This article takes up Todd Shepard's call to “write together the history of the Algerian War and European integration” by examining the French Socialist Party. Socialist internationalism, built around an analysis of European history, abhorred nationalism and exalted supranational organization. Its principles were durable and firm. Socialist visions for French colonies, on the other hand, were fluid. The asymmetry of the party's European and colonial visions encouraged socialist leaders to apply their European doctrine to France's colonies during the Algerian War. The war split socialists who favored the European communities into multiple parties, in which they cooperated with allies who did not support European integration. French socialist internationalism became a casualty of the Algerian War. In the decolonization of the French Socialist Party, support for European integration declined and internationalism largely vanished as a guiding principle of French socialism.
Cet article répond à l'appel de Todd Shepard à « écrire à la fois l'histoire de la guerre d'Algérie et l'histoire de l'intégration européenne » en examinant le Parti socialiste. L'internationalisme socialiste, basé sur une analyse de l'histoire européenne, dénonça le nationalisme et exalta le supranationalisme. Ses principes furent durables et fermes. Par contre, sa politique concernant les colonies fut souple. L'asymétrie entre les visions européenne et coloniale du parti encouragea l'application de la doctrine européenne aux colonies françaises pendant la guerre d'Algérie. La guerre divisa les partisans socialistes des communautés européennes en multiples partis, dans lesquels ils coopérèrent avec des alliés qui ne soutenaient pas l'intégration européenne. L'internationalisme socialiste français fut une victime de la guerre d'Algérie. Dans la décolonisation du socialisme français, le soutien à l'intégration européenne recula et l'internationalisme disparut comme principe directeur.
On the eve of the Battle of Algiers, a French counterinsurgency that marked a violent peak in the Algerian War for Independence, French premier Guy Mollet told a reporter that his Algerian policy was “in line with the great tradition of French democracy and with socialist thought.”1 In making the case for keeping Algeria French, Mollet, a socialist, put forth internationalist principles that had a long history in the French Socialist Party, the full name of which was the Socialist Party–French Section of the Workers International (Parti Socialiste–Section Française de l'Internationale Ouvrière; SFIO). Conceived in the party as a remedy to European nationalism and militarism in the early twentieth century, these principles held that nationalism was a danger to peace and national sovereignty anachronistic in a world of increasing economic interdependence. The remedy was to build supranational organizations to govern the economic and political relations among states in a world, or European, federation. A powerful and salient discourse, internationalism was the core of the party's foreign policy after World War II.
At the same time that Mollet oversaw an enormous escalation in the French military campaign against the Algerian Revolution in 1956–57, his government negotiated the Treaties of Rome to create a European Economic Community (EEC), a six-nation European common market that later became the European Union. Though they were contemporary events, the Algerian War and the early years of European integration have largely been studied in isolation from each other. That has begun to change in recent years with a flurry of publications about “Eurafrica.”2 This idea, which took many forms, was widely debated in the interwar period and appeared for a brief period in the 1950s as an innovative way of fusing European integration with evolving projects of federation between France and its (supposedly former) colonies. In addition to these works, Frederick Cooper's recent and influential book on citizenship and empire rejects a telos engrained in most studies of decolonization.3 Instead of considering the independence of French colonies inevitable, he emphasizes contingency, multiple possibilities, and African support for federal projects in his study of the postwar French Union, which replaced the French Empire in 1946. Todd Shepard, for his part, encourages scholars to think of the postwar period as a “time of ‘great ensembles,’” when not only supporters of European integration questioned the progressive nature of the nation-state, but so too did Algerian revolutionaries seeking independence. In considering why the Socialist Party found it so hard to let go of Algeria, it is important to restore the contemporary sense not only of desperation caused by colonial war but also of possibility and excitement offered by supranational federation. This article takes up Shepard's call for scholars to “write together the history of the Algerian War and European integration after 1945” by analyzing how internationalist principles on Europe affected socialist discussions of Algeria.4 In turn, it contributes to an emerging literature about decolonization's impact on French politics and society by demonstrating how the Algerian War helped transform and marginalize internationalism within French socialism in the 1960s.5
Colonial and European concepts of international organization and integration, sovereignty and supranationalism, federation and confederation intersected in the SFIO as it discussed Algeria and the EEC in 1956–57. They did not, however, intersect on equal terms. Socialist internationalist discourses, built around an analysis of European history, cemented into doctrines that proved remarkably durable. The weakness and fluidity of its vision for French colonies, on the other hand, encouraged a bleeding of the former discourse into the latter as a means for French socialists to cope with, shape, and forestall decolonization. It was not that internationalist discourses took over (or colonized) colonial discourses, which were a discursive stream with many tributaries. Ideas of a “civilizing mission,” evolutionary hierarchies, and anti-Islamic and racist mind-sets shaped socialist thinking, as did traditions of “humanitarian colonialism” and what Martin Evans calls “third-way reformism.”6 Rather, socialist discourses on European integration resonated so greatly in the party that, as socialist leaders contemplated how to reconcile the “European” and “Muslim” populations of Algeria, these internationalist principles were on hand and already at the forefront of their minds. Pulled in different directions, unsure about their desired goal for Algeria, and increasingly uneasy about the escalating repression in Algeria, these leaders saw European integration as an anchor in stormy seas, a light in the deepening darkness, a purifying cure to the intractable conflicts of the “dirty war.” Agonizing over designs for federation or confederation between France and Algeria, they found the government's success in Europe a seductive, almost irresistible frame of reference. As opposition grew in the party, socialist leaders sought refuge in SFIO internationalist principles, which had their genesis in analyses of Europe rather than of empire. In doing so, they displayed a striking inability (or unwillingness) to conceptualize the colonies on their own terms.
Historians of the French Left, colonialism, and decolonization to date have not investigated how socialist colonial visions interacted with the party's internationalist principles on sovereignty and European cooperation.7 Though existing studies emphasize the damage the war wreaked on the party, they overlook how, in a decade, it also contributed to undermining support for European integration. Talbot Imlay writes that the war “discredit[ed] minority rights among European socialists,” because Mollet's insistence that the protection of European settlers in Algeria had “precedence over national rights” embarrassed socialists eager to collaborate with the nonaligned movement then emerging in Asia and in Africa.8 The war also discredited socialist internationalism in the eyes of an emerging political and cultural force, the “New Left,” which never forgave the SFIO for its role in the war. This article demonstrates how the dynamics unleashed by the war reverberated back onto the SFIO. The war split socialist advocates of European integration into multiple parties, in which they cooperated with allies who did not share their conception of internationalism. Moreover, European integration did not resonate in the same way with socialists who came of age during the Algerian War. Attracted to the project of Third World state building, they also looked to the nation-state at home for solutions to domestic problems. When the fractured Left came together into the new Parti Socialiste in 1969–72, only a rump, elderly faction remained to defend the socialist internationalist principles that had shortly before been an indispensable feature of what it meant to be a French socialist.
The Genesis of French Socialist Internationalism
Internationalism was a unifying concept that distinguished socialists in the French political arena. Before World War I the concept was rather vague, another rhetorical arrow in the socialist arsenal to threaten a revolution the party was not preparing to actually launch. Its content was twofold: a rejection of nationalism and militarism, and solidarity with other socialist parties in the Second International. Marxism, often condensed to the famous mantra “Workers of the world, unite,” gave inspiration, if not always substance, to the consolidation of internationalism as a binding agent of French socialism. Jean Jaurès, the socialist leader martyred by an assassin's bullet on the eve of World War I, provided the SFIO with a dictum that internationalism was a higher form of patriotism, asserting in 1911 that “a little patriotism leads away from the International; a lot of patriotism leads back to it.”9 Repeated ad nauseam by socialists in the first sixty years of the twentieth century, it was at once a comforting cliché for party militants and a discursive imperative for party leaders, who explained their policies in the legitimizing language of Jauressian internationalism.
French socialist internationalism before the war had little to say about France's colonies. Born of a language of proletarian revolution, French socialists (rather justly) read Marxist internationalism to mean solidarity of the most “advanced” industrial working classes, the workers of Europe and, by extension, of the socialist parties that arose to lead them. The concept did not offer a course of action for Europe's colonies. The party wavered on the colonial question. At the 1895 congress of the Parti Ouvrier Français (POF), the party unambiguously denounced colonial expansion, opposed expeditions to Indochina, and condemned repression in Madagascar. Despite this record, POF opposition to the colonialism of the French Third Republic generally did not focus on colonial peoples. Rather, French socialists argued that the colonies sapped wealth from French workers. By contrast, socialists in Marseilles, a port city dependent on trade with Africa, argued in favor of French colonial expansion as a means of raising workers' living standards.10 Jaurès at first voted for colonial expeditions in the 1880s before rallying to the POF's stance in 1896. He adopted an assimilationist position and supported French citizenship for Algerian Muslims.11
In the first decade of the twentieth century, French socialist discourses on the colonies began to shift. When Paul Louis published Le colonialisme in 1905, the same year socialists united to form the SFIO, he popularized the term colonialism in France, out of which sprang the term anticolonialists committed, naturally, to anticolonialism.12 The SFIO party congress followed up on Louis's critique by asserting that “socialism is intrinsically hostile to colonialism, which relies on violent conquest and . . . the suppression of Asian and African peoples.” Many socialists, however, opposed this stance, and the party placed greater emphasis on the benefits of French colonization in the years before World War I.13 Gilles Morin writes that three trends of thought existed in the SFIO at the time: “a rigorous anticolonialist trend, an indulgent trend favorable to colonization, and a more balanced position expressed by Jaurès that wished to combine an extension of progress and democracy with respect for indigenous populations.”14 Still, the most common reaction in the party to the colonial project remained, according to Morin, indifference.
French socialists were fixated, though, on preventing colonial disputes between the major European powers from spiraling into a European war. They appropriated ideas about international organization rooted in liberal internationalism and pacifism and applied these international solutions to the colonial question.15 Colonies were objects, rarely subjects, of these discussions. By 1912 Jaurès and others were calling for an internationalization of European colonies and a sharing of colonial riches as the basis for a European entente.16 After World War I broke out, French socialists supported the creation of a League of Nations with a wide range of powers to guarantee conditions for peaceful cooperation between states. They were disappointed by the League established during the Paris Peace Conference in 1919–20 because it lacked a “supranational authority” to enforce its decisions.17 The SFIO press called for a “Federal and Socialist Republic of the United States of Europe” that would also resolve the colonial question.18 At an international socialist conference in Bern in 1919, an SFIO representative said that it “would be terrible to deprive Germany” of its colonies as part of the postwar peace settlement. Rather, “internationalization [should] be extended to the other colonies . . . and Germany [should] have, within the League of Nations, its share in the administration of the . . . internationalized colonies.”19 This was also the view of Léon Jouhaux, head of the formally independent yet SFIO-aligned trade union federation Confédération Générale du Travail, who called in 1918 for the “internationalization of the colonial domain for a better use of the surface and underground resources, for the well-being of humanity, and for the moral and material uplifting of indigenous peoples.”20 When the League of Nations approved French and British mandates over areas of Africa and the Middle East, French socialists called for these to be managed internationally by the League.21
For French socialists, colonial policy remained subordinated to their goal of “international,” that is, European, cooperation through the interwar period. SFIO leader Léon Blum consistently called for strong supranational and regional institutions to resolve international disputes as well as domestic economic problems.22 In a trilateral conference in 1926 SFIO delegates convinced their Belgian and German socialist colleagues to support a European customs union, an idea at the heart of the EEC established several decades later. The conference's joint resolution claimed that a customs union was necessary due to “the interdependence and economic interpenetration of nations.”23 This thinking came out as well in discussions of colonial matters. Jean Zyromski, leader of a leftist faction in the SFIO, called for an “internationalization of colonial policy [as a step toward] an international economic development of the market” at the 1927 party congress.24 Achieving French-German reconciliation through a colonial entente, sometimes known as “Eurafrica,” was a constant temptation for French socialists. The enticing prospect informed the economic agreements concluded by Blum's Popular Front government with Adolf Hitler's government in 1937, which granted Nazi Germany most-favored-nation trading status in French colonies and mandates.25 André Philip, SFIO economist and the foremost advocate for European integration after World War II, supported offering Italy and Germany joint international mandates over their former African colonies as late as 1937.26
Apart from its consistent support for an internationalization of European colonies, SFIO policies for French colonies were in flux through the interwar period. In 1919 the socialist press supported independence for Tunisia. At the 1920 Tours congress, adherents of socialist internationalism split from those who supported Bolshevik internationalism. At the congress Blum's motion distinguished between colonialism and colonization and refused to “confuse the revolt of oppressed peoples with the work of proletarian revolution.” The approved motion, however, recognized the colonial peoples' “right to decide for themselves,” except, importantly, “by means of war.”27 In 1925 a French radical-led government sent soldiers to fight a Moroccan national movement in a conflict known as the Rif War. The SFIO at first abstained and then approved the government's policy before withdrawing support later that year. The SFIO rejected nationalism in the colonies as in Europe during the Rif War, a precedent for its response to the Algerian Revolution.28 In justifying the party's initial position, Blum spoke of the “duty of superior races to bring the same degree of culture to those who have not succeeded in achieving it.”29 French socialists were also influenced by an interwar shift toward “humanitarian sensibilities regarding colonialism” in French literature, the press, and international organizations like the League of Nations and the International Labour Organization.30 They believed in the “civilizing mission” of the French Republic, emphasizing in particular improvements in hygiene, living standards, economic modernization, and, as in France, the civilizing potential of schools.31
Marius Moutet, the SFIO's leading colonial expert, denounced the chasm between France's civilizing mission and the colonial reality, but he too favored an “altruistic colonization.”32 Given the party's fervent secularism, in the Jacobin tradition, Islam appeared fanatical and antimodern. French administrators, like their French revolutionary antecedents, must overthrow the “feudalism” of rural traditional elites. Eager to retain their large constituency among the mostly French and Italian settlers in Algeria, known as the European population, socialists grafted class struggle onto Algeria, clumping together the tyranny of indigenous elites with European capitalism. In 1927 Blum called for a larger representation of colonial peoples in the French parliament and stated that “we want colonial legislation to lead toward independence, toward self-government, like the [British] dominions.”33 Soon, however, independence disappeared from official socialist discourses and assimilation became the party's official policy. It was this assimilationist platform, a mix of political and economic reforms as a stage toward equality with Europeans, that the Popular Front government offered Algerian Muslims when Blum became prime minister in 1936.
Moutet, colonial minister under Blum, announced the Popular Front's intention to implement a reformist program that included an end to forced labor. The Blum-Violette proposal offered citizenship to a limited number of Muslim Algerians and proposed a single electoral college of Europeans and Muslims. In response, the Algiers Muslim Congress led by Ferhat Abbas published a manifesto favoring assimilation with France, but, crucially, it was rejected by Messali Hadj's nationalist movement, the Etoile Nord-Africaine, which demanded independence. Socialists had long had frosty relations with Hadj. Failing to appreciate the enormity of violence embedded in the daily practice of French colonial rule, they accused Hadj of fomenting a race war. They asserted instead their vanguard theory that “the emancipation of the workers of the capitalist countries will give the signal to the emancipation of colonial countries” and their evolutionary view that “the objective of socialist action is the emancipation of individuals by the progressive adoption of the practices of democracy and by enlightenment diffused through schools, and not the emancipation of colonized peoples considered as specific collectivities entitled to independence.”34 Settlers responded to the Blum-Violette proposal by mounting a fierce resistance, and, beleaguered by a range of domestic, coalitional, and international problems, the reform program for Algeria emerged stillborn in 1937.
The failure of the Popular Front's assimilationist program and its renewed oppression of nationalist movements in 1937–38 alienated moderate Algerians from the French Left and opened the door for the more assertive nationalist movement that emerged after World War II.35 Though French communists at times allied with Hadj's supporters during the 1920s and 1930s, relations deteriorated when the French Communist Party (Parti Communiste Français; PCF) abandoned its support for Algerian independence.36 Hadj did have the support, though, of Trotskyists and leftist groups at times aligned with the SFIO, like the Gauche Révolutionnaire faction led by Marceau Pivert and Jean Rous.37 This group, powerful in the Parisian Federation (Seine) and in the Socialist Youth Movement, built personal ties with colonial movements that lasted into the 1950s.38 Evicted from the SFIO in 1936–37, most of them rejoined the SFIO after World War II. They and other supporters of colonial independence, such as Edouard Depreux, Jean Longuet, and Jean Zyromski, opposed armed insurrection, as would later socialist opponents of the Algerian War. However, a third option emerged as well. The Federation of Colonized Peoples, a coalition of leaders from French colonies referred to by James Genova as a Colonial Popular Front, promoted assimilation and self-determination for the colonies, which would then voluntarily join a federation with France on the model of the United States.39 It was to this model that postwar socialist leaders turned in hopes of preserving the French Empire after World War II. For the first time, concrete proposals for (con)federation with the colonies were on the table but, both confusing matters and opening new possibilities, so too were designs for European integration.
French Socialism and the “Federal Moment”
“We would not be socialists were we not patriots and internationalists,” Daniel Mayer said in November 1944 to a congress held to refound the Socialist Party during the Allied liberation of France. Mayer, the leader of the socialist resistance, turned to a Belgian colleague at the congress to say that we “continue with pride to call [ourselves] the ‘French Section of the Workers International.’” The party, he said, “vows to re-creat[e] and renew the Socialist Workers International, the existence of which is more necessary than ever” and to strive for a “League of Nations with a sovereignty superior to each of the national sovereignties.” As these comments suggest, the SFIO emerged in 1944–45 with its internationalist principles strengthened by a narrative that the failure of international solutions in the interwar period had led to economic collapse, nationalism, fascism, and a war more destructive than any that had preceded it. The party's primary objectives would be reconstruction and establishing a lasting European peace. The 1944 congress resolution called for “a federation of free nations” with sovereign powers to ensure peaceful cooperation among the world powers, to create larger economic units, and “to permit the future integration of Germany, reformed in its structure and mentality, into the civilized community.”40
Language provides a window into deeper thinking and mentalities. Civilized community clearly meant the European community, as well as the United States and (though perhaps less so) the Soviet Union. Socialists spoke often in 1944–47 of “a Socialist United States of Europe as a step toward a United States of the World.”41 A “Third Force” Europe would bridge US capitalism and Soviet communism and provide a means for peaceful cooperation between the superpowers. French colonies entered these discourses only at the periphery. They were a means to recover French national power necessary to achieve an internationalist vision.42 At the 1944 congress future French president Vincent Auriol proposed “immediate negotiations with Belgium and Holland based on political interests and common national defense interests, as well as economic interests in Europe and in our overseas possessions” as a first step toward a “European federation.”43 When the Cold War accelerated in 1948–50, the SFIO came to support a more limited internationalist vision, a European community invested with sovereign powers over nation-states.
Socialist internationalist discourses on European cooperation centered on the imperative of larger economic spaces and the perniciousness of national sovereignty. The principle was firm, internally consistent, and endlessly repeated. Party discourses and policies for French colonies, on the other hand, were confused, ambivalent, and divisive. Guy Mollet, a schoolteacher before the war who rose to lead the Pas-de-Calais federation in northern France, had no experience in colonial matters. He seems to have given the issue little thought before he replaced Mayer as general secretary in 1946. In his first prolonged statement on colonial policy, he surveyed the history of socialist thought going back to the nineteenth century. Regretting the “paucity of our documentary record,” he concluded that many socialists understandably “would find it hard to say what has been up to today the traditional position of socialism on the problems of French overseas territories, on colonial problems.” Setting out to clarify the party's position, he resurrected the socialists' prewar conception that colonial populations needed “an apprenticeship in political democracy” and that “colonial exploitation cannot be separated from the fight for the transformation of capitalist society.”44 There was some novelty in Mollet's position, though. A year earlier he rejected assimilation as a goal for emancipating colonial peoples, calling it “ridiculous” and a “joke” to think that they would one day “become conscious of their French nationality.”45
Having cast assimilation aside, Mollet and his party rejected national independence as well. Mollet stitched together a vocabulary for emancipation that split the difference between assimilation and independence by “respect[ing] the ethnic and cultural personality of diverse human groups.” Socialists, he said, should support an “association” or “federation” between France and its (former) colonies by “setting as the ultimate goal of our efforts the emancipation of indigenous populations, an emancipation that they will find in an ever closer union with a democratic and socialist France.” A “social emancipation” and an “economic emancipation” through investment, medical services, and schools would eradicate “misery, sickness, ignorance.”46 This rebranded colonizing mission was the SFIO's contribution to the French provisional government's debate on the constitutional framework of the French Union. A distinguishing feature of socialist colonial discourses in this period was the degree to which the internationalist principle bled into socialist discussions of how to refashion the French Empire into a French Union.
Mollet's statement in 1947 that “our common effort for a collaboration or association [with the colonies] constitutes a step toward the world federation of peoples” lifted language directly from socialist internationalist discourses on European federation. Further, his assertion that the “grand reality of our time is an interdependence of interests and needs” grafted internationalist principles onto analyses of the French Union. Colonial “separatism” took the place of European “nationalism” as a reactionary principle that “does not constitute a means for true liberation.” The integration of Germany into a wider community was necessary to prevent it from being devoured by the nationalist impulses of the victorious Allied powers; so too in the case of the colonies “the world cannot stand the dividing up of disarmed countries that risk falling prey to the large imperial powers.”47 The point here is not that the SFIO's European and colonial policies were the same when Mollet and his party proposed European and colonial federations in 1946–47. Rather, Mollet rallied a party uncertain about the future of France's colonies by evoking an internationalist discourse that united it. In applying the internationalist principle to the colonies, Mollet made it clear that the party's position on nationalism and supranationalism applied both to Europe and to French overseas territories (and to French Algeria).
Michael Collins identifies an international “post-1945 ‘federal moment’” in his analysis of decolonization in the British Empire.48 For Shepard, European integration and French Union overlapped during an era of “great ensembles” after 1945, ending with Algerian independence in 1962. Though French socialists supported both federal projects, reforming the French empire was the first matter facing the provisional government, while geopolitical uncertainties delayed initiatives for European cooperation. Even before the war ended, the French consultative assembly held a conference in the Congolese city of Brazzaville to discuss the future of the French empire. The conference followed a report by Pierre-Olivier Lapie, a French socialist who called for a federation between France and its “overseas territories,” the refashioned term for France's colonies.49 In the end the conference proposed “emancipation through assimilation,” a federal assembly, and wide-ranging social and economic reforms. The conference resolution pointedly “discarded ‘self-government’” and any prospect of independence. Socialists, in contrast, promoted association rather than assimilation, and local assemblies as a step toward autonomy in a federation.
Colonial violence spiked at the end of World War II. A wave of terror against Muslims and murder by European Algerians followed a violent Muslim uprising in the town of Sétif, which broke out the same day the German government capitulated to the Allied powers in May 1945.50 The government also violently repressed a revolt in Madagascar and began a nine-year war against a communist revolution for independence in Indochina. Nonetheless, historians have tended to overlook that French federation was a concept popular not only with French politicians eager to maintain a reformed version of French empire but also with a large number of colonial representatives.51 The Overseas Independent Parliamentary Group, for instance, supported federation.52 Its leader, Léopold Sédar Senghor, the future president of Senegal, initially joined the Socialist Party before breaking to lead the new group in 1948. At the 1946 SFIO congress Senghor shared many of the socialist internationalist principles discussed in this article. He said that “Lenin's thesis” that national independence of colonial peoples was a step toward a world socialist revolution “is outdated.” The woes of the first independent black republic, Haiti, which was poor and de facto at the mercy of the United States, demonstrated that “in today's reality, that is not independence, it is total dependence.” In his view, “the world is marching toward the creation of large zones of influence or, if you prefer a different expression, the creation of large federations.”53
To the disappointment of Senghor and the SFIO, the 1944–46 constitutional debates resulted in a weak and nonegalitarian French Union. After French voters rejected the first constitutional proposal in 1946, the revised version strengthened the position of European settlers in territorial assemblies and weakened the powers of the French Union, which was subordinated to the National Assembly and granted few formal powers. The postwar federal impetus then moved to Western European cooperation in the context of the Marshall Plan and the Hague congress. The SFIO and other proponents of European federation strongly supported a supranational framework for the Organisation of European Economic Cooperation and the Council of Europe, which began operation in 1948–49. However, the British and Scandinavian governments refused to sacrifice national sovereignty. Those organizations operated on the basis of unanimity, a fatal flaw for effective international governance in SFIO narratives of the failure of the League of Nations. In 1949, the term European integration surfaced to describe the ambitions of US diplomats and their European allies for more powerful structures for European regional cooperation. Robert Schuman and Jean Monnet seized on this groundswell and channeled it in a direction they thought would ensure French “economic security” and permit French leaders a greater say in the development of the new West German state.54 The Schuman Plan of May 1950 was the product of internal French deliberations. The six-nation treaty that followed created the European Coal and Steel Community, the first supranational European community in modern history.
French overseas territories were mostly an afterthought in the initial projects for European integration.55 Defining their relationship with the European communities became more pressing as initiatives proliferated in 1950–52 to extend supranational powers beyond the fields of coal and steel. A number of political groups in France supported French Union but less so European integration, viewing the two as potentially antagonistic. The SFIO supported both projects.56 In May 1949 an SFIO study group called for a “federation of Europe and of the Independent or associated Overseas States,” a call taken up six months later by the Socialist Movement for a United States of Europe, led by André Philip.57 Proposals for an association or federation between the French Union and the European communities complicated efforts to develop new forms of European integration, in particular during the interminable debates of an ad hoc European assembly formed to discuss a European Political Community.58 The purpose of the proposed European Political Community was to build democratic accountability for the European Defense Community (EDC), a supranational project of military integration designed to rearm West Germany under European tutelage.
In 1953–54 French socialists were embroiled in a wrenching internal debate about whether to approve the EDC treaty signed in 1952. A split in the party eventually deprived the EDC of a majority in the National Assembly, which defeated the proposal in 1954. The SFIO leadership supported the project, but the SFIO Right opposed it, in part due to widespread concerns that it would drive a wedge between France and its overseas territories. This group included prominent politicians like Robert Lacoste, Max Lejeune, and René Naegelen, who shortly after were among the most ardent defenders of French Algeria during the Algerian War. On the other hand, a left-leaning group emerged as well to oppose the EDC, including Daniel Mayer, Antoine Mazier, and Robert Verdier. They stressed the dangers a German military posed to West German democracy and held out hope for peaceful negotiations to reunite Germany and end the Cold War. Despite their opposition to the EDC, they strongly supported European integration. They were also the most fervent socialist supporters of the 1954–55 Radical-led government of Pierre Mendès-France, who oversaw international negotiations that ended the French war in Indochina and agreed to independence for the French protectorates of Morocco and Tunisia, in addition to presiding over the EDC's defeat.59 In a sign of things to come, the anti-EDC socialist Left began to converge with anticolonial groups outside of the party, many of which did not share their support for European integration or their view that national sovereignties were dangerous and obsolete.
Independence and Interdependence
The Indochina war of 1946–54 destabilized French governments, damaged France's moral and geopolitical prestige, and divided the Socialist Party. Internal conflicts foreshadowed the struggle that broke out among socialists during the Algerian War.60 In 1947 Mollet evoked socialist internationalist rhetoric against “abandoning France's position in Indochina,” arguing that “this so-called independence would halt the movement toward social emancipation in Indochina.”61 An anticolonialist wing in the party around Jean Rous and the Socialist Youth section angrily denounced the SFIO's involvement in the war, but its leaders were soon expelled from the party.62 More moderate SFIO parliamentarians like Mazier regretted that party resolutions advocating a negotiated peace went unheeded while Alain Savary worked tirelessly for a cease-fire to prepare a French withdrawal, traveling numerous times to Indochina to meet with Vietminh officials.63 At the same time, there were bitter recriminations against Naegelen, socialist governor-general in Algeria, who arrested leaders of Hadj's nationalist party, banned its newspaper, and, when Hadj's party was nonetheless on the verge of an electoral victory in 1948, rigged the election.64 Naegelen justified his actions to the SFIO parliamentary group thus: “One does not give liberty to people by giving them the vote, but rather by pulling them out of ignorance, and saving them from sickness, hunger and thirst.”65
At the 1949 SFIO congress Oreste Rosenfeld, socialist deputy in the assembly of the French Union, revealed the quandary colonial independence movements posed to French socialist internationalism:
A whole world [is] on the march. Are we going to remain in the colonialist camp, or are we going to lead this movement and give the populations of the French Union the chance to develop themselves instead of seeking liberty in an ephemeral independence, which a small country can no longer maintain today, at the moment when we feel that France can no longer survive alone in Europe and that it is necessary to create a European Union? At this moment, are we going to push colonial peoples toward independence, which they will seek if they do not feel like they can reach an agreement [s'entendre] with France?66
This remark merits attention because Rosenfeld was the first prominent SFIO official to denounce the Algerian War and among the first expelled from the party for his vocal opposition. Historians have emphasized the role of André Philip, who moved from supporting the socialist government to leading the socialist minority in accusing Mollet of “betray[ing] socialism.”67 Like Rosenfeld, Philip at first thought that “we must make our friends understand that total independence is no longer possible for any people, we are interdependent, and the former colonies . . . should join a regional economic group, most often the European group.”68 Rosenfeld and Philip, later renowned critics of the Algerian War, supported the socialist internationalist principle for Europe and, it bears repeating, considered it applicable to overseas France and Algeria as well.69 Though Philip supported the EDC and Rosenfeld did not, they united behind the European “relaunch” of 1955 that began negotiations for a European common market and atomic energy community. When the Socialist-led government evoked the party's internationalist doctrine in 1956–57 to justify its conduct in Algeria, however, it provoked a wrenching reevaluation of the principle's geographic boundaries.
A world was indeed on the march. In the early 1950s two French neologisms surfaced, the Tiers-Monde (Third World) and décolonisation, to describe national independence movements and the emergence of postcolonial states.70 When the Front de Libération Nationale (FLN) began its revolution for Algerian independence in November 1954, it brought this struggle to the French Republic itself (Algeria was a department of France, not an “overseas territory”). The FLN challenged French republicanism in a far more vivid way than had the distant war in Indochina, and to the SFIO's frustration, the Asian Socialist Conference, a grouping of political parties from Asia and the Middle East, immediately backed the FLN.71 Algerian nationalists rode a Third Worldist wave that encouraged solidarity between colonized and formally colonized peoples. This new internationalism directly contested the SFIO's doctrine that national sovereignties were obsolete and asserted instead that national independence was a precondition for international cooperation rather than its impediment.
Mollet responded to the FLN in 1955 that “secession . . . would be a catastrophe for the people of overseas France who simply cannot develop their own economic resources.”72 Philip shared this view, stating that “Algeria is incapable of assuring its own existence.”73 In September Mollet wrote, “No pseudo-independence at a moment when every day affirms the advantage of the interdependence of peoples and nations.”74 The next month he laid out the SFIO's ambiguous policy for Algeria to the SFIO parliamentary group: “We should orient individuals and people toward independence but not toward sovereignty.”75 The phrasing borrowed directly from the SFIO's European discourse, which argued that European integration was a means rather than obstacle to French independence. The nearly unanimous resolution of the July 1955 SFIO congress called for a new association agreement with overseas territories, a reformed Algerian assembly composed half of European and half of Muslim representatives (Muslims, though, were 90 percent of the population), and a vast program of economic and social development.
When French men and women went to the polls in December 1955, most of those supporting the SFIO and the center-left Republican Front electoral alliance thought that they were voting for peace in Algeria.76 The Movement for Overseas Justice and Liberty, in which Rous, Pivert, and Rosenfeld participated, called for “recognition of the existence of the Algerian nation.” The SFIO's central newspaper published the group's announcement.77 Mollet spoke of “this stupid war without end,” and the party opposed the government's decision to send additional soldiers to Algeria.78 Nonetheless, Evans describes Mollet's rhetoric on Algeria as “vague and ambiguous.”79 In his last speech before the election, Mollet presented peace as a restoration of security and an amplification of the social and economic reform program begun by Mendès-France, whom Mollet expected to lead the next government. Power landed, however, in the hands of the Socialist Party because its pro-European orientation facilitated the building of a stable parliamentary majority. When Mollet formed a cabinet in January 1956, a French government was in place that, for the first time, was determined to simultaneously pursue European integration and federation for overseas France.
The Socialist-led government, elected on a peace platform, instead oversaw an escalation of violence that immersed Algeria in full-fledged war. Mollet's first move was to appoint Georges Catroux, known as a liberal, governor-general of Algeria. When Mollet visited Algeria in February, the capital city, Algiers, degenerated into turmoil. Settlers pelted Mollet with tomatoes and clashed with police. What struck Mollet most was the protestors' humble appearance; they looked like the proletariat his party claimed to represent.80 Mollet quickly accepted Catroux's resignation. Returning to Paris, he insisted that he had not capitulated to protestors and that government policy had not changed.81 He announced the famous “triptych”: cease-fire, free elections in Algeria, and, only then, negotiations with the elected representatives for a new association or federation with France. Independence, though, was nonnegotiable. Mollet sent Lacoste, a hard-liner, to govern Algeria. The National Assembly, with communist votes, declared martial law in Algeria and granted Lacoste special powers that he promised to use to repress the ultras of the Muslim and European communities. The scale of violence grew, and in June Mollet called up reserves and doubled the French military presence in Algeria. Socialist army minister Max Lejeune pressured his generals for progress at all costs while Lacoste protected ruthless parachutiste contingents from scrutiny by the French judiciary.82 The military burned down villages, practiced systematic torture, set up internment camps, and carried out summary executions.83 When the FLN began a wave of terrorism in Algiers in January 1957, Lacoste granted full powers to General Jacques Massu, in effect marking the end of civilian rule in Algeria.84
As the war continued and the military's draconian tactics intensified, unrest spread in the Socialist Party.85 For the first five months of 1956, the massive program of economic and social reforms announced by the government and Lacoste's promise to liberate Muslims from colonialism kept protests in check.86 Internal critics held out hope that this “extension of political rights and economic assistance unparalleled in the history of Western overseas imperialism,” in the words of one historian, might bear fruit.87 Doctors and social workers spread through Algeria, extending free medical care and old-age insurance to Muslims. Decrees favored Muslim candidates for the civil service, dramatically increased wages for Muslim workers, and financed a massive school-building program that accompanied renewed efforts to matriculate Muslim students. A modernization program was launched to industrialize Algeria, lift living standards, and redistribute agricultural land.88 Socialists opposed to state violence in Algeria, for their part, did not have a compelling alternative to offer. They too abhorred the brutal methods of the FLN, which included amputations, massacres, and body desecration. Further, they opposed Algerian independence, agreed with SFIO leaders that national independence was illusory in the modern world, and thought that Algerian economic modernization was impossible without French assistance.
Events in October 1956, however, provoked a minority faction to break with the government. Without cabinet approval, Lejeune ordered the first airline hijacking in history to capture the FLN leadership en route to Morocco.89 The spectacular seizure put an end to five months of secret talks between the FLN and French socialist representatives attempting to prepare the grounds for a cease-fire.90 Then Mollet's government embarked on a daring foreign “adventure” one week later: a British-French-Israeli assault on Gamal Abdar Nasser's Egypt, which came to be known as the Suez War. Nasser had recently nationalized the Suez Canal Company, sheltered Algerian revolutionaries, and provided arms to the FLN. Socialist leaders compared Nasser's pan-Islamism to national socialist expansionism under Adolf Hitler, subsuming French enemies in Africa within an all-encompassing antinationalist rhetoric (overlooking what many observers considered a nationalist reflex in France under Mollet's leadership).91 The Suez War incited leaders of newly independent states into a vigorous defense of Nasser. Mollet's actions deeply embarrassed European colleagues in the Socialist International, who were then touring Asia in the hopes of fostering closer relations with Third World socialists.92
As the SFIO began to splinter in the fall of 1956, Mollet and his allies mobilized “European” discourses to defend French Algeria and discredit socialist critics, insisting on the universality of their internationalist principles. Negotiations for a European common market and an atomic energy community achieved a series of breakthroughs from October 1956 to February 1957, resulting in the Treaties of Rome to create the EEC. At the last moment, Mollet injected overseas France into the negotiations, extracting promises of European development aid for French Africa to assist French finances depleted by war and domestic expenses.93 In January 1957 Mollet gave his most comprehensive speech on the French Union, in which he argued that Algeria would have infinitely greater economic possibilities in a Eurafrican community than as an independent state. Without European assistance, Algeria would be “doomed to anarchy and social repression.”94 Inverting an earlier socialist view that Africa could reconcile France and Germany, Mollet called on Europe and on West Germany in particular to rescue French Africa.95 Mollet argued that without the EEC's commitment “the disaffection of the overseas population” would explode, because “we will not be capable of bringing the aid that they expect.”96 The Treaties of Rome targeted investment toward French sub-Saharan Africa and avoided a direct European entanglement in the Algerian War. Nonetheless, Mollet was quick to exploit his success in advancing European integration, an objective that united the party, to buttress his position on Algeria.
Flush with their European success, SFIO officials pummeled internal opponents with socialist international discourses. Christian Pineau, the SFIO foreign minister who oversaw the EEC negotiations, insisted that socialists cease “this error of opposing the word ‘colonialism’ to the word ‘independence.’” “Don't you see,” he said, “that we Westerners, after our experiences of independence in the nineteenth century . . . are moving not toward the independence of different nations in the world . . . but rather toward formulas of interdependence, toward formulas of abandoning sovereignty.” Gérard Jaquet, probably the party's foremost enthusiast for European integration, argued that “this independence will be illusory. . . . What does independence mean in our epoch of great states? What would the independence of a state with 10 million inhabitants [Algeria] mean?” In 1957 he proclaimed that “independence . . . will be a profound error . . . at the hour of great nations, when small territories will be condemned to a miserable life.”97 Mollet charged his critics with leading the party into an “impossible paradox”:
The more our people advance . . . the more they become conscious that sovereignty must disappear . . . that the time of borders has passed, that supranational organization must be created, that the hour of European organization has arrived as we await a larger Europe and a more united world, the more [our opponents] think that it would be a progress to divide that which is united, to create borders where there are no nations, where they have never existed.
“That,” he concluded, “is inconceivable.”98
As the Algerian War morphed into the most severe crisis of postwar French history, socialist internationalist principles came under assault such that by the early 1960s two internationalist ideologies were fighting for the soul of French socialism. Radicals supporting Third World state building and revolution contested an older socialist vision of European integration and supranationalism. A series of conflicts beginning with the Algerian War and culminating with the US war in Vietnam provided fodder for a new metanarrative that transformed “anticolonialism” into “anti-imperialism,” setting the stage for the internationalist rhetoric of the ’68 movement.99 In 1955–57 Mollet transposed socialist internationalist principles from Europe to Algeria, narrating French colonialism out of history by hitching a reformed transcontinental French federation onto Europe's progressive march toward ever closer union. He was not the only French socialist to think this way, but the results were most disastrous under his watch. As a result, French socialist internationalism became one of many casualties of the Algerian War. Mollet's policy for Algeria split proponents of European integration into different parties and helped bring about the Fifth Republic, in which the SFIO had to adapt to a transformed political context. Not only did French socialists find themselves forced to compromise with parties on the left that had opposed supranationalism in the 1950s, but they also faced increasingly assertive Third Worldists who rejected the EEC almost as an afterthought, just another agent of Western imperialism.100
Opposition to the Algerian War provided meaning, purpose, and direction to the New Left, which blossomed into an influential intellectual and cultural movement that rejected both the Socialist and Communist parties.101 The war made the Far Left, long dormant, suddenly relevant again, spurred the first mass student protests of the 1960s, and opened doors for cooperation between left-wing Christians and a previously hostile socialist movement. The FLN's campaign to internationalize the war captivated the attention of a global public.102 For the New Left, the Algerian War epitomized Western intervention in the Third World. It was a “dirty” war in both method and intent. The New Left set socialist internationalism on its head, idealizing non-European revolutionaries, such as Frantz Fanon in Algeria, Che Guevara in Latin America, and Ho Chi Minh in Vietnam, and celebrated their violence. The French New Left was part of a global movement in the 1960s that shifted its gaze from revolution in Europe to revolution abroad, transposed the role of vanguard from the European working classes to people of color overseas, and redefined internationalism as solidarity with the Third World. European unity no longer sat on the altar of progress, giving way to national independence movements in Africa, Latin America, Palestine, and Vietnam.103
At the forefront of these developments in France was a new socialist party, the Parti Socialiste Unifié (PSU). Formed in 1960, the PSU was a fusion of a left-Catholic party (Union des Gauches Socialistes), an unorthodox communist party (Tribune Communiste), and a socialist party that split from the SFIO in 1958 (Parti Socialiste Autonome; PSA).104 The PSU brought together anticolonial leftists like Yvan Craipeau and Laurent Schwartz, journalists Claude Bourdet and Gilles Martinet of the newspaper France-Observateur, Mendès-France and his supporters, and dissident socialists, most prominently Mayer, Rosenfeld, Savary, and Verdier. Depreux served as the party's general secretary from 1960 to 1967. The PSU was a young, educated, middle-class party with fewer industrial workers than the SFIO but far higher proportions of women, students, and Christians. When radicals won control in 1960 of the national student organization, the Union Nationale des Etudiants de France, they launched the first mass demonstration for peace in Algeria with the support of the PSU.105 Although the PSU's share of the vote remained meager, it had a cultural and political impact disproportionate to its size. The party nurtured in its ranks an ethos that came to define the “spirit of ’68’” in France; it helped foster new social movements like feminism, ecology, and gay and immigrant rights; and it provided personnel and ideas that shaped the Socialist Party (Parti Socialiste) that replaced the SFIO in 1969–72.106
The PSU rejected Mollet's application of socialist internationalist principles to Algeria. At the same time the PSU remained, as Daniel Gordon writes, “by temperament a deeply internationalist party,” an outlook that the party's founding generation of socialist dissidents brought with them when they migrated from the SFIO to the PSA/PSU in 1958–60.107 As the 1960s progressed, however, the PSU discarded the very principle of socialist internationalism as it had evolved since World War I. Historians of French socialism write that “anticolonialism and opposition to the Algerian War served as cement” for the party.108 Yet there were cracks in this cement. Former SFIO dissidents in the PSU accepted Algerian independence reluctantly as the best of a bad set of options. They detested Mollet and wanted peace in Algeria, but they did not support the FLN, a movement that radicals lionized. Like SFIO leaders, Depreux and his former SFIO colleagues were convinced that national independence would bring all sorts of problems to Algeria.109 At first they hoped that an independent Algeria would choose to join a supranational federation or confederation with France.110 Their radical, often younger party comrades, by contrast, championed Third World nationalism. The internal divide in the PSU came passionately to the fore in a 1961 row over whether to support desertion in the French military and ally with the FLN, for instance, by engaging in such illegal activities as serving as porteurs de valises (suitcase carriers) who clandestinely transported money, false papers, and other contraband for the FLN.111
Further, Mayer, Philip, and Rosenfeld carried modernization theory into the PSU, arguing that development assistance to newly independent states was the best means of showing solidarity with formerly colonized peoples and alleviating the gap between the developed and undeveloped world. Like the SFIO, they advocated supranational institutions to direct this aid, evidence of the continued potency of socialist internationalist thought, and they supported the EEC's association agreements with African states.112 PSU radicals, on the other hand, adopted dependency theory, a concept developed in Latin America that argued that the hegemonic position of highly industrialized capitalist states was responsible for permanent economic stagnation in the Third World. International institutions sponsored by Western states and development assistance were, in these analyses, neocolonial endeavors that undermined national economic programs for industrialization and economic transformation.
The Algerian War set new fault lines on the French left that lasted through the 1960s. The SFIO majority backed the creation of Charles de Gaulle's Fifth Republic in 1958 and followed Mollet's view that “if we have any chance in France . . . to find a political solution for the Algerian problem . . . it is in supporting the positions that de Gaulle takes on this problem, because they are our positions.”113 The SFIO's Algerian policy evolved with de Gaulle: the party advocated new designs for Franco-Algerian federations before acceding to Algerian self-determination and independence in the lead-up to the 1962 Evian accords between the FLN and the French government (and independence for West Africa in 1960–62 as well). Socialists who joined the PSA/PSU, however, rejected the Fifth Republic in 1958 and argued for immediate Algerian independence. Though they were bitterly divided on Algeria, the SFIO and PSA/PSU decried de Gaulle's opposition to supranationalism in the EEC and called for greater progress toward integrating Europe.
Mollet's Algerian policy undermined French socialist internationalism by fracturing its adherents into opposing camps. Socialists were drawn into new alliances with groups that did not share the tradition of socialist internationalism as understood and practiced by the SFIO during the Fourth Republic. Socialists in the PSU found themselves defending European integration against radical critics who derided the EEC as just another embodiment of the bipolar Cold War world that they were trying to overthrow, an “imperialist” organization ancillary to NATO.114 This was not at all what Depreux, Mayer, Savary, and others had had in mind when they left the SFIO. Though at times critical of the path European integration had taken, they supported the EEC and the goal of a united Europe. They were uncomfortable to discover that their conception of internationalism in Europe did not resonate with young radicals. In 1958 the PSA unsuccessfully applied to join the Socialist International.115 By 1968, when a massive student movement set up barricades in Paris, the PSU had moved so far left that the idea of allying with the moderate parties of the Socialist International was no longer even conceivable. The PSU was the only major party in France to fully embrace the ’68 movements and to join protests in the streets.116 As the party marched to the left, one by one former SFIO dissidents left the PSU, and a number of them, for instance, Verdier and Savary, rejoined the SFIO.
Supranationalism, European unity, and allegiance to the Socialist International, all doctrines long sacred for French socialists, increasingly took a back seat to other concerns in the SFIO as well. Mollet's Algerian policies led to conflicts with other European socialist parties, in particular with the British Labour Party and the Swedish Social Democratic Party.117 As Irwin Wall argues, Mollet's unilateralism in Algeria arguably prepared the grounds for de Gaulle's foreign policy of grandeur, which glorified French independent action on the world stage (though Mollet and his party refused to recognize their illegitimate offspring).118 Despite their questionable legacy in government, SFIO leaders carried the party's internationalist principles into the 1960s. In 1967 Pineau denounced de Gaulle for not recognizing that “Europe is the only real means of independence.” Jaquet said that “the condition for independence is . . . the construction of a great European community.”119 The party favored increased powers for the European Commission, the EEC's supranational executive, as well as direct elections for the European Parliament, larger transfers of sovereignty from the member states to the European communities, and enlargement to new member states. Its goals were a European political federation and supranational economic planning.120
At the same time, SFIO leaders were building alliances with parties that did not share their enthusiasm for supranationalism and European integration. The constitution of the Fifth Republic was a presidential regime with (after a 1962 referendum) a popularly elected president. This new system rewarded large electoral coalitions, which prompted SFIO leaders to ponder how to construct an alternative majority to the Gaullist center-right. A 1965 SFIO congress obstructed a proposed alliance with the Popular Republican Movement (MRP), a French Christian democratic party in decline that favored European integration. Instead, the party sought alliances with secular parties and with left-wing clubs. The result was a loose party confederation, the Fédération de la Gauche Démocratique et Socialiste (FGDS), that supported François Mitterrand's presidential candidacy in 1965. These new allies were often lukewarm or antagonistic toward European integration: many members of the Radical Party opposed supranationalism in the 1950s, and the clubs tended toward Third Worldism. Most spectacularly, a few years earlier Mollet had turned to the Communist Party for support in legislative elections, marking a sea change in French politics. For the next twenty years socialists and communists pursued a strategic rapprochement. European integration divided the parties, forcing each to compromise. In 1968 the FGDS and the PCF reached an agreement in which the Communist Party recognized the “reality” of the European communities and the FGDS the “capitalist nature” of the EEC.121
These engagements prepared the ground for a profound process of renewal and recomposition of the French Socialist Party that reduced and transformed the internationalist doctrine. The party congress finally overthrew Mollet in 1969 after twenty-three years of leadership, handing the party to Savary before passing the reins to Mitterrand in 1971. No piece of the socialist internationalist tradition emerged unscathed. The party adopted a new name, the Parti Socialiste (PS), abandoning any pretense of belonging to a higher international socialist authority. To the astonishment of the old guard, the first draft of the founding resolution of the new party did not even mention the Socialist International.122 Only after Verdier intervened did the PS reaffirm its Socialist International membership, though even this proved controversial.123 Support for Third Worldism (e.g., Palestinian liberation) had made inroads in previous years as well, while older socialists, such as Pineau, rejected its basic tenet, stating that “the creation of Israel has nothing to do with the war France once conducted in Indochina, and Nasser and Mao Tse Tung have nothing in common besides propaganda.”124 Moreover, skepticism toward European integration had grown among the party's younger generation. Jean-Pierre Chevènement, who had been a soldier during the Algerian War, rose in prominence by combining calls for “solidarity with the Third World” with a socialism that prioritized the nation-state over the European communities.125
At a 1970 PS congress old and new conceptions of socialism and European integration clashed in the open. Chevènement defended a motion stating that “if participation in Europe becomes an obstacle to the development of Socialism in France, Socialists will in this case give priority to Socialism over Europe.” Older socialists were incredulous at this “retreat” from the internationalist principle, which to their minds was synonymous with socialism itself, and accused their opponents of embracing communist ideas. The party's foreign secretary, Robert Pontillon, rejected this “false choice that is submitted to us between Socialism and capitalist Europe.” Mollet, for his part, said that “one cannot build socialism in one country,” and “I do not choose between Socialism and Europe.”126 Against the wishes of Mollet and his allies, the congress approved a resolution that read, “If one day the development of European construction breaks the evolution toward Socialism, the Socialist Party will not renounce privileging Socialist solutions.”127 European integration and supranationalism were sacred principles no more.
The PS of the 1970s was a less internationalist-oriented party that looked to the nation-state to solve economic and social problems. Mitterrand, socialist leader after 1971, reversed himself in 1970 and defended the national veto established by de Gaulle in the European communities. Michel Rocard became PSU secretary-general in 1967, replacing Depreux's pro-integration leadership. He left the PSU in 1973 to join the PS and, that same year, coauthored an anti-EEC pamphlet, The Common Market against Europe, though he later adopted a pro-integration position as socialist prime minister and then secretary-general of the PS in the 1980s–1990s.128 Socialist policy oscillated on supranationalism and European institutions in the 1970s. In alliance with the Communist Party, the PS won the 1981 elections. After President Mitterrand attempted to implement his electoral platform of sweeping nationalizations to move France toward socialism while remaining in the EEC, a frenzy of capital flight forced a change of course. Mitterrand responded by pivoting to Europe, advocating initiatives that led to the Single European Act of 1986 and the Maastricht Treaty of 1992 that created the European Union. To many the experience of Mitterrand's government seemed to vindicate the SFIO's view that socialism was possible only at a level greater than the nation-state. Others, however, blamed the European communities and international economic structures for the fate of this last attempt to build socialism in France. For fifty years now Chevènement and others have demanded that French governments claw sovereignty back from European institutions in Brussels.
The decolonization of French socialism in the 1960s should be considered part of the history of “decolonized France,” a term offered by Christoph Kalter and Martin Rempe to argue that decolonization occurred not only in the (former) colonies but also in France.129 A marginalization of socialist internationalism was part of the “remaking of France” during the “invention of decolonization,” to employ analytical categories presented by Shepard.130 In the decolonization of French socialism, the SFIO's form of internationalism declined and Third Worldism ascended, for a time. A “generation of the Algerian War” rose to displace the “postwar generation” of socialist leaders, although, ironic in a way, their leader was Mitterrand, who had long hushed up his own involvement in the war.131 At the 1973 Socialist congress, only a quarter of delegates under thirty considered European integration “very important,” a figure that rose above 60 percent among the party's oldest generation.132 The PS was skeptical of European integration in a way hardly imaginable in the SFIO. Yet disappointment with the Third World was manifest by the early 1970s as well, due to seemingly endemic corruption, dictatorship, and war.133 As the conflict between two internationalisms wound down in the mid-1970s, internationalism largely vanished as a guiding principle of French socialism.
This article has improved with the critical yet gracious assistance of the external reviewers and editors at French Historical Studies. The author appreciates and thanks them for their work. The article never would have come into existence without the encouragement and brilliance of two professors at the University of Pittsburgh, Seymour Drescher and Evelyn Raski, with whom the author studied comparative imperialism. He wishes to thank his dissertation adviser, William Chase, and also Rabah Aissaoui, Terrence Peterson, Jonathan Polk, Jan Rovny, and Fabien Sacriste for commenting on earlier versions of this article.
1. Paris, Office Universitaire de Recherche Socialiste (hereafter OURS), AGM 69, Interview accordée par M. Guy Mollet, Président du Conseil des ministres de la France à M. de Negri, envoyé spécial de “L'Excelsior” de Mexique.
2. Hansen and Jonsson, Eurafrica; Montarsolo, L'Eurafrique contre-point; Sicking, “Colonial Echo.”
3. Cooper, Citizenship between Empire and Nation.
4. Shepard, “A l'heure des ‘grands ensembles,’” 116.
5. Kalter and Rempe, “La République décolonisée”; Shepard, Invention of Decolonization.
6. Evans, Algeria, xiii–xv. Other terms frequently used for French socialist colonial policy, for example, by James I. Lewis, are colonial liberalism and colonial reformism. Lewis, “Tragic Career of Marius Moutet.”
7. Biondi, Les anticolonialistes; Le Couriard, “Les socialistes et les débuts de la guerre d'Indochine”; Koulakssis, Le Parti socialiste et l'Afrique du Nord; Liauzu, Aux origines des tiers-mondismes; Maquin, Le Parti socialiste et la guerre d'Algérie; Morin, “De l'opposition”; Smith, “French Colonial Consensus.”
8. Imlay, “International Socialism and Decolonization,” 1119–21. For impressive analyses of the nonaligned movement, the Third World concept as ideology and practice, and Algeria's place in it, see Byrne, “Beyond Continents”; and Malley, Call from Algeria.
9. Jaurès, L'organisation socialiste de la France, 571.
10. Biondi, Les anticolonialistes, 83.
11. Koulakssis, Le Parti socialiste et l'Afrique du Nord, 48–53. See also Ageron, “Jaurès et les socialistes français devant la question algérienne.”
12. Biondi, Les anticolonialistes, 75–82.
13. Koulakssis, Le Parti socialiste et l'Afrique du Nord, 65–66.
14. Morin, “De l'opposition,” 83–86.
15. Cooper, Patriotic Pacifism. For the interwar period, see Laqua, “Democratic Politics and the League of Nations.”
16. Koulakssis, Le Parti socialiste et l'Afrique du Nord, 54.
17. Anonymous, “Avant le Conseil National: La paix et le parti.”
18. Charpentier, “Vision d'avenir.”
19. Renaudel, L'Internationale à Berne, 107–8.
20. Anonymous, “Au meeting du cirque d'hiver.”
21. Morin, “De l'opposition,” 87.
22. For the wide range of areas over which he wished to extend the powers of the League of Nations, see, e.g., Blum, “Pourquoi le socialisme est internationaliste.”
23. Anonymous, “La conférence économique franco-germano-belge.”
24. 24ème congrès national: Tenu à Lyon les 17, 18, 19 et 20 avril 1927; Compte-rendu sténographique/Parti Socialiste, gallica.fr.
25. Ageron, “L'idée d'Eurafrique et le débat colonial franco-allemand.”
26. Biondi, Les anticolonialistes, 320.
27. Koulakssis, Le Parti socialiste et l'Afrique du Nord, 110–30, 196–204; Morin, “De l'opposition,” 86–87.
28. Anonymous, “Le nationalisme marocain des communistes.”
29. Slavin, “French Left and the Rif War,” 19.
30. Daughton, “Behind the Imperial Curtain,” 523.
31. Conklin, Mission to Civilize.
32. The term is from Sibeud, “La gauche et l'empire colonial,” 353. See also Lewis, “Tragic Career of Marius Moutet.”
33. Biondi, Les anticolonialistes, 134, 164, 200.
34. Anonymous, “Colonisation et socialisme”; Morin, “De l'opposition,” 95.
35. Evans, Algeria, 68–75; Chafer and Sacker, French Colonial Empire and the Popular Front.
36. Stora, Nationalistes algériens, 25–26, 35.
37. Malley, Call from Algeria, 67.
38. Stora, Nationalistes algériens, 34, 66–74; Richard, “Limits of Solidarity.”
39. Genova, “Empire Within.”
40. Paris, Office Universitaire de Recherche Socialiste (OURS), Congrès National Extraordinaire, Nov. 9–12, 1944.
41. See Loth, Sozialismus und Internationalismus, 35–36.
42. Berstein, “French Power as Seen by the Political Parties after World War II.”
43. Paris, OURS, Congrès National Extraordinaire, Nov. 9–12, 1944.
44. Paris, OURS, Conseil National, Mar. 19–20, 1947.
45. Paris, OURS, Congrès National Extraordinaire, Mar. 29–31, 1946.
47. Paris, OURS, Conseil National, Mar. 19–20, 1947.
48. Collins, “Decolonisation and the ‘Federal Moment.’”
49. De Benoist, L'Afrique occidentale française, 24–37.
50. For SFIO and PCF reactions to the Sétif uprising, see Roger's comments, Paris, OURS, 37ème congrès national, Aug. 11–15, 1945; and Ruscio, “Les communistes et les massacres du Constantinois.”
51. See Cooper, Citizenship between Empire and Nation.
52. De Benoist, L'Afrique occidentale française, 49, 193.
53. Paris, OURS, Conseil National, Mar. 19–20, 1947.
54. For the broader context of the Schuman Plan, see Hitchcock, France Restored; and Milward, Reconstruction of Western Europe.
55. Rice, “Reframing Imperialism,” 30–31; Montarsolo, L'Eurafrique contre-point, 84–90, 188–90.
56. For an analysis of the SFIO and the Schuman Plan, see Shaev, “Workers' Politics, the Communist Challenge, and the Schuman Plan.”
57. Montarsolo, L'Eurafrique contre-point, 61–63.
58. Hansen and Jonsson, Eurafrica, 102–39; Montarsolo, L'Eurafrique contre-point, 96–189.
59. See, e.g., Ruscio, “Le mendésisme et l'Indochine.”
60. See Le Couriard, “Les socialistes et les débuts de la guerre d'Indochine.”
61. Paris, OURS, Conseil National, Mar. 19–20, 1947.
62. Kesler, De la gauche dissidente, 97–104.
63. Dalloz, “Alain Savary.”
64. Droz and Lever, Histoire de la guerre d'Algérie, 35; Evans, Algeria, 102–3.
65. Paris, Sciences-Po, Archive d'Histoire Contemporaine (hereafter AHC), Groupe Parlementaire Socialiste (hereafter GPS) 1, Exposé de Naegelen sur la situation en Algérie (réunion du Groupe du 6.7.1949 à 17 H 30).
66. Paris, OURS, Conseil National Pantin, Nov. 13–14, 1948.
67. Philip, Le socialisme trahi.
68. Morin, “André Philip,” 286.
69. For further comments about how internationalism applied to French Algeria, see Lucien Coffin, SFIO deputy and state secretary for the overseas territories in 1950–51, Paris, OURS, 47ème congrès national, Asnières, June 30–July 3, 1955.
70. Alfred Sauvy, a center-left French economist, coined the term Third World in 1952. Malley, Call from Algeria, 78. For an analysis of the concept of the Third World, see Tomlinson, “What Was the Third World?”
71. See Imlay, “International Socialism and Decolonization”; and Byrne, “Beyond Continents,” 917–18.
72. Paris, OURS, 47ème congrès national, June 30–July 3, 1955.
73. Morin, “André Philip,” 289.
74. Quoted in Morin, “De l'opposition,” 145.
75. Paris, AHC, GPS 7, Oct. 4, 1955.
76. Peace was the centerpiece of most individual socialist deputies' campaigns. Simmons, French Socialists in Search of a Role, 10–11.
77. Maquin, Le Parti socialiste et la guerre d'Algérie, 62.
78. Droz and Lever, Histoire de la guerre d'Algérie, 87; Maquin, Le Parti socialiste et la guerre d'Algérie, 57.
79. Evans, Algeria, 145.
80. SFIO leaders had longed distinguished “the small” Europeans (les petites) from the “large colonialists” (les gros colons). See Christian Pineau's remarks from June 1955 in Morin, “De l'opposition,” 145.
81. At Socialist parliamentary group meetings, Daniel Mayer asked why Catroux had resigned, and Depreux called February 6 “a day of defeat.” Paris, AHC, GPS 8, Feb. 7 and 15, 1956.
82. Malye and Stora, François Mitterrand, 180.
83. Branche, La torture et l'armée; Malye and Stora, François Mitterrand; Thénault, Une drôle de justice.
84. Droz and Lever, Histoire de la guerre d'Algérie, 129.
85. Paris, AHC, GPS 8, Feb. 28 and Mar. 3, 1956; Paris, OURS, Comité Directeur, June 4, 1956.
86. Lacoste, Journal officiel de la République française, 763.
87. Shepard, Invention of Decolonization, 45.
88. For an excellent history of the Algerian economy and the industrialization project, see Lefeuvre, Chère Algérie, esp. 304–19. Despite the huge investments, results were meager. Droz and Lever, Histoire de la guerre d'Algérie, 95.
89. Wall, France, the United States, and the Algerian War, 55.
90. There are conflicting accounts of how close the SFIO and FLN representatives were to reaching an accord. Droz and Lever, Histoire de la guerre d'Algérie, 99–100; Maquin, Le Parti socialiste et la guerre d'Algérie, 90–91; Evans, Algeria, 176–77.
91. Renowned journalist Alexander Werth famously used the term National-Molletism. Smith, “French Colonial Consensus,” 239.
92. Imlay, “International Socialism and Decolonization,” 1122–24.
93. Montarsolo, L'Eurafrique contre-point, 247–54; Sicking, “Colonial Echo.” For the role of the overseas territories in the broader negotiations for the EEC, see also Mahant, Birthmarks of Europe, 63–64, 115–19; Rhenisch, Europäische Integration und industrielles Interesse, 202; Segers, Deutschlands Ringen mit der Relance, 307–8; and Thiemeyer, Vom “Pool Vert” zur Europäischen Wirtschaftsgemeinschaft, 250.
94. Evans, Algeria, 195.
95. This phrasing is a play on the title of Alan Milward's book on the origins of European integration, The European Rescue of the Nation-State.
96. Paris, OURS, AGM 70, Déclaration de M. Guy Mollet, Président du Conseil, pour le numéro spécial du journal “Demain” consacré au Marché Commun Européen, Mar. 27, 1957.
97. For Pineau's and Jaquet's remarks, see Paris, OURS, Conseil National Puteaux, Dec. 15–16, 1956.
98. Paris, OURS, 49ème congrès national Toulouse, June 27–30, 1957.
99. Jalabert, “Aux origines,” 71, 75. For the West German New Left's internationalism, see Slobodian, Foreign Front.
100. Szczepanski-Huillery, “‘L'Idéologie tiers-mondiste.’”
101. The earliest known use of the “New Left” label is a two-day conference held in Paris in May 1954. Horn, Spirit of ’68, 150.
102. See Connelly, Diplomatic Revolution.
103. Klimke and Scharloth, “1968 in Europe,” 2–7; Horn, Spirit of ’68, 154. For the French Left's activism against the Vietnam War, see Becker, “Les ‘gauchistes’ et la guerre du Vietnam”; and Rousseau, “Les chrétiens français face à la guerre du Vietnam.” For French students' involvement in protests against the Vietnam War and the war's influence on the 1968 protests in France, see Jalabert, “Aux origines de la génération 1968.” For the moderate stance that Western European socialist parties tended to adopt toward the Vietnam War, see Devin, “L'Internationale socialiste face à la guerre du Vietnam,” 216–20. A useful comparative history of how the European and US radical Left appropriated Third World violence into revolutionary violence at home is Varon, Bringing the War Home.
104. The immediate cause for the 1958 schism was the party's decision to back Charles de Gaulle's project of creating a Fifth Republic as a resolution to the May 1958 crisis that followed a military coup in Algiers. Socialists who left the SFIO for the PSA were almost all opponents of the party's Algerian policies. For the early history of the PSU, a book written by a former PSU leader is Heurgon, La fondation et la guerre d'Algérie.
105. Ibid., 174–76.
106. Kalter, Die Entdeckung der Dritten Welt, 338–39; Horn, Spirit of ’68, 102.
107. Gordon, “‘New Mediterranean Left’?,” 313.
108. Bergounioux and Grunberg, Le long remords du pouvoir, 225.
109. See, e.g., Verdier's comments, Paris, OURS, Conseil National Puteaux, Dec. 15, 1956.
110. See Verdier's comments, Paris, OURS, 49ème congrès national Toulouse, June 27–30, 1957.
111. For the intense fights that took place concerning Algeria in the PSU, especially about whether to support insubordination in the military, see Heurgon, La fondation et la guerre d'Algérie, 135–73, 186–91.
112. Kalter, Die Entdeckung der Dritten Welt, 351. For the SFIO, see, e.g., Roger Quilliot's comments to the Journées nationales d'études Puteaux, May 7–10, 1959, and Pineau's to the 52ème congrès national Issy-les-Moulineaux, June 30–July 3, 1960, and the congressional resolution calling for EEC aid to “underdeveloped countries,” archives-socialistes.fr. For histories of the early EEC association agreements with African states, see Bossuat and Cummings, France, Europe, and Development Aid; and Rempe, “Decolonization by Europeanization?”
113. Conseil National Puteaux, Nov. 7–8, 1959, archives-socialistes.fr.
114. Kesler, De la gauche dissidente, 376–85.
115. Cahn and Müller, La République Fédérale d'Allemagne et la guerre d'Algérie, 452–53.
116. Vigna, “Un ‘chef d'orchestre’?”
117. Scheffler, Die SPD und der Algerienkrieg, 48–53; Imlay, “International Socialism and Decolonization.”
118. Wall, France, the United States, and the Algerian War.
119. Pineau and Jaquet to 56ème congrès national Suresnes, June 29–July 2, 1967, archives-socialistes.fr.
120. Delwit, Les Partis socialistes et l'intégration européenne, 79–80.
121. Ibid., 82.
122. See Robert Verdier to Congrès National Epinay-sur-Seine, June 11, 1971, archives-socialistes.fr.
123. Verdier's motion received 76,696 mandate votes, but an impressive 10,341 opposed the motion. Ibid.
124. Pineau to 56ème congrès national Suresnes, June 29–July 2, 1967, archives-socialistes.fr.
125. See Chevènement to Conseil National Epinay, June 19, 1970, archives-socialistes.fr.
126. Jean Peyrassol used the term retreat at the Congrès National Extraordinaire Epinay, June 20–21, 1970. For comments about socialists embracing communist positions on Europe, see Francis Leenhardt addressing the 57ème Congrès National Constitutif, July 11–13, 1969. For the remarks of Chevènement, Pontillon, and Mollet, as well as of André Chandernagor speaking of socialists adopting communist positions, see Congrès National Extraordinaire Epinay, June 20–21, 1970.
127. Congrès National Extraordinaire Epinay, June 20–21, 1970.
128. Delwit, Les Partis socialistes et l'intégration européenne, 84–92.
129. Kalter and Rempe, “La République décolonisée.”
130. Shepard, Invention of Decolonization.
131. Bergounioux, “Générations socialistes,” 98. For Mitterrand's role in the Algerian War as member of Guy Mollet's cabinet, see Malye and Stora, François Mitterrand.
132. Roland Cayrol surveyed participants at the 1973 party congress. Of the eleven categories studied in the survey, European integration was the subject that most divided the generations present. Only 26 percent of those under thirty years old considered “Europe” very important. This number rose to 39.4 percent among those thirty to thirty-nine, to 44.8 percent among those forty to forty-nine, and to 63.4 percent among those over fifty. Cayrol, “L'univers politique des militants socialistes,” 31.
133. On the demise of Third Worldism, see Malley, Call from Algeria, 168–203.