The War Guilt Problem and the Ligue des droits de l’homme

The War Guilt Problem and the Ligue des droits de l’homme is a significant new volume from Norman Ingram, addressing the history of the Ligue des droits de l’homme (LDH), an organisation founded in 1898 at the height of the Dreyfus Affair and which lay at the very centre of French Republican
politics in the era of the two world wars. Ingram posits that the Ligue’s inability to resolve the question of war guilt from the Great War was what led to its decline by 1937, well before the Nazi invasion of May 1940.

As well as developing our understanding of how the issue of war origins and war guilt transfixed the LDH from 1914 down to the Second World War, this volume also explores the aetiology of French pacifism, expanding on the differences between French and Anglo-American pacifism. It argues that from
1916 onwards, one can see a principled dissent from the Union sacrée war effort that occurred within mainstream French Republicanism and not on the syndicalist or anarchist fringes. Based on substantial research in a large number of French archives, primarily in the papers of the LDH which were
repatriated to France from the former Soviet Union in late 2001, but also on considerable new research in the German archives, the book proposes a new explanatory model to help us understand some of the choices made in Vichy France, moving beyond the usual triptych of collaboration, resistance or