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In Thrall to Political ChangePolice and Gendarmerie in France$
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Malcolm Anderson

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780199693641

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: February 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:osobl/9780199693641.001.0001

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The Political Police

The Political Police

(p.267) 11 The Political Police
In Thrall to Political Change

Malcolm Anderson

Oxford University Press

This chapter deals with controversies involving the political police in France since 1870. It begins with a historical overview of political policing and traditional beliefs about the political police, along with the scandalised reactions against the very idea of the political police. It then turns to the development of the Republican political police and its role in confronting anarchy. It also looks at the political police from World War I to World War II as well as the police’s controversial employment of informants and agents provocateurs. Finally, the chapter discusses the controversies involving the political police from the Vichy regime to the Fifth Republic, the main reasons why it took so long to reform the political police, and the end of the Directorate of Renseignements généraux.

Keywords:   political police, France, political policing, World War I, World War II, informants, agents provocateurs, Vichy regime, Fifth Republic, Directorate of Renseignements généraux

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