Léon Blum

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Léon Blum (1936)

André Léon Blum (born April 9, 1872 in Paris ; died March 30, 1950 in Jouy-en-Josas , Yvelines department ) was a French lawyer, writer and socialist politician. Between 1936 and 1947 he was French Prime Minister several times . At times he was a prisoner in a German concentration camp .



Léon Blum was born into a middle-class Jewish family in Paris. His parents were Abraham Blum (born July 22, 1831 in Westhoffen in Alsace) and Adèle Marie Alice Picart (born November 7, 1841 in Paris). Blum himself became an agnostic . He attended the renowned Lycée Henri IV . There he met the writer André Gide and published his first poems at the age of 17 in a magazine that they edited together. From 1890 he graduated from the elite university École normal supérieure (ENS).

2nd Blum cabinet, March 13 to April 10, 1938
Léon Blum - Prime Minister and Minister of Finance
Édouard Daladier - Minister of Defense
Joseph Paul-Boncour - Foreign Minister
Albert Sérol - Minister of Labor
Albert Rivière - Minister of Pensions
Georges Monnet - Minister of Agriculture
Paul Faure - State Secretary
Transitional government, December 1946 to January 1947
Léon Blum - Prime Minister and Foreign Minister
André Le Troquer - Minister of Defense
Édouard Depreux - Minister of the Interior
André Philip - Minister of Finance
Robert Lacoste - Minister of Industry
Daniel Mayer - Minister of Labor
Paul Ramadier - Minister of Justice
François Tanguy-Prigent - Minister of Agriculture
Guy Mollet - Secretary of State
Blum memorial in Kibbutz Kfar Blum

Blum was Prime Minister of France for three short phases : June 4, 1936 to June 29, 1937, March 13 to April 10, 1938, December 16, 1946 to January 16, 1947. His name is associated with the Popular Front before World War II . He had worked as a lawyer early on in the political world and had worked on the newspaper L'Humanité since 1904 . In 1905 he succeeded in uniting the various currents of the French socialists to form the Section française de l'Internationale ouvrière , SFIO ("French Section of the Workers International") party. Programmatically, he tried above all to contain radical communist demands. He later helped bring about some social and economic reforms .

On June 4, 1936 (after elections on April 26 and May 3), he became the first socialist Prime Minister of France in the government of the so-called Front Populaire ("Popular Front"). For the first time, there were (three) women in government at a time when women in France did not yet have the right to vote. Besides Suzanne Lacore and Cécile Brunschvicg, one of them was the physicist and Nobel Prize winner Irène Joliot-Curie , a daughter of Marie Curie . The Popular Front government also failed to introduce women's suffrage.

The communists tolerated the government without being part of it. Vincent Auriol was Minister of Finance; Charles Spinasse Minister of Economic Affairs. The government wanted - in the Keynesian sense - to stimulate the economy through consumption. The government lasted until June 29, 1937. Blum's successor was Camille Chautemps (June 22, 1937 to January 14, 1938 and January 18, 1938 to March 10, 1938).

Blum's second term ran from March 13 to April 8, 1938. He resigned after the Senate denied him full financial freedom.

As the leading head of the French resistance , he was handed over to the German occupiers by Pierre Laval in 1943 after the Riom trial (February 19, 1942 to May 21, 1943), deported to Germany and from May 1943 to April 1945 in the falconry house of the Buchenwald concentration camp as a prominent figure "Honorary prisoner" interned. His brother René Blum , impresario for the Ballets Russes de Monte Carlo , was murdered in Auschwitz concentration camp in September 1942 . On April 24, 1945, Léon Blum was transported to Niederdorf (South Tyrol) together with around 140 prominent inmates of the Dachau concentration camp , where the prisoners were liberated by soldiers of the Wehrmacht under the command of Captain Wichard von Alvensleben after the SS guards had given up ( see Liberation of SS hostages in South Tyrol ).

After his return to France, Blum was political director of the daily Populaire . In December 1946 he was elected Prime Minister for the third time. Blum's third cabinet was a provisional post-war government from December 16, 1946 to January 22, 1947, which politically moved away from De Gaulle . Vincent Auriol (Socialist Party) then took over the government as the first President of the Fourth Republic .

Blum died of a heart attack on March 30, 1950 at the age of 77. He is buried in the city cemetery of Jouy-en-Josas .


From 1943 until his death, Blum was married to Jeanne Blum for the third time . His descendants include the endocrinologist Étienne-Émile Baulieu (* 1926) and the politician Vincent Peillon (* 1960).


  • Stendhal et le beylisme. Société d'éditions littéraire et artistique, Paris 1914. Reprint Forgotten Books, 2018, ISBN 978-0-33133143-1 .
  • Summoning the Shadows. The Dreyfus Affair. From the French with an introduction and a note by Joachim Kalka . Berenberg, Berlin 2005, ISBN 3-937834-07-9 .
  • Lettres de Buchenwald. Ed. Ilan Greilsammer. Gallimard, Paris 2003, ISBN 2-07-076335-8 .
  • Selection from the factory. Selected and introduced and translated from the French by Grete Helfgott. Europe, Frankfurt 1970.
  • Your way to socialism. Introduced by Herbert Wehner , translated into German by Jean Glöckner. Das Volk, Munich 1947.
  • View of humanity. Translation into German by Willy Vetter. Rowohlt, Hamburg and Europe, Vienna 1947.
  • France at war: sacrifices for victory. Labor Party, London 1940.
  • with Lev Davidovič Trockij , František Xaver Šalda : For Law and Truth: Materials on the Moscow Trial. Prague 1936.
  • There is no peace without disarmament. The French Social Democrats in the struggle to organize peace. Translation Rosa Hilferding, introduction by Rudolf Hilferding . Dietz, Berlin 1932.
  • with Raphael Abramowitsch , Friedrich Adler , Emile Vandervelde : The Moscow Process and the Socialist Workers International . Dietz, Berlin 1931.
  • The French budget and the reparations problem. Chamber speech, Mulhouse 1923.


The kibbutz Kfar Blum in the northern Galilee is named after Léon Blum.


  • Regine Arndt: Léon Blum. A Jewish French. On the importance of pictorial ideas for anti-Semitic propaganda in France during the 1930s. Dissertation. University of Hanover, 1996.
  • Serge Berstein: Léon Blum. Fayard, Paris 2006, ISBN 2-213-63042-9 . (French)
  • Jean-Michel Gaillard: Les 40 jours de Blum. (Les vrais débuts du Front popular. 27 avril - 5 juin 1936). Perrin, Paris 2001, ISBN 2-262-01731-X . (French)
  • Johannes Glasneck : Léon Blum - Republican and Socialist. Lang, Frankfurt Main et al. 2003, ISBN 3-631-39887-5 .
  • Jean Lacouture: Léon Blum. Édition du Seuil, Paris 1977, ISBN 2-02-004706-3 . New edition. ibid 1979, ISBN 2-02-005350-0 ( Points. Histoire 42, French).
  • Matthias Lemke : Republican Socialism. Positions by Bernstein, Kautsky, Jaurès and Blum. Campus Verlag, Frankfurt et al. 2008, ISBN 978-3-593-38600-3 .
  • Gilbert Ziebura : Léon Blum et le Parti socialiste. Volume 1: 1872-1934. Presses de la Fondation Nationale des Sciences Politiques , Paris 1967. (Cahiers de la Fondation Nationale des Sciences Politiques 154, ZDB ID 409344-6 ).

Web links

Commons : Léon Blum  - Collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Cécile Brunschvicg; Sous-secrétaire d'État à l'Éducation nationale. Suzanne Lacore; Sous-secrétaire d'État à la Santé publique chargé de la Protection de l'Enfance . Irène Joliot-Curie; Sous-secrétaire d'État à l'Éducation nationale chargé (e) de la Recherche scientifique (until September 28, 1936).
  2. ^ Page of the Buchenwald memorial . Retrieved July 17, 2013.
  3. Peter Koblank: The Liberation of Special Prisoners and Kinship Prisoners in South Tyrol. Online edition Myth Elser 2006.
  4. See review ( Memento of September 27, 2007 in the Internet Archive ) on histoforum.org.
predecessor Office successor

Albert Sarraut
Camille Chautemps
Georges Bidault
Prime Minister of France
June 4, 1936-21. June 1937
March 13, 1938–8. April 1938
December 16, 1946–16. January 1947

Camille Chautemps
Édouard Daladier
Paul Ramadier

Georges Bidault
Foreign Minister of France
December 16, 1946-22. January 1947

Georges Bidault

Paul Marchandeau
Minister of Finance of France
March 13, 1938-10. April 1938

Paul Marchandeau