Far right leagues

Far right leagues

Far right leagues ("Ligues d'extrême droite") gathered 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 opposed to parliamentary parties. After having appeared first at the end of the 19th century, during the Dreyfus Affair, they were common in France in the 1920s-1930s, and famously participated in the 6 February 1934 riots which overthrew the second "Cartel des gauches" (a center-left coalition government). For a long time, the French left wing had been convinced that these riots had been an attempted "coup d'état" against the Republic. Although contemporary historians have shown that, despite the riots and the effective overthrow of the governing left wing, there had been no organized plan to overthrow Edouard Daladier's Radical-Socialist government, this belief led to the creation of the anti-fascist movement in France, and later to the dissolving of these leagues in 1936 by the Popular Front government headed by Léon Blum.

A "French fascism"?

The debate on a "French Fascism" is closely related to the existence of these anti-parliamentary leagues, of which many adopted at least the exterior signs and rituals of fascism (Roman salute, etc.) and explicitly imitated on one hand Mussolini's "squadristis" or, on the other hand, Hitler's Nazi party's organization — one should bear in mind, when analyzing "French fascism", international relations: in the 1930s, conservative president of the Council Pierre Laval initiated relations with Mussolini's Italy and the USSR against Germany, seen as the "hereditary enemy" of France. After Laval's meeting with Mussolini in Rome on 4 January 1935, this policy led to the signature of the Stresa front in 1935 [ See for example [http://www.herodote.net/19350104.htm "Laval meets Mussolini in Rome"] on 4 January 1935 ] . Thus, the French far right was split between Italian fascism, Nazism and nationalism, which forbade them from allying themselves with Hitler and pushed towards an alliance with Mussolini. Individual trajectories during Vichy France, when some far right members ultimately chose the Resistance against the German occupant, illustrate these ideological conflicts.

Leagues created in the 1920s from veterans' associations are usually distinguished from those created in the 1930s, such as Marcel Bucard's "Francisme", which were more explicitly influenced by Fascism or Nazism — one of this reason being the common anti-militarism, pacifism and opposition to colonial expansion present in several veterans' associations of the 1920s. Leagues however quickly broke with this left wing anti-militarism and anti-colonialism. Both "Cartel des gauches" (Left Wing Coalition, the first one was from 1924 to 1926 and the second one from 1932 to the 6 February 1934 riots) saw the appearance of many leagues intent on overthrowing them through street demonstrations. Thus, Pierre Taittinger's "Jeunesses Patriotes" (JP) were founded during the first Cartel, headed by Edouard Herriot, in 1924, as well as Georges Valois's "Faisceau" (1925) and colonel de la Rocque's "Croix-de-Feu", founded a year after Herriot's fall. On the other hand, François Coty's "Solidarité française" and Marcel Bucard's "Francisme" were both founded in 1933, during Edouard Daladier's left-wing government. Daladier was replaced after the 6 February 1934 riots by conservative Gaston Doumergue, whom included in his cabinet many right wing personalities close to the far right leagues, such as Philippe Pétain and Pierre Laval.

Most of the debate on the existence of a "French fascism" in between the two wars period has focused on these paramilitary leagues, although most French historians agree in stating that as Fascism is by definition a "mass movement", these leagues don't qualify as such. This, of course, has been debated, since some of them, such as colonel de la Rocque's "Croix-de-Feu" were very popular and quite big. De la Rocque, however, who later went on to found the "Parti Social Français" (PSF, the first French mass party of the right-wing, which would be later imitated by Gaullism [ See René Rémond's "Les Droites en France", 1982, Aubier ] ), has often been said not to be fascist, an assertion which based itself in particular on his respect for constitutional legality during the 6 February 1934 riots. Others observers argue that both Fascism and Nazism formally respected legality, and that this factor, in itself, doesn't sufficiently set de la Rocque's movement aside from other types of fascism.

Famous leagues and common denominators

Far right leagues were characterized by their nationalist, militarist, anti-Semitic, anti-parliamentarist and anti-Communist opinions. Beside, in particular in the 1930s, they often took model on Mussolini's Blackshirts and favored military parades, uniforms and display of their physical might.

The most famous far right leagues included:

*Paul Déroulède's "Ligue des patriotes" (founded in 1882, revived in 1896 during the Dreyfus Affair and finally dissolved soon afterwards)
*Edouard Drumont's "Antisemitic League of France" (founded in 1889, disappeared before World War I)
*"Camelots du Roy", founded in 1908. Youth organization of the royalist "Action française", which was involved in the 6 February 1934 riots.
*"Jeunesses Patriotes", founded in 1924 by Pierre Taittinger. Claiming the legacy of Déroulède's "Ligue des patriotes", it also took part in the February 1934 riots. Presenting itself as a movement in favor of more executive power and with official aims of "defending institutions from the left wing", the "Jeunesses Patriotes" adopted many ritual signs of fascism (Roman salute, etc.) but conserved, on the whole, a reactionary program distinct from fascism.
*"Défense paysanne".
*"Front paysan", founded by Henri Dorgères.
*"Frontisme", founded by Gaston Bergery.
*"Le Faisceau", founded in 1925 by Georges Valois. Heavily inspired by Mussolini's fascism, the "Faisceau" claimed to make the synthesis between socialism and nationalism, which is at the basis of the Nazi ideology. It was at its summum in 1926, with 25,000 "Blue Shirts" (on the model of the Blackshirts), before dissolving on internal dissensions [ Zeev Sternhell, « Anatomie d'un mouvement fasciste en France. Le Faisceau de Georges Valois », "Revue française de science politique", vol. 26, n°1, février 1976, p. 25-26. fr icon ] .
*"Croix-de-Feu". Veteran association, founded in 1927. Headed by Colonel de la Rocque, it made a calm rally in the 6th of February 1934 and didn't take part in the riots. It became more and more moderate, transforming into a democratic centre-right party, the Parti Social Français (1936-1940). During WWII, La Rocque used his party as an intelligence resistance network (Réseau Klan), linked with the British Intelligence service. It paved the way to gaullism and not to fascism.)

*"Solidarité française", founded in 1933 by wealthy perfumer François Coty, which imitated the Nazi party's organization.
*"Francisme", founded by Marcel Bucard in September 1933. Partly funded by Mussolini, it dissolved in 1936 with the Popular Front's prohibition, only to reappear in 1941 under the Vichy regime. Its members were some of the most enthusiastic collaborators with the Nazis.

Dissolution of the leagues

This context of street agitation led Pierre Laval's government to outlaw paramilitary organizations on 6 December 1935 [http://www.mairie-athis-mons.fr/index.php?p=histoire/il-y-a-60-ans-le-front-populaire.php#chrononat Chronology] on the website of the municipality of Athis-Mons fr icon] , and then to pass the 10 January 1936 law on militias and combat groups. This law limited the right of association (resulting from the 1901 law on associations) if these groups organized armed demonstrations in the streets; if they presented a paramilitary or militia aspect; or if they attempted to overtopple the Republic or threatened the integrity of the national territory [ [http://www.senat.fr/rap/l99-131/l99-1312.html II. LA PROPOSITION DE LOI N° 79 (1998-1999) : PERMETTRE UNE DISSOLUTION RAPIDE DE MOUVEMENTS DANGEREUX EN CAS D'URGENCE] , French Senate fr icon ] . The 10 January 1936 law was however only partially implemented, and only the monarchist "Action française" was dissolved on 13 February 1936 [http://cercle.jacques-decour.over-blog.com/categorie-1085012.html Cercle Jacques Decour (Chronology)] fr icon] .

The Popular Front thus included the dissolution of the leagues in its 12 January 1936 electoral program. This proposition was implemented after the May 1936 legislative election which brought Léon Blum to power. Marceau Pivert called for the dissolution of the leagues on 27 May 1936 in "Le Populaire" newspaper [ Marceau Pivert, [http://www.marxists.org/francais/pivert/works/1936/05/pivert_19360527.htm Tout est possible!] , 27 May 1936, "Le Populaire" fr icon] .

On 19 June 1936, the Minister of Interior Roger Salengro had the President Albert Lebrun sign the decree outlawing the major leagues ("Croix-de-Feu", "Solidarité Française", "Jeune Patrie" and "Francistes") were dissolved [http://web2.radio-france.fr/reportage/cahiers/cahiers.php?rid=255000090&aid=265000133 Biographical notice] of Roger Salengro, "Radio France" ] . Three days later, de La Rocque bypassed the dissolution of the "Croix-de-Feu" by creating the "Parti Social Français" (PSF) . Salengro's initiative led the far-right newspaper "Grégoire" (500,000 issues per week) to initiate a campaign of calumny against him, which finally pushed him to suicide on 18 November 1936 .


See also

*Dreyfus Affair
*Both "Cartel des gauches" (1924-26, and 1932-34)
*February 6, 1934 riots organized by many far right leagues
*History of far-right movements in France
*Non-conformists of the 1930s

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Игры ⚽ Поможем решить контрольную работу

Look at other dictionaries:

  • History of far right movements in France — The far right tradition in France founds its origins, as the distinction of left and right in politics itself, to the 1789 French Revolution. Counter revolutionaries and Legitimists The first representants of this tendency were the counter… …   Wikipedia

  • Right of Voluntary Association — • Any group of individuals freely united for the pursuit of a common end Catholic Encyclopedia. Kevin Knight. 2006. Right of Voluntary Association     Right of Voluntary Association …   Catholic encyclopedia

  • Major professional sports leagues of the United States and Canada — Major professional sports league, or simply major league, is the term used in Canada and the United States to refer to the highest professional division in any team sport. The term major league was first used in 1921 in reference to Major League… …   Wikipedia

  • 6 February 1934 crisis — The 6 February 1934 crisis refers to an anti parliamentarist street demonstration in Paris organized by far right leagues that culminated in a riot on the Place de la Concorde, near the seat of the French National Assembly. It was one of the… …   Wikipedia

  • Croix-de-Feu — (Cross of Fire) was a French far right league of the Interwar period, led by Colonel François de la Rocque (1885–1946). After it was dissolved, as were all other far right leagues during the Popular Front period (1936–38), de la Rocque replaced… …   Wikipedia

  • 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… …   Wikipedia

  • Action Française — The Action Française is a French Monarchist (Orléanist) counter revolutionary movement and periodical founded by Maurice Pujo and Henri Vaugeois and whose principal ideologist was Charles Maurras. Although it supported the Orleanist branch,… …   Wikipedia

  • Popular Front (France) — The Popular Front (French: Front populaire ) was an alliance of left wing movements, including the French Communist Party (PCF), the Socialist SFIO and the Radical and Socialist Party, during the interwar period. It won the May 1936 legislative… …   Wikipedia

  • History of the Left in France — The Left in France at the beginning of the 20th century was represented by two main political parties, the Republican, Radical and Radical Socialist Party and the SFIO (French Section of the Workers International), created in 1905 as a merger of… …   Wikipedia

  • France in the twentieth century — For specific information on today s France, see France and Portal:France. The History of France from 1914 to the present includes: the later years of the Third Republic (1871–1941) World War I (1914–18) World War II (1939–45) the Fourth Republic… …   Wikipedia

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”