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LEFT TURN

Only second in difficulty to voting in a French election is the attempt to decide just what has happened once it is over. The result of Sunday's run-off makes it clear that France maintains a unique position in a Europe becoming every day more uniformed and stylized. With Mussolini still timing the applause earned by the crowning success of the Fascist regime, and Hitler able to gather all those who voted against him in the confines of a telephone booth, in France at any rate a radical is still popular.

A Parisian Communist is not a Muscovite one, and Frenchmen can wave the tricolor, forgetting the apparent anomoly of the white and the blue on the banner. It has long been merely a question of time before France would have to make up her mind. While the ball was being passed from Flandin to Laval to Sarraut with badly concealed clumsiness, thunder was coming from the left and fire from the right. In arriving at the crossroad, canny Frenchmen saw the issue as it really was and made a sharp left turn. If European history for the last few years can give any lessons, Gallic logic has scored a substantial victory, and one of infinite more promise than the shallow opera being played out on the Ethiopean plains.

With the Communists alone having won as many seats in the new Chamber as the whole Rightist coalition put together, the reaction of Frenchmen to the siren song of Fascism has formed the most violent political gesture of any recent election. For the victory of the Left can be explained only by the fact that the French have made up their minds once and for all that the propositions of the Croix de Feu and the parties of the "interests" hold no lure any longer. In holding the fort against the attacks of the reactionaries during the trying days of the past year, the People's Front took a daring chance and won. It is proof of the theory that even under the most confusing multiple party system, men who find their safety definitely threatened can form their own group to offer common resistance.

More significant as an indication of France's determination not to "take the road to Rome" than as the fulfillment of any social revolution, the election stands as this year's only significant contribution to European stability. Fascism has been weighed and found wanting, and western Europe is still as safe as ever for government of the people.

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