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Fighting for FranceViolence in Interwar French Politics$
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Chris Millington

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780197266274

Published to British Academy Scholarship Online: September 2018

DOI: 10.5871/bacad/9780197266274.001.0001

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Brutes and Bludgeoners: The Police

Brutes and Bludgeoners: The Police

(p.111) 4 Brutes and Bludgeoners: The Police
Fighting for France

Chris Millington

British Academy

This chapter analyses the behaviour of the police during violent confrontations. The democratic Third Republic strove to control the behaviour of the forces of order, hoping to inculcate a respect for citizens’ democratic rights in the policeman. However, in the heat of the moment, officers frequently lashed out at political activists and innocent bystanders. They thus earned a deserved reputation for gratuitous brutality. As political conflict worsened during the 1930s, the Mobile Guard riot police were increasingly called to maintain law and order, sometimes with fatal consequences. While the authorities deplored such killings they nevertheless recognised that lethal force was sometimes necessary to defend the regime.

Keywords:   police, police brutality, law and order, Mobile Guard

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