Le Pays Réel (French; literally "The Real Country") was a Catholic-Fascist newspaper published by the Rexist Party in Belgium. Its first issue appeared on 3 May 1936 and it continued to be published during the Second World War. It was briefly edited by Victor Matthys. While the Pays Réel remained the main paper of Rex, it remained just one of several published by the group, or subsumed under Rexist control, during the war.
The newspaper's title derives from the writings of Charles Maurras, a French nationalist, who distinguished between a pays réel, rooted in the realities of life such as locality, work, trades, the parish and the family, and a pays légal ("legal country") of law, constitutionalism, and liberal political ideals which he cast as artificially imposed on the "real".
Alain Escada, born 16 May 1970 in Brussels, is a Belgian far-right activist. Since 2012, he has been the chairman of Civitas, a French ultracatholic organization. Under his leadership, in 2012–13, Civitas opposed same-sex marriage in France, Escada calling them a "Pandora's box" for polygamy and incest.In June 2016, Civitas changed its status from a cultural organisation to a French political party and in 2017 Escada announced that Civitas will run in the next French parliamentary elections.Escada is the President of the Coalition pour la Vie et la Famille, whose status as a tiny European party brings 500.000 euros a year of European funds.Belgium in World War II
Despite being neutral at the start of World War II, Belgium and its colonial possessions found themselves at war after the country was invaded by German forces on 10 May 1940. After 18 days of fighting in which Belgian forces were pushed back into a small pocket in the north-east of the country, the Belgian military surrendered to the Germans, beginning an occupation that would endure until 1944. The surrender of 28 May was ordered by King Leopold III without the consultation of his government and sparked a political crisis after the war. Despite the capitulation, many Belgians managed to escape to the United Kingdom where they formed a government and army-in-exile on the Allied side.
The Belgian Congo remained loyal to the Belgian government in London and contributed significant material and human resources to the Allied cause. Many Belgians were involved in both armed and passive resistance to German forces, although some chose to collaborate with the German forces. Support from far right political factions and sections of the Belgian population allowed the German army to recruit two divisions of the Waffen-SS from Belgium and also facilitated the Nazi persecution of Belgian Jews in which nearly 25,000 were killed.
Most of the country was liberated by the Allies between September and October 1944, though areas to the far east of the country remained occupied until early 1945. In total, approximately 88,000 Belgians died during the conflict, a figure representing 1.05 percent of the country's pre-war population, and around 8 percent of the country's GDP was destroyed.German occupation of Belgium during World War II
The German occupation of Belgium (French: Occupation allemande, Dutch: Duitse bezetting) during World War II began on 28 May 1940 when the Belgian army surrendered to German forces and lasted until Belgium's liberation by the Western Allies between September 1944 and February 1945. It was the second time that Germany had occupied Belgium in under thirty years.
After the success of the invasion, a military administration was established in Belgium, bringing the territory under the direct rule of the Wehrmacht. Thousands of Belgian soldiers were taken as prisoners of war, and many were not released until 1945. The German administration juggled competing objectives of maintaining order while extracting material from the territory for the war effort. They were assisted by the Belgian civil service, which believed that limited co-operation with the occupiers would result in the least damage to Belgian interests. Belgian Fascist parties in both Flanders and Wallonia, established before the war, collaborated much more actively with the occupiers; they helped recruit Belgians for the German army and were given more power themselves toward the end of the occupation. Food and fuel were tightly rationed, and all official news was closely censored. Belgian civilians living near possible targets such as railway junctions were in danger of Allied aerial bombing.
From 1942, the occupation became more repressive. Jews suffered systematic persecution and deportation to concentration camps, as measures were taken against potential political opposition. Despite vigorous protest, the Germans deported Belgian civilians to work in factories in Germany. Meanwhile, the Belgian Resistance, formed in late 1940, expanded vastly. From 1944, the SS and Nazi Party gained much greater control in Belgium, particularly after the military government was replaced in July by a Nazi civil administration, the Reichskommissariat Belgien-Nordfrankreich. In September 1944, Allied forces arrived in Belgium and quickly moved across the country. That December, the territory was incorporated de jure into the Greater German Reich although its collaborationist leaders were already in exile in Germany and German control in the region was virtually non-existent. Belgium was declared fully liberated in February 1945. In total, 40,690 Belgians, over half of them Jews, were killed during the occupation and the country's pre-war gross domestic product (GDP) was reduced by eight percent.Hergé
Georges Prosper Remi (French: [ʁəmi]; 22 May 1907 – 3 March 1983), known by the pen name Hergé (; French: [ɛʁʒe]), was a Belgian cartoonist. He is best known for creating The Adventures of Tintin, the series of comic albums which are considered one of the most popular European comics of the 20th century. He was also responsible for two other well-known series, Quick & Flupke (1930–40) and The Adventures of Jo, Zette and Jocko (1936–57). His works were executed in his distinct ligne claire drawing style.
Born to a lower middle-class family in Etterbeek, Brussels, Hergé began his career by contributing illustrations to Scouting magazines, developing his first comic series, The Adventures of Totor, for Le Boy-Scout Belge in 1926. Working for the conservative Catholic newspaper Le Vingtième Siècle, he created The Adventures of Tintin in 1929 on the advice of its editor Norbert Wallez. Revolving around the actions of boy reporter Tintin and his dog Snowy, the series' early installments – Tintin in the Land of the Soviets, Tintin in the Congo, and Tintin in America – were designed as conservative propaganda for children. Domestically successful, after serialisation the stories were published in book form, with Hergé continuing the series and also developing both the Quick & Flupke and Jo, Zette and Jocko series for Le Vingtième Siècle. Influenced by his friend Zhang Chongren, from 1934 Hergé placed far greater emphasis on conducting background research for his stories, resulting in increased realism from The Blue Lotus onward. Following the German occupation of Belgium in 1940, Le Vingtième Siècle was closed but Hergé continued his series in Le Soir, a popular newspaper controlled by the Nazi administration.
After the Allied liberation of Belgium in 1944, Le Soir was shut down and its staff – including Hergé – accused of having been collaborators. An official investigation was launched, and while no charges were brought against Hergé, in subsequent years he repeatedly faced accusations of having been a traitor and collaborator. With Raymond Leblanc he established Tintin magazine in 1946, through which he serialised new Adventures of Tintin stories. As the magazine's artistic director, he also oversaw the publication of other successful comics series, such as Edgar P. Jacobs' Blake and Mortimer. In 1950 he established Studios Hergé as a team to aid him in his ongoing projects; prominent staff members Jacques Martin and Bob de Moor greatly contributed to subsequent volumes of The Adventures of Tintin. Amid personal turmoil following the collapse of his first marriage, he produced Tintin in Tibet, his personal favourite of his works. In later years he became less prolific, and unsuccessfully attempted to establish himself as an abstract artist.
Hergé's works have been widely acclaimed for their clarity of draughtsmanship and meticulous, well-researched plots. They have been the source of a wide range of adaptations, in theatre, radio, television, cinema, and computer gaming. He remains a strong influence on the comic book medium, particularly in Europe. Widely celebrated in Belgium, a Hergé Museum was established in Louvain-la-Neuve in 2009.Jean Denis (politician)
Jean Denis (10 November 1902 – 10 March 1992) was a Belgian politician and writer. Through his written work he was the chief ideologue of the Rexist movement.
A native of Chastre-Villeroux-Blanmont in Walloon Brabant, Denis was educated to doctorate level. He first became involved in politics with the radical Catholic movements, serving as secretary to Monsignor Louis Picard. Léon Degrelle had also been a member of Picard's Action Catholique de la Jeunesse Belge and it was that movement's publishing house, Éditions Rex, that inspired the name of Rexism. As such Denis was almost inevitably drawn to Rexism and he served as a deputy for Namur between 1936 and 1939.Denis two main books were Principes Rexistes and Bases Doctrinales de Rex, both published in 1936. Within these books he argued that Rex was more of a popular movement than a political party and endorsed a policy that sought to restore dignity to Belgium through a new hierarchical state. As such he demonstrated an influence of Integralismo Lusitano, which held similar views with regards to Portugal, on Rexist thought.Under the Nazi German occupation Denis collaborated with the occupiers and wrote regularly for Le Pays Réel. He was imprisoned after the war for his activity but his fairly minor involvement saw him released in 1951. He settled in Dion-le-Val, Chaumont-Gistoux following his release and disappeared into obscurity.José Streel
Lucien Alphonse Joseph Streel (commonly known as José Streel) (14 December 1911 in Seraing – 21 February 1946 in Sint-Gillis) was a Belgian journalist and supporter of Rexism. Streel was an important figure in the early years of the movement, when he was the main political philosopher of Rexism as an ideology. He subsequent became less of a central figure following the German occupation of Belgium during World War II due to his lukewarm attitude towards working with Nazi Germany. Nevertheless, he was executed by Belgium after the war as a collaborator.Léon Degrelle
Léon Joseph Marie Ignace Degrelle (French: [dəgʁɛl]; 15 June 1906 – 31 March 1994) was a Belgian politician and Nazi collaborator. Degrelle rose to prominence in the 1930s as the leader of the Catholic authoritarian Rexist Party in Belgium. During the German occupation in World War II, he enlisted in the German army and fought in the Walloon Legion on the Eastern Front. After the collapse of the Nazi regime, Degrelle went into exile in Francoist Spain where he remained a prominent figure in neo-Nazi politics.Rexist Party
The Rexist Party (French: Parti Rexiste), or simply Rex, was a far-right Catholic, nationalist, authoritarian and corporatist political party active in Belgium from 1935 until 1945. The party was founded by a journalist, Léon Degrelle, and, unlike other fascist parties in the Belgium of the time, advocated Belgian unitarism and royalism. Initially the party ran in both Flanders and Wallonia but never achieved much success outside Wallonia and Brussels. Its name was derived from the Roman Catholic journal and publishing company Christus Rex (Latin for Christ the King).
The highest point that the Rexist party had achieved was its success on sending 21 out of 202 deputies (with 11.4% of the vote) and twelve senators in the 1936 election. Never a mass movement, it was on the decline by 1938. During the German occupation of Belgium in World War II, Rex was the largest collaborationist group in French-speaking Belgium, paralleled by the Vlaams Nationaal Verbond (VNV) in Flanders. By the end of the war Rex was widely discredited, and was banned following the liberation.
Initially modelled on Italian Fascism and Spanish Falangism, it later drew closer to German Nazism. The Party espoused a "right-wing revolution" and the dominance of the Catholic Church in Belgium, but its ideology came to be vigorously opposed by the leader of the Belgian Church Cardinal van Roey, who called Rexism a "danger to the church and to the country".The Crab with the Golden Claws
The Crab with the Golden Claws (French: Le Crabe aux pinces d'or) is the ninth volume of The Adventures of Tintin, the comics series by Belgian cartoonist Hergé. The story was serialised weekly in Le Soir Jeunesse, the children's supplement to Le Soir, Belgium's leading francophone newspaper, from October 1940 to October 1941 amidst the German occupation of Belgium during World War II. Partway through serialisation, Le Soir Jeunesse was cancelled and the story began to be serialised daily in the pages of Le Soir. The story tells of young Belgian reporter Tintin and his dog Snowy, who travel to Morocco to pursue a gang of international opium smugglers.
The Crab with the Golden Claws was published in book form shortly after its conclusion. Hergé continued The Adventures of Tintin with The Shooting Star, while the series itself became a defining part of the Franco-Belgian comics tradition. In 1943, Hergé coloured and redrew the book in his distinctive ligne-claire style for Casterman's republication. The Crab with the Golden Claws introduces the supporting character Captain Haddock, who became a major fixture of the series. The book is the first Tintin adventure published in the United States and the first to be adapted into a motion picture. The Crab with the Golden Claws was adapted for the 1947 stop motion film of the same name, for the 1956 Belvision Studios animation Hergé's Adventures of Tintin, for the 1991 Ellipse/Nelvana animated series The Adventures of Tintin, and for the 2011 film The Adventures of Tintin directed by Steven Spielberg.Victor Matthys
Victor Matthys (20 March 1914 – 10 November 1947) was a Belgian politician who served as both deputy and acting leader of the Rexist Party. He was later executed for collaboration with Nazi Germany.
An early member of the Rexist movement, Matthys took over the editorship of the party newspaper, Le Pays Réel, in 1936 and in May 1941 was promoted to director of propaganda. He became official leader of Rex that same July after Léon Degrelle left to serve in the Waffen SS. He was nominated for the position as he was a weak character who posed no real threat to Degrelle's position as leader. Matthys was also popular with the Germans as he had a long standing admiration for Adolf Hitler.As Rexist leader Matthys proved as weak and ineffective as Degrelle had hoped, although he also demonstrated a propensity towards violence to mask his failings. His position eventually came under scrutiny after he ordered the massacre of 20 people in Courcelles as a reprisal against resistance activity. The move was roundly condemned as being too heavy-handed and Matthys gave up the leadership of the Rexists in favour of Louis Collard. He was sentenced to death for collaborationism and executed.