Sean Kennedy is associate professor, history, at the University of New Brunswick.
Reconciling France Against Democracy: The Croix de Feu and the Parti Social Francais, 1927-1945by Sean Kennedy
Launched as a veterans' group, during the mid-1930s the Croix de Feu grew into a nationalist movement with half a million supporters. In Reconciling France against Democracy Sean Kennedy explores how the group, led by François de La Rocque, reshaped French politics and helped set the stage for the repressive Vichy regime.
Kennedy describes how the Croix de Feu promised to restore patriotic unity to France but instead demonized the organization's enemies as unfit to be French; its successor, the Parti Social Français, professed a respect for democracy but actually promoted an authoritarian nationalist vision. Previous studies have focused on whether the Croix de Feu and the Parti Social Français should be considered fascist. Reconciling France against Democracy assesses them from a variety of perspectives and considers the extent to which they foreshadowed Jean-Marie Le Pen's Front National.
Despite its numbers, the Parti Social Français was marginalized by Vichy and La Rocque was imprisoned by the Germans. Kennedy explores the ideology and tactics of the Croix de Feu and the Parti Social Français to show how authoritarian nationalist groups can fail to attain power yet still exert a profound influence on a nation's political culture.
- McGill-Queens University Press
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