Léon Blum

(1872—1950) French statesman, Prime Minister 1936–7, 1938, 1946–7.

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(b. 9 Apr. 1872, d. 30 Mar. 1950).

Prime Minister of France 1936–7, 1938, 1946–7 Of a Jewish family from the Alsace, the journalist was drawn into politics by the Dreyfus Affair. As secretary from 1916 he was instrumental in reforming the Socialist Party (SFIO) towards pragmatism, and in 1936 he became the first Socialist Prime Minister at the head of a Popular Front government. The government broke up because of financial difficulties and his refusal to intervene in the Spanish Civil War. A second period in office lasted for only a month, again because of his financial policies. Arrested by the Vichy government in 1940 and charged with causing France's defeat, his skilful defence obliged the government to call off his trial (1942). From 1943, he was interned in several German concentration camps. Back in office at the head of a caretaker government, he helped write the Constitution of the Fourth RepublicBarthou, Jean Louis

Barthou, Jean Louis

Subjects: Contemporary History (Post 1945).

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