The historian and leader of the French resistance Marc Léopold Benjamin Bloch He was born on July 6, 1886 in Lyon. The son of an ancient history teacher, grandson of a school principal, and great-grandson of a combatant in the French Revolution, he was descended from a family of patriotic French Jews. Educated in Paris at the Lycée Louis-le-Grand and the École Normale Supérieure (1904-1908), Bloch he began his career in the highly controversial field of medieval history, which at the time was divided between nationalists and ideological fields. He acquired an exceptional command of languages, literature, and the social and natural sciences, along with a taste for critical inquiry and demystification. Deeply influenced by the production of fraud and the manipulation of popular hysteria during the Dreyfus affair (the controversy over the trial of French Army Captain Alfred Dreyfus for treason), Bloch he developed a lifelong fascination with the political repercussions of deception on the masses.
In 1936, at the peak of his career, he was elected a member of the Sorbonne. There, on the eve of World War II, he completed, in two master volumes, his synthesis, The Feudal Society (1939, 1940). Based on a lifetime of research, Bloch he analyzed medieval ideas and institutions within the context of the intricate feudal bond, which laid the foundations for modern conceptions of freedom and political responsibility.
Despite being 53 years old and the father of six children, he reentered the army in 1939 and witnessed, from the front lines, the fall of France in 1940. He wrote a poignant critique of the military, political and political debacle. human in The strange defeat, written in 1940 and published in 1946, after his death.
The extraordinary services of Bloch They benefited him with an exemption from the anti-Semitic legislation of the Vichy government, allowing him to teach for two more years in the south of France and to work on the unfinished statement of his personal and academic creed, Introduction to History (original in French Apologie pour l’histoire ou métier d’historien), written in 1941 and published in 1949.
After the Nazis occupied all of France, Bloch he joined the French resistance in 1943 and became one of its leaders. Captured by the Vichy police in March 1944, he was tortured by Gestapo chief Klaus Barbie and killed by a German firing squad.
The life and work of Bloch they form a seamless whole. He adored his wife Simonne, who helped and inspired him in his work. A prolific creative and studious, he searched for the imprint of the hand of man behind historical abstractions, Bloch He entered history through his own personal commitment. His example inspired numerous disciples to become investigator-activists, combining research and teaching with a commitment to defending intellectual freedom. After World War II the legacy of Bloch He was especially important to historians working under repressive regimes in Eastern Europe and the non-Western world, where he became a model of a courageous citizen who transcended intellectual and national boundaries.