Winterlich, H. E. (2022). The Triumph of Solidarity: French Press Representations of Hitler, 1933-1936. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.14418/wes01.1.2661
Texts examining the politics and social undercurrents of France in the 1930s exist in abundance, yet few of them incorporate an in-depth study of the French press – an institution whose unique development and passionate reporting establish it as a fascinating medium through which to understand individual and popular views of historical events – into their investigations of Franco-German relations. Similarly, those studies that do delve into the French press tend to look into one aspect of it in great detail and somewhat disregard the broader social and political context that may explain why this nation’s newspapers reported the way they did. This thesis aims to push the valuable insights gained from each of these forms of study together into a more comprehensive picture of French journalism, examining how the various elements other writers have discussed interacted with one another and which one(s) ultimately dominated French press representations of Adolf Hitler between January 1933 and March 1936. This investigation features five prominent Parisian publications of the era: L’Action Française; Le Temps; L’Oeuvre; Le Populaire; and L’Humanité. It uses key German and French events to consider the distinctions between these newspapers’ portrayals of Hitler as well as the developments within each of them over time. The thesis also conducts an examination of the political and financial motivations influencing French publications in the early 1930s and briefly discusses public engagement with the French press, though it concludes that solidarity – an element often overlooked by those looking for more objective, tangible influences – ultimately determined how the French press portrayed the Nazi leader. Hence, human connections are found to be powerful dictators amidst times of great turmoil.