 376 seats. Blum, leader of the Socialist Party, now become prime minister of France. Blum therefore became the first Jew in France history to hold this post. Once in power the Popular Front government introduced the 40 hour week and other social reforms. It also nationalized the Bank of France and the armaments industry. In July, 1936, José Giral , the prime minister of the Popular Front government in Spain, requested aid against the military uprising. Giral was forced to flee from Spain when General Francisco Franco (see Franco) and the Nationalist Army took control of the country in March 1939. José Giral died, age 82, in 1962. Blum agreed to send aircraft and artillery. However, after coming under pressure from Stanley Baldwin

  and Anthony Eden in Britain, and more right-wing members of his own cabinet, he changed his mind. Baldwin died  age 80, on 14-12-1947. Blum now called for all countries in Europe not to intervene in the Spanish Civil War. The Communist Party, that up to then had supported the Popular Front government, now organized large demonstrations against Blum’s policy of non-intervention. With the left-wing in open revolt against the government and a growing economic crisis, Blum decided to resign on 22nd June. Once in opposition Blum campaigned for France to end its non-intervention policy. On 13-03-1938 Blum returned to power as prime minister. He immediately reopened the frontier with Spain to allow vast amounts of military equipment to enter the country. Blum now came under considerable pressure from the right-wing press and political figures such as Henry-Philippe Petain and Maurice Gamelin. On 10-04-1938, Blum’s government fell and he was replaced by Edouard Daladier as prime minister. When the German Army invaded France in May 1940, Blum escaped to southern France but Henri-Philippe Petain ordered his arrest.

Death and burial ground of Blum, Andre Leon.

  Along with Edouard Daladier and Paul Reynaud   he was tried in February, 1942, for betraying his country. He was handed over to the Germans who held him prisoner until 1945. Leon Blum died, age 77, on 30-03-1950 in Joux en Josas and is buried on the Communal Cemetery of Joux en Josas, Ilse de France.

 

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