Paris Post War: Art and Existentialism 1945-55

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Indy Politics
It seemed that all reactionary influences had been politically liquidated along with Nazism; only that fraction of the bourgeoisie which had co-operated with the Resistance was now participating in public life and accepted the charter of the CNR.

On their side, the Communists supported the government with 'national unanimity'. Thorez came back from the USSR and told the workers it was their duty to revive our industries, to work, to be patient and to refrain for the time being from all claims. No one spoke of putting back the clock; reformists and revolutionaries were taking the same paths into the future. In this atmosphere, all antagonisms became blurred. That Camus was hostile to the Communists seemed a subjective trait of little importance, since in his struggle to bring the charter of the CNR into effect he was defending exactly the same positions they were. Sartre, a Communist sympathiser, nevertheless approved of Combat's policy enough to write an editorial for it. Gaullists, Communists, Catholics and Marxists fraternised. All the newspapers expressed the same ideas. Satre gave an interview to Carrefour. Mauriac wrote for Les Lettres francaises; all sang in chorus our hymn of the future.

From Force of Circumstance by Simone De Beauvoir (Penguin 1968)

(Research by Kate Oldfield)

Paris Post War: Art and Existentialism 1945-55 at the Tate Gallery until 5 September.

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