Edouard Herriot, the son of an army officer, was born in Troyes,
France on 5th
July, 1872. After graduation he taught in Nantes and Lyons. A radical
liberal, Herriot became mayor of Lyons in 1905.
During the First
World War Herriot held ministerial office under
(December 1916-March 1917). Herriot was elected to the Chamber of Deputies
in 1919. A great orator he soon became leader of the
During the dispute with President
Millerand, Herriot helped organize the Cartel des Gauches, a left-wing
In the elections of June, 1924 the group won a majority of the seats and
Herriot became the new prime minister.
One in power
Herriot attempted to improve relations between the European powers. He
Soviet Union, accepted the
and agreed to evacuate troops from the
Ruhr. He also
advocated the formation of a
Herriot lost power
in April 1925 and a second ministry in July 1926 only lasted three days. He
also served as minister of education under the premiership of
forward the idea of a
He gained support
from Herriot but the idea stimulated little interest and was not taken up by
other political leaders.
Concerned by the
Adolf Hitler in
in 1934. Parties involved in the agreement included the
Party and Herriot's
involved in the
did well in the 1936 parliamentary elections and won a total of 376 seats.
leader of the
Socialist Party, now become prime minister of
in power the Popular Front government introduced the 40 hour week and other
social reforms. It also nationalized the Bank of France and the armaments
invaded France in May 1940, Herriot originally supported
Petain as head of the
government. He then turned against Petain and argued that
Gaulle should become the new prime minister.
arrested by the Vichy authorities and handed over to the Germans. He was
interned in Potsdam until liberated by the
Red Army on
22nd April, 1945.
After the war Herriot was once again elected as mayor of Lyons. Between 1947
and his retirement in 1954, Herriot was president of the National Assembly.
Edouard Herriot died in Lyons on 26th March, 1957.
(1) Edouard Herriot, The United States of Europe
(1) A European
understanding can be achieved only within the framework of the League of
Nations, as a part of the League, and marking a stage in its development.
(2) Since the
League Covenant permits regional agreements within a comment it follows 'a
fortiori' that it cannot oppose the agreement of a whole continent.
(3) A European
understanding must take account both of international and of national
(4) It must be
open to all the nations of Europe which are willing to enter.
(5) It is rendered
necessary by the laws of economic evolution by industrial amalgamations, and
by the necessity of defending the European market.
(6) It must be
sufficiently comprehensive to admit nations like Great Britain, which have
both European and world-wide interests
(7) The nations
must be represented on absolutely equal terms.
(8) It might very
well seek inspiration from the form taken by the Pan-American Union, its
method of procedure would be the holding of periodical conferences with a
(9) It must be
flexible, prudent and patient.
(10) It must
regard the suppression of tariff barriers as the end, not the beginning, of
an economic organisation of Europe
(11) It can
achieve stability only by a European organisation of credit
durability will depend upon a fixed system of arbitration, disarmament, and
the USA ambassador to
wrote about Edouard Herriot in his autobiography, I Was There (1950)
came to the Embassy on Thursday morning, April 23. Herriot was hopeful of
going to the United States to discuss with President Roosevelt future
relations between France and America, but since he and the President of the
French Senate were the only two effective political leaders still anxious to
preserve representative government in his country, he did not feel he should
leave at that time.
He declared he
would not undertake work of any kind for the Laval Government. Herriot and
his followers did not believe that de Gaulle or his movement had committed
any offence against France, but, on the contrary, were fighting for French
survival and for French ideals.
leader of the Radical-Socialist Party impressed me as a very able and
courageous French patriot-a type not often met in Vichy. He advised me that
America must not have confidence in anything that Laval promised or said.
Herriot spoke convincingly, but when speaking did not look at his hearer.