Courtesy Reuters

Marshal Pétain and the "New Order"

THE French censorship and physical difficulties of transatlantic communication have restricted the flow of French newspapers and periodicals to the United States. Thus it has come about that the full texts of many of the public pronouncements of Marshal Pétain, who on July 11 assumed full powers as Chief of State, are still lacking in the United States; while the reports of them transmitted by American correspondents have often been very meager. Among the most important "programmatic" statements by Marshal Pétain is one given by him to the Revue des Deux Mondes, and printed by that periodical in its issue of September 15, 1940, under the title "La Politique Sociale de l'Avenir." It has been widely reprinted subsequently in the local newspapers of unoccupied France. We reproduce below several striking passages from this statement, taken from La Nouvelliste de Lyon, an old-established Royalist organ, of September 20.

Marshal Pétain, who addresses his statement to all Frenchmen, begins by saying that he wishes to discuss politics -- not, however, the "barren and gloomy struggle of parties and factions" but politics as a science and art, "the art of governing men in conformity with their highest and most general interests." A strong State is an indispensable factor in good government. He says it is his intention to build such a State "on the ruins of the monstrous and flabby State which collapsed under the weight of its weaknesses and mistakes far more than under the blows of the enemy." He continues:

"Not being in vassalage to any individual interest or group of interests, the new French State has the freedom, the strength and, I may add, the will to play its rôle of arbiter, and by meting out stern and impartial justice to assure that triumph of the general welfare over individual rights which is so important for the maintenance of national unity.

"There was nothing more illogical, more incoherent, more contradictory than the economic system which, for fifty years or more, brought

Loading, please wait...

Related Articles

This site uses cookies to improve your user experience. Click here to learn more.