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Ludovic-Oscar Frossard (also known as L-O Frossard or Oscar Frossard; March 5, 1889, Foussemagne, Territoire de Belfortmarker—February 11, 1946, Parismarker) was a Frenchmarker socialist and communist politician, a member of six successive French governments between 1935 and 1940.

Early career and PCF

Born into an anti-clerical family opposed to the antisemitical side during the Dreyfus Affair (his father was a saddler and a member of the Radical Party), Frossard became involved in socialist politics, and also worked as a schoolteacher. His anti-militarism got him expelled from his teaching position during World War I.

In 1918, he was elected general secretary of the Section française de l'Internationale ouvrière (SFIO) socialist party. Frossard took a trip to Bolshevist Russia in 1920 and became a supporter of Leninism, campaigning for his party to join the Comintern. The Leninists inside the PSU led to the party's split at the December 25 Congress of Toursmarker. Frossard became general secretary of the new French Communist Party (PCF), while Léon Blum led the SFIO. Nonetheless, Frossard soon became disenchanted with the PCF's rejection of pluralism - he resigned on January 1, 1923, and joined the SFIO himself.

SFIO and independent

Elected to the Chamber of Deputies (the lower chamber of the French Third Republic) on a Socialist platform with the 1928 and the 1932 Cartel des gauches; Frossard quit the SFIO parliamentary group during the latter 1936 mandate. His departure did not prevent him from becoming Minister of Propaganda (and the first one ever in this capacity) in Blum's Second Popular Front Ministry (March-April 1938). From 1935, Frossard had been a member of the governments of Pierre Laval and Albert Sarraut (as Labor Minister), as well as that of Camille Chautemps (as Minister of State in charge of the Services of the Presidency of the Council).

Afterwards, he served as Minister of Public Works under radical Édouard Daladier, and again as Minister of Propaganda under conservative Paul Reynaud.

Frossard was made Minister of Public Works and Transmissions in the First Government of Philippe Pétain, created after the Battle of France and the beginning of the Nazi German occupation of France. After the signing of the armistice, he refused to be part of any Vichy France executive, but worked as a journalist. Suspicion of collaboration with the enemy led to an enquiry into his activities at the end of World War II, but his name was soon cleared.

References

  • Philippe Robrieux, Histoire Intérieure du Parti Communiste, vol. 1-2, Fayard



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