Why was France unstable during the period 1920-40?
Between 1920 and the fall of the Third Republic in May 1940, France had seen 44 different governments and over 20 Prime Ministers. The divide between Right-wing and Left-wing parties at the time was bigger than ever before. So many political parties made it difficult to accomplish stable government during this period. The country was faced with huge losses in manpower and economic destruction after the war, despite being one of the victors. The country was mourning the loss of an entire young male generation. With the onset of the Great Depression, the French people felt the democratic system had failed them and so they looked to extremist organisations to lead them. As the international situation was worsening, it became clear that the instability in France from 1920 to 1940 meant the nation was divided, depressed and in danger of being captured by the Germans in 1940. Immediately after the First World War, there was a period of political instability with the election of four different Prime Ministers in three years. Suprisingly, Georges Clemenceau, despite having lead his country to victory in the Great War was not elected as president. The anti-Socialist lawyer, Raymond Poincare, brought stability to France until forced to resign after he proposed tax increases. Cartel Des Gauches swept to power, which was an alliance between the Radical Party in the centre and the Socialists on the left. The Radical Prime Minister, Edourd Herriot, was met with a severe economic crisis caused by the mismanagement of government expenditure. A divide in the Cartel on how to solve the crisis meant Herriot stepped down in 1926. The demise of a government due to disagreements on a solution to France’s economic problems was an often occurrence during the 1920’s and 1930’s. The French people always suffered as a consequence of the government’s actions. France saw huge inflation with the attempt to overcome the crisis by borrowing...
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