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.

Marcel Déat
Marcel Déat-1932
Minister of Air
In office
24 January 1936 – 4 June 1936
Prime MinisterAlbert Sarraut
Preceded byVictor Denain
Succeeded byPierre Cot
Member of the French Chamber of Deputies
In office
1939 – 10 July 1940
In office
9 May 1932 – 3 May 1936
In office
1926 – 29 April 1928
Personal details
Born7 March 1894
Guérigny, France
Died5 January 1955 (aged 60)
Turin, Italy
Political partyFrench Section of the Workers' International
Socialist Party of France
Socialist Republican Union
National Popular Rally
Hélène Delaveau
(m. 1924; his death 1955)
EducationÉcole Normale Supérieure
ProfessionJournalist, writer

Early life and politics

Marcel Déat was raised in a modest environment, which shared republican and patriotic values. After brilliant studies, he entered in 1914 the École Normale Supérieure (ENS) after having been the student of Alain, a philosopher who was active in the Radical Party and who would write a deeply anti-militarist book after World War I. The same year, Déat joined the SFIO.

While he attended the ENS and worked to get a philosophy degree, World War I broke out. He joined the French Army and saw active duty, winning the Légion d'honneur and five bravery citations. By the war's end, Déat had achieved the rank of captain. Under the pseudonym of Taëd, he then published Cadavres et maximes, philosophie d'un revenant (approximately translated by "Corpses and Maxims, Philosophy of a Ghost"), in which he expressed his horror of trenches, strong pacifist views, as well as his fascination for collective discipline and war camaraderie. When the war ended in 1918, he finished his studies at the École Normale and passed his agrégation of philosophy, and oriented himself towards sociology under the direction of Célestin Bouglé,[1] a friend of Alain and also member of the Radical Party. In the meanwhile, Déat taught philosophy in Reims.

During the 1920 Tours Congress in which a majority of the SFIO decided to spin off to found the French Communist Party, Marcel Déat positioned himself at the right wing of the SFIO, taking part to the groupe de la Vie socialiste current, alongside Pierre Renaudel.

Déat was elected municipal counsellor of Rheims in 1925, and then deputy for the Marne during a partial election in 1926. However, he lost his seat after the 1928 elections. In these times, Léon Blum, the leader of the SFIO, tried to favor youths in the party, and decided to name Déat secretary of the SFIO parliamentary group. After having been put in charge of the documentary center of the ENS by Célestin Bouglié, Déat now founded a documentary center for the SFIO deputies.

Neo-Socialist period

Marcel Déat published in 1930 Perspectives socialistes (Socialist Perspectives), a revisionist work closely influenced by Henri de Man's planisme. Along with over a hundred articles written in La Vie Socialiste, the review of the SFIO's right-wing, Perspective socialistes marked the shift of Déat from classical Socialism to Neosocialism. Déat replaced class struggle by collaboration of classes and national solidarity, advocated corporatism as a social organization model, replaced the notion of "Socialism" by "Anti-capitalism" and supported an authoritarian state which would plan the economy and from which parliamentarism would be repealed.[2]

During the 1932 elections, he was elected deputy of the 20th arrondissement of Paris, beating the Communist Jacques Duclos — who himself had gained the upper hand against Léon Blum in 1928 in the same electoral district. Déat and other Neosocialists were expelled from the SFIO at the 5 November 1933 Congress, for their revisionist views and disagreements with Léon Blum's policies toward Prime Minister Édouard Herriot, leader of the second Cartel des Gauches (Left-Wing Coalition). The official position of the SFIO was then to support the Cartel without participating in the government, considered as "bourgeois." The same year, Déat joined the Socialist Party of France – Jean Jaurès Union (PSdF) created the same year by Planist and Neosocialist elements expelled by the SFIO during the 1933 Congress. The new party's slogan was "Order, Authority and Nation".

The expelled faction was a minority in the SFIO, but represented the majority of the SFIO parliamentary group. They were opposed both by the left wing of the SFIO, represented by Marceau Pivert, and by the SFIO's center, headed by Blum. The Neosocialists wanted to "reinforce the state against the economic crisis", open themselves to the middle classes and participate in non-Socialist governments.

Without the support of the Socialists, Déat lost his seat in the Chamber. Two years later, he joined the Socialist Republican Union (USR). He became Minister of Air in the "bourgeois" government of Albert Sarraut (Radical) but he quickly resigned his post over disputes with the Prime Minister. With the increasing threats represented by Nazi Germany, Déat wanted to maintain peace at any cost.

He returned to the Chamber of Deputies in 1936 as a delegate from Angoulême, and at first supported the Popular Front led by Blum before denouncing "Communist infiltration" of it. After Blum's replacement by Édouard Daladier in 1938, which marked the end of the Popular Front, Déat participated in the "Anti-Communist Rally." The same year, he made explicit his support of the Munich Agreement in an article titled Mourir pour Danzig? (Why Die for Danzig?) and published in the newspaper L'Œuvre(newspaper). There, he argued that France should avoid war with Germany if the latter seized Poland - the publication caused a widespread controversy, and propelled Déat to national fame. Déat would collaborate with L'Œuvre during the entire period of Vichy France.


A strong supporter of Germany's occupation of northern France in 1940, Déat took up residence in Vichy France, and was initially a supporter of Philippe Pétain. He attempted to create a single party in order to fully realize the aims of the "Révolution nationale", the official, reactionary ideology of Vichy. Thereafter, he founded in February 1941 the National Popular Rally (RNP) which advocated Collaboration with Nazi Germany and antisemitism.[3]

When Vichy, then headed by Pétain, did not become the Fascist state Déat had in mind, he moved to occupied Paris and was funded by the Germans. The Germans forced Déat at first to merge his new party (RNP) with Eugène Deloncle's MSR (Social Revolutionary Movement), a far-right party, the successor of the Cagoule terrorist group. The merger was a failure and Déat later expelled MSR elements from his party, before trying to form a unified front of Collaborationist parties.

Déat also founded, along with fellow Collaborationists Jacques Doriot and Marcel Bucard, the Légion des Volontaires Français (LVF), a French unit of the Wehrmacht (later affiliated with the Waffen-SS).

While reviewing troops from the LVF with Vichy figure Pierre Laval in Versailles on 27 August 1941, Déat was wounded in an assassination attempt—carried out by French Resistance member Paul Collette. After recovering, he became a supporter of Pierre Laval, who supported more reactionary policies than Pétain and had become Prime Minister of the Vichy regime in 1942. Under the suggestion of the Germans, Marcel Déat became on 16 March 1944, Minister of Labour and National Solidarity in Laval's cabinet.


After the Allied landings at Normandy and the fall of the Vichy government, Déat fled to Germany and became an official of the Vichy government in exile at Sigmaringen. With the defeat of Nazi Germany in 1945, Déat fled to Italy in April and assumed a new name, temporarily teaching in Milan and Turin. He was later taken in and hidden by a religious order in the convent of San Vito, near Turin, where he wrote his memoirs and lived undiscovered until his death in 1955.[4] After the war, he had been convicted of treason and sentenced to death in absentia by a French court.


  1. ^ Baker, Donald (1976). "Two Paths to Socialism: Marcel Deat and Marceau Pivert". Journal of Contemporary History. 11 (1): 113. JSTOR 260005.
  2. ^ Zeev Sternhell, "Les convergences fascistes", pp. 533-564 in Nouvelle histoire des idées politiques (dir. by Pascal Ory), Pluriel Hachette, 1987 (in French)
  3. ^ Irvine, William (1994). "Review: Kollaboration in Frankreich im Zweiten Weltkrieg: Marcel Déat und das Rassemblement national populaire by Reinhold Brender". International History Review. 16 (1): 181–3. JSTOR 40106890.
  4. ^ "FUGITIVE PRO-NAZI IS DEAD IN ITALY; Marcel Deat, Vichy Minister, Condemned in Absentia for Wartime Deeds". The New York Times. 1955-03-31. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2018-12-07.


  • Marcel Déat, Perspectives socialistes (Paris, Valois, 1930)
  • Max Bonnafous - Marcel Déat - Adrien Marquet - Barthélémy Montagnon, Néo-socialisme ? Ordre, autorité, nation, Paris, Grasset, 140 pages, 1933. Speech pronounced at the SFIO Congress of July 1933.
  • Le Plan français : doctrine et plan d'action, Comité du Plan, Paris, Fasquelle, 199 pages, 1936. Preface by Marcel Déat.
  • Marcel Déat, De la fausse collaboration à la vraie révolution, décembre 1941-janvier 1942, Paris, Rassemblement national populaire, 47 pages, 1942. Various articles extracted from L'Œuvre (30 December 1941 - 13 January 1942) and a conference pronounced at Radio-Paris (5 January 1942).
  • Marcel Déat, Le Parti unique, Paris, Aux Armes de France, 183 pages, 1943. Articles published in L'Œuvre (18 July – 4 September 1942).
  • Dominique Sordet (ed.), Le Coup du 13 décembre, Paris, impr. de Guillemot et de Lamothe, 47 pages, 1943. Article by Marcel Déat : "Il faut les chasser".
  • Marcel Déat, Mémoires politiques, Paris, Denoël, 990 pages, 1989. Introduction & notes by Laurent Theis ; epilogue by Hélène Déat.
  • Marcel Déat, Discours, articles et témoignages, Coulommiers, Éd. Déterna, « Documents pour l'histoire », 149 pages, 1999.

Further reading

  • Reinhold Brender, Kollaboration in Frankreich im Zweiten Weltkrieg. Marcel Déat und das Rassemblement National Populaire, (Studien zur Zeitgeschichte, vol. 38), Munich, R. Oldenbourg Verlag, 338 pages, 1992.
  • Philippe Burrin, La Dérive fasciste. Doriot, Déat, Bergery 1933-1944, Paris, Editions du Seuil, 530p, 1986 (Pocket edition with a new preface, 2003).
  • Jean-Paul Cointet, Marcel Déat : du socialisme au national-socialisme, Paris, Perrin, 418 pages, 1998.

See also

External links

Adrien Marquet

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Eugène Deloncle

Eugène Deloncle (20 June 1890 – 17 January 1944) was a French engineer and Fascist leader.

A graduate of the École Polytechnique, Deloncle worked for the French Navy, and served as an artillery officer during World War I. Wounded on the Champagne frontline, he was awarded the Legion of Honor.

Initially supportive of the integralist Action Française, he left the movement in 1935, in order to found his own group – the Comité Secret d'Action Révolutionnaire (CSAR), usually known as La Cagoule (a name given by the press). Cagoule kept the Orleanist and strongly anti-republican line of the Action Française, but added the rhetoric of Fascism.

With World War II, the Fall of France, and the German period of occupation, Deloncle created a movement backing Vichy France and Philippe Pétain, the Mouvement Social Révolutionnaire (MSR, Social Revolutionary Movement). MSR, a more radical form of the Cagoule, strongly supported Pétain's traditionalism, as well as the political experiment engineered in Southern France. Afterwards, he approached the National Popular Rally (RNP) of Marcel Déat, but conflicts with the latter got him expelled in May 1942, when he was succeeded as leader by Jean Fontenoy.Deloncle's involvement with the Abwehr made him an enemy of the Gestapo, who assassinated him and seriously wounded his son Louis.

Groupe Collaboration

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In the years before World War I (1914–18) many prominent politicians contributed to the paper. The paper opposed the pact between Germany and Russia just before World War II (1939–45), and after the fall of France opposed the Vichy regime. However, it managed to continue publication until 1944.

List of Légion d'honneur recipients by name (D)

The following is a list of some notable Légion d'honneur recipients by name. The Légion d'honneur is the highest order of France. A complete, chronological list of the members of the Legion of Honour nominated from the very first ceremony in 1803 to now does not exist. The number is estimated at one million including about 3,000 Grand Cross.

Antoine Thomson d'Abbadie (1810–1897) French explorer, geographer, and astronomer

William G. Dabney American soldier

Leon Dabo (1865–1960), American painter

Jan Henryk Dąbrowski

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Artin Dadyan Paşa (1830–1901), Ministre of Foreign affairs of Ottoman

Saro Dadyan Turkish Ottoman Historian

Edouard Daladier (1884–1970), Prime Minister of France

Salvador Dalí

Ahmad Hasan Dani (b. 1920), Pakistani archaeologist

Barney Danson (b. 1921), Canadian World War II veteran, former Minister of Defense

Robert Darnton (b. 1939), American cultural historian

Robert Darnton (b. 1939), American cultural historian

André Darrigade, cyclist

Raymond Daudel (1920–2006), French chemist

Madeleine Hamm Dautartas

Paul Davenport

Walter J. Davey (1897–2001), British World War I Veteran for service in France

Athanase David

Michel David-Weill

Miles Davis

Michael S. Davison

Louis Nicolas Davout (1770–1823), Marshal of France

Marcel Déat

Francois Debat (1785–1861)

Alma de Bretteville Spreckels

André Debry

Clara Longworth de Chambrun

George W. Deckard (1896–2001), American World War I veteran

Odile Decq (b. 1955), architect

Reza Deghati (b. 1952), Iranian-French photojournalist.

Simone Del Duca

Cino Del Duca

Percival Alfred Delafield (1897–1999) UK recipient. Royal Engineers.

Léon Delagrange, (1873–1910), French aviator

Sonia Delaunay

Alain Delon

Eugène Deloncle

Mimi Denisi (Μιμή Ντενίση), Greek actress

Gérard Depardieu

William E. DePuy

Georges Descrières

Catherine Destivelle

Henri Deutsch de la Meurthe

Gabriel Devéria (1844–1899)

Louis Dewis

Harry DeWolf

Douglas Dickerson, World War II 82nd Airborne Veteran

Joseph T. Dickman

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Jacques Diouf

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Do Cao Tri (1923–1971), General in the Army of the Republic of Vietnam (ARVN)

Douglas Dodds-Parker

Robert Doisneau (1912–1994), photographer

Arnold Dolmetsch

Arielle Dombasle (b. 1953), French actress, singer, producer

Phạm Văn Đồng (ARVN general) (1919–2008), General of the Armed Forces of the Republic of Vietnam

Kees van Dongen

Francis Patrick Donovan

William J. Donovan (1883–1959), American World War I veteran

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Henri Lucien Doucet, French painter

Kirk Douglas, American actor

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Wayne A. Downing

Jacques Drabier, pilot in the Free French Air Force during the Nazi Occupation

Normand Drapeau, U.S. WWII veteran

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Louis Auguste Dubuisson

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René Ducourtieux (1924-2013), French NCO Army (1944–1962)

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Alexandre Dumas, fils

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Jules Dumont d'Urville

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Charles-Edmond Duponchel (1804-last mention 1860) for military service to France

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Created in February 1941 by former members of the French Section of the Workers' International (SFIO) of the neosocialist tendency and led by Marcel Déat, the party was heavily influenced by fascism and saw the circumstances of the occupation as an opportunity to revolutionarise France.


Neosocialism was the name of a political faction that existed in France during the 1930s and in Belgium around the same time and which included several revisionist tendencies in the French Section of the Workers' International (SFIO). Step by step, the faction distanced itself from revolutionary Marxism and reformist socialism, instead advocating a revolution from above which they termed as a constructive revolution. Neosocialists came to oppose the majority of the socialists in France National Assembly and the faction was expelled from SFIO.

Originally linked to fascist politics in France, neosocialists expressed admiration for Italian fascism. This ideological orientation later emerged in the newly formed Neosocialist Party which advocated authoritarianism and antisemitic policies as well as intimate cooperation with the Nazis.

René Château

René Château (27 June 1906 – 5 April 1970) was a French philosopher, poet and politician.

Château was born in Mouthiers-sur-Boëme. He represented the Radical-Socialist Party Camille Pelletan in the Chamber of Deputies from 1936 to 1940.

In 1940 he voted in favour of granting the Cabinet presided by Marshal Philippe Pétain authority to draw up a new constitution, thereby effectively ending the French Third Republic and establishing Vichy France.

As a journalist, he worked with Marcel Déat and became editor of La France socialiste, which he used to denounce the three international institutions of "capitalism, bolshevism and Jewishness". Later, he joined the National Popular Rally (RNP), from which he was expelled in 1943. In 1944 he was arrested and imprisoned as a Nazi collaborator, first by the "francs-tireurs" and later by the forces of liberation. He later wrote an account of his captivity called L'Âge de Caïn (1947), published under the pseudonym of Jean-Pierre Abel.

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The PRS published a press organ, the Cahiers Bleus which published at the Librairie Valois edition its first numero on 15 August 1928 and its 119th and last issue on 23 May 1932, during the Second Cartel des gauches (Left-wing Coalition). The Cahiers Bleus were a monthly and bi-monthly, with the subtitle "Pour la république syndicale: organe de culture générale et d'organisation"" (For the Trade-Unions' Republic: Organ of Culture générale and Organisation"). Its aim was to develop a new economy, founded on trade unions and corporatism. Collaborators to the Cahiers Bleus included Edouard Berth, who had co-founded the Cercle Proudhon with Valois, Marcel Déat, a future neo-socialist excluded from the French Section of the Workers' International (SFIO) and then collaborationist, Bertrand de Jouvenel, co-founder of the liberal Mont Pelerin Society, and Pierre Mendès France, future Prime minister during the Fourth Republic, from the young guard (jeunes loups) of the Radical-Socialist Party. The Cahiers bleus became the Chantiers coopératifs (Co-operative Workshops ?), then followed by the Cahiers bleus. 2e serie. (1931-1932).

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The MSR supported the return of Pierre Laval to the Vichy government of Petain, after he was removed from government in December 1940. They collaborated with the Rassemblement National Populaire (RNP), which was founded in January 1941 and of which the MSR became a faction.

A split in the RNP came after the Eastern Front opened up in July 1941 and the LVF was formed. Another frontman in the RNP was Marcel Déat, who had the confidence of Laval. When he found out Deloncle was plotting against him, he had him and his faction removed from the RNP. Deloncle also took many member of the RNP's paramilitary wing with him.

In October 1941, Deloncle plotted against seven Parisian synagogues with the help of a local SS officer, Hans Sommer, who provided the explosives for the attack.

Further splits in the MSR happened over the next year, as Deloncle became more occupied with the LVF. The other factions at that time coalesced around Jean Filliol, a former Cagoulard, and revolutionaries Georges Soulès and André Mahé. A coup against the Deloncle faction was completed on May 14, 1942, which left Deloncle without a political future. He was killed two years later in a shootout with the Gestapo, who suspected him of having obtained ties to the Allies. For a time in 1942 leadership passed to Jean Fontenoy.Filiol began plotting against Laval, whose government interned him in October 1942. The remaining Soulès faction of the MSR moved into an anti-German position, but disappeared at the end of the war.

Roland Silly

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In the 1930s, Roland Silly was Secretary of the Federation (or section) of technicians of the CGT and member of the Socialist Party SFIO, led by Paul Faure.

During the German occupation, (1940-1944), Roland Silly was a member of the Rassemblement national populaire, a collaborationist party led by Marcel Déat, and the head of the Jeunesses national-populaire, the youth movement of the party.

Socialist Party of France – Jean Jaurès Union

The Socialist Party of France – Jean Jaurès Union (French: Parti socialiste de France-Union Jean Jaurès, PSdF) was a political party in France founded in 1933 during the late Third Republic which united the right-wing of the French Section of the Workers' International (SFIO). The PSdF was formed by neosocialist members of the SFIO expelled from the party in 1933. These included Marcel Déat, Paul Ramadier and Adrien Marquet. The party was weak and merged with the Republican-Socialist Party and the French Socialist Party to form the Socialist Republican Union (USR) in 1935. The USR participated in the Popular Front.

Socialist Republican Union

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Why Die for Danzig?

Why Die for Danzig? (French: Pourquoi mourir pour Dan(t)zig?, Polish: Dlaczego musimy umierać za Gdańsk?) is an anti-war French political slogan created on the eve of World War II.

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