Conseil National de la Resistance (CNR)

Conseil National de la Resistance (CNR)

Several important resistance groups emerged after the German occupation of France. This included Combat, Liberation, Francs-Tireur, Front National and the Comité d'Action Socialiste.

General Charles De Gaulle was keen to unite these different resistance groups under his leadership. In January, 1942, Jean Moulin, who had spent time in London with De Gaulle, was sent back to France and was given the task of uniting the various groups into one organization. Over the next few months Moulin arranged meetings with Jean-Pierre Lévy, Pierre Villon, Pierre Brossolette, Henry Frenay, Emmanuel d'Astier, and other leaders of the French Resistance.

After much discussion Jean Moulin persuaded the eight major resistance groups to form the Conseil National de la Resistance (CNR) and the first joint meeting under Moulin's chairmanship took place in Paris on 27th May 1943. When Moulin was arrested in June, 1943, Georges Bidault became president of the CNR.

On 15th March, 1944, the CNR published a charter that demanded a series of social and economic reforms should be implemented after the liberation of France. This included the establishment of universal suffrage and the equality of all citizens. The charter claimed that to ensure true equality it would be necessary to nationalize the large industrial and financial companies. It also called for a minimum wage, independent trade unions, comprehensive social security, worker participation in management, educational equality, and the extension of political, social and economic rights to colonial citizens.

The Constituent Assembly established in 1945 made attempts to satisfy the demands of the CNR Charter. This included the nationalization of the coal fields, the gas and electric companies, five of the leading French banks, the Renault factories and the aircraft industries. Universal suffrage was introduced and social security system was improved.