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Triumphant Léon Blum presenting his government program to the Socialist congress after the 1935 electoral victory of the leftist coalition, Paris
[We look in at France's first Socialist cabinet meeting]
Gelatin silver print
5 x 7 ins
Courtesy of the Lucien Aigner Estate
From the photo story "We look in at France's first Socialist cabinet meeting," published 1936 in VU (Paris) and Weekly Illustrated (London).
"I could never get excited about Léon Blum, though I respected his qualities. The first socialist and the first Jew to head a French government, Blum was an honest intellectual, a bundle of nerves and a great theoretician. A product of the wealthy middle class, he became a socialist by conviction...a dangerous approach to politics.
I recall his appearance before the Socialist party congress after the great election victory of the leftist coalition. Carried away by his emotions, he presented his great vision for a new deal in France in passionate, raptured ranting. It was strange to see this cultured, well-mannered intellectual so carried away by passion. His troops roared their approval in thunderous applause and Léon Blum was basking in the sunshine of popularity. Vanity, his great weakness, dominated his features."
Lucien Aigner, from his unpublished memoirs