Jouhaux, Léon

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Jouhaux, Léon

(lāôN` zho͞o-ō`), 1879–1954, French Socialist labor leader. He headed the Confédération Générale du Travail from 1909 to 1947, when he resigned in protest against its alliance with Communist interests. In 1949 he helped found the anti-Communist International Confederation of Free Trade Unions. Long prominent in the International Labor Organization and active in the service of peace, Jouhaux received the 1951 Nobel Peace Prize. His works include studies on labor and on disarmament.

Jouhaux, Léon

 

Born July 1, 1879, in Paris; died there Apr. 28, 1954. Reformer of the French and international trade-union movement.

Jouhaux was secretary of the French General Confederation of Labor (CGT) from 1909 to 1940 and from 1945 to 1947. In the early 20th century, he supported anarcho-syndicalist, ‘‘ultra-left” slogans. During World War I (1914–18) he became an adherent of the policy of “sacred unity” and collaborated with the bourgeoisie. He was a member of the French delegation to the Paris Peace Conference in 1919–20. Jouhaux was a member of the International Labor Organization of the League of Nations. He was one of the leaders of the Amsterdam International of Trade Unions from 1919 to 1940. He was an opponent of the Great October Socialist revolution and of the Communist movement. Jouhaux opposed the creation of a united workers’ front. In 1947 he was one of the organizers of the split of the CGT and the creation of the trade-union federation, Force Ouvrière, which Jouhaux tried to counterpose to the CGT. He was elected chairman of the Economic Council of France in 1947 and became chairman of the council of the so-called European Movement in 1949.