The Election of 1914
The election of 1914 was, understandably, dominated by the looming threat of war. However, Europe's greatest Republic was still politically fractured and polarised with revolutionary socialists and anarchists on the left calling for the downfall of bourgeois society and radical right wing Monarchists on the right opposing the very existence of the Republic itself.
Republican, Radical and Radical Socialist Party (Parti Républicain, Radical et Radical-Socialiste)
- The Radicals
Political Position: Centre-Left
The Radical Party (officially the Radical, Republican and Radical Socialist Party) was the largest political party in France. The Radicals had been in government for just over a decade, but with the rise of the Socialist movement they had gradually drifted to the right. The Party claimed to embody the principles of the French Revolution – Liberty, Equality and Brotherhood. It fanatically promoted secularisation, culminating in the controversial separation of Church and State in 1905, backed limited social programmes and steadfastly supported the liberal tenants of political freedoms and the sanctity of private property.
The Radicals shall not seek war, but neither shall we shirk the responsibility to protect the peoples of Europe from the tyranny of Prussian domination. We will support our Russian allies should the Kaiser attack, just as we would expect the Russians to come to our aid.
We must ensure that the great victory of 1905 that ensured the secularisation of the Republic continues to stand – this is the greatest testament of Radical led governments over the past 12 years. Never again will the Church dictate the policies of government. We shall also aim to further progress the Republic's social programmes. The income tax, introduced by the Radical government, should adjusted to ensure a greater flow of wealth to the whole of the population whilst there remains a need for some furterh social programmes. However the Republic remains on the right course – a vote for the Radicals is a vote for another 4 years of social progress under Republican values.
Democratic Republican Party (Parti Républicain Démocratique )
Political Position: Centre-Right
Originally formed as a Centre-Left grouping in the wake of the Dreyfus Affair, in opposition to the Radicals on the left and Monarchists on the right the part has since moved to the position of the primary moderate right wing party. The decline of Monarchism and the rise of Socialism had in large part facilitated this change. The party backed classical liberal values – supporting the secularisation laws of 1905 (having been in government alongside the Radicals at the time), and standing against the Anti-Semites during the Dreyfus Affair. As such it was also opposed to social change. Essentially the PRD liked things just the way they were.
The Kaiser is driving us Europe toward war with his haughty belligerence. He thinks us Frenchmen afraid of his Prussian army, he mocks us for the defeat of 1871. We will not allow him an inch. Any aggression from the Germans and against our allies and France shall march to war – to reclaim Alsace-Lorraine!
As ever the PRD must stand for stability, ''neither revolution, nor reaction'' as the party motto goes. The secular and free state created under the Left Block governments of of the past decade, which the party has often been an integral part of, must be protected from the Socialists and Monarchists who would destroy it.
French Section of the Workers' International (Section Française de l'Internationale Ouvrière)
Political Position: Far Left
The SFIO is not actually the most left wing force in the French political sphere. That prize belongs to the Anarchists and Revolutionary Syndicalist who dominate the French trade union movement, controlling much of the leadership of the CGT (the nationwide trade union organisation). However, the open and decentralised nature of the SFIO, and its roots in the working class means that there is significant influence from these ultra-radical forces within the party itself. Its leadership, however, is slightly less radical – backing a revolution through the ballot box. Alongside the SPD in Germany the party is one of the largest members of the Second International. It supports the socialist transformation of French society, internationalism and pacifism. Its most prominent leader, Jean Juares, is the most strident anti militarist in the National Assembly.
The bourgeoisie wants to wage war with the blood of the working class. What does the coal miner, the dock worker or the even the solider gain from war? Nothing but injury, tragedy and even death. It is the workers who do all the bleeding and the bosses who make all the gain. We cannot allow this. If the ruling classes of the continent do push us towards war then we must unite alongside the workers of Germany, of Russia, of Austria, Italy and Britain in a universal general strike. By going to war the bourgeoisie digs its own grave.
we must the socialist transformation of French society. Industry shall be brought under the direct control of the workers who run it, property shall belong to all, and working class democracy shall reign. No child must ever again grow up uneducated or go hungry and no man must ever be left without a job to sustain himself and his family. The theft of the wealth of the nation by the elites shall come to an end and a new age for France shall begin. This is the maximum programme of the SFIO. If the party is unable to gain total control of the Assembly, it shall still vigorously pursue better conditions for workers across France.
Popular Liberal Action (Action Libérale Populaire)
Political Position: Right
The ALP was formed out of former Monarchists who accepted the Pope's call for them to accept the Republic. Supporting political Catholicism the party aims to repeal the secularisation laws, it supported political liberties but above everything aimed to promote social cohesion.
The party will rally to the defence of the fatherland without a moment's hesitation. But it will not seek a general European war. Sadly, it seems war is inevitable and we must prepare to defend ourself from the Prussian onslaught.
The Socialists are the gravest threat to the Republic and to French society. We must show the people that it is liberty, not socialism that shall solve address their grievances. We must ensure ''liberty for all, equality before the law, and we must address the workers' grievances'' – such is our slogan.
The secularisation of 1905 is a crime against the Church and against France. It must be repealed! France's Christianity is an integral part of its national spirit – these Radicals would rip that religion from the heart of the Republic.
Political Position: Far Right
Action Francaise was the champion force of the radical French right. It was opposed to the legacy of the French Revolution and everything it represented. It was anti-democratic, Monarchist, militantly Catholic, strongly nationalistic and opposed any social change. As such it was a political pariah – however, with the death of the traditional forces of Monarchism Action Francais was awakening a more modern far right within France.
Alsace-Lorraine is French! For four humiliating decades France has been occupied by Republican cowards, incapable of restoring French soil to its people. Every day that goes by with the Germans in Strasbourg, Metz and Mulhouse is an insult to our entire nation. War is coming to Europe and it is our duty to strike first and strike hard to crush the Prussians before they can organise and march onwards to the border. The German Empire is an abomination and must be wiped off the face of the earth by French arms. Let the call go out to Berlin – Alsace-Lorraine or War!
France is a bitter parody of the proud nation it once was. Socialists, Radicals and other assorted Republicans stalk our streets and infect the minds of the young with their values that have slowly undermined the very nation of France. They promote conflict between social groups and are the reason for the decline of French power. A century ago France was the most powerful country on earth, today the outside world rates us a second rate power. This course must be reversed and France's honour and glory restored to her. Down with the Republic!
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