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Raymond Marcellin

Page history last edited by Cassie Turner 5 years, 7 months ago



Raymond Marcellin was a French politician who was born on 19th August 1914 in Sézanne, Marne. When he was younger he trained as a lawyer and taught it to undergraduates during the war at Université-Jeune-France, which was an organisation from Vichy. He had a different upbringing which was not the same as that of most Gaullists. He had never been a member of the Gaullist party (Johnson, 2004).


On 31st May 1968, de Gaulle appointed experienced Raymond Marcellin as France's interior minister to replace Christian Fouchet and when he showed his hostility towards several organisations and individuals, de Gaulle made a statement; "now we have the real Fouché"(Johnson, 2004). This was a reference made to the brutal Joseph Fouché from the 1789 French revolution (Schwarz, 2008) which demonstrated that de Gaulle was happy with his choice in interior minister and that he could strongly rely on him to help with the strikes. In addition to this, de Gaulle has highlighted previous history from the French revolution, hinting that Marcellin will bring on a strong sense of order to restore peace and take back control of the riots.


From the start of Marcellin's reign as interior minister of France, he was of the opinion that the students and workers were enemies of France and he made an effort to end the turbulence of the protests in streets and factories (Ross, 2004: 657). He achieved this by putting in the toughest policing that Paris had ever seen before this time and within days the streets of Paris were reconquered by the French police. Pickets were cleared from the streets outside the fuel depots, in order to secure fuel supplies and get the traffic moving again (Schwarz, 2008). In addition to this he permanently ruled the secret services and the uniformed police against the revolutionary Left-wing parties, like PCF for example. Marcellin massively reinforced the police and within the next five years its numbers had increased by nearly 20,000 (Schwarz, 2008). He also guided France’s fragmented gendarmerie into a national force, co-ordinated from Paris, with the creation of the Direction Générale de la Police.


During his time as interior minister in the events of may 68, Marcellin increased the police budget and pledged that if it were necessary to have 50,000 policeman to keep the Paris riots in order, then there would be 50,000. In this way, he emphasises the demands to help keep the riots at bay, going to extreme necessities because of the extreme strength of the forces behind the protests. On 12th June 68, Marcellin dissolved all revolutionary organisations and expelled 200 'suspect foreigners' from the country. This included the right-wing organisation Occident, along with several other Maoist groups and the 'March 22nd Movement' led by Daniel Cohn-Bendit.


The national elections of 1968 were successful for the Gaullists and were a tribute to Marcellin, although de Gaulle resigned late in 1969. After de Gaulle's resignation Marcellin remained in office as the first policeman in France - "le premier flic de France" by the new president Georges Pompidou. (Anon, The Times, 2004).


Raymond Marcellin died at the age of 90 in Paris on 8th September 2004.





Johnson, D. (2004) Raymond Marcellin. Published in the Guardian Newspaper on Wed 15 Sep 2004 23.59 BST. [online] Available at: https://www.theguardian.com/news/2004/sep/15/guardianobituaries.france 


Author unknown. Raymond Marcellin : French Interior Minister who ruthlessly extinguished the 1968 student uprising in Paris. Published in the Times Newspaper on 16th September 2004, 1:00am [online] Available at: https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/raymond-marcellin-07gncwxlrgc 


Ross, Kristin. (2002) “Establishing Consensus: May ’68 in France as Seen from the 1980s.” Critical Inquiry, vol. 28, no. 3, 2002. (pp. 650-676). JSTOR, JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/10.1086/343234. [online] Available at  www.jstor.org/stable/10.1086/343234?seq=7 



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