Leon Blum

Blum, Léon

Léon Blum (lāôN´ blŏŏm), 1872–1950, French Socialist leader and writer. Well established in literary circles, he entered politics during the Dreyfus Affair and rose to party leadership. In 1936 he brought about the coalition of Radical Socialists, Socialists, and Communists in the Popular Front, which won an overwhelming electoral victory. This first Popular Front government, which he headed as France's first Socialist and first Jewish prime minister, inaugurated the 40-hour week, collective bargaining, and compulsory arbitration; it also reorganized and nationalized the Bank of France; and nationalized the munitions industry. Conservative opposition to Blum's fiscal measures forced his resignation (1937). Blum served as vice premier (1937–38) under Camille Chautemps, was briefly premier in 1938, and opposed the Munich Pact. Arrested (1940) by the Vichy government, his Jewish origins made him a prime defendant in the abortive war-guilt trial at Riom in 1942. Blum was imprisoned until the end of the war. After negotiating (1946) a credit agreement with the United States, he was again premier for a little more than a month in 1946–47, heading a Socialist cabinet. The elder statesman of French Socialists, Blum gradually came to represent the moderate wing. His writings include For All Mankind (tr. 1946, repr. 1969).

See biographies by J. Colton (1966, repr. 1974), J. Lacouture (tr. 1982), and P. Birnbaum (tr. 2015).

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright© 2018, The Columbia University Press.

Leon Blum: Selected full-text books and articles

Leon Blum By Jean Lacouture; George Holoch Holmes & Meier, 1982
Leon Blum: Evolution of a Socialist By Louise Elliott Dalby T. Yoseloff, 1963
Leon Blum: Poet to Premier By Richard L. Stokes Coward-McCann, Inc., 1937
Parties and Politics in Modern France By Richard Barron Public Affairs Press, 1959
Librarian's tip: Discussion of Leon Blum begins on p. 99
The Trammels of Tradition: Social Democracy in Britain, France, and Germany By Carl Cavanagh Hodge Greenwood Press, 1994
Librarian's tip: Discussion of Leon Blum begins on p. 95
France, 1940-1955 By Alexander Werth Henry Holt, 1956
Librarian's tip: Includes discusson of Leon Blum in multiple chapters
France under the Republic: The Development of Modern France (1870-1939) By D. W. Brogan Harper & Brothers Publishers, 1940
Librarian's tip: Discussion of Leon Blum begins on p. 700
Pierre Mendes France By Jean Lacouture Holmes & Meier, 1984
Librarian's tip: Chap. 4 "With Blum"
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