EHESS: French social sciences under infusion of the CIA

EHESS: French social sciences under infusion of the CIA

by Bertrand Chavaux

From the beginning of the cold war, the CIA is concerned to take control of the teaching of the social sciences in France to the influence of the Communists. Relying on the physicist Pierre Auger, Director of higher education, agency drove the creation of a new section at the École pratique des hautes études, in conjunction with the CNRS. Then, she financed new premises, the House of the human sciences, and succeeded, in 1975, to the École des hautes études en sciences sociales (EHESS), chaired by the anti-Communist historian François Furet.

Voltaire International Network| Paris (France) | 7 July 2004

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The official history of the École des hautes études en sciences sociales (EHESS), written by François Furet and his faithful, insists on the path that would have allowed the institution to emancipate themselves from the influence of his American patrons. School, result of a half-century of American cultural interference, was created through credit distributed during the cold war, by the Ford and Rockefeller foundations. Despite its diplomatic origins, the institution would have known « exceed the idea that created » by renewing ‘ a discipline [history] to old European traditions» [1], becoming, according to this official version released independent intellectual pole constraints imposed by his patrons.

This thesis, intended to deal with possible charges [2], sailing the political and cultural issues related to the creation of the EHESS. Taking control of the school by historians, far from expressing an emancipation of the institution, illuminates the strategic choices of the Rockefeller Foundation, which from the 1950s, is the historical discipline one of the instruments privileged American cultural diplomacy.

The exploitation of social sciences according to Rockefeller

From 1901, John D. Rockefeller (1839-1937), following the advice of his friend Frédérik Gates, a Baptist pastor, is investing part of his colossal fortune to fund philanthropic projects. He established in New York in 1901 the Rockefeller Institute of Medical Research (which becomes in 1965 the Rockefeller University), then in 1902 the General Education Board and in 1909 the Rockefeller Sanitary Commission. These actions turned to the fields of medicine and education led to the creation of the Rockefeller Foundation. The official history retains only the will to « promote the well-being of humanity » inspired by the ideas of Andrew Carnegie who published in 1889 the Gospel of wealth. In reality, the Rockefeller Foundation was essentially a way to circumvent the antitrust laws. In 1911, Standard Oil is fragmented into several subsidiaries; This political decision is expected to put an end to the monopoly held by the company on the US oil markets. By 1910, John D. Rockefeller proposes a project of Foundation « under the protection of the Congress’. It was founded in 1913. This coverage allows the Rockefeller family control different from subsidiaries of fragmentation ordered by the Supreme Court in 1911. The Foundation has, for example, to alone three million shares of Standard Oil of New Jersey, first oil company in the market.

The Foundation’s philanthropic activities are often related to the economic and social interests of the Rockefeller [3] family. Social sciences are thus considered to be an instrument of social control, a cultural challenge in the fight against socialism. End 1913, a strike of several months in a subsidiary of the Standard Oil results, on 20 April 1914, the Ludlow massacre, one of the most tragic episodes of the repression of the American working class. The Foundation had attempted to study the movement in an investigation on  » industrial relations  » to channel it better. Faithful to this instrumentalist of social sciences design, the Foundation promotes, to the United States, their development in different universities (Yale, Harvard, Chicago, Columbia) and, in Europe, provides a large part of the funding of organizations such as the London School of Economics which welcomes economists engaged in the company of Mount Pilgrim [4] (including Fredrich Von Hayek and his teacher Ludwig Von Mises) and Berlin the Deutsche Hochschule für Politik. These intellectual centres will be used, at the time of the cold war, European bases to anti-Communist ideologues funded by the United States (Congress for the freedom of culture, Mont-Pelerin Society…).

The Rockefeller in France Foundation

In 1917, the Laura Spellman Rockefeller Foundation (from the name of the wife of the Patriarch) moved to Paris as part of a tuberculosis control program. At this time, in France, the private financing of social sciences is a very marginal practice. Only Ernest Lavisse, Director of the École normale supérieure (ENS) from 1906 to 1919, tries the patronage experience by creating, with the help of a rich banker, Albert Kahn, street of Ulm the national Committee for social studies and policies (CNESP). The CNESP, formalized by the successor of Ernest Lavisse at the ENS, Gustave Lanson, becomes the ‘social documentation Centre’, an organization headed by Célestin Bouglé where’s young researchers beginning their careers.

In 1931, Rockefeller Foundation responds favourably to requests for funding of Charles Rist, Professor of Economics, Deputy Governor of the Bank of France, who wishes to create a scientific Institute of economic and social research. At the same time, the philanthropic organization refused to support a more ambitious project of Marcel Mauss. Already concerned about the French political situation, the Rockefeller Foundation judge Mauss, nephew of the sociologist Emile Durkheim, « too far left ». In 1932, the social documentation Centre Gets credits to fund two researchers in full-time positions. Raymond Aron and Georges Friedman [5] will be a holding time of these two posts.

From 1933 to 1940, the Scientific Institute of economic and social research led by Charles Rist receives $350 000; the University Council of social research, chaired by the Rector Charléty, $166 000; the Centre for foreign policy studies, an entity headed by the Rector Charléty, $172 000.

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Pierre Auger

During World War II, members of the foundations Ford and Rockefeller organized exile sociologist Gurvitch, anthopologue Lévi-Strauss and the Auger physicist. Georges Gurvitch creates a sociology Institute in New York. In France, the premises of the Rockefeller Foundation, researchers including Jean Stoetzel [6] continue their work in an organization created by the regime of Vichy, the Alexis Carrel Foundation (the name of a biologist, Nobel Prize in 1912, renowned for his eugenic theses) [7].

Life section of the human sciences home

In June 1948, the national Security Council formalizes the creation of the network of anti-Communist interference by the United States in the allied States, the stay-behind [8]. During the preparatory meetings, John D. Rockefeller III argues that its Foundation is more apt than the Marshall Plan Organization to intervene in certain academic circles where it has old contacts and where it acts again. It gets green light for bounded targets.
It has already launched in Austria a  » Marshall Plan of the mind « , in particular, the seminar of American studies in Salzburg, led by Clemens Heller. The Foundation turned naturally to french intellectuals that it sponsors for a long time. Pierre Auger was appointed Director of higher education upon his return to France in 1945.

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High figure of the
resistance to the
Nazism, the price
Nobel winner Frédéric Joliot-Curie
refuses to collaborate
with the United States.

During the war, he was first taught at the University of Chicago, where he had discovered a Department of Social Sciences serving dynamic base [9] neo-conservatives. Then, he had participated in the work on the atomic bomb with the British and Canadians. In his new role, he clashed for control of the national Centre of scientific research (CNRS) at obstruction of Nobel Prize winner Frédéric Joliot, Communist and pacifist, opposite the bomb. He developed then project to extract the CNRS on the one hand the Centre à l’energie atomique (CEA) and, on the other hand, a pole of social sciences which was to be attached to school pratique des hautes études (EPHE) [10], which he would have been life section. He chooses to animate this pole of intellectuals of the Group of the Annals [11], (Friedmann, Braudel, Lahiri, Morazé, Le Bras…). The Rockefeller Foundation is obviously there to finance this experience while in France only private institutions usually use the private patronage.

Contacts have been previously established through Claude Lévi-Strauss, then attached to the Embassy of France in Washington, and then by Charles Morazé who meets John Marshall [12] the first Conference of the UNESCO cultural area of recruitment for networking pro-etats-uniens in Europe. Charles Morazé, associate history, collaborator of the Annals, Member of the National Foundation of political science, has all the political and intellectual characteristics sought by the Rockefeller Foundation. He became one of the key players of the creation of the life Section, which the first Council meets in 1948. A quarter of the funds comes from the Rockefeller Foundation [13]. In the ideological context of the cold war, the philanthropic organizations serve as screen operations of cultural intervention, sometimes directly driven by the US secret services. Thus, in 1950, members of the CIA allow the creation, in Berlin, of the Congress for cultural freedom, an organization bringing together intellectuals hostile to communism [14]. For 17 years, the CIA mask the origins of funding using the Ford Foundation. In 1952, the Rockefeller Foundation pay 4 500 000 francs Febvre and Morazé continue the construction of the life section.

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Clemens Heller

In 1954, thanks to Clemens Heller [15], now based in Paris, the life Section gets new funding to organize a curriculum by  » cultural areas  » [16].

In 1959, the Ford Foundation [17] intervenes in turn. Massively financed the works of Pierre Auger, starting with the European Centre for nuclear research (CERN), then paying a million dollars for the construction of a House of the sciences of man who can shelter the life Section of the École pratique des hautes études and facilitate its development [18].

The final construction of this House being completed, the Section life aspires to empower themselves permanently. The Decree of 23 January 1975 officially created École des hautes études en sciences sociales (EHESS), an institution on the margins of the French University, which will host many pro-etats-uniens ideologues. In 1977, François Furet, anti-Communist historian, becomes president; He thus recruits his friend Pierre Rosanvallon, with whom he will launch a few years more before the Foundation Saint-Simon [19]. In 1980, ferret created a Center for North American studies within the school. Culmination of a long process of American cultural interference, the EHESS is a hybrid institution, both funded by the french State, the Department of State of United States (Fulbright grants), and by the French-American Foundation in New York, [20] a new cover of the CIA created for the occasion in 1976.

Bertrand Chavaux

[1] Brigitte Mazon, history of the school of higher studies in social sciences, the role of the American patronage (1920-1960), white-tailed deer. Brigitte Mazon thesis under the direction of François Furet, President of the EHESS from 1977 to 1985.

[2] ‘wealth is suspicious. « And American money arouses amalgam: there is the ‘foreign hand’, suspected imperialism, they accused the CIA ‘. Ibid., p. 13.

[3] the Rockefeller Foundation also finance organizations such as the Population Council, responsible for putting in place the birth control policies.

[4] Hayek was appointed Professor at the London School of Economics in 1931.  » Friedrich von Hayek, Pope of ultra-liberalism « , Voltaire, March 4, 2004.

[5] Georges Friedmann (1902-1977), associate of the philosophy of bourgeois origin, of the 20 years, became an « Marxian » expert of the working condition and problems related to technical progress (« machinery »). Unlike the philosophers of the interwar (Politzer, Nizan, Aron, Lefebvre), philosophical speculation seemed to be insufficient; According to him, the study of the working class requires an empirical approach (closer to journalism the sociological survey of land). In 1925, he visited Tuscany plants, collecting testimonies of workers. The collection of data, France, the United States and Soviet Union feeds its investigation on the Organization of the industrial work carried out in the context of the documentation Centre social of the École normale supérieure led by Célestin Bouglé.

[6] Jean Stoetzel, student of Lazarsfeld, is the founder of the FIFG, first french Institute of surveys. He contributed against the French tradition represented by Émile Durkheim, to import the methods of American empirical sociology.

[7] Alexis Carrel was a member of the plot of ‘The hood’. It is part of the Executive Committee led by Coutrot’s Centre for the study of human problems which Georges Friedmann is one of the advisers. He is also a member of the general Council of the french Center of synthesis, a group sitting in Vichy under the protection of Philippe Pétain.

[8] « Stay-behind: the U.S. interference networks » by Thierry Meyssan, Voltaire, August 20, 2001.

[9] soon this Department will be financed by the Olin Foundation. It welcomes François Furet in the 1980s.

[10] the EPHE was founded in 1868 by Victor Duruy, then Minister of Public Instruction. Several projects aimed at creating a sixth Section (project Mauss, Tabouriech) fail due to lack of sufficient funds.

[11] the Annals school refers to a group of historians whose most famous personalities are Fernand Braudel, Marc Bloch, Lucien Febvre and, to a lesser extent, Charles Morazé.

[12] John Marshall is part of the division of the Humanities of the Rockefeller Foundation; It is loaded with John Willits and Robert T. skull to locate in France the future beneficiaries of subsidies. John Willits, Director of the Department of social sciences of the Foundation contacts including for his part Jacques Rueff, Member of the Mont Pelerin Society.

[13] these funds to subsidize the Centre for historical research led by Braudel and the Centre for economic studies led by Morazé.

[14] ‘ when the CIA financed European intellectuals ‘ by David Boneau Voltaire, 27 November 2003.

[15] Clemens Heller (1917-2002), a graduate of Harvard of Austrian origin, son of the editor of Freud in Vienna, organizes the Salzburg Seminar, then arrived in France in 1949. His house, rue Vaneau, was a place of intellectual meetings. This Parisian salon welcomed notably Claude Lévi-Strauss and Margaret Mead.

[16] in October 1955, Kenneth W. Thompson asked that Angelo Tasca project, said Angelo Rossi, a history of the Communist International, be integrated in the program of ‘cultural areas’ of the life Section. Rossi, founder of the Italian Communist Party, an official of the Vichy regime, is the candidate supported by Raymond Aron to counterbalance the political theories of Jean Chesneaux. He is the father of Catherine Tasca, Minister of Culture and Communication of the Government Jospin (2000-2002). Kenneth Thompson was member of the American counter-intelligence service from 1944 to 1946 and to attended the exfiltration of Nazi officials, then Professor at the University of Chicago in 1948, before integrating the Rockefeller Foundation in 1953.

[17] « the Ford Foundation, philanthropic CIA screen » and « why the Ford Foundation subsidizes the challenge », Voltaire, 5 and 19 April 2004.

[18] this project is supported by Febvre, Braudel and Gaston Berger (Director general of higher education).

[19] « the hidden Foundation Saint-Simon face », Voltaire, 10 February 2004.

[20] from 1997 to 2001, the French-American Foundation is chaired by John Negroponte, which then has an office on the premises of the EHESS. See  » John Negroponte soon in Baghdad « , by Arthur Lepic, Voltaire, April 20, 2004.

Bertrand Chavaux


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