Gendarmes facing political violence (Belgium, 1918-1940)

Abstract : Confronted with political violence, the political authority needs to give a polymorphic answer to guarantee the continuity of the State. In the frontline of these answers, police institutions are charge with the management of the disorders. In the streets, in time of strikes, riots of demonstrations, policemen have to put into practice the political, administrative or legal decisions intended to maintain the order and to frame violence. The gendarmerie, as a national and military force, charged with administrative, legal or military police missions, stay in the heart of the official answer. In Belgium, case study of our paper, four political types of violence are observed during the Interwar: demonstrations related to the Flemish movement, movements of WWI veterans, Rexists demonstrations and finally, socio-economic strikes, related to the development of the Communist party. In Belgium, cleavages are there thus at the same time related to National Communities, but also to political and socio-economic ideas. Using gendarmerie’s archives (reports, orders, statements) and archives of official authorities (Prosecutors, ministers), we highlight first, the progress of political violence (places, people involved, typology of violence, …), and secondly, official and institutional answers to these one’s. Between policy, institutional and individual logics, we question the diversity of the attitudes adopted by the gendarmes to manage the disorders.
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Contributor : Jonas Campion <>
Submitted on : Thursday, July 12, 2018 - 3:00:37 PM
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  • HAL Id : hal-01836781, version 1



Jonas Campion. Gendarmes facing political violence (Belgium, 1918-1940). Chris Millington, Kevin Passmore (eds.). Political Violence and Democracy in Western Europe, 1918-1940, Palgrave Mac Millan, 2015, 9781137515940. ⟨hal-01836781⟩



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