May 9, 1936.


A Weekly Newspaper and Review

V ol. 1 6 7 . N o . 5 0 0 9 .

L ondon, M a y 9 , 1 9 3 6

R e g i s t e r e d a t t h e G e n e r a l P o s t O f f i c e a s a N e w s p a p e r .

S ix p e n c e


WEEK BY W EEK ....................... .. .. P age 577 PARIS LETTER

P age ........... 587

LEADING ARTICLES ................................ 580 CHURCH IN THE WORLD ... . ............ 588 M I S C E L L A N Y .................................................... 581 LETTERS TO THE EDITOR ... . ........... 589 IS SPAIN GOING COMMUNIST? (I I ) .. 583 THE NEW BOOKS ... ............ 592 NEGLECT OF ST. AUGUSTINE ........... 585 THE EDUCATION BILL ... . ........... 598 ROME LETTER .......................................... 586 THE CALENDAR ............ 604



r I 'H E final results o f the French elections are notable fo r the way all the losses have been incurred by the moderate central groups, while the parties at each extreme have gained. On the extreme Left, the Communists have gained sixty-two seats, and are eighty-two strong. Next to them on the far le ft o f the Chamber sit the Socialists, who have gained forty-nine seats, and are 146 strong; they are considerably the largest party, and make up virtually a quarter o f a Chamber o f 618. O f the 111 seats which these two parties have gained, seventy-one have been gained from the more moderate parties o f the Left, and the most moderate o f all, the Socialist Radicals, have lost forty-tw o seats, and have exactly changed relative strengths with the Socialists. A ll the losses o f the Right W in g parties, forty-nine seats, have been suffered by those two groups, the Independent Radicals and the L e ft Republicans, who are nearest to the Left. The three Right W in g parties farthest on the right o f the Chamber have gained seventeen seats, have lost none, and are 122 deputies strong. In a sentence, the defeats have all been suffered in the centre o f the Chamber, from which administrations in the last few years have been drawn. The centre o f gravity now moves to the Socialists, whose leader, M. Leon Blum, is expected to begin by reliance on the Communist party. T o say that the alliance will be uncomfortable and probably short-lived is only to say that this Chamber begins its four years o f life like all other French Chambers. The name o f the French groups tell their own story. To-day to be a Republican or a Popular Democrat is to be about as Conservative as is possible in French politics, which is indeed highly Conservative. The third Republic began its political life with the question o f the monarchy still a live political issue. The present Right W in g parties were then the heirs o f the revolutionary tradition, primarily political and

N ew S e r ie s . Vol. CXXXV. No. 4408.

anti-clerical. They were little prepared fo r the new economic opposition personified in the Socialists, who gained their first striking success in 1914, and who lost it in the patriotic fervours o f the W ar years and the triumph o f the Right, the Bloc National o f 1919. Twelve years ago, in 1924, the tide leftwards set in again, the Bloc des Gauches triumphed then as the Front Populaire has triumphed to-day. Then it was the Radicals supported by the Socialists, as to-day it is the Socialists supported by the Communists.

THE R O L E OF THE FRENCH COM M UN IS T S . In 1924 the 104 Socialists would not enter the Government, and remained detached and suspicious, as the eighty-two Communists will do to-day. Those Socialists o f 1924, under Leon Blum, were only a minority o f the old Socialist Party, the majority o f which went over formally to Communism and the Third International in 1920, and Blum was much execrated fo r leading his rump to the support o f the Radicals. It is interesting to recall that Leon Blum, a very wealthy and accomplished Jew and a Mason, was particularly known for his conciliatory attitude to Germany. He stood fo r a rapprochement, opposed the Peace Treaties, and hoped to build a new understanding by a tolerant settlement. Both he and M. Paul Boncour, who is a lawyer o f great oratorical talent in the classical French tradition, can talk the language o f Geneva as well as any public men. It is the Communists who are highly impatient with general talk and League o f Nations ideology, and who press fo r the clearest realization that, whatever may be said in general terms about aggressors and security, it is Germany and only Germany that must be meant. Far from minimizing the seriousness o f the threat to France, the Communists to-day eclipse the Extreme Right in holding that at the moment the German menace eclipses everything else. The Communist Party o f eightytwo is organized with a much more thorough party discipline than the other groups in the Chamber, which are but working alliances o f individual