History of far-right movements in France

The far-right tradition in France finds its origins in the Third Republic with Boulangism and the Dreyfus Affair. The modern "far right" or radical right grew out of two separate events of 1889: the splitting off in the Socialist International of those who chose the nation and the culmination of the "Boulanger Affair", which championed the demands of the former Minister of War General Georges Boulanger. The Dreyfus Affair provided one of the political division lines of France. Nationalism, which had been before the Dreyfus Affair a left-wing and Republican ideology, turned after that to be a main trait of the right-wing and, moreover, of the far right. A new right emerged, and nationalism was reappropriated by the far right who turned it into a form of ethnic nationalism, itself blended with anti-Semitism, xenophobia, anti-Protestantism and anti-Masonry. The Action française, first founded as a review, was the matrix of a new type of counter-revolutionary right-wing, and continues to exist today. During the interwar period, the Action française (AF) and its youth militia, the Camelots du Roi, were very active. Far right leagues organized riots.

The Organisation armée secrète (OAS) was created in Madrid by French military opposed to the independence of Algeria. Jean-Marie Le Pen founded the Front National (FN) party in 1972. At the 1986 legislative elections, the FN managed to obtain 35 seats, with 10% of the votes. Mark Frederiksen, a French Algeria activist, created in April 1966 a neo-Nazi group, the FANE (Fédération d'action nationaliste et européenne, Nationalist and European Federation of Action). However, in 1978, neo-Nazi members of the GNR-FANE broke again with the FN. During the 1980s, the National Front managed to gather, under Jean-Marie Le Pen's leadership, most rival far-right tendencies of France, following a succession of splits and alliances with other, minor parties, during the 1970s.

Third Republic (1871–1914)

The Dreyfus Affair was a turning point in the political history of France and in the Third Republic (1871–1940), established after the 1870 Franco-Prussian War and the 1871 Paris Commune. The modern "far right" or radical right, grew out of two separate events of 1889.

The Socialist International was formed at the Paris Conference, which imposed doctrinal orthodoxy on socialists and demanded their allegiance to the international working class rather than their nation. This forced patriotic socialists to choose either their nation or the international workers' movement. Many chose their nation and fell into violent conflict with their former socialist comrades. Those who chose the nation and retained the strategy of violence, then used most often against their former comrades, formed much of the base of the radical right. Many of those people also proved susceptible to the blandishments of anti-Semitism, which has long been a hallmark of the radical right. This would include (socialist) Maurice Barrès, (communardes) Henri Rochefort and Gustave Paul Cluseret, (Blanquists) Charles Bernard and Antoine Jourde, among others.[1][2]

Georges Boulanger Nadar
Georges Ernest Boulanger (1837–1891)

The second event of 1889 was the culmination of the "Boulanger Affair" which championed the vague demands of the former Minister of War General Georges Boulanger. Boulanger had attracted the support of many socialists by ordering lenient treatment of strikers when the army was called upon to suppress strikes. He also rattled his saber against Germany which pleased French patriots intent on taking revenge against the German Empire. But his saber-rattling scared the other ministers who dumped Boulanger from the government. When his champions mounted an electoral campaign to have him elected to the Chamber of Deputies, the government reacted by forcing him out of the Army. His backers then elected him to the Chamber again from Paris, where he gained the support of both conservatives, who loathed the Republic, and socialists with their own ideas about how the Republic should be remade. This joining of the left and right against the center formed the foundation upon which the radical right was built in subsequent years. Violent agitation in Paris on the election night in 1889 convinced the government to prosecute Boulanger in order to remove him from the political scene. Instead of facing trumped up charges, Boulanger fled to Belgium. His supporters, "Boulangists" afterward nursed an intense grievance against the Republic and reunited during the Dreyfus Affair to oppose the Republic and "back the army" once again.[3][4][5]

The Dreyfus Affair and the foundation of the Action française

Degradation alfred dreyfus
Degradation of Alfred Dreyfus, 1895

In 1894, a Jewish officer, Alfred Dreyfus, was arrested on accusations of treason and sharing intelligence with the German Empire. The Dreyfus Affair provided one of the political fault lines of France. Nationalism, which had been before the Dreyfus Affair a left-wing and Republican ideology, turned after that to be a main trait of the right-wing and, moreover, of the far right.[6]

Émile Zola entered the political scene with his open letter "J'Accuse…!", followed by other writers, artists and scholars supporting him with a "Manifesto of the Intellectuals", helping to define the meaning of the term "intellectual",[7] while the left and right were at loggerheads, mainly over the questions of militarism, nationalism, justice and human rights. Until then, nationalism was a Republican, left-wing ideology, related to the French Revolution and the Revolutionary Wars. It was a liberal nationalism, formulated by Ernest Renan's definition of the nation as a "daily plebiscite" and as formed by the subjective "will to live together." Related to "revanchism", the belligerent will to take revenge against Germany and retake control of Alsace-Lorraine, nationalism could then be sometimes opposed to imperialism. In the 1880s, a debate thus opposed those who opposed the "colonial lobby", such as radical Georges Clemenceau, who declared that colonialism diverted France from the "blue line of the Vosges" (referring to Alsace-Lorraine), socialist Jean Jaurès and nationalist Maurice Barrès, against Moderate Republican Jules Ferry, republican Léon Gambetta and Eugène Etienne, the president of the parliamentary colonial group.

However, in the midst of the Dreyfus Affair, a new right emerged, and nationalism was appropriated by the far right who turned it into a form of ethnic nationalism, itself blended with anti-Semitism, xenophobia, anti-Protestantism and anti-Masonry. Charles Maurras (1868–1952), founder of "integralism" (or "integral nationalism"), created the term "Anti-France" to stigmatize "internal foreigners", or the "four confederate states of Protestants, Jews, Freemasons and foreigners" (his actual word for the latter being the far less polite métèques). A few years later, Maurras would join the monarchist Action française, created by Maurice Pujo and Henri Vaugeois in 1898. Maurras, who was an agnostic, spearheaded a monarchist and Catholic revival. He pragmatically conceived of religion as an ideology useful to unify the nation. Most French Catholics were conservatives, a trait that continues today. On the other hand, most Protestants, Jews and atheists belonged to the left. Henceforth, the Republicans' conception was, to the contrary, that only state secularism could peacefully bind together diverse religious and philosophical tendencies, and avoid any return to the Wars of Religion. Furthermore, Catholic priests were seen as a major reactionary force by the Republicans, among whom anti-clericalism became common. The Ferry laws on public education had been a first step for the Republic in rooting out the clerics' influence: they would be completed by the 1905 law on the separation of Church and State.

Action française, first founded as a review, was the matrix of a new type of counter-revolutionary right-wing, and continues to exist today. Action française was quite influential in the 1930s, in particular through its youth organization, the Camelots du Roi, founded in 1908, and which engaged in many street brawls, etc. The Camelots du Roi included such figures as Catholic writer Georges Bernanos and Jean de Barrau, member of the directing committee of the National Federation, and particular secretary of the duc d'Orléans (1869–1926), the son of the Orleanist count of Paris (1838–1894) and hence Orleanist heir to the throne of France. Many members of the OAS terrorist group during the Algerian War (1954–62) were part of the monarchist movement. Jean Ousset, Maurras' personal secretary, created the Catholic fundamentalist organization Cité catholique, which would include OAS members and founded a branch in Argentina in the 1960s.

Apart from the Action française, several far-right leagues were created during the Dreyfus Affair. Mostly anti-Semitic, they also represented a new right-wing tendency, sharing common traits such as anti-parliamentarism, militarism, nationalism, and often engaged in street brawls. Thus, the nationalist poet Paul Déroulède created in 1882 the anti-semitic Ligue des patriotes (League of Patriots), which at first focused on advocating 'revanche' (revenge) for the French defeat during the Franco-Prussian War. Along with Jules Guérin, the journalist Edouard Drumont created the Antisemitic League of France in 1889. Also anti-masonic, the League became at the start of the 20th century the Grand Occident de France, a name chosen in reaction against the masonic lodge of the Grand Orient de France.

Between the wars

During the interwar period, the Action française (AF) and its youth militia, the Camelots du Roi, were very active in Paris.[8] Apart from the AF, various far-right leagues were formed and opposed both Cartel des gauches (Coalition of the left) governments. Pierre Taittinger thus formed the Jeunesses Patriotes in 1924, which imitated the style of the Fascists, although it remained a more traditional authoritarian movement. The following year, Georges Valois created Le Faisceau, heavily inspired by Benito Mussolini's Fascism. Finally, in 1933, the year Adolf Hitler gained power in Germany, the wealthy perfumer François Coty founded Solidarité française and Marcel Bucard formed the Francisme, which was subsidised by Mussolini. Another important league was François de la Rocque's Croix de Feu, which formed the base for the Parti Social Français (PSF), the first mass party of the French right-wing. Mussolini was much more popular in right-wing circles than Hitler due to the negative reaction many French conservatives had to Hitler's repression of dissident German conservatives and Catholics in 1933 and 1934.[9]

Apart from the leagues, a group of Neosocialists (Marcel Déat, Pierre Renaudel, etc.) were excluded in November 1933 from the French Section of the Workers' International (SFIO, the socialist party) because of their revisionist stances and admiration for fascism. Déat would become one of the most ardent collaborationists during World War II.

Another major player in France's right-wing world between the wars was Jacques Doriot. Doriot had been expelled by the French Communist Party after proposing a Popular Front with other leftist parties, which at that time was seen as heresy by his party's hierarchy. Personally hurt and embittered by his expulsion, Doriot would slowly change sides, eventually openly denouncing communism and going on to found the Parti Populaire Francais or PPF, the largest pre-war right wing party. Other important figures of the 1930s include Xavier Vallat, who would become General Commissioner for Jewish Affairs under Vichy, members of the Cagoule terrorist group (Eugène Deloncle, Eugène Schueller, the founder of L'Oréal cosmetic firm, Jacques Corrèze, Joseph Darnand, who later founded the Service d'ordre légionnaire militia during Vichy, etc.). To obtain arms from fascist Italy, the group assassinated two Italian antifascists, the Rosselli brothers,[10][11] on June 9, 1937, and sabotaged aeroplanes clandestinely supplied by the French government to the Second Spanish Republic. They also attempted a coup against the Popular Front government, elected in 1936, leading to arrests in 1937, ordered by Interior Minister Marx Dormoy, during which the police seized explosives and military weapons, including anti-tank guns.[12]

Far right leagues organised major riots on 6 February 1934.[13] The groups did not coordinate their efforts the riots were suppressed by the police and military. Elements on the left were convinced that uniots was essential to suppress fascism, and in 1936 they formed the Popular Front and dissolved the leagues. However the right-wing leagues promptly reorganized as political parties and continued vocal attacks on the left.[14]

Fourth Republic and the Algerian War

The Organisation armée secrète (OAS) was created in Madrid by French military officers opposed to the independence of Algeria. Many of its members would later join various anti-communist struggles around the world. Some, for example, joined the Cité catholique fundamentalist group and went to Argentina, where they were in contact with the Argentine Armed Forces. Jean Pierre Cherid, former OAS member, took part in the 1976 Montejurra massacre against left-wing Carlists.[15][16] He was then part of the Spanish GAL death squad, and participated in the 1978 assassination of Argala, one of the ETA members who had killed Franco's Prime minister, Luis Carrero Blanco, in 1973.

Jean-Louis Tixier-Vignancour was the far-right candidate at the 1965 presidential election. His campaign was organised by Jean-Marie Le Pen. Charles de Gaulle said of Tixier-Vignancourt: "Tixier-Vignancour, that is Vichy, the Collaboration proud of itself, the Milice, the OAS".

Fifth Republic

Jean-Marie Le Pen 479834203 5030701e77 o
Jean-Marie Le Pen founded the Front National in 1972 and led them until 2011

Jean-Marie Le Pen founded the Front National (FN) party in 1972, along with former Organisation armée secrète (OAS) member Jacques Bompard, former Collaborationist Roland Gaucher, François Duprat, who introduced the negationist thesis to France,[17] and others nostalgics of Vichy France, Catholic fundamentalists, etc.[18] Le Pen presented himself for the first time in the 1974 presidential election, obtaining 0.74%.[18] The electoral rise of the FN did not start until Jean-Pierre Stirbois's victory, in 1983, in Dreux. The FN became stronger throughout the 1980s, managing to unite most far-right tendencies, passing electoral alliances with the right-wing Rally for the Republic (RPR), while some FN members quit the party to join the RPR or the Union for a French Democracy (UDF). At the 1986 legislative elections, the FN managed to obtain 35 seats, with 10% of the votes.

Meanwhile, other far-right tendencies gathered in Alain de Benoist's Nouvelle Droite think-tank, heading a pro-European line. Some radical members of the "national revolutionary" tendency quit the FN to form other minor parties (Party of New Forces, PFN, and French and European Nationalist Party, PNFE).

The French Third Position's relations with the National Front

Mark Frederiksen, a French Algeria activist, created in April 1966 a neo-Nazi group, the FANE (Fédération d'action nationaliste et européenne, Nationalist and European Federation of Action). The FANE boasted at most a hundred activists, including members such as Luc Michel, now leader of the Parti communautaire national-européen (National European Communautary Party), Jacques Bastide, Michel Faci, Michel Caignet and Henri-Robert Petit, a journalist and former Collaborationist who directed under the Vichy regime the newspaper Le Pilori. The FANE maintained international contacts with the British group the League of Saint George.[19]

The FANE rallied Jean-Marie Le Pen's National Front in 1974, gathered around François Duprat and Alain Renault's Revolutionary Nationalist Groups (GNR), which represented the nationalist revolutionary tendency of the FN.

But in 1978, neo-Nazi members of the GNR-FANE broke again with the FN, taking with them sections of the FN youth movement, the Front National de la Jeunesse.[20] On the other hand, GNR activists closer to the Third Position (Jacques Bastide and Patrick Gorre)[20] joined Jean-Gilles Malliarakis to found, on February 11, 1979, the Revolutionary Nationalist Movement (Mouvement nationaliste révolutionnaire), which became in 1985 Third Way (Troisième Voie).

After this brief passage at the National Front, Mark Fredriksen created the Faisceaux nationalistes européens (FANE) in July 1980. These would eventually merge with the Mouvement national et social ethniste in 1987, and then with the PNFE (French and European Nationalist Party) in January 1994, which also gathered former National Front members.

Dissolved first in September 1980 by Raymond Barre's government, Fredriksen's group was recreated, and dissolved again in 1985 by Laurent Fabius' government. Finally, it was dissolved a third time in 1987 by Jacques Chirac's government, on charges of "violent demonstrations organised by this movement, which has as one of its expressed objective the establishment of a new Nazi regime," the "paramilitary organisation of this association and its inciting of racial discrimination."

Alain de Benoist's Nouvelle Droite and the Club de l'Horloge

In the 1980s, Alain de Benoist became chief theorist of the Nouvelle Droite movement, creating the think-tank GRECE in 1968, some of whose members were involved with the formation of the Club de l'Horloge in 1974. They advocated an ethno-nationalist stance focused on European culture, which advocated a return of paganism. Members of the GRECE quit the think tank in the 1980s, such as Pierre Vial who joined the FN, or Guillaume Faye who quit the organisation along with others members in 1986. Faye participated in 2006 in a conference in the US organised by American Renaissance, a white separatist magazine published by the New Century Foundation.

Alain de Benoist occasionally contributed to the Mankind Quarterly review, which supports hereditarianism and is associated with the US think tank the Pioneer Fund, headed by J. Philippe Rushton, the author of Race, Evolution and Behavior (1995), which argues in favour of a biological conception of "race". GRECE and the Pioneer Fund are actively involved in the race and intelligence debate, postulating that there is an identifiable link between levels of intelligence and distinct ethnic groups.

The Club de l'horloge itself had been founded by Henry de Lesquen, a former member of the conservative Rally for the Republic, which he quit in 1984. Others members of the Club de l'horloge, such as Bruno Mégret, later joined the FN after a short time in the RPR.

Rise of the National Front in the 1980s and Mégret's split

During the 1980s, the National Front managed to gather, under Jean-Marie Le Pen's leadership, most rival far-right tendencies of France, following a succession of splits and alliances with other, minor parties, during the 1970s.

Party of New Forces

One of those parties, the Party of New Forces (PFN, Parti des forces nouvelles), was an offshoot of the National Front, formed from a 1973 split headed by Alain Robert and François Brigneau who first organised the Comité faire front which subsequently merged into the PFN.

The PFN was formed mainly by former members of New Order (Ordre nouveau, 1969–1973), who had refused to merge into the FN at its 1972 creation. New Order, dissolved by Interior Minister Raymond Marcellin in 1973, was itself a successor to Occident (1964–1968) and of the Union Defense Group (GUD, Groupe union défense).

Close to the Third Position and supporting a "national-revolutionary" thesis, this tendency maintained links with the FN, despite some tensions. The GUD, in particular, had published the satiric monthly Alternative with the Youth Front (Front de la jeunesse), the youth organisation of the FN. They also had attempted alliances with other far-right parties in Europe, with New Order organising the alliance "A Fatherland for Tomorrow" (Une patrie pour demain) with the Spanish Falange, the Italian Social Movement (MSI) and the German National Democratic Party.

This European strategy was continued by the PFN, who launched the Euroright alliance, with the MSI, the Spanish New Force and the Belgian PFN, for the 1979 European elections. Headed by Jean-Louis Tixier-Vignancour, the PFN won 1.3% of the vote. This electoral failure prompted Roland Gaucher and François Brigneau to quit the party and join Le Pen's National Front.

1981 Presidential election

The French far-right was divided in the 1981 presidential election, with both Pascal Gauchon (PFN) and Le Pen (FN) attempting, without success, to secure the 500 signatures from mayors necessary to stand as candidates. François Mitterrand (Socialist Party) won those elections, competing against Jacques Chirac (Rally for the Republic, RPR).

1983 elections and rise

These succeeding electoral defeats prompted the far-right to unify itself. In 1983, the FN managed to make its first electoral breakthrough, taking control of the town of Dreux: Jean-Pierre Stirbois obtained 17% of the votes in the first round, for the FN municipal list. In the second round, he merged his list with Chirac's RPR list (headed by Jean Hieaux), enabling the right to claim a victory against the left. Chirac supported the alliance with the far-right, claiming that the Socialist Party, allied with the Communist Party in government, had no lessons to give.[21]

This first electoral success was confirmed at the 1984 European elections, the FN obtaining 10% of the votes. Two years later, the FN gained 35 deputies (nearly 10% of the votes) at the 1986 legislative elections, running under the label of "Rassemblement national. Those elected included the monarchist Georges-Paul Wagner.

Internal disputes continued however to divide the far-right. Following the 1986 elections, which brought Jacques Chirac to power as Prime Minister, some hardliners inside the FN broke away to create the French and European Nationalist Party (PNFE, Parti Nationaliste Français et Européen), along with members of Mark Frederiksen's Third Position FANE. Three former members of the PNFE were charged of having desecrated, in 1990, a Jewish cemetery in Carpentras.[22]

Mégret's split, Le Pen's 2002 score and subsequent electoral fall

The most important split, however, was headed by Bruno Mégret in 1999. Taking many FN elected representatives and party officials with him, he then created the National Republican Movement (MNR). However, with an eye to the 2007 legislative elections, he supported Le Pen's candidacy for the presidential election.

During these presidential elections, Jean-Marie Le Pen only took 10.4% of the vote, compared to his 16.9% first round result in 2002, qualifying him for the second round, where he achieved 17.79% against 82.21% for Jacques Chirac (Rally for the Republic, RPR).

With only 1.85% in the second round of the 2002 legislative elections, the FN failed to gain any seats in the National Assembly. In the 2007 presidential election, Le Pen finished fourth, behind Nicolas Sarkozy, Ségolène Royal and François Bayrou. Philippe de Villiers, the Catholic traditionalist candidate of the Movement for France (especially strong in the conservative Vendée region), was sixth, obtaining 2.23% of the vote.

This electoral slump for the FN was confirmed at the 2007 legislative elections, the FN obtaining only 0.08% of the votes in the second round, and therefore no seats.

Le Pen's succession

Le Pen, Marine-9586
Marine Le Pen succeeded her father as Front National leader in 2011

These electoral defeats, which contrasted with the high score obtained at the 2002 presidential elections, caused financial problems for the FN, which was forced to sell its headquarters, the Paquebot, in Saint-Cloud. Le Pen then announced, in 2008, that he would not compete again in presidential elections, leaving the way for contest for the leadership of the FN between his daughter, Marine Le Pen, whom he favoured, and Bruno Gollnisch.[23] The latter had been condemned in January 2007 for Holocaust denial,[24] while Marine Le Pen attempted to follow a slicker strategy to give the FN a more "respectable" image.

FN 2010s surge

Individuals and groups


Other minor groups

Other minor groups that are or have been active in the Fifth Republic include:

See also


  1. ^ Zeev Sternhell, La Droite Révolutionaire, les origines françaises du fascisme, 1885-1914 (Paris: Ed. du Seuil, 1978)
  2. ^ Robert Lynn Fuller, The Origins of the French Nationalist Movement, 1886-1914 (McFarland, 2012)
  3. ^ Fredric Seager, The Boulanger Affair, The Political Crossroads of France, 1886-1889 (Cornell University Press, 1969)
  4. ^ William Irvine, The Boulanger Affair Reconsidered, Royalism, Boulagism, and the Origins of the Radical Right in France(Oxford University Press, 1989)
  5. ^ Patrick Hutton The Cult of the Revolutionary Tradition: Blanquists in French Politics, 1864-1893 (U. of California Press, 1981)
  6. ^ Winock, Michel (dir.), Histoire de l'extrême droite en France (1993)
  7. ^ Read, Piers Paul (2012). "Dreyfus and the Birth of Intellectual Protest". Standpoint. Retrieved 14 October 2018.
  8. ^ Eugen Weber, Action Française: Royalism and Reaction in Twentieth Century France (1962).
  9. ^ Robert J. Soucy, "French press reactions to Hitler's first two years in power." Contemporary European History 7.1 (1998): 21-38.
  10. ^ Stanislao G. Pugliese Death in Exile: The Assassination of Carlo Rosselli, Journal of Contemporary History, 32 (1997), pp. 305-319
  11. ^ M. Agronsky, Foreign Affairs 17#391 (1938)
  12. ^ Time Magazine Terrible Gravity Monday, November 29, 1937
  13. ^ William D. Irvine, . French Conservatism in Crisis: The Republican Federation of France in the 1930s (1979)
  14. ^ Martin S. Alexander; Helen Graham (2002). The French and Spanish Popular Fronts: Comparative Perspectives. Cambridge UP. pp. 40–43.
  15. ^ MONTEJURRA: LA OPERACIÓN RECONQUISTA Y EL ACTA FUNDACIONAL DE LAS TRAMAS ANTITERRORISTAS. Fuente "INTERIOR" Por Santiago Belloch Archived 2007-02-28 at the Wayback Machine (in Spanish)
  16. ^ Rodolfo Almirón, de la Triple A al Montejurra Archived 2007-03-06 at the Wayback Machine, PDF (in Spanish)
  17. ^ Henry Rousso, "Les habits neufs du négationniste," in L'Histoire n°318, March 2007, pp.26-28 (in French)
  18. ^ a b Le Pen, son univers impitoyable, Radio France Internationale, September 1, 2006 (in French)
  19. ^ R. Hill & A. Bell, The Other Face of Terror- Inside Europe’s Neo-Nazi Network, London: Collins, 1988, pp.186-189
  20. ^ a b Annuaire de l'extrême droite en France (in French)
  21. ^ Franz-Olivier Giesbert, La Tragédie du Président, 2006, p 37-38
  22. ^ La profanation de Carpentras a été longuement préméditée, L'Humanité, 7 August 1996 (in French)
  23. ^ Succession : Le Pen confie préférer sa fille à Bruno Gollnisch, Nouvel Observateur, 16 September 2008
  24. ^ Bruno Gollnisch condamné pour ses propos sur l'Holocauste Archived 2007-09-30 at the Wayback Machine, REUTERS cable published by L'Express on January 18, 2007 — URL accessed on January 18, 2007 (in French) délit de contestation de l'existence de crime contre l'humanité par paroles


  • Davies, Peter. The National Front in France. Ideology, Discourse and Power (Routledge, 1999)
  • Fuller, Robert Lynn. The Origins of the French Nationalist Movement, 1886-1914 (McFarland, 2012)
  • Hainsworth, Paul. "The Extreme Right in France: From Pétain to Le Pen." Modern & Contemporary France (2012) 20#3 pp: 392-392. abstract
  • Hutton, Patrick. "Popular Boulangism and the Advent of Mass Politics in France, 1886-90" Journal of Contemporary History (1976) 11#1 pp. 85–106 in JSTOR
  • Irvine, William. The Boulanger Affair Reconsidered, Royalism, Boulangism, and the Origins of the Radical Right in France (Oxford University Press, 1989)
  • Irvine, William D. French Conservatism in Crisis: The Republican Federation of France in the 1930s (1979).
  • Kalman, Samuel, and Sean Kennedy, eds. The French Right Between the Wars: Political and Intellectual Movements From Conservatism to Fascism (Berghahn Books; 2014) 264 pages; scholars examine such topics as veterans and the extreme right, female right-wing militancy, and visions of masculinity in the natalist-familialist movement.
  • Passmore, Kevin. "The Historiography of 'Fascism' in France," French Historical Studies 37 (2014): 469-499
  • Passmore, Kevin. The Right in France from the Third Republic to Vichy (Oxford University Press, 2013)
  • Russo, Luana. "France: The historic victory of the Front National." in The European Parliament Elections of 2014 (2014): 181-88 online
  • Shields, James. "Marine Le Pen and the ‘New’ FN: A Change of Style or of Substance?." Parliamentary affairs (2013) 66#1 pp: 179-196. abstract
  • Weber, Eugen. L'Action Française, Royalism and Reaction in Twentieth-Century France (Stanford University Press, 1962)
  • Winock, Michel. Nationalism, anti-semitism, and fascism in France (Stanford University Press, 1998)

In French

  • Bertrand Joly, Nationalistes et Conservateurs en France, 1885-1902 (Les Indes Savantes, 2008)
  • Winock, Michel (dir.), Histoire de l'extrême droite en France (1993)
Aginter Press

Aginter Press, also known under the name Central Order and Tradition (Portuguese: Ordem Central e Tradição), was a pseudo press agency set up in Lisbon, Portugal in September 1966, under Oliveira Salazar's dictatorship (Estado Novo). Directed by Captain Yves Guérin-Sérac, who had taken part in the foundation of the OAS in Madrid, a terrorist group which fought against Algerian independence towards the end of the Algerian War (1954–1962), Aginter Press was in reality an anti-communist mercenary organisation with subsidiaries in other countries. It trained its members in covert action techniques, including bombings, silent assassinations, subversion techniques, clandestine communication and infiltration and counter-insurgency.

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.

Far-right leagues

The far-right leagues (French: ligues d'extrême droite) were several French far-right movements opposed to parliamentarism, which mainly dedicated themselves to military parades, street brawls, demonstrations and riots. The term ligue was often used in the 1930s to distinguish these political movements from parliamentary parties. After having appeared first at the end of the 19th century, during the Dreyfus affair, they became common in the 1920s and 1930s, and famously participated in the 6 February 1934 crisis and riots which overthrew the second Cartel des gauches, i.e. the center-left coalition government led by Édouard Daladier.For a long time, the French left wing had been convinced that these riots had been an attempted coup d'état against the French Republic. Although contemporary historians have shown that, despite the riots and the ensuing collapse of the governing left wing, there had been no organized plans to overthrow Daladier's Radical-Socialist government, this widespread belief led to the creation of the anti-fascist movement in France, and later to the dissolving of these leagues in 1936 by the leftist Popular Front government headed by Léon Blum.

French Social Party

The French Social Party (French: Parti Social Français, PSF) was a French nationalist political party founded in 1936 by François de La Rocque, following the dissolution of his Croix-de-Feu league by the Popular Front government. France's first right-wing mass party, prefiguring the rise of Gaullism after the Second World War, it experienced considerable initial success but disappeared in the wake of the fall of France in 1940.

Fédération d'action nationale et européenne

The Fédération d'action nationale et européenne (FANE) was a small French far-right organisation founded in April 1966. Openly Neo-Nazi, it was led by Mark Fredriksen, a bank employee who became involved in activism for French Algeria after serving in the paras (paratroopers) there. FANE brought together three movements: Action-Occident, the Cercle Charlemagne and the Comité de soutien à l'Europe réelle.

Jean-Marie Le Pen

Jean-Marie Le Pen (French pronunciation: ​[ʒɑ̃ ma.ʁi lə.pɛn]; born 20 June 1928) is a French politician who served as President of the National Front from 1972 to 2011. He has served as a Member of the European Parliament (MEP) since 2004, he had previously been elected to the same position between 1984 and 2003. He also served as Honorary President of the National Front from 2011 to 2018.

Born and raised as a Roman Catholic in La Trinité-sur-Mer, Le Pen first attended the Jesuit high school François Xavier in Vannes then Dupuy-de-Lôme in Lorient. After being dismissed from it in April for indiscipline, he briefly attended the high school Jules-Simon in Vannes before being dismissed again for indiscipline. Le Pen finally graduated from Claude-Debussy high school in Saint-Germain-en-Laye in 1947. He then entered the faculty of law in Paris and graduated from it in 1949. After his time in the military, he studied political science and law at Panthéon-Assas University.

Le Pen focuses on issues related to immigration to France, the European Union, traditional culture and values, law and order and France's high rate of unemployment. His progression in the 1980s is known as the "lepénisation of spirits" due to its noticeable effect on mainstream political opinion. His controversial speeches and his integration into public life have made him a figure who polarizes opinion, considered as the "Devil of the Republic" among his opponents or as the "last samurai in politics" among his supporters.

His longevity in politics and his five attempts to become President of France have made him a major figure in French political life. His progress to the second round in the 2002 presidential election left its mark on French public life and the "21st of April" is now a frequently used expression in France. He is currently a Member of the European Parliament (MEP) and served as the Honorary President of the National Front from January 2011 to March 2018. He was expelled from the party by his daughter Marine Le Pen in 2015, after new controversial statements.

Marcel Déat

Marcel Déat (7 March 1894 – 5 January 1955) was a French socialist politician until 1933, when he initiated a spin-off from the French Section of the Workers' International (SFIO) along with other right-wing 'Neosocialists'. During the occupation of France by Nazi Germany, he founded the collaborationist National Popular Rally (RNP). In 1944, he became Minister of Labour and National Solidarity in Pierre Laval's government in Vichy, before escaping to the Sigmaringen enclave along with Vichy officials after the Allied landings in Normandy. Condemned in absentia for collaborationism, he died while still in hiding in Italy.

Nouvelle Droite

Nouvelle Droite (English: "New Right"), sometimes shortened to the initialism "ND", is a far-right political movement that emerged in France during the late 1960s. The movement has links to older fascist groups and some political scientists regard it as a form of fascism, although this characterisation is rejected by many of the ND's adherents.

The Nouvelle Droite is commonly referred to as the ‘European New Right’. The Nouvelle Droite began with the formation of Groupement de recherche et d'études pour la civilisation européenne (GRECE; Research and Study Group for European Civilization), a French group guided largely by the philosopher Alain de Benoist, in Nice in 1968. De Benoist and other early GRECE members had long been involved in far-right politics, and their new movement was influenced by older rightist currents of thought like the German conservative revolutionary movement. Although rejecting left-wing ideas of human equality, the Nouvelle Droite was also heavily influenced by the tactics of the New Left and forms of Marxism. Particularly influential were the ideas of the Italian Marxist Antonio Gramsci, with ND members describing themselves as "Gramscians of the Right". The ND achieved a level of mainstream respectability in France during the 1970s, although this declined following sustained liberal and leftist opposition. ND members joined several political parties, becoming a particularly strong influence within the French National Front, while ND ideas also influenced far-right groups elsewhere in Europe. In the 21st century, the ND has influenced far-right groups such as the identitarian movement and forms of national-anarchism.

The ND opposes multiculturalism and the mixing of different cultures within a single society. It opposes liberal democracy and capitalism and promotes localised forms of what it terms "organic democracy", with the intent of taking away the control of oligarchy. It pushes for an "archeofuturistic" or a type of non-reactionary "revolutionary conservative" method to the reinvigoration of the European identity and culture, while encouraging the preservation of certain regions where Europeans and descendents of Europeans may reside. Concurrently, it attempts to sustain the protection of the variance of ethnicities and identities around the globe, defending the right of each group of peoples to keep their own lands and regions to occupy. To achieve its goals, the ND promotes what it calls "metapolitics", seeking to influence and shift European culture in ways sympathetic to its cause over a lengthy period of time rather than by actively campaigning for office through political parties.

Revolutionary Nationalist Groups

The Revolutionary Nationalist Groups (French: Groupes nationalistes révolutionnaires, GNR) were a French far-right organization which gathered the nationalist revolutionary tendency between 1976 and 1978.

Founded by François Duprat and his friend, Alain Renault, they structured the radical tendency of the National Front (FN) after the rallying to the FN of the Fédération d'Action Nationale et Européenne (FANE) in 1974.

Révolution nationale

The Révolution nationale (French pronunciation: ​[ʁevɔlysjɔ̃ nasjɔnal], National Revolution) was the official ideological program promoted by the Vichy regime (the “French State”) which had been established in July 1940 and led by Marshal Philippe Pétain. Pétain's regime was characterized by anti-parliamentarism, rejection of the constitutional separation of powers, personality cultism, xenophobia and state-sponsored anti-Semitism, promotion of traditional values, rejection of modernity, corporatism and opposition to the theory of class conflict. Despite its name, the ideological project was more reactionary than revolutionary as it opposed most changes introduced to French society by the French Revolution.As soon as it was established, Pétain’s government took measures against the “undesirables”, namely Jews, métèques (immigrants), Freemasons, and Communists. The persecution of these four groups was inspired by Charles Maurras’ concept of the “Anti-France”, or “internal foreigners”, which he defined as the “four confederate states of Protestants, Jews, Freemasons and foreigners”. The regime also persecuted Gypsies, homosexuals, and left-wing activists in general. Vichy imitated the racial policies of the Third Reich and also engaged in natalist policies aimed at reviving the “French race” (including a sports policy), although these policies never went as far as the eugenics program implemented by the Nazis.

Xavier Vallat

Xavier Vallat (December 23, 1891 – January 6, 1972), French politician, was Commissioner-General for Jewish Questions in the wartime Vichy collaborationist government, and was sentenced after World War II to ten years in prison for his part in the persecution of French Jews.

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