Lucien Rebatet

Lucien Rebatet (15 November 1903 – 24 August 1972) was a French author, journalist, and intellectual. He is known as an exponent of fascism and virulent antisemite but also as the author of Les Deux étendards, regarded by some as one of the greatest novels of the post-war era.

Lucien Rebatet
Rebatet librairie
Born15 November 1903
Died24 August 1972 (aged 68)
Moras-en-Valloire, France
Occupationjournalist, author


Early life

Rebatet was born and died in Moras-en-Valloire, Drôme. As a young man, Rebatet was educated in Saint-Chamond, Loire. From 1923 to 1927 he studied at the Sorbonne, after which he became an insurance agent. It was only in 1929 that he began his career as a writer, becoming a music and film critic (the latter under the pseudonym François Vinneuil) for the far right integralist Action Française newspaper. In 1932 Rebatet became a contributor to the right-wing newspaper Je suis partout, for which he wrote until the Allied liberation in 1944. In 1938 he became head of information for Action Française and worked closely with the movement's founder, Charles Maurras.

Long before the outbreak of war between France and Nazi Germany, Rebatet expressed sympathy for National Socialism, notably in his articles for Je suis partout ("I Am Everywhere"), in which he accused Jews of fomenting a war to topple Adolf Hitler’s régime. In 1940 he was drafted into the French Army and, although he served, openly hoped for a "short and disastrous war for France".


After the fall of France he became a radio reporter for the Vichy government. He soon left this post, as well as Action Française, to join Jacques Doriot's newspaper Cri Du Peuple, and to continue his writings for Je suis partout.

In 1942 Rebatet published a lengthy pamphlet entitled Les Décombres ("The Ruins"), in which he traced the forces he believed to have led France to its fall. He firmly accused Third Republic politicians and its military leadership, as well as French Jews - who he claimed were the prime cause of France's political and military woes. Les Décombres is the clearest expression of Rebatet's fascism, as well as his most virulently antisemitic work. The same year, he began writing Les Deux étendards ("The Two Standards"), his first novel.

In August 1944 Rebatet fled France for Germany, travelling to the Sigmaringen enclave (place of refuge for Vichy authorities as well as the more famous French writer, Céline). It was in Sigmaringen that Rebatet completed Les Deux étendards, which would be published in 1952 by Gallimard. He was arrested in Austria in 1945.

After the war

Rebatet was sent back to France and, in 1946, received a death sentence, which was commuted to forced labor the next year. Released from prison in 1952, he returned to journalism in 1953, becoming the director of the literary section of Dimanche Matin. In 1954, Gallimard published Rebatet's second novel, Les Epis Mûrs ("The Ripe Grains"). His final work was a history of music which he began writing in 1965, and which was published by Laffont in 1969.

Although Rebatet continued to proclaim his adherence to fascism until his death, his antisemitism became less pronounced after the war, showing even admiration for the state of Israel.[1]

Despite his controversial biography, there are those, such as George Steiner, who claim that Lucien Rebatet was a great writer, and that Les Deux étendards in particular deserves to be considered an important novel in French literary history.

Cultural references


  1. ^
1903 in France

Events from the year 1903 in France.

1952 in literature

This article presents lists of the literary events and publications in 1952.

1972 in France

Events from the year 1972 in France.

Action Française

Action française (French pronunciation: ​[aksjɔ̃ fʁɑ̃sɛːz], AF; English: French Action) is a French right-wing political movement. The name was also given to a journal associated with the movement.

The movement and the journal were founded by Maurice Pujo and Henri Vaugeois in 1899, as a nationalist reaction against the intervention of left-wing intellectuals on the behalf of Alfred Dreyfus. Charles Maurras quickly joined Action française and became its principal ideologist. Under the influence of Maurras, Action française became royalist, counter-revolutionary (objecting to the legacy of the French Revolution), anti-parliamentary and pro-decentralization, and supported Integralism and Catholicism.

Shortly after it was created, Action Française tried to influence public opinion by turning its journal to a daily newspaper and by setting up various organizations. By 1914, it had become the best structured and the most vital nationalist movement in France. In the inter-war period, the movement enjoyed prestige and influence, but its popularity gradually declined as a result of the rise of fascism and of a rupture in the relations with the Catholic Church. During the Second World War, Action française supported the Vichy Regime and Marshal Philippe Pétain. After the fall of Vichy, its newspaper was banned and Maurras was sentenced to life imprisonment. The movement nevertheless continued to exist due to new publications and political movements. Although Action française is not a major force in the right as it used to be, its ideas have remained influential.

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.

Candide (newspaper)

Candide (French pronunciation: ​[kɑ̃did]) was the name given to various French newspapers of the 19th and 20th century.

Charles Maurras

Charles-Marie-Photius Maurras (; French: [ʃaʁl moʁas]; 20 April 1868 – 16 November 1952) was a French author, politician, poet, and critic. He was an organizer and principal philosopher of Action Française, a political movement that was monarchist, anti-Semitic, anti-parliamentarist, and counter-revolutionary. Maurras' ideas greatly influenced National Catholicism and "nationalisme intégral". A major tenet of integral nationalism was stated by Maurras as "a true nationalist places his country above everything". He was one of the few eminent and probably the most important of all French ethnic nationalists, being naturally opposed to republican universalism and liberalism. The common good was of higher value than popular will. A political theorist and a major intellectual influence in early 20th-century Europe, his views influenced several far-right ideologies; it also anticipated some of the ideas of fascism.

Georges Blond

Georges Blond (Jean-Marie Hoedick, 11 July 1906 in Marseille – 16 March 1989 in Paris), was a French writer. A prolific writer of mostly history but also other topics including fiction, Blond was also involved in far right political activity.

Hanns Grössel

Hanns Grössel (Leipzig, 18 April 1932 – Cologne, 1 August 2012) was a German literary translator and broadcasting journalist.

Je suis partout

Je suis partout (French pronunciation: ​[ʒə sɥi paʁtu], lit. I am everywhere) was a French newspaper founded by Jean Fayard, first published on 29 November 1930. It was placed under the direction of Pierre Gaxotte until 1939. Journalists of the paper included Lucien Rebatet, Alain Laubreaux, the illustrator Ralph Soupault, and the Belgian correspondent Pierre Daye.

Les Deux Étendards

Les Deux Étendards ("The two banners") is a 1952 novel by the French writer Lucien Rebatet. The narrative is partly autobiographical and set in Lyon in the 1920s. It follows two young men who are in love with the same woman; one of them is to become a Jesuit priest, while the other—the author's alter ego—is a fierce agnostic.

Rebatet began to write the novel in 1942 and continued to write it in the Sigmaringen enclave, where he fled together with the Vichy government in 1944. In 1946 he was sentenced to death for his sympathy for National Socialism and collaboration during the war, but the penalty was commuted to forced labour the next year. He finished the novel in prison before he was released in 1952. The novel was published in two volumes, with 496 and 519 pages respectively.

Manuel Rosenthal

Manuel Rosenthal (18 June 1904 – 5 June 2003) was a French composer and conductor who held leading positions with musical organizations in France and America. He was friends with many contemporary composers, and despite a considerable list of compositions is mostly remembered for having orchestrated the popular ballet score Gaîté Parisienne from piano scores of Offenbach operettas, and for his recordings as a conductor.

Marc-Édouard Nabe

Marc-Édouard Nabe (born Alain Marc Édouard Zannini; 27 December 1958) is a French writer and painter.

Nicolas d'Estienne d'Orves

Nicolas d’Estienne d’Orves (10 September 1974, Neuilly-sur-Seine) is a French journalist and writer.

Pierre-Antoine Cousteau

Pierre-Antoine Cousteau (18 March 1906 – 17 December 1958) was a French far right polemicist and journalist. He was the brother of the famous explorer Jacques-Yves Cousteau.


Sigmaringen is a town in southern Germany, in the state of Baden-Württemberg. Situated on the upper Danube, it is the capital of the Sigmaringen district.

Sigmaringen is renowned for its castle, Schloss Sigmaringen, which was the seat of the principality of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen until 1850 and is still owned by the Hohenzollern family.

Sigmaringen Castle

Sigmaringen Castle (German: Schloss Sigmaringen) was the princely castle and seat of government for the Princes of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen. Situated in the Swabian Alb region of Baden-Württemberg, Germany, this castle dominates the skyline of the town of Sigmaringen. The castle was rebuilt following a fire in 1893, and only the towers of the earlier medieval fortress remain. Schloss Sigmaringen was a family estate of the Swabian Hohenzollern family, a cadet branch of the Hohenzollern family, from which the German Emperors and kings of Prussia came. During the closing months of World War II, Schloss Sigmaringen was briefly the seat of the Vichy French Government after France was liberated by the Allies. The castle and museums may be visited throughout the year, but only on guided tours. It is still owned by the Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen family, although they no longer reside there.

Éditions Denoël

Éditions Denoël is a French publishing house founded in 1930 by the Belgian Robert Denoël and the American Bernard Steele (1902-1979).

Called the Éditions Denoël-Steel during its first few years, it had its first success in 1932 with Voyage au bout de la nuit by Louis-Ferdinand Céline. In 1934, Denoël edited Louis Aragon's Les Cloches de Bâle and Antonin Artaud's Héliogabale ou l'anarchiste couronné and, in 1936, Mort à crédit by Céline, as well as several notable pamphlets, such as Bagatelles pour un massacre (1937) and L'École des cadavres (1938). At this time, Denoël can be considered unusual in respect to its diverse choice of publications. Until May 1940, for example, it published an Anti-German political magazine as well as the anti-Semitic pamphlets of Céline and Lucien Rebatet. Bernard Steele left the company, because of Céline's pamphlet Mea culpa (1936). Robert Denoël himself was murdered in 1945 possibly by French terrorists, along with many others who collaborated with the Germans, during the period of lawlessness following the liberation of Paris.

Today, the Éditions Denoël publish around one hundred titles per year, spanning different collections covering fiction, non-fiction, and even comic books.

Among the most famous authors published by Éditions Denoël are Sébastien Japrisot, Jack Kerouac, Norman Mailer, Ray Bradbury, Philip K. Dick, Jeanne Benameur, and Bertrand Latour. Since 2006, editor Olivier Rubinstein has also published the literary review Le Meilleur des mondes.

Épuration légale

The épuration légale (French "legal purge") was the wave of official trials that followed the Liberation of France and the fall of the Vichy Regime. The trials were largely conducted from 1944 to 1949, with subsequent legal action continuing for decades afterward.

Unlike the Nuremberg Trials, the épuration légale was conducted as a domestic French affair. Approximately 300,000 cases were investigated, reaching into the highest levels of the collaborationist Vichy government. More than half were closed without indictment. From 1944 to 1951, official courts in France sentenced 6,763 people to death (3,910 in absentia) for treason and other offenses. Only 791 executions were actually carried out, including those of Pierre Laval, Joseph Darnand, and the journalist Robert Brasillach; far more common was "national degradation" — a loss of civil rights, which was meted out to 49,723 people.Immediately following the liberation, France was swept by a wave of executions, public humiliations, assaults and detentions of suspected collaborators, known as the épuration sauvage (wild purge). This period succeeded the German occupational administration but preceded the authority of the French Provisional Government, and consequently lacked any form of institutional justice. Approximately 10,500 were executed, before and after liberation. "The courts of Justice pronounced about 6,760 death sentences, 3,910 in absentia and 2,853 in the presence of the accused. Of these 2,853, 73 percent were commuted by de Gaulle, and 767 carried out. In addition, about 770 executions were ordered by the military tribunals. Thus the total number of people executed before and after the Liberation was approximately 10,500, including those killed in the épuration sauvage", notably including members and leaders of the milices.

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.