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Édouard Daladier

(1884—1970)


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(b. 18 June 1884, d. 10 Oct. 1970).

Prime Minister of France 1933, 1934, 1938–40

A Radical in the Chamber of Deputies (1919–40) and the National Assembly (1946–58), he was Minister of War and Defence 1932–4 and 1936–40. Having already participated in fifteen Cabinets, he was immensely popular when he became Prime Minister once again in 1938. Given the renewed threat of a European war, he was able to command a relatively solid parliamentary majority which enabled him to introduce a public works programme and, against bitter trade‐union opposition, an increased working week. He steered the Radical Party towards the right, away from the Popular Front. He pursued the policy of appeasement with Germany, and signed the Munich Agreement in 1938. He had to resign after ineffective and badly coordinated French efforts to help the Finns in the Winter War. However, he stayed on as Minister of War until the defeat, when he was imprisoned by the Vichy government. He was tried unsuccessfully at Riom, and spent the last two years of the war in a German prison. After the war, he became again a leading influence within his party, but since its support had declined considerably, he was unable to join another ministry.

Subjects: Contemporary History (Post 1945) — Politics.


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