Breton nationalism and World War II

Before and during World War II, the Breton nationalist movements were generally associated with anti-French and the political right-wing.[1] The extent to which this led to collaboration with the Nazi occupiers of France during the war, together with their motivations, is a matter of historical controversy.

Bundesarchiv Bild 101II-MW-1019-07, Frankreich, Brest, Soldatenbordell
German soldiers in Brittany as part of the occupation in 1940


Before the occupation, Breton nationalists were split between regionalism, federalism, and separatism. Essentially these factions, though divided, remained insensitive and frankly hostile to democratic ideals. Among these groups, only the openly separatist Breton National Party remained organized; dissolved in 1939, it was rapidly reconstituted in the autumn of 1940 and became the most active political party in Brittany under the Occupation. Having broken in 1931 from regionalism, its founders (Olier Mordrel and François Debeauvais) were inspired by the Irish Revolution and played the nationalist card. When war broke out, the Breton National Party chose a position of strict neutrality. This party's ideas were anti-democratic and complacent towards xenophobia and antisemitism, influenced by German racism and close to all the varieties of European fascism. During the war the activism of the Breton National Party completely dominated the other branches of the Breton movement, who found themselves discredited.

Collaboration with the Vichy regime

On 15 December 1940 a "petition" signed by 46 Bretons requesting "administrative autonomy" in the confines of a united France was sent to Philippe Pétain. On 22 January 1941, the Vichy government named Hervé Budes de Guébriant President of the National Commission for Agricultural Cooperation. The daily journal La Bretagne was created by Yann Fouéré on 21 March 1941. It took a regionalist point of view, opposed to the separatism of the Breton National Party. An appreciable number of Breton nationalists were also to be found in the Consultative Committee of Brittany, created on 11 October 1942 by Jean Quénette, prefect of the region of Brittany. "An organization of study and work", according to Yvonnig Gicquel, it did not wield any executive or decisive powers (against the wishes of the provincial parliament which conceived the adoption of the Breton regionalist doctrine). The will of its members (including members of the Breton National Party Yann Fouéré, Joseph Martray, etc.) was to transform this consultative committee into a true legislative assembly to tackle regional problems. Many of its members were to resurface when CELIB was created.

Collaboration with Germany

L'Heure bretonne, journal hebdomadaire nationaliste breton
L'Heure Bretonne, a collaborationist Breton newspaper of 1942

German politics

The work of Henri Fréville and Kristian Hamon have opened up this field for research. Three different periods can be considered.

Before 1939, Germany was trying to stop France and the United Kingdom from entering the war. During the phony war, Germany planned to favor regionalist movements (particularly those of Flanders and Brittany) in order to undermine France. This was in revenge for the Treaty of Versailles, and to ensure that Germany remained the only Continental power, with no threats on its western border. Some weapons were delivered but never used. By the end of June and early July, some Breton nationalists could take it for granted the independence of Brittany was well on the way when the Germans appointed a military governor in Brittany ruling over the five départements of ancient Brittany.[2]

But after the defeat of France a settlement was quickly made with the occupying power. The projects to undermine France were abandoned and the support for the nationalists disappeared (in particular it was formally forbidden to proclaim a Breton state or to harm public order). Moreover, the formal annexation of Alsace-Lorraine was never proclaimed. After the Conference of Montoire nationalist movements were simply tolerated (transport permits were given as well as authorizations for purchases of gasoline that soon meant little in practice), and German support went no further than preventing the Vichy regime from suppressing the nationalist movements.


Bretons were not considered untermenschen (subhuman) by the Nazis, unlike the Jews and Gypsies for example.[3][4] Mordrel, Lainé and some other Celticists argued that the Bretons were a 'pure' strain of the Celtic race, who had retained their "Nordic" qualities, a view consistent with Nazi Aryan master race ideology. Other Nationalists, such as Perrot, adopted a more conservative-Catholic stance consistent with longstanding Breton anti-radical ideologies that had emerged among the Royalist-Catholic "Whites" during the French Revolution.

Strategic rationale

A main intention of the German occupiers was to break French national unity. Its support for Breton nationalism needs to be seen in this wider context which included other aspects, for example the division of France into the occupied zone and the Vichy zone. But Breton nationalists very soon realized that Germany was in practice trying to keep its friends in the Vichy government content and therefore refusing to give any priority at all to the Breton nationalist demands.

Nazi scholar Rudolf Schlichting toured the region and sent the following comment to his superiors: "from a racial point of view there would be no objection to a Germanization of the Breton population. It is evident that we have no interest in promoting the Breton national consciousness, once the separation [with France] is accomplished. Not a penny should be spent on the promotion of the Breton language. The French language will however be replaced by German. In one generation Brittany will be a predominately (sic) German country. This goal is definitely attainable through the schools, the authorities, the army and the press."[5]

Breton National Party

Important members of the Breton National Party including Morvan Lebesque and Alan Heusaff began collaborating with the Germans to one degree or another. The example of Ireland, or even the ideal of an independent Brittany - continued to be their reference points. Recent studies have shown the close links that Breton separatist leaders such Célestin Lainé and Alan Louarn had with German military intelligence (the Abwehr), going back well before the war, to the 1920s. After the defeat of 1940, the Germans used these separatist agents in military operations or in repression against the Resistance. A short-lived breakaway faction of the Breton National Party, created in 1941, was the Mouvement Ouvrier Social-National Breton (Breton National-Socialist Workers Movement) led by Théophile Jeusset.


At the end of 1940, Job Loyant — along with Kalondan, André Lajat, and Yves Favreul-Ronarc'h, a former leader of the Breton National Party in Loire-Atlantique — developed the doctrine of the Brezona movement: supremacy of the Breton race, formation of a national community, and government by the elite. This movement was to have but a brief existence. To prevent a possible takeover of the BNP by this splinter group, Yann Goulet appeared at Nantes to pronounce the excommunication of the Brezona "deviationists." With his revolver in plain sight on the hip of the black uniform he wore as chief of the Youth Organizations, he left no doubt as to his intentions. The Nantes PNB meeting, at which the Brezona movement had hoped to take control, took place without incident.

Bezen Perrot

A number of Breton nationalists choose to join the Bezen Perrot organization, a German militia led by Célestin Lainé and Alan Heusaff. As many as 70 to 80 people joined its ranks at one point or another, with typically 30 to 66 at any one time depending on recruiting and defection. At the end of the war a handful of Breton militants decided to ask for German support in the face of the assassination of several leading figures of the Breton cultural movement, such as Abbé Perrot. Having originally been named Bezen Kadoudal, the 1943 assassination of the priest prompted Lainé to give his name to the organization in December of that year.

It had already been envisaged by German strategists that in the event of Allied invasion the Breton nationalists would form a rearguard, and that further nationalist troops could be parachuted into Brittany.[6] In late 1943 sabotage dumps had been hidden for use by the militia.[7]

Strolladoù Stourm

The Strolladoù Stourm (also known as Bagadoù stourm), led by Yann Goulet and Alan Louarn, was the armed wing of the Breton National Party. A handful of their members took part in a confrontation with the population of Landivisiau, on August 7, 1943. Yann Goulet, their leader, forbade participation in Bezen Perrot.

Landerneau Kommando

By April 1943, the Gestapo had created specific units to combat the French Resistance. Formed at the end of April 1944 in Landerneau, the Landerneau Kommando took part in these units. It was composed of 18 German soldiers and ten French agents (some of whom were Breton separatists as well as former Resistance members). They fought against the maquis (rural French Resistance units) of Trégarantec, Rosnoën, and Ploumordien. Several Resistance members were tortured, and the Kommando also summarily executed some prisoners.

Actions by the Resistance

Breton resistors near Saint-Nazaire with the flag of Brittany, probably photographed after the Liberation

Several Breton nationalists were assassinated by the Resistance in 1943. The best known was Abbé Perrot, killed on 12 December 1943 by Jean Thépaut, a member of the Communist Resistance. Earlier, on the 3 September, Yann Bricler had been shot in his office by three FTP members, and similarly Yves Kerhoas was killed by the Resistance when leaving a fete in the village of Plouvenez. When American troops arrived in 1944, communist maquis members began their repressive actions. Jeanne Coroller-Danio, the Breton historian who worked under the name Danio, was beaten to death along with her brother-in-law, Commander Le Minthier; the Tastevint brothers were castrated, and the Maubré sisters and their brother were savagely murdered in Morbihan.

The BNP, dissolved along with the French Communist Party in 1939, no longer legally existed. Its activists were hunted down and not distinguished from the Breton militants who wore the symbol of the dukes of Brittany ("ermine-trimmed berets"). Many were deported to detention camps; notably at the Camp Marguerite in Rennes where 150 nationalists were detained for alleged collaborationism.[8] The Breton nationalists sought to defend the fact that their widespread image as an overtly fascist, even Nazi, movement had nothing to do with the actual political backgrounds of their activists, as varied as the Action française (royalist), the French Section of the Workers' International (SFIO, socialist), the separatist Breton National Party (PAB), or the French Communist Party. Moreover, Yann Goulet received financial and public backing from several communist militants at the time of the Liberation. Other militants accused of collaboration demonstrated to the courts that they had protected Jewish families during the occupation (Alan Eon–Yann Goulet).

The nationalist movement after the liberation of France

After France was liberated, it was as collaborators, not as separatists, that the PNB members were punished, and even then it was by no means all those members that were affected. Only 15 to 16 per cent of PNB members appeared in court, and few non-member sympathisers were prosecuted. Most leading members escaped in Ireland or Germany and were not judged. There was no mass repression as claimed in post-war separatist propaganda. However the post-war nationalist movements will tend to minimise the collaboration with nazi Germany and will create the myth of the separatists repression by the French government.[9]

Still today, some people[10][11][12][13] are worried by the "collective amnesia" of the current Breton autonomist movement about World War II or by their attempts to rehabilitate the nationalist collaborationnists.

On the other hand, the standpoint of the Breton nationalists consider that the representation of the Breton nationalism during World War II in the media is a pretext to discredit the current aspirations of the autonomist movement, such as the recognition of linguistic rights.[14]

Involvement in the Resistance

Several leading Breton activists - regionalists, federalists and separatists - joined the Resistance against the occupation. They had various motivations:

Sao Breiz

As early as 1940 some joined Sao Breiz, the Breton wing of the Free French. This included several members of the Union Régionaliste Bretonne (Breton Regionalist Union) and the Ar brezoneg er skol association, founded before the war by Yann Fouéré. M. de Cadenet, a member of the latter group, and some of his associates wrote a draft statute, presented to General Charles de Gaulle which would have given Brittany a number of political freedoms after the return of peace. According to Yann Fouéré, this plan was close in spirit to the one that the Breton Consultative Committee wanted to submit in 1943 to Marshal Pétain. Neither of these two plans resulted in anything.

Joining underground organisations

Activists like Francis Gourvil, Youenn Souffes-Després and Jean Le Maho had before the war been members of minority separatist or federalist movements such as the Parti Autonomiste Breton (PAB) or the Ligue fédéraliste de Bretagne. These organisations were always clearly anti-fascist and critical of the extreme right. This led their members directly into the underground Resistance. Others joined the Resistance as individuals and after the war restarted their involvement in Breton nationalism. The action of a few members of Bezen Perrot has often concealed a very different reality, for example the members of Bagadou Stourm who founded the Forces Bretonnes de l'Intérieur (Breton Forces of the Interior, a Breton wing of de Gaulle's French Forces of the Interior), and were deported to Buchenwald.

Liberty Group

For other groups, such as the Liberty Group of Saint-Nazaire (composed of young former members of Bagadoù stourm), pro-British feeling was the determining factor in pushing them to ally themselves with the Resistance. The Liberty Group, under the name of Bataillon de la Poche ("Pocket Battalion"), helped to liberate Saint-Nazaire from a pocket of German holdouts in May 1945.

Breton nationalists linked to the London-based leadership of the Resistance

  • The painter René-Yves Creston, despite his involvement with L'Heure Bretonne (a Breton nationalist and antisemitic newspaper), was affiliated with the Resistance network of the Musée de l'Homme. He was engaged in reconnaissance work for the British. It seems that in October 1940, he received via Yann Fouéré a memo destined for London concerning Breton autonomy (to be continued by the Comité Consultatif de Bretagne), with a short preface specifying the origins of the "Breton question."
  • In 1940, the overtly pro-Nazi Olier Mordrel covertly sent Hervé Le Helloco on a mission to England (via the channels of the Resistance) in order to convince the leadership of the Resistance of the "Allied leanings" of the Breton movement. This effort went no further because of Helloco's track record, and the reaction of the Nazi-allied PNB.


  • In chronological order, earliest first

English language

  • Reece, Jack E. (1977) The Bretons against France: ethnic minority nationalism in twentieth-century Brittany. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press
  • Biddiscombe, Perry (2001) "The Last White Terror: the Maquis Blanc and its impact in liberated France, 1944-1945", in: The Journal of Modern History, 2001
  • Leach, Daniel (2008) "Bezen Perrot: the Breton nationalist unit of the SS, 1943-5"
  • Leach, Daniel (2009) Fugitive Ireland: European minority nationalists and Irish political asylum, 1937-2008. Dublin: Four Courts Press

French language

  • Le mouvement breton. Automatisme et fédéralisme. Carhaix, Éd. 'Armoricai, sans date (1937). by René Barbin
  • La Bretagne écartelée. Essai pour servir à l'histoire de dix ans. 1938-1948 -. Nouvelles éditions latines. 1962. by Yann Fouéré.
  • Complots pour une République bretonne -. La Table Ronde. 1967. by Ronan Caerleon
  • La Bretagne contre Paris -. La Table Ronde. 1969 de Jean Bothorel
  • La Bretagne dans la guerre. 2 volumes. France-Empire. 1969. by Hervé Le Boterf
  • Racisme et Culte de la race.- La Bretagne réelle. Celtia. (Rennes). Été 1970. Supplément à La Bretagne réelle N°300. par P.-M. de Beauvy de Kergalec.
  • Breiz Atao -. Alain Moreau. 1973. Olier Mordrel.
  • Le rêve fou des soldats de Breiz Atao. Nature et Bretagne. 1975. by Ronan Caerleon
  • Histoire résumée du mouvement breton-. Nature et Bretagne. 1977. by Yann Fouéré.
  • Nous ne savions que le breton et il fallait parler français -. Mémoire d'un paysan du Léon. Breizh hor bro. 1978. by Fanch Elegoët.
  • La Bretagne, Problèmes du régionalisme en France, Cornelsen-Velhagen & Klasing, Berlin 1979.
  • La Bretagne sous le gouvernement de Vichy -. Edition France-Empire. 1982. by Hervé Le Boterf.
  • Histoire du mouvement breton, Syros, 1982. by Michel Nicolas.
  • Archives secrètes de Bretagne, 1940-1944, Rennes, Ouest-France, 1985. d'Henri Fréville
  • Breizh/Europa. Histoire d'une aspiration -. Edition Ijin. 1994. Annaig Le Gars.
  • Les nationalistes bretons sous l'Occupation, Le Relecq-Kerhuon, An Here, 2001. by Christian Hamon.
  • L'hermine et la croix gammée. Le mouvement breton et la collaboration, Ed. Mango, 2001. by Georges Cadiou.
  • Les usages politiques de la Seconde Guerre mondiale en Bretagne : histoire, mémoire et identité régionale. Marc Bergère.
  • Archives secrètes de Bretagne 1940-1944 par Henri Fréville, éditions Ouest France, 2004
  • De 1940 à 1941, réapparition d'une Bretagne provisoirement incomplète, un provisoire destiné à durer, bulletin et mémoires de la Société archéologique et historique d'Ille-et-Vilaine, tome CXIV. 2010. by Etienne Maignen.


  1. ^ Michel Nicolas, Histoire du mouvement breton, Syros, 1982, p. 102 ; Alain Déniel, p. 318 ; see also in the bibliography : Bertrand Frélaut, Georges Cadiou, Françoise Morvan, Kristian Hamon.
  2. ^ de 1940 à 1941, Réapparition d'une Bretagne provisorement incomplète, un provisoire qui dure encore, bulletin et mémoires de la Société Archéologique et historique d'Ille-et-Vilaine, t.CXIX Etienne Maignen, 2010
  3. ^ David Stone (2009). Hitler's Army, 1939-1945: The Men, Machines and Organization. MBI Publishing Company. p. 38. ISBN 978-0-7603-3750-9.
  4. ^ Jeffrey S. Nevid; Spencer A. Rathus (23 November 2009). Psychology and the Challenges of Life. John Wiley & Sons. p. 1. ISBN 978-0-470-38362-9.
  5. ^ Hutton, C. (2002). Linguistics and the Third Reich: Mother-tongue Fascism, Race and the Science of Language, ISBN 0-203-02101-0
  6. ^ Daniel, A, Le Mouvement Breton, p.303-06
  7. ^ Biddiscombe, P. "The Last White Terror: the Maquis Blanc and its impact in liberated France, 1944-1945", in: The Journal of Modern History, 2001, p. 834
  8. ^ Biddiscombe, p. 835
  9. ^ Ronan Calvez, La Radio en langue bretonne: Roparz Hemon et Pierre-Jakez Hélias : deux rêves de la Bretagne, Presses universitaires de Rennes, 2000, 330 pages, p. 91 : "En réalité, à la Libération, au sein du mouvement breton, on minimise la collaboration, on crée le mythe de l'épuration sauvage"
  10. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2009-11-07. Retrieved 2010-06-04.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  11. ^ Georges Cadiou : « Cela fait plusieurs années que je m’intéresse à ce sujet. J’en ai eu assez de lire des réhabilitations de certains collaborateurs convaincus. Et je pense en particulier à un article de Breizh Info qui présentait Yann Bricler comme "un patriote breton assassiné par les staliniens". Il s’agissait en fait des résistants FTP. ’On ne peut pas raconter n’importe quoi aux jeunes militants. », dans Cap Finistèren°453 du vendredi 16 novembre 2001, à propos de son livre "L’hermine et la croix gammée".
  12. ^ Renaud Marhic : « Il est en Bretagne des conversations qui fâchent. Celles touchant au devoir de mémoire sont de celles-là. Parce que sur la palette du nationalisme breton, du rouge au brun, l'amnésie semble totale. Quand la presse nationale, en une volée d'enquêtes, rappelle les dérives de l'Emsav (mouvement breton) durant l'occupation, en écho ne revient que le suprême anathème: "jacobinisme!" » "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2009-09-29. Retrieved 2010-06-04.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  13. ^
  14. ^ Point de vue de L. Girard

François Eliès, born Fañch Eliès and better known by the pseudonym Abeozen, (1896 Saint-Sauveur, Finistère - 1963 La Baule) was a Breton nationalist, novelist and dramatist who wrote in the Breton language. Abeozen was also a noted scholar of the Welsh language.Abeozen started contributing to the Breton literary journal Gwalarn in 1925. He worked as a teacher in Saint-Brieuc from 1927 to 1940 and founded the local branch of the communist Secours Rouge organization. During the German occupation of France, he joined Roparz Hemon at the newly founded Radio Rennes Bretagne and wrote for La Bretagne, L'Heure Bretonne and Arvor. He was also a member of Seiz Breur and the Institut celtique de Bretagne.

As France was liberated Abeozen, like many Breton nationalists, was arrested for collaborating with the German occupants and spent fourteen months in prison. (See also Breton nationalism and World War II for the political background.) He was further fired from the Éducation nationale and forbidden to stay in administrative Brittany.

Breiz Atao

Breiz Atao (also Breizh Atao) (in Breton Brittany For Ever), was a Breton nationalist journal in the mid-twentieth century. It was written in French, and has always been considered as a French nationalist journal by the non-francized Bretons. The term is also used for the broader movement associated with the journal's political position.

Founded in 1918 in the aftermath of World War I, Breiz Atao would exist throughout the inter-war years. It was highly influenced by the Irish War of Independence, which began in 1916 and whose aftermath ran into the 1920s. Early on it adopted an official pan-Celtic policy, and a strong pan-Latin use of the French language. In its later years it became associated with a Nordicist blood and soil ideology with aspects in common with Nazism. It ceased publication in 1940, but was revived for an individual issue that appeared in 1944.

Breton National Party

The Breton National Party (French Parti National Breton, Breton Strollad Broadel Breizh) was a nationalist party in Brittany that existed from 1931 to 1944. The party was disbanded after the liberation of France in World War II, because of ties to the Third Reich.

The PNB was formed in the aftermath of split between federalists and nationalists within the Breton Autonomist Party (PAB), following the Congress of Guingamp in August 1931. Following the collapse of the PAB, the federalists led by Morvan Marchal formed the Breton Federalist League; the nationalist faction, led by Olier Mordrel, decided to found a new party with a clearly nationalist agenda, namely seeking Breton independence from France.

This revived the programme of the previous Breton Nationalist Party, which had existed from 1911-1914. A congress was held in Landerneau on December 27, 1931. The following year, activists led by Célestin Lainé bombed a sculpture in Rennes representing Breton unity with France. The creation of this sculpture had spurred the foundation of the earlier party in 1911.

The party was influenced by international Celticist ideas, and modelled its aspirations on Irish independence movements. It was also closely associated with fascist ideology. Because of its connections with Nazi Germany the party was banned in France on the outbreak of World War II in 1939, but after the defeat of France it was revived, becoming closely associated with Breton collaborationism. During the occupation France the PNB established a paramilitary, Bagadoù stourm, influenced by the SA that adopted a flag similar to that of the Reichskriegsflagge. An explicitly Nazi faction broke away in 1941 under the name Breton Social-National Workers' Movement.

During its existence, the PNB published a newspaper, L'Heure Bretonne.

Breton Social-National Workers' Movement

The Breton Social-National Workers' Movement (French: Mouvement Ouvrier Social-National Breton) was a nationalist, separatist, and Fascist movement founded in 1941 by Théophile Jeusset. It emerged in Brittany from a deviationist faction of the Breton National Party; it disappeared the same year.

Its 25-point program was based on the principle of a "popular Breton state made for the people and by the people", integrated into a new European order, rejecting "Gaullism, the last redoubt of the Breton bourgeoisie" and resting on "the peasant class, the most numerous in Brittany", asserting "bread for Bretons, peace within Europe and freedom for Brittany", taking as given that it could count "not on England, nor France, nor Germany to acquire it", but only "through the power and confidence that one finds in the Breton people".

Having adopted for a flag a standard (designed by Olier Mordrel several years before) closely resembling a Nazi flag — black ermine at the center of a white circle on a red field representing "the blood of the worker" — Théophile Jeusset recruited several followers in the workshops and factories of Ille-et-Vilaine and organized about twenty meetings in the back rooms of restaurants in Rennes. Its founder renounced the dialectic, and embarked on direct action with a small group of Communist-separatists who it had joined his cause. He then took up a graffiti campaign directed against François Ripert (the préfet of Ille-et-Vilaine), and unleashed some of his comrades into the botanical garden of Rennes, to smash the statue of the "traitor" Bertrand du Guesclin.

French Resistance

The French Resistance (French: La Résistance) was the collection of French movements that fought against the Nazi German occupation of France and the collaborationist Vichy régime during the Second World War. Resistance cells were small groups of armed men and women (called the Maquis in rural areas), who, in addition to their guerrilla warfare activities, were also publishers of underground newspapers, providers of first-hand intelligence information, and maintainers of escape networks that helped Allied soldiers and airmen trapped behind enemy lines. The men and women of the Resistance came from all economic levels and political leanings of French society, including émigrés, academics, students, aristocrats, conservative Roman Catholics (including priests), and also citizens from the ranks of liberals, anarchists and communists.

The French Resistance played a significant role in facilitating the Allies' rapid advance through France following the invasion of Normandy on 6 June 1944, and the lesser-known invasion of Provence on 15 August, by providing military intelligence on the German defences known as the Atlantic Wall and on Wehrmacht deployments and orders of battle. The Resistance also planned, coordinated, and executed acts of sabotage on the electrical power grid, transport facilities, and telecommunications networks. It was also politically and morally important to France, both during the German occupation and for decades afterward, because it provided the country with an inspiring example of the patriotic fulfillment of a national imperative, countering an existential threat to French nationhood. The actions of the Resistance stood in marked contrast to the collaboration of the French regime based at Vichy, the French people who joined the pro-Nazi Milice française and the French men who joined the Waffen SS.

After the landings in Normandy and Provence, the paramilitary components of the Resistance were organised more formally, into a hierarchy of operational units known, collectively, as the French Forces of the Interior (FFI). Estimated to have a strength of 100,000 in June 1944, the FFI grew rapidly and reached approximately 400,000 by October of that year. Although the amalgamation of the FFI was, in some cases, fraught with political difficulties, it was ultimately successful, and it allowed France to rebuild the fourth-largest army in the European theatre (1.2 million men) by VE Day in May 1945.

History of Breton nationalism

The history of Breton nationalism, as an organised set of political and cultural movements, started during the latter half of the 19th century.

The name Breton movement, or Emsav in Breton (pronounced [ẽmzao], meaning 'uplifting, renovation'), is used to group the major Breton political and cultural movements. Some feel the term (or the movements themselves) does not adequately reflect the diversity, internal divisions and conflicts within Brittany.

Traditionally, the history of the Breton movement is split into three periods: the First Emsav being the birth of the Breton movement before 1914; the Second Emsav covering the period 1914-1945; and Third Emsav for the postwar movements. The historic memory of the Second Emsav has been tarnished in the memory of many by the collaboration of some leading Breton nationalists during the German occupation of France. After the war, the movement was widely discredited politically and several of these members arrested as collaborators. The second Emsav essentially disappeared. After the Second Emsav went into limbo, Breton nationalism remained practically silent for two decades.

The Third Emsav was closely associated with the upsurge of social contestation during the 1960s. It movement grew without links with the previous nationalist movements and, in sharp contrast with the earlier ideology, occupied the left side of the political spectrum, with affinity ranging from social-democrat liberalism to Marxism revolutionary. That can help to explain the reluctance that some members of the movement feel toward the term "nationalism", which, in France, has right-wing connotations. The movement has experienced continued momentum by the growth of regional identities across Europe in the 1980s and to the present. Now, Bretons live normal lives around the world.

Recently, a new branch of the movement, Adsav [adzao], a far-right organisation, has appeared. It, however, is still very small and has no connection with the third Emsav.

Index of World War II articles (B)

B-17 Flying Fortress

B-17, Queen of the Skies

B-24 Liberator

B-29 Superfortress


Błyskawica radiostation

Błyskawica submachine gun

Børge Mathiesen










BA-I armoured car

Babi Yar: A Document in the Form of a Novel

Babi Yar

Baldur von Schirach

Bali Holocaust Conference

Balkan ethnic conflict in the 1940s

Balkans Campaign German order of battle

Balkans Campaign

Baltic Sea Campaigns (1939-1945)

Banat (1941–1944)

Band of Brothers (TV miniseries)

Banjica concentration camp

Banka Island massacre

Bardufoss concentration camp

Barefoot Gen

Baron Blitzkrieg

Battery Lothringen

Battery Moltke

Battle at Borodino Field

Battle between HMAS Sydney and German auxiliary cruiser Kormoran

Battle for Australia

Battle for Brest

Battle for Caen

Battle for Czech Radio

Battle for Germany

Battle for Henderson Field

Battle for Kharkov

Battle for Soviet Ukraine

Battle for The Hague

Battle for Velikiye Luki (1943)

Battle of Łódź (1939)

Battle of Åndalsnes

Battle of Aachen

Battle of Alam el Halfa

Battle of Ambon

Battle of Angaur

Battle of Anzio

Battle of Arawe

Battle of Arracourt

Battle of Arras (1940)

Battle of Badung Strait

Battle of Balikpapan (1942)

Battle of Balikpapan (1945)

Battle of Bamianshan

Battle of Baoying

Battle of Barking Creek

Battle of Bataan (1945)

Battle of Bataan

Battle of Bautzen (1945)

Battle of Beiping-Tianjin

Battle of Beirut (1941)

Battle of Belgorod

Battle of Berlin (air)

Battle of Białystok-Minsk

Battle of Biak

Battle of Bir Hakeim

Battle of Blackett Strait

Battle of Bloody Gulch

Battle of Borneo (1941–42)

Battle of Borowa Góra

Battle of Brisbane

Battle of Britain (film)

Battle of Britain Aircraft

Battle of Britain Airfields

Battle of Britain II: Wings of Victory

Battle of Britain Memorial Flight

Battle of Britain Memorial, Capel-le-Ferne

Battle of Britain Monument in London

Battle of Britain RAF squadrons

Battle of Britain

Battle of Brody (1941)

Battle of Broekhuizen

Battle of Bryansk (1941)

Battle of Brześć Litewski

Battle of Budapest

Battle of Bukit Timah

Battle of Buna-Gona

Battle of Calabria

Battle of Cape Bon (1941)

Battle of Cape Esperance

Battle of Cape Gloucester

Battle of Cape Matapan

Battle of Cape Passero (1940)

Battle of Cape Spada

Battle of Cape Spartivento

Battle of Cape St. George

Battle of Carentan

Battle of Central Henan

Battle of Changde

Battle of Changsha (1939)

Battle of Changsha (1941)

Battle of Changsha (1942)

Battle of Changsha (1944)

Battle of Cherbourg

Battle of Chojnice (1939)

Battle of Christmas Island

Battle of Cisterna

Battle of Cocos

Battle of Corregidor (1945)

Battle of Corregidor

Battle of Crete

Battle of Crucifix Hill

Battle of Dachen Archipelago

Battle of Dakar

Battle of Dalushan Islands

Battle of Damascus (1941)

Battle of Damour

Battle of Dazhongji

Battle of Debrecen

Battle of Deir ez-Zor

Battle of Demyansk (1943)

Battle of Dengbu Island

Battle of Dombås

Battle of Dong-Yin

Battle of Dongshan Island

Battle of Drøbak Sound

Battle of Dražgoše

Battle of the Transdanubian Hills

Battle of Driniumor River

Battle of Dunkirk

Battle of Dutch Harbor

Battle of Edson's Ridge

Battle of El Guettar

Battle of Elsenborn Ridge

Battle of Empress Augusta Bay

Battle of Eniwetok

Battle of Flers-Courcelette

Battle of Fort Eben-Emael

Battle of France

Battle of Gabon

Battle of Gallipoli

Battle of Gazala

Battle of Gdańsk Bay

Battle of Gdynia

Battle of Gemmano

Battle of Gondar

Battle of Gratangen

Battle of Greece

Battle of Grodno (1939)

Battle of Groningen

Battle of Grudziądz

Battle of Guadalcanal order of battle

Battle of Guam (1941)

Battle of Guam (1944)

Battle of Guanzhong (1946–1947)

Battle of Guilin-Liuzhou

Battle of Halbe

Battle of Hannut

Battle of Hayes Pond

Battle of Hegra Fortress

Battle of Hel

Battle of Hill 70

Battle of Hong Kong

Battle of Honkaniemi

Battle of Houmajia

Battle of Huaiyin-Huai'an

Battle of Hurtgen Forest

Battle of Ilomantsi

Battle of Imphal

Battle of Iwo Jima

Battle of Jarosław

Battle of Java (1942)

Battle of Jezzine (1941)

Battle of Jianmenguan

Battle of Jinzhou

Battle of Jitra

Battle of Jiulianshan

Battle of Jordanów

Battle of Kępa Oksywska

Battle of Königsberg

Battle of Kałuszyn

Battle of Kaiapit

Battle of Kampar

Battle of Kampinos Forest

Battle of Kelja

Battle of Keren

Battle of Khalkhin Gol

Battle of Kissoué

Battle of Kobryń

Battle of Kock (1939)

Battle of Kohima

Battle of Kolberg (1945)

Battle of Kollaa

Battle of Kolombangara

Battle of Koromokina Lagoon

Battle of Kos

Battle of Kozara

Battle of Kranji

Battle of Krasnobród

Battle of Krasny Bor

Battle of Kufra (1941)

Battle of Kula Gulf

Battle of Kuningtou

Battle of Kunlun Pass

Battle of Kursk order of battle

Battle of Kwajalein

Battle of Lanfeng

Battle of Lanzerath ridge

Battle of Lasy Królewskie

Battle of Le Transloy

Battle of Lenino

Battle of Leros

Battle of Leyte Gulf

Battle of Leyte

Battle of Lingbi

Battle of Lone Tree Hill (1944)

Battle of Los Angeles

Battle of Luzon

Battle of Lwów (1939)

Battle of Mława

Battle of Maastricht

Battle of Madagascar

Battle of Mairy

Battle of Makassar Strait

Battle of Makin

Battle of Malaya

Battle of Manado

Battle of Manila (1945)

Battle of Manners Street

Battle of Marseille

Battle of Meiktila and Mandalay

Battle of Memel

Battle of Merdjayoun

Battle of Midtskogen

Battle of Midway

Battle of Mikołów

Battle of Milne Bay

Battle of Mindanao

Battle of Mindoro

Battle of Modlin

Battle of Moerbrugge

Battle of Mokra

Battle of Mont Sorrel

Battle of Monte Cassino

Battle of Monte Castello

Battle of Morotai

Battle of Mount Austen, the Galloping Horse, and the Sea Horse

Battle of Muar

Battle of Mura

Battle of Murowana Oszmianka

Battle of Nan'ao Island

Battle of Nanchang

Battle of Nancy (1944)

Battle of Nanking

Battle of Nanpēng Archipelago

Battle of Nanpéng Island

Battle of Nanri Island

Battle of Narva - Battle for the Narva Bridgehead (1944)

Battle of Narva - Battle of the Tannenberg Line (1944)

Battle of Narva (1944)

Battle of Neretva

Battle of New Georgia

Battle of Niangziguan

Battle of Nietjärvi

Battle of Nikolayevka

Battle of Noemfoor

Battle of North Borneo

Battle of North Cape

Battle of Northern and Eastern Henan

Battle of Northern Burma and Western Yunnan

Battle of Okinawa

Battle of Oktwin

Battle of Ormoc Bay

Battle of Ortona

Battle of Osuchy

Battle of Overloon

Battle of Pęcice

Battle of Palembang

Battle of Palmyra

Battle of Pasir Panjang

Battle of Peleliu

Battle of Petsamo (1939)

Battle of Phoenix Peak

Battle of Pindus

Battle of Pingxingguan

Battle of Piva Forks

Battle of Pokoku and Irrawaddy River operations

Battle of Poljana

Battle of Porkuni

Battle of Poznań (1945)

Battle of Prachuab Khirikhan

Battle of Prokhorovka

Battle of Przemyśl (1939)

Battle of Pszczyna

Battle of Różan

Battle of Raate road

Battle of Rabaul (1942)

Battle of Radom

Battle of Radzymin (1944)

Battle of Ramree Island

Battle of Raseiniai

Battle of Rehe

Battle of Remagen

Battle of Rennell Island

Battle of Rovaniemi

Battle of Rugao-Huangqiao

Battle of Rugao

Battle of Saipan order of battle

Battle of Saipan

Battle of Salla (1939)

Battle of San Pietro Infine

Battle of Saranda

Battle of Saumur (1940)

Battle of Savo Island

Battle of Shangcai

Battle of Shanggao

Battle of Shanghai

Battle of Shaobo

Battle of Shicun

Battle of Sidi Bou Zid

Battle of Singapore

Battle of Siping

Battle of Skerki Bank

Battle of Slater's Knoll

Battle of Slim River

Battle of South Guangxi

Battle of South Henan

Battle of South Shanxi

Battle of Stalingrad in the media

Battle of Stalingrad

Battle of Studzianki

Battle of Suixian-Zaoyang

Battle of Sunda Strait

Battle of Suomussalmi

Battle of Sutjeska

Battle of Szack

Battle of Tachiao

Battle of Taierzhuang

Battle of Taiyuan

Battle of Tali-Ihantala

Battle of Tangtou-Guocun

Battle of Tarakan (1942)

Battle of Tarakan (1945)

Battle of Taranto

Battle of Tarawa

Battle of Tashan

Battle of Tassafaronga

Battle of Tehumardi

Battle of the Admin Box

Battle of the Afsluitdijk

Battle of the Ancre Heights

Battle of the Argenta Gap

Battle of the Atlantic

Battle of the Barents Sea

Battle of the Bay of Viipuri

Battle of the Beams

Battle of the Bismarck Sea

Battle of the Border

Battle of the Bulge (1991 game)

Battle of the Bulge (film)

Battle of the Bulge order of battle

Battle of the Bulge

Battle of the Bzura

Battle of the Caribbean

Battle of the Caucasus

Battle of the Cigno Convoy

Battle of the Coral Sea

Battle of the Denmark Strait

Battle of the Duisburg Convoy

Battle of the Dukla Pass

Battle of the Eastern Solomons

Battle of the Espero Convoy

Battle of the Green Islands

Battle of the Java Sea

Battle of the Kasserine Pass

Battle of the Kerch Peninsula

Battle of the Komandorski Islands

Battle of the Kuril Islands

Battle of the Last Panzer

Battle of the Litani River

Battle of the Malacca Strait

Battle of the Mediterranean

Battle of the Netherlands

Battle of the Oder-Neisse

Battle of the Philippine Sea

Battle of the Philippines (1941–42)

Battle of the pips

Battle of the Reichswald

Battle of the River Plate

Battle of the Santa Cruz Islands

Battle of the Scheldt

Battle of the Seelow Heights

Battle of the St. Lawrence

Battle of the Tarigo Convoy

Battle of the Tenaru

Battle of the Tennis Court

Battle of the Treasury Islands

Battle of the Visayas

Battle of Thermopylae (1941)

Battle of Tianmen

Battle of Tianquan

Battle of Tienhaara

Battle of Timor

Battle of Tinian

Battle of Tokyo Bay

Battle of Tolvajärvi

Battle of Tomaszów Lubelski

Battle of Tomaszów Mazowiecki

Battle of Tornio

Battle of Toungoo

Battle of Troina

Battle of Tuchola Forest

Battle of Tulagi and Gavutu-Tanambogo

Battle of Târgul Frumos

Battle of Uman

Battle of Vella Gulf

Battle of Verrières Ridge

Battle of Vevi (1941)

Battle of Villers-Bocage

Battle of Vimy Ridge

Battle of Vinjesvingen

Battle of Voronezh (1942)

Battle of Voronezh (1943)

Battle of Vuosalmi

Battle of Węgierska Górka

Battle of Wólka Węglowa

Battle of Wake Island

Battle of Walcheren Causeway

Battle of Wanjialing

Battle of Wau

Battle of West Henan-North Hubei

Battle of West Hubei

Battle of West Hunan

Battle of West Suiyuan

Battle of West Ukraine (1944)

Battle of Westerplatte

Battle of Wilno (1939)

Battle of Wizna

Battle of Wola Cyrusowa

Battle of Wuhan

Battle of Wuhe

Battle of Wuyuan

Battle of Wytyczno

Battle of Xiangshuikou

Battle of Xinkou

Battle of Xiushui River

Battle of Xuzhou

Battle of Yenangyaung

Battle of Yijiangshan Islands

Battle of Yinji

Battle of Yiwu

Battle of Yongjiazhen

Battle of Yunnan-Burma Road

Battle of Zaoyang-Yichang

Battle of Zeeland

Battle off Horaniu

Battle off Samar

Battle on Lijevča field

Battlefield (documentary series)

Battlefield 1942: Secret Weapons Of WWII

Battlefield 1942

Battleground (film)

Battlehawks 1942

Battles and operations of the Indian National Army

Battles of Arkan

Battles of Narvik

Battles of Rzhev

Battles of the Imperial Japanese Navy

Batu Lintang camp


BBC History of World War II

BBC People's War

Beer Hall Putsch


Behind Enemy Lines (book)

Belfast Blitz

Belgian armoured fighting vehicles of World War II

Belgian Congo in World War II

Belgian Holocaust denial law

Belgian National Movement

Belgian government in exile

Belgian Resistance

Belgium in World War II

Belorussian Front

Belsen Trial

Belsen Was a Gas

Belzec extermination camp

Benito Mussolini

Berg concentration camp

Bergen-Belsen concentration camp

Bergen-Belsen displaced persons camp

Berghof (Hitler)

Berlin (comics)

Berlin 1939-1945 Commonwealth War Graves Commission Cemetery

Berlin Air Safety Center

Berlin Embassy (book)

Berlin Declaration (1945)

Berlin: The Downfall 1945

Bernard Montgomery, 1st Viscount Montgomery of Alamein

Berthold Schenk Graf von Stauffenberg

Beyond Castle Wolfenstein

Białystok Ghetto Uprising

Białystok Ghetto

Big Stink (B-29)

Birth of the B-29

Biscari massacre

Bismarck-class battleship

Black Book (film)

Black Book (World War II)

Black Brigades

Black Fox: The Rise and Fall of Adolf Hitler

Black Friday (1945)

Black May (1943)

Black Rain (Japanese film)

Black Rain (novel)

Black Rain

Black Sea Campaigns (1941-44)

Black Sun: The Nanking Massacre

Black triangle (badge)

Blazing Angels 2: Secret Missions of WWII

Blazing Angels: Squadrons of WWII

Bleiburg repatriations

Blitzkrieg (video game)

Blitzkrieg 2



Blood and soil

Blood, toil, tears, and sweat

Bloody Sunday (1939)

Bobrek concentration camp


Boeing B-17 Survivors

Boeing B-29 survivors

Bomber B

Bombing of Augsburg in World War II

Bombing of Belgrade in World War II

Bombing of Berlin in World War II

Bombing of Braunschweig in World War II

Bombing of Bucharest in World War II

Bombing of Chongqing

Bombing of Cologne in World War II

Bombing of Darmstadt in World War II

Bombing of Darwin (February 1942)

Bombing of Dresden in World War II

Bombing of Dublin in World War II

Bombing of Duisburg in World War II

Bombing of Essen in World War II

Bombing of Frampol

Bombing of Frankfurt am Main in World War II

Bombing of Gelsenkirchen in World War II

Bombing of Hamburg in World War II

Bombing of Hanau in World War II

Bombing of Helsinki in World War II

Bombing of Hildesheim in World War II

Bombing of Innsbruck in World War II

Bombing of Königsberg in World War II

Bombing of Kassel in World War II

Bombing of Kobe in World War II

Bombing of Konigsberg in World War II

Bombing of Lübeck in World War II

Bombing of Mannheim in World War II

Bombing of Minsk in World War II

Bombing of Nagoya in World War II

Bombing of Naples in World War II

Bombing of Osaka in World War II

Bombing of Peenemünde in World War II

Bombing of Pforzheim in World War II

Bombing of Podgorica in World War II

Bombing of Prague in World War II

Bombing of Prague

Bombing of Rabaul (1942)

Bombing of Rabaul (November 1943)

Bombing of Romania in World War II

Bombing of Rome in World War II

Bombing of Rothenburg in World War II

Bombing of Schaffhausen in World War II

Bombing of Schwäbisch Hall in World War II

Bombing of Sofia in World War II

Bombing of Stalingrad in World War II

Bombing of Stuttgart in World War II

Bombing of Tallinn in World War II

Bombing of Tokyo in World War II

Bombing of Treviso in World War II

Bombing of Ulm in World War II

Bombing of Vienna in World War II

Bombing of Warsaw in World War II

Bombing of Wesel in World War II

Bombing of Wewak

Bombing of Wieluń

Bombing of Würzburg in World War II

Bombing of Wuppertal in World War II

Bombing of Zara in World War II

Bombings of Heilbronn in World War II

Bombings of Switzerland in World War II

Bon Voyage (1944 film)

Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy

Borneo Campaign (1945) order of battle

Borneo campaign (1945)

Bougainville campaign (1943–45)

Bowmanville POW camp

Brazzaville Conference of 1944

Bredtvet concentration camp


Breitenau concentration camp

Breton nationalism and World War II

Breton Social-National Workers' Movement

Bretteville-sur-Laize Canadian War Cemetery


Bristol Beaufighter

Bristol Blitz

Britannia Theatre

British 51st (Highland) Infantry Division (World War II)

British anti-invasion preparations of World War II

British Armies in World War II

British armoured fighting vehicle production during World War II

British armoured fighting vehicles of World War II

British Army Aid Group

British Army Groups in World War II

British Army Groups in WWII

British Army of the Rhine

British Brigades in World War II

British Commandos

British Commonwealth Air Training Plan

British Commonwealth Occupation Force

British Corps in World War II

British Divisions in World War II

British Expeditionary Force order of battle (1940)

British Expeditionary Force (World War II)

British Far East Command

British First Army order of battle, 20 April 1943

British First Army order of battle, 4 May 1943

British Free Corps

British Guards Division

British hardened field defences of World War II

British Home Guard

British Motor Minesweepers (BYMS)

British Ninth Army

British occupation of the Faroe Islands in World War II

British Official Armour Specification

British propaganda during World War II

British S-class submarine (1914)

British S-class submarine (1931)

British Salonika Army

British U-class submarine

British V-class submarine (1914)

British V-class submarine

British World War II destroyers

Brittany American Cemetery and Memorial

Bronze Star Medal

Brotherhood of War (novel series)

Brothers in Arms (N-Gage 2.0)

Brothers in Arms DS

Brothers in Arms: Art of War

Brothers in Arms: D-Day

Brothers in Arms: Double Time

Brothers in Arms: Earned in Blood

Brothers in Arms: Hell's Highway

Brothers in Arms: Road to Hill 30

Buchenwald concentration camp

Budapest ghetto

Budapest Offensive

Bugs & Daffy: The Wartime Cartoons

Bugs Bunny Nips the Nips

Bulgarian Air Force

Bulgarian National Socialist Party

Bulgarian resistance movement during World War II

Burma Campaign 1942-1943

Burma Campaign 1944-1945

Burma Campaign 1944

Burma Campaign

Bény-sur-Mer Canadian War Cemetery

L'Heure Bretonne

L'Heure Bretonne ("The Breton Times") was a Breton nationalist weekly newspaper which was published from June 1940 to June 1944. It was the organ of the Breton National Party and was strongly associated with collaborationist politics during World War II.

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