Jules Moch

(b. 1893)

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(b. Paris, 15 Mar. 1893; d. Cabris, Alpes-Maritimes, 31 July 1985)

French; deputy 1928–36, 1937–40, 1946–58, 1962–7 The son of an army officer, Moch trained as a lawyer and an engineer, attending the élite École Polytechnique until 1912. Mobilized for the First World War, he was mentioned in dispatches for bravery, and returned to civil engineering after military service. Elected as a Socialist in 1928 he became a close associate of Léon Blum but did not participate in the first Popular Front government. He was Minister for Public Works in 1938. He voted against full powers to Pétain in 1940, was imprisoned and then liberated in 1941 to join the Free French in London. He served as head of François d'Astier de la Vigerie's office in London and then in the consultative assembly from 1943 to 1944. He was again Minister of Public Works in successive governments from 1945–7. Moch was Minister of the Interior during the crucial years of 1947–9. In November of 1947 there were quasi-insurrectional strikes orchestrated by the Communists. Many expected the Republic to buckle under the impact, but Moch played a leading part in imposing the state's authority. An anti-Communist, pro-Nato Socialist, and Minister for Defence in 1950–1, he was also anti-Gaullist and was made Minister of the Interior in 1958 in the hope of bolstering the Republic as in 1947. However, he opposed the return of de Gaulle and was not re-elected in 1958. During the 1960s he attacked de Gaulle's excessive nationalism (as he saw it) and the nuclear strike force. He was marginalized in the Gaullist Republic and declined to stand in 1967. In the 1970s he fell out with the direction of his own party as it set a course for alliance with the Communists and resigned in 1974. Moch wrote a substantial number of books, articles, and pamphlets and an autobiography Une si longue vie (1976).

Subjects: Politics.

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