Stavisky Affair

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Stavisky Affair

(stävēskē`), financial and political scandal that shook France in 1934. Serge Alexandre Stavisky, a swindler associated with the municipal pawnshop of Bayonne, sold huge quantities of worthless bonds. Despite a shady past he had connections with many persons in responsible positions. Faced with exposure in Dec., 1933, he fled but was discovered by the police at Chamonix (Jan., 1934); he either committed suicide or was murdered by the police. Extremists, particularly of the right, accused the Radical Socialist government of Camille ChautempsChautemps, Camille
, 1885–1963, French politician. A Radical Socialist leader, he was premier in 1930 and in 1933–34, when the Stavisky Affair (in which he was not directly implicated) caused his resignation.
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 of corrupt deals with Stavisky and forced its resignation. The rightists further alleged that Stavisky had been murdered to protect influential persons connected with him. Édouard DaladierDaladier, Édouard
, 1884–1970, French politician, a Radical Socialist. After World War I he was a member of successive French cabinets. He was premier from Jan. to Oct., 1933, and again from Jan. to Feb.
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, the new premier, used force to repress bloody riots staged (Feb. 6–7, 1934) in Paris by extremists (chiefly royalists), but he too had to resign. He was replaced by Gaston Doumergue and a national unity cabinet. After a long trial (1935–36) of 20 defendants, none of them politically important, 11 of the accused, including Stavisky's widow, were acquitted. Some of the politicians so wildly accused of corruption—notably Chautemps—were later cleared. The affair had the unfortunate effect of discrediting not only the Radical Socialist party but also parliamentary democracy in general.


See A. Werth, France in Ferment (1935, repr. 1968).

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Stavisky Affair


a financial and political scandal in France that aggravated the political struggle in early 1934. In the early 1930’s the disreputable financier S. A. Stavisky, taking advantage of his connections in political and journalistic circles and in the judicial and administrative apparatus, acquired great wealth through the sale of counterfeit bonds. Several government and political figures were involved in the scandal. Stavisky’s swindle was discovered in December 1933, and, according to the official version, he committed suicide after his arrest in January 1934.

Under the pretext that they were exposing corruption, fascist groups used the Stavisky affair to attack the parliament and the government. They succeeded in bringing down the government of C. Chautemps on Jan. 28, 1934, and on February 6 they instigated a fascist revolt. However, the fascists were repulsed by democratic forces.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
Even though there are political scandals, they are nothing like the Stavisky Affair and the deadly riots that followed.
He was duly assassinated in an effort to conceal the identities of those government officials presumed to have colluded in what became known as the Stavisky Affair (wonderful 1970s movie with Jean Paul Belmondo in the title role).
Although long recognized as a major and unsatisfactorily resolved scandal in the history of the Third Republic the ramifications of the Stavisky Affair have not, until now, been fully explored.