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Léon Blum
Blum
Historical Figure
Nationality: France
Date of Birth: 1872
Date of Death: 1950
Cause of Death: Natural Causes
Religion: Judaism
Occupation: Politician, writer
Political Party: SFIO
Turtledove Appearances:
The War That Came Early
POD: July 20, 1936;
Relevant POD: September 29, 1938
Appearance(s): Two Fronts
Type of Appearance: Contemporary reference
André Léon Blum (9 April 1872 – 30 March 1950) was a French politician. He was a member of the French Section of the Workers' International (SFIO), an early French Socialist party. He served as prime minister of the Third Republic twice (the first Jew to hold the office); the first term from June 1936 to June 1937, and the second from March to April of 1938. He also served in the dual capacity of head of state and government in the post-World War II Provisional Government of the French Republic from December 1946 to January 1947; he also served as foreign minister.

Blum's first ministry was marked by domestic and foreign tensions, as the Nazis came to power in Germany and civil war broke out in Spain. Blum also faced opposition by anti-Semites at home. The Spanish Civil War proved the end of his first government, as Blum, despite his pro-Republican leanings, resolved to remain neutral; France itself was divided by the Spanish war. Frustrated, he resigned in 1937. His brief return in 1938 did see the passage of labor reforms, including a 40-hour work week and paid holidays, but his new coalition was unstable.

At the outbreak of World War II, Blum opted to remain in France. He was arrested in 1940 after opposing Philippe Pétain's rise. He was transferred to Buchenwald in 1943, where he was held until May 1945. His brief turn in the Provisional Government in 1946 through 1947 saw some additional reforms that helped reduce the country's cost of living.

Blum wrote throughout his life, even during his imprisonment. Most of his work was published in Le Populaire, the paper of the SFIO.

Léon Blum in The War That Came EarlyEdit

While Léon Blum had stepped down as premier months before the outbreak of the Second World War in October 1938, France's decision to ally itself with Germany from 1940 through the end of 1941 forced Blum to leave government altogether. When France and Germany were firmly at war again, Blum returned to government in 1942. His status as a Jew and a Socialist was seized upon by German propaganda.[1]

ReferencesEdit

  1. Two Fronts, pg. 90.
Political offices
(OTL)
Preceded by
Albert Sarraut
Prime Minister of France
1936–1937
Succeeded by
Camille Chautemps
Preceded by
Camille Chautemps
Prime Minister of France
1938
Succeeded by
Édouard Daladier
Preceded by
Georges Bidault
Chairman of the Provisional Government of France
1946–1947
Succeeded by
Vincent Auriol
(President of France)
Paul Ramadier
(Prime Minister of France)

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