France's Socialist Interior Minister Hounded to Suicide.
Wednesday 18th November
Roger Salengro, the Socialist Minister of the Interior, committed suicide after a notably savage press campaign against him, mounted chiefly by the extreme right wing newspaper Gringoire. Gringoire was owned by the son-in-law of Jean Chiappe, who had been sacked from the powerful post of Paris’s Prefect of Police at the insistence of the Socialists.
Salengro was accused falsely of having deserted to the Germans during the First world War. He had been cleared of the charge by a majority verdict in a court martial. Much of the abuse featured his military grade as bicycle courier. A broken bicycle wheel had been deposited on the grave of Salengro’s wife, who had died in 1935, as though a funerary wreath. The affair still serves as a shorthand for unacceptably personalized and mendacious political attacks.