French Communists Round on Front Populaire

Sunday 6th September 1936

The French Communist Party, having helped the Front Populaire to power, had set out to push its own agenda. Perhaps intentionally, it had set in train the process that was to weaken the Front Populaire fatally. Thorez, the Communist leader, had sprung an entirely unheralded public call for Front Francais national union. This was clearly code for a quasi-dictatorship under its own effective domination. In part, it was a reaction to the dialogue recently established between the government and the German Reichsbank as a part of the financial diplomacy required by France's economic woes. In part, it was a protest against French neutrality in the Spanish Civil War

The Socialist Party issued a counter-blast in the form of an outright rejection of the idea of the Front Francais together with an unambiguous warning against collaboration with anti-democratic forces. This was clearly aimed at the Communists. At a more practical level, Leon Blum was weighing the risks of putting neutrality on Spain to a vote in the Chamber as a way of smoking out  Communist disloyalty to the Front Populaire.