There had certainly been a great demand for a comprehensive welfare state, but governments had responded without any marked enthusiasm. It is therefore necessary to enquire into this lack of action under the Third and Fourth Republics. Two answers are possible: the first is suggested by a remark of Garraty about England:’ [they were] more interested in increasing the rate of unemployment benefits than in increasing employment’.10 Would not France, on the contrary, seek to boost employment rather than simply to give help to the unemployed? But unable to ignore poverty entirely, the treatment of

unemployment under public assistance programmes still implied that many of the victims were responsible for their misfortune: ‘Unemployment was for long the worst misfortune for the worker; it meant poverty and humiliation: poverty because he [sic] had no money and humiliation, since it was his fault, due to his lack of initiative and his laziness.’11