One of the defining paradoxes of interwar France was the coexistence of a deep-rooted belief in national decadence with the development of a wide range of innovative organisations, cumulatively mobilising millions of people, as a means of fighting this supposed decline. While women played a key role in perpetuating the belief that the Republic was deteriorating, created numerous politically-oriented groups and entered into the government as ministers for the first time, these facts have barely entered into scholarly analysis of the state of France's political culture. Beginning in the 1960s a narrative of stagnation tended to dominate scholars’ interpretations of the interwar years. Reflective of the times, gender was absent from such analyses, as scholars defined ‘politics’ in certain ways and assumed that political actors were men. The influential political scientist Stanley Hoffman, for example, insisted that this was a period of stalemate, essentially the consequence of a failure to modernise during the Third Republic (1870–1940). Hoffman argued that peasants, small business and the bourgeoisie coalesced to advocate for protectionist measures and resist social and economic reforms. This conservative agenda was facilitated by governments that sought to limit economic change, which contributed to ministerial instability: during the interwar period, the French government changed forty-seven times, compared to thirty in Poland and Romania, nine in Great Britain and an average of one per year in Weimar Germany, Belgium and Sweden. For Anglophone and Francophone proponents of the idea of a systemic crisis, the Third Republic appears fundamentally flawed, crippled by an intrinsic defect rather than a democratic government that opened spaces for dynamic groups and movements to effect real change.