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Salient. An Organ of Student Opinion at Victoria College, Wellington, N.Z. Vol. 9, No. 2. March 20, 1946

Pre-War Activity

Pre-War Activity

Back in the pre-war days, and during the period of the "phoney" war, Mlle. Delmas told us, students were largely apathetic about the European situation. It was however, an apathy which varied considerably according to Faculty. Students in science and medicine were especially lacking in interest, largely because their courses had little contact with the political scene. The two great communist professors. Prenant and Langevin, were forced by a corrupt government to confine their political activity to meetings outside the University. In the arts faculty, on the other hand, there was considerable political activity among students, especially among those engaged in the study of history and philosophy. Probably 50% of these, said Mlle. Delmas, were communists. Student organisations largely consisted of the various Christian Youth movements, strictly divided into Catholic and protestant, the Communist groups forming part of the nation-wide Communist Youth Movement, and the Socialist Party Youth Movement. Reactionary and future Fascist organisations like the Croix de Feu and the Action Francaise had little influence in the universities, but drew a considerable following from the écoles superieurs and the military academy at Saint-Cyr, the Ecole polytechnique, and the Navel Academy at Brest. On the whole, students were not very interested, the effects of the defeat of the progressives' cause in Spain being largely pessimistic.