Diletant.media continues a series of publications under the heading "Our enemies." Today, writer and historian Elena Syanova recalls French fascists: Francois de la Roca, Georges Valois and Francois Coty.
The project was prepared for the Price of Victory program of the Echo of Moscow radio station.
Field Marshal Keitel, seeing among the representatives of the victorious countries of the French, was at a loss in the first moment: “We, well, have lost to France ?!” he exclaimed.
It seems to me that Keitel’s indignation can be understood. But the question is what he put into the word "we."
I think that the fascism of the XX century, like the plague, France was not sick; and the form of local cases differed from the overall clinical picture. First, the main goal of the fascist organizations of France was to limit the powers of the parliament and to establish an authoritarian system, in the manner of the Second Empire (for example, the slogan "cross and crown"); secondly, the French fascists were not plebeians, but aristocrats (another example is an organization called “Royal thugs”); thirdly, there have always been several parties and leaders.
Francois de la Roque, 1936
In 1931, one such organization, “Fire Crosses”, was headed by Count Francois de la Roque. Staff officer, holder of many orders; after the First World Plenipotentiary Representative of the Supreme Inter-Allied Council in Poland, under Pilsudski, from whom he took a number of acting techniques for self-public relations, from which he built himself a mask of charisma. “The people are women ...”, he repeated after Hitler de la Roque, forgetting that this French woman grew up in different historical circumstances and differs from the German one with a great sense of humor.
The historian Naumov gives the following example: “In France,” he writes, “effective methods of treating the masses in the conditions of Germany did not work. The figures of “Fire Crosses” tried to repeat the practice of free lunches in France, but the reaction of the French unemployed was completely different. With a purely Gallic humor, the workers ate lunch, and then dispersed with the singing of "Marseillaise" or "Internationale" and with shouts: "De la Roca to the gallows!"
“The people are women ...”, - he repeated after Hitler de la Rock
The activity of the French fascists, of course, pushed the country to the right, but the Popular Front created in 1935 pressed down on it, straightening the back of the country. During the war in Spain, the fascist battalion "Jeanne d'Arc" fought on the side of Franco; but it was France that sent the largest number of anti-fascist volunteers to Spain - eight and a half thousand fighting in the battalions "Paris Commune", "Telman" and others.
Another example of the outbreak of local fascism is the military alliance of Fascia, headed by George Valois, imprinted with the party of Mussolini. Valois advocated national socialism, which would overcome the class struggle and push the country out of the spiritual crisis. The fate of Valois himself is as follows: after the Germans entered Paris, he began to change his political orientation and died in a fascist concentration camp.
Perfumer francois coti
But the French oligarch perfumer Francois Coty did not change his orientations: he first fed "Fire Crosses", and in 1933 he founded his own party "French Solidarity". Two years later another party appeared, led by Jacques Doriot - another characteristic character.
All the above-mentioned leaders are united by the same attitude to the most significant event of French history - the Great French Revolution: their hatred for it, the fierce desire to reduce its role, or even completely forget it - sometimes resemble hysterics. Main idea: the revolution of 1789 plunged the country into a period of permanent decline. And here the descendants of the ancient clans, really devastated and hung by the revolution on lanterns, spoke out for everyone, and ignored the opinion of those plebeian strata that were raised by it from political and spiritual non-existence.
"Aristocratic Fascism" is not viable compared with the plebeian
Thus, the "aristocratic fascism" was unviable compared to the plebeian, which showed its strength in Germany. Plebeian fascism — this staleness of spirit, the dull rejection of another's right, the diversity of life — could not turn around in a country where the consciousness of the people was turned upside down, plowed up, aired and washed away with the blood of the great revolution. Despite the subjunctive mood in the last sentence, this is the statement of the historian.