Herriot, Édouard

Herriot, Édouard

(ādwär` ĕryō`), 1872–1957, French statesman and man of letters. After beginning an academic career he turned to politics. A moderate leftist, anticlerical, and antimilitarist, he rose to leadership of the Radical Socialist (Radical) party, a dominant party in France from 1899 to 1940. In 1904 he was elected mayor of Lyons, an office he held until 1941 and again after 1945. He subsequently became a deputy, president of the chamber of deputies, member of several ministries, and three times premier (notably 1924–25 and 1932). His first premiership saw the evacuation of the Ruhr, occupied under his predecessor, Raymond PoincaréPoincaré, Raymond
, 1860–1934, French statesman, president of France (1913–20); cousin of Jules Henri Poincaré. A member of the chamber of deputies from 1887, he held numerous cabinet posts from 1893 to 1906.
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; the continued fall of the franc led to Herriot's resignation in 1925. During his term in 1932, Herriot sought a conciliatory policy among France, Great Britain, the United States, the Soviet Union, and Germany. At the Disarmament ConferenceDisarmament Conference,
1932–37, meeting for the discussion of general disarmament. The first systematic efforts to limit armaments on an international scale, in either a quantitative or a qualitative sense, occurred at the Hague Conferences of 1899 and 1907.
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 of 1932 he upheld in principle the demand for French security but submitted a modified plan to keep the conference from foundering. He was one of the few French statesmen to advocate payment by France of the war debtswar debts.
This article discusses the obligations incurred by foreign governments for loans made to them by the United States during and shortly after World War I. For international obligations arising out of World War II, see lend-lease.
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 to the United States; on this question his cabinet fell. An opponent of the Vichy government in World War II, Herriot was arrested in 1942 and taken to Germany in 1944. Freed in 1945, he resumed leadership of the Radicals, who had dwindled in size and had long ceased to be a leftist group. In 1956 he resigned the party presidency in protest against a party split. Long held in high personal esteem, Herriot served (1947–54) as president of the national assembly, which had replaced the chamber of deputies. He was also an ardent advocate of a European confederation, for which he set forth a plan in The United States of Europe (tr. 1930). Among his nonpolitical writings are Madame Récamier (tr. 1925) and a biography of Beethoven (tr. 1935).
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Herriot, Édouard


Born July 5, 1872, in Troyes, Aube Department; died Mar. 26, 1957, in St.-Genis-Laval, Rhône Department. French political and state figure. Member of the Académie Française (1946).

A literature teacher by profession, Herriot was mayor of Lyon from 1905 to 1940 and from 1945 to 1955. From 1919 to 1957 (except for brief periods) he was the chairman of the Radical Socialist Party. He was a senator from 1912 to 1919 and a member of the Chamber of Deputies from 1919 to 1940 and from 1946 to 1957.

Herriot was minister of public works, transportation, and supply in 1916 and 1917. In the 1920’s he opposed R. Poincaré’s reactionary policies and helped found the Left Bloc (Cartel des Gauches). In 1924 and 1925, Herriot was prime minister and minister of foreign affairs. His government enacted several democratic reforms, withdrew French troops from the Ruhr, and established diplomatic relations with the USSR (1924). Herriot was president of the Chamber of Deputies in 1925 and 1926 and from 1936 to 1940. He was prime minister from July 19 to July 21, 1926; minister of public education from 1926 to 1928; prime minister and minister of foreign affairs in 1932; and minister of state from 1934 to 1936.

Herriot fought against reaction, urged resistance to fascism and aggression, and advocated the development of Soviet-French cooperation. In 1932 his government signed a nonaggression treaty with the USSR. Herriot opposed the Vichy government in World War II; in 1942 he was arrested and interned by the fascist German aggressors. He was chairman of the National Assembly from 1947 to January 1954 and remained honorary chairman until his death. He supported the Fourth Republic after its establishment, and he opposed the rearmament of Germany and the formation of the European Defense Community.

Herriot was the author of a number of works on public affairs, history, and literature.


Jadis, vols. 1–2. Paris, 1948–52.
In Russian translation:
Izproshlogo: Mezhdu dvumia voinami, 1914–1936. Moscow, 1958.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.