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The Right in France from the Third Republic to Vichy provides a new history of parliamentary conservatism and the extreme right in France during the successive crises of the years from 1870 to 1945. In it, Kevin Passmore charts royalist opposition to the newly established Republic, the emergence of the nationalist extreme right in the 1890s, and the parallel development of republican conservatism. He moves on to the hitherto unstudied story of conservatism in during the Great War, and then to the Right's victory in the 1919 elections. Passmore charts the crisis of parliamentary conservatism in the interwar years, and explores the Right's response to the rise of Fascism and Communism. He concludes by placing the Vichy regime, which governed France under the German Occupation, in the context of the history of conservative politics. This history is related to the struggle of those who saw themselves as 'elites' to preserve their leadership in the 'age of the masses'. Passmore shows that conservatives of all stripes shared a common culture (notably including organicism and crowd theory), but that different factions used these ideas in different ways, for different purposes. Whereas previous studies have been primarily concerned to 'categorize' conservatives groups, for example as 'fascist',' liberal', or 'modern', this study examines the way in which competing groups used such terms in complex struggles amongst themselves and with the left. The study is based on considerable archival research, as well as on knowledge of the vast body of recently published research in English and French.
Kevin Passmore is a specialist in modern French history, and has written also on the question of generic fascism, the history of the relationship between the social sciences and history, and on historiography.