Radical Party

The Radical Party was established in 1901. A party of the centre, its leading figures after the First World War included Edouard Daladier and Edouard Herriot.

Herriot became prime minister several times between 1924 and 1932. In January, 1933, Edouard Daladier also held this post but his government only survived for seven months. A second government, in 1934, only lasted for a few weeks.

Concerned by the emergence of Adolf Hitler in Nazi Germany, a group of left-wing politicians, led by Leon Blum, Maurice Thorez, and Daniel Mayer formed the Popular Front in 1934. Parties involved in the agreement included the Communist Party and the Socialist Party. With the support of Edouard Daladier and Edouard Herriot, the Radical Party also joined this coalition of parties.

The parties involved in the Popular Front did well in the 1936 parliamentary elections and won a total of 376 seats. Leon Blum, leader of the Socialist Party, now become prime minister of France. Once 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 industry.

Leon Blum lost office in June 1937 but returned to power in March, 1938 until April 1938 when he was replaced by Edouard Daladier.

After the Second World War the popularity of the Radical Party continued to decline and rarely won much more than 10 per cent of the vote. However, with other parties unable to obtain a clear majority, the party often played a disproportionately important role in French governments.