The Modern French State: Institutional and Cultural Reform, 1930-1950


ACLS Fellowship Program




The French state was overhauled at the Liberation. New statistical and planning agencies were created, as well as a full-blown welfare state. This project presents three arguments about this transformation. First, innovation extended to the cultural domain as well. Radio was nationalized, the cinema placed under state protection, and theater decentralized. Second, the classic Left had a hand in the process, but modernizing moderates and conservatives (technocrats, "neither-right-nor-left" non-conformists, Catholics) played a part too. Third, while a number of these modernizers had joined the Resistance, most had seen service in the authoritarian Vichy regime. There were continuities in both personnel and institutions at the Liberation, which proved less a moment of rupture than often supposed.