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The Macksey Journal

Abstract

Liberté, egalité, fraternité. The three totems of the French revolution have dominated the nation’s cultural and political system for centuries. And even as the three estates, clergy, aristocracy, and as Abbé Sieyès questioned, « Qu'est-ce que le Tiers-État? » in profound and impactful ways for the revolution, a fourth estate was growing and earning its place as the ardent protector of the principles of liberty, equality, and fraternity. First coined by political thinker Edmund Burke in 1787, the idea of the freedom of the press as the guardian of veritas and as essential to the workings of a democratic government, were called into action during the Second World War during the Nazi occupation of France. As the final check against corruption, authoritarianism, and injustice, many Resistance newspapers stood firm against the brutal Nazi regime. In particular, the Defense de la France newspaper, co-published by Hélène Viannay, took the call to action during the French Resistance to Nazi occupation. The outlet fought Nazi censorship and put its duty to the French people over profit by spending time and money in keeping the Free French informed, even if it meant their lives. They put aside political disagreements to fight one common enemy for the sake of their nation and people. In short, how did Defense De La France influence the people and resistors in France, and did they manage to bridge gaps in politics and creed? Did this particular newspaper step up to honor its responsibilities as one of the bastions of the 4th Estate? What were their methods of distribution, attack on the Nazi party, and over-arching operation? Ultimately, did Defense De La France accomplish their mission as honorees of the 4th Estate, or did they fall short?

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