Jacques Benoist-Méchin

Jacques Michel Gabriel Paul Benoist-Méchin (1 July 1901 – 24 February 1983) was a French far right politician and writer. He was born and died in Paris. Well known as a journalist and historian, he would later become prominent for his collaborationism under the Vichy regime. After being condemned in 1947 and released from prison in 1954, he became a specialist of the Arab world in the second part of his life.

Jacques Benoist-Méchin
Jacques Benoist-Méchin pris par Sophie Bassouls
Born1 July 1901
Died24 February 1983 (aged 81)
Paris, France
EducationLycée Louis-le-Grand
Alma materUniversity of Paris
OccupationPolitician, author

Early years

Benoist-Méchin was educated at leading schools in Switzerland and the United Kingdom as well as the Lycée Louis-le-Grand before attending the Sorbonne.[1] He subsequently served in the French Army, spending the period from 1921 to 1923 as part of the forces involved in the occupation of the Rhineland. He then became a journalist, working for the International News Service from 1924 to 1927 and was appointed editor of L'Europe Nouvelle in 1930 by Louise Weiss.[1]

Political career

A critic of democracy Benoist-Méchin joined the French Popular Party in 1936.[1] A noted Germanophile, he joined the Comité France-Allemagne, a group dedicated to fostering closer links between the two countries.[1] Despite this his earlier military service meant that when war broke out between the two countries in 1939 he was mobilised and during the Battle of France he was captured and for a time held as a prisoner of war in Voves.[1] He was quickly freed however and served as chief of the POWs diplomatic mission to Berlin, aimed at securing the release of those held in Germany.[1]

In the main the Germanophile Benoist-Méchin somewhat welcomed the German occupation of France during World War II.[2] He served as an undersecretary in the François Darlan regime and, along with Pierre Pucheu and Paul Marion, became part of the so-called "young cyclists" group of pro-German Darlan loyalists.[1] The 11 May 1941, he accompanied Darlan to Berchtesgaden in order to negotiate military facilities in Syria for Germany with Hitler. In early 1942 he received from his personal friend Otto Abetz an offer that would guarantee France effective independence if the country agreed to become a military ally of Germany, although when the offer was officially made the terms had been watered down somewhat.[3] Despite this loss of face Benoist-Méchin was an enthusiastic collaborator who claimed that France was working with Germany rather than opposing her and risking further defeat or working for her and thus becoming subservient.[4] He was briefly the official ambassador for the collaborationist government in occupied Paris although early on this role passed to fellow Germanophile Fernand de Brinon.[5]

A minister without portfolio in Vichy France, Benoist-Méchin's influence grew when he, along with his allies Paul Marion and Joseph Darnand, was appointed to the controlling committee of the Légion des Volontaires Français in June 1942.[6] In this position he suggested renaming the group Légion Tricolore and converting it into a professional military unit, an idea soon adopted.[7] Increasingly sidelined by Pierre Laval, Benoist-Méchin was involved in plotting with Darnand and Jacques Doriot for the three men to form a pro-Nazi triumvirate to administer Vichy France but the plan came to nothing.[1]

He was arrested in September 1944 for his role as collaborator. His trial began on 9 May 1947 before the High Court of Justice. He was accused of tactical and strategic collaboration with the enemy. On 6 June, Benoist-Méchin was sentenced to death and indignité nationale. He was pardoned on July 30 by President Vincent Auriol and on 6 August his death sentence was commuted to life imprisonment and later to 20 years.[8] He benefited from a remission of sentence 24 September 1953 and was released on parole in November 1954, when he was freed from Clairvaux.[9]

Immediately before and following his release Benoist-Méchin wrote for a number of right-wing journals, notably Écrits de Paris and Paroles Françaises, the organ of the Republican Party of Liberty.[1] He was a member of the Union des Intellectuels Indépendants, along with the likes of Pierre-Antoine Cousteau, and was co-patron with Maurice Bardèche of L'Union Réaliste, a group that sought to glorify the Vichy years.[1]

Writing

As a writer he produced a History of the German Army in ten volumes[10] whilst De la Défaite au désastre, his memoirs of the collaboration period, was published in 1984.[11] His 1941 work La Moisson de Quarante was an earlier memoir, specifically concerned with his time as a POW, whilst he would later write an interpretation of Adolf Hitler's Mein Kampf.[1] Before the war he had been most noted as an Arabist and was a prominent admirer of Ibn Saud.[12]

Personal life

Benoist-Méchin was a patron of the famous Paris bookshop Shakespeare and Company and during the Second World War used his connections to secure the release of the shop's American-born owner Sylvia Beach from a spell of internment.[13] He befriended James Joyce and made an early French translation of Molly Bloom's monologue from Ulysses, and also provided the musical transcription of "Little Harry Hughes" photographed for episode 17.[14] He also corresponded with Ernst Jünger during the German scholar's residence in occupied France.[15] He also developed a close friendship with Union Movement leader Oswald Mosley whilst the latter lived in France after the war.[16]

Publications

  • Histoire de l'armée allemande (1936) :
  1.  : De l'Armée impériale à la Reichwehr (1918-1919) ;
  2.  : De la Reichwehr à l'Armée nationale (1919-1938) ;
  3.  : De Vienne à Prague (1938-1939).
  • Éclaircissements sur Mein Kampf d'Adolphe Hitler, le livre qui a changé la face du monde (1939).
  • La Moisson de quarante – Journal d’un prisonnier de guerre (1941).
  • L'Ukraine, des origines à Staline (Albin Michel, 1941).
  • Ce qui demeure – Lettres de soldats tombés au champ d’honneur, 1914-1918 (1942).
  • Série du Rêve le plus long de l'Histoire (Éditions Perrin ou Tempus pour la collection de Poche) :
  1.  : Lawrence d'Arabie – Le rêve fracassé (1961), existe aussi en collection de poche depuis 2008 ;
  2.  : Cléopâtre – Le rêve évanoui (1964) ;
  3.  : Bonaparte en Égypte – Le rêve inassouvi (La guilde du livre 1966, Lausanne ; Perrin, 1978) ;
  4.  : Lyautey l'Africain ou Le rêve immolé (1966) ;
  5.  : L'empereur Julien – Le rêve calciné (1969) ;
  6.  : Alexandre le Grand – Le rêve dépassé (1976). Également Ed. Clairefontaine et La guilde du livre Lausanne, 1964 ;
  7.  : Frédéric de Hohenstaufen – Le rêve excommunié (1980), existe aussi en collection de poche depuis 2008.
  • Le Loup et le Léopard :
  1.  : Mustapha Kemal – La mort d’un Empire (1954) ;
  2.  : Ibn Séoud – La naissance d’un Royaume (1955) ;
  3.  : Le Roi Saud, ou l'Orient à l'heure des relèves (1960).
  • Soixante jours qui ébranlèrent l'occident (1956) :
  1.  : La Bataille du Nord - 10 mai-4 juin 1940 ;
  2.  : La Bataille de France - 4 juin 1940- 25 juin 1940 ;
  3.  : La Fin du Régime - 26 juin 1940 - 10 juillet 1940.
  • Un printemps arabe (1959).
  • Deux étés africains (1972).
  • À destins rompus (1974).
  • Fayçal, roi d'Arabie (1975).
  • L'Homme et ses jardins – Les métamorphoses du paradis terrestre (1975).
  • La Musique et l'immortalité dans l'œuvre de Marcel Proust (1977).
  • La Turquie se Dévoile 1908-1938 (1980).
  • De la défaite au désastre (1984-1985, posthume).
  • À l'épreuve du temps (1989-1993, posthume) (Nouvelle édition revisité en 1 seul tome paru en mai 2011 chez Perrin).
  • Histoire des Alaouites (1994, posthume).

References

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Philip Rees, Biographical Dictionary of the Extreme Right Since 1890, Simon & Schuster, 1990, p. 31
  2. ^ Charles Williams, Petain, 2005, p. 366
  3. ^ P. Webster, Petain's Crime, London, Pan Books, 2001, p. 117
  4. ^ David Littlejohn, The Patriotic Traitors, London: Heinemann, 1972, p. 210
  5. ^ Michael Curtis, Verdict on Vichy, London: Phoenix Press, 2004, p. 181
  6. ^ Littlejohn, p. 249
  7. ^ Littlejohn, p. 250
  8. ^ "Bilan de l'épuration judiciaire" (in French). Archived from the original on 24 September 2009. Retrieved 16 February 2013.
  9. ^ Giolitto, Pierre. Volontaires français sous l'uniforme allemand, Perrin, collection « Tempus », 2007, Paris, pp. 232-235.
  10. ^ H. Höhne, The Order of the Death's Head, Penguin, 2000, p. 7
  11. ^ Webster, p. 117
  12. ^ Laurent Murawiec, Princes Of Darkness: The Saudi Assault On The West, Rowman & Littlefield, 2005, p. 161
  13. ^ Sylvia Beach, Keri Walsh, The Letters of Sylvia Beach, Columbia University Press, 2011, p. 193
  14. ^ Ellmann, Richard. James Joyce. p. 521.
  15. ^ Allan Mitchell, The Devil's Captain: Ernst Jünger in Nazi Paris, 1941-1944, Berghahn Books, 2011, p. 75
  16. ^ Graham Macklin, Very Deeply Dyed in Black, IB Tauris, 2007, p. 136
Alain de Benoist

Alain de Benoist (; French: [də bənwa]; born 11 December 1943) is a French academic, philosopher, a founder of the Nouvelle Droite (New Right), and head of the French think tank GRECE.Benoist is opposed to Christianity, the United States, free markets, neoliberalism, democracy, and egalitarianism. His work has been influential with the alt-right movement in the United States, and he presented a lecture on identity at a National Policy Institute conference hosted by Richard B. Spencer; however, he has distanced himself from the movement.

Arno Breker

Arno Breker (19 July 1900 – 13 February 1991) was a German architect and sculptor who is best known for his public works in Nazi Germany, where they were endorsed by the authorities as the antithesis of degenerate art. One of his better known statues is Die Partei, representing the spirit of the Nazi Party that flanked one side of the carriage entrance to Albert Speer's new Reich Chancellery.

Bedales School

Bedales School is a co-educational, boarding and day independent school in the village of Steep, near the market town of Petersfield in Hampshire, England. It was founded in 1893 by John Haden Badley in reaction to the limitations of conventional Victorian schools. Bedales is one of the most expensive public schools in the UK. For the school year 2015/2016, boarders' fees were £11,799 per term, a similar figure to that charged by Harrow (£11,095) or Eton (£11,090).Bedales is renowned for its eccentricity, liberal ethos, relaxed attitude, fashionable parents and famous alumni. The Tatler Schools Guide used to cite Bedales as "a bohemian idyll with bite", and The Good Schools Guide states that, although the school is "less distinctive than in the past", it is "still good for 'individuals', articulate nonconformists, and people who admire such qualities".Since 1900 the school has been on an 120-acre (0.49 km2) estate in the village of Steep, near Petersfield, Hampshire. As well as playing fields, orchards, woodland, pasture and a nature reserve, the campus also boasts two Grade 1 listed arts and crafts buildings designed by Ernest Gimson, the Lupton Hall (completed in 1911) and the Memorial Library (1921), and three contemporary award-winning buildings: the Olivier Theatre (1997) designed by Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios, the Orchard Building (2005) by Walters & Cohen and the Art and Design Building (2017) also by Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios.

Benoist

Benoist is both a French surname and a given name. Notable people with the name include:

People with the surname BenoistAlain de Benoist (b. 1943), French academic and philosopher

Antoine Benoist (1632–1717), French artist who was painter and sculptor to Louis XIV

Antoine-Gabriel-François Benoist (1715–1776), French soldier

Élie Benoist (1640–1728), French Protestant minister, known as an historian of the Edict of Nantes

Félix Benoist (1818–1896), French painter and lithographer

François Benoist (1794–1878), French organist, composer, and pedagogue

Gabriel Benoist (1891–1964), a French writer in the Cauchois dialect of the Norman language

Guillaume Philippe Benoist (1725–1770), French line-engraver

Jacques Benoist-Méchin (1901–1983), French politician and writer

Joseph Roger de Benoist (b. ? ), French missionary, journalist, and historian

Lance Benoist (b. 1988), American mixed martial artist

Louis Auguste Benoist (1803–1867), pioneering American banker and financier

Luc Benoist (1893–1980), French essayist

Marcel Benoist (died 1918), French lawyer who established the Swiss Marcel Benoist Prize

Marie Guilhelmine Benoist (1768–1826), French neoclassical, historical and genre painter.

Melissa Benoist (b. 1988), American actress and singer

Michel Benoist (1715–1774), French Jesuit scientist noted for his service to the Chinese Empire

Raymond Benoist (1881–1970), French zoologist and botanist

Robert Benoist (1895–1944), French Grand Prix motor racing driver and World War II secret agent

Thomas W. Benoist (1874–1917), American aviator, aircraft manufacturer, and airline entrepreneurPeople with the given name BenoistBenoist Simmat (b. ? ), French author and journalist

Benoist Stehlin (ca. 1732-1774), French harpsichord builder

Benoît

Benoît ( or ; French pronunciation: ​[bənwa]) is a Catholic French male given name. It is less frequently spelled Benoist. The name comes from the Latin word "benedictus", which means "the one who says the good", equivalent in meaning to Bénédicte or the English name Benedict. The female form of the name is Benoîte.

The personal name Benoît is to be distinguished from Benoit as a family name, which is usually spelled without the circumflex accent. Early form of the name was spelled with an "s" (Benoist), but as with many words in the French language, the "s" was eventually replaced with a circumflex accent over the "i".

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.

Ideas of European unity before 1945

This article aims to cover ideas of European unity before 1945.

Lisette de Brinon

Lisette, Marquise de Brinon (1896 – 26 March 1982) was best known as the Jewish wife of the pro-Nazi French collaborator, Fernand de Brinon.

Louis-Ferdinand Céline

Louis-Ferdinand Céline (French: [selin] (listen)) was the pen name of Louis Ferdinand Auguste Destouches (pronounced [detuʃ]; 27 May 1894 – 1 July 1961), a French novelist, pamphleteer and physician. He developed a new style of writing that modernized French literature. His most famous work is the 1932 novel, Journey to the End of the Night.

Céline used a working-class, spoken style of language in his writings, and attacked what he considered to be the overly polished, "bourgeois" language of the "academy". His works influenced a broad array of literary figures, not only in France but also in the English-speaking world and elsewhere in the Western World; this includes authors associated with modernism, existentialism, black comedy and the Beat Generation.

Céline's vocal support for the Axis powers during the Second World War and his authorship of antisemitic and pro-fascist pamphlets has complicated his legacy as cultural icon.

Marcel Héraud

Marcel Héraud (5 May 1883 – 17 September 1960) was a French lawyer and politician who was briefly Minister of Health in 1940.

Military history of France during World War II

The military history of France during World War II covers three periods. From 1939 until 1940, which witnessed a war against Germany by the French Third Republic. The period from 1940 until 1945, which saw competition between Vichy France and the Free French Forces under General Charles de Gaulle for control of the overseas empire. And 1944, witnessing the landings of the Allies in France (Normandy, Provence), expelling the German Army and putting an end to the Vichy Regime.

France and Britain declared war on Germany when they invaded Poland in September 1939. After the Phoney War from 1939 to 1940, within seven weeks, the Germans invaded and defeated France and forced the British off the continent. France formally surrendered to Germany.

In August 1943, the de Gaulle and Giraud forces merged in a single chain of command subordinated to Anglo-American leadership, meanwhile opposing French forces on the Eastern Front were subordinated to Soviet or German leaderships. This in-exile French force together with the French Forces of the Interior (FFI) played a variable-scale role in the eventual liberation of France by the Western Allies and the defeat of Vichy France, Fascist Italy, Nazi Germany, and the Japanese empire. Vichy France fought for control over the French overseas empire with the Free French forces, which were helped by Britain and the U.S. By 1943, all of the colonies, except for Indochina, had joined the Free French cause.The number of Free French troops grew with Allied success in North Africa and subsequent rallying of the Army of Africa which pursued the fight against the Axis fighting in many campaigns and eventually invading Italy, occupied France and Germany from 1944 to 1945 by demanding unconditional surrender to the Axis Powers in the Casablanca Conference. On October 23, 1944, Britain, the United States, and the Soviet Union officially recognized de Gaulle's regime as the Provisional Government of the French Republic (GPRF) which replaced the in-exile Vichy French State (its government having fled to Sigmaringen in western Germany) and preceded the Fourth Republic (1946).

Recruitment in liberated France led to enlargements of the French armies. By the end of the war in Europe in May 1945, France had 1,250,000 troops, 10 divisions of which were fighting in Germany. An expeditionary corps was created to liberate French Indochina then occupied by the Japanese. During the course of the war, French military losses totaled 212,000 dead, of which 92,000 were killed through the end of the campaign of 1940, 58,000 from 1940 to 1945 in other campaigns, 24,000 lost while serving in the French resistance, and a further 38,000 lost while serving with the German Army (including 32,000 "malgré-nous").

Paul Marion (politician)

Paul Jules André Marion (27 June 1899, Asnières-sur-Seine – 2 March 1954) was a French Communist and subsequently far right journalist and political activist. He served as the French Minister of Information from 1941 to 1944.

Prix Broquette-Gonin

The prix Broquette-Gonin was a former prize awarded by the Académie française.

It rewarded four disciplines: history, literature, philosophy and poetry. A separate prize was awarded by subject.

Robert Doisneau

Robert Doisneau (French: [ʁɔbɛʁ dwano]; 14 April 1912 – 1 April 1994) was a French photographer. In the 1930s he made photographs on the streets of Paris. He was a champion of humanist photography and with Henri Cartier-Bresson a pioneer of photojournalism.Doisneau is renowned for his 1950 image Le baiser de l'hôtel de ville (Kiss by the Town Hall), a photograph of a couple kissing on a busy Parisian street.

Doisneau was appointed a Chevalier (Knight) of the Legion of Honour in 1984 by then French president, François Mitterrand.

Tudor Wilkinson

William Tudor Wilkinson (December 18, 1879 – April 22, 1969), known as Tudor Wilkinson, was an American art collector and amateur art dealer who married "the loveliest showgirl in the world. It was said that he gave Hermann Göring a painting in exchange for his wife's freedom from an internment camp and stored weapons and radio equipment for the French resistance during the Second World War.

This page is based on a Wikipedia article written by authors (here).
Text is available under the CC BY-SA 3.0 license; additional terms may apply.
Images, videos and audio are available under their respective licenses.