4/8/1914 France: l’union sacrée

The funeral of Jean Jaurès takes place in Paris. But something strange has happened to France and to the French left. The funeral of the great pacifist and opponent of war somehow becomes an occasion for socialists to affirm their support for the struggle with Germany.

The Chamber of Deputies and the Senate meet in joint session. A letter from Poincaré is read out by Viviani, calling on them to put aside class and factional differences. Poincaré’s letter talks of a country united in a sacred union: l’union sacrée. The politicians unanimously vote for war credits. Previously socialists had talked of a general strike to prevent war, but now socialist deputies queue up to affirm their support for the conflict.

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