These pages were written by the French Socialist leader during the early months of his imprisonment by the Nazis, when things looked blackest for his countrymen. They are addressed to the young men of France, urging them not to condemn outright everything for which the Third Republic stood, above all its democratic ideals. He does not hide or condone the grave faults of that régime, but seeks to discern their origin and their remedy. The failure of the Third Republic, he holds, was the failure of the French bourgeoisie to play its rôle as an effective classe dirigeante. He believes that the salvation of France lies with her working class, organized to fulfill national aspirations, not to act as an instrument for a foreign Power.