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Maurras, Charles°

MAURRAS, CHARLES°

MAURRAS, CHARLES ° (1868–1952), French nationalist writer and antisemitic politician. In association with *Daudet, Maurras founded L'Action *française – both the newspaper and the movement by that name. His call for a return to the traditional values of "la vieille France" and his extreme political attitudes are reflected in all his books, especially Quand les Français ne s'aimaient pas (1916), Mes idées politiques (1937), and La contre-révolution spontanée (1943). Maurras' love of monarchy, hierarchy, and the rural virtues was paralleled by his hatred of the republic, democratic institutions, and the "métèques" (a word he coined himself), i.e., recently naturalized foreigners, and above all the Jews. He believed that the Jews – together with their allies the Freemasons, the Protestants, and the métæques – sought to control the entire political life of France. The *Dreyfus Affair (which obsessed him for the rest of his life) was for him the supreme example of Jewish dominance. Nevertheless, his passion for the French nation did not prevent Maurras from welcoming Hitler as a savior from democracy and the Jews, and he hailed the German invasion of France in 1940 as the "divine surprise." When the Jews in occupied France were forced in May 1942 to wear the Jewish badge, Maurras regarded it as a suitable opportunity to rid France, too, of the "Jewish scourge." For his subsequent collaboration with the Germans, Maurras was condemned in January 1945 to life imprisonment.

bibliography:

R.F. Byrnes, Anti-semitism in Modern France, 1 (1950), index; E. Nolte, Three Faces of Fascism (1966), passim; E.R. Tannenbaum, The Action Française (1962), index.

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